Boy Beneath the Boards

by Mark Mangum
Ray and Lisa Johnson had been together for 6 years and had been married for 3 of those years.  Recently they decided that they would like to try to start a family, but with that, they had to trade in their crummy one-bedroom apartment for a house in the suburbs.  Fortunately, they had found a steal in a little fixer-upper 3 bedrooms 2 bathroom house that wasn’t too far out of the way and had only been owned by one other couple and their son when they had it built a little over 20 years ago.  It had been empty for a few years so there was some work to be done on the house itself, including new landscaping, maybe some siding, new carpets and definitely a new coat of paint inside the house, but with the money they would be saving on the cost of the house they could afford to put in some money on a little work.
Lisa had fallen in love with the charm of the place once the realtor had shown it to them and started coming up with ideas on what she would like to do to make it home.  She fancied herself as an interior decorator, which she had studied as her hobby for a few years as it is something she found interesting and devoured copies of popular magazines about this subject with ferocity.  She had made due with the one bedroom apartment for long enough and her mind ran wild with the possibilities of a 3 bedroom 2 bathroom home that had a big enough back yard they could turn it into a playground for when they did have kids.
Ray was complacent with the idea but was happy to see Lisa so excited and to him, she had “come to life” as she looked around the house as the realtor showed them around.  He knew that she was coming up with ideas on how to fix the place up, and he was more than happy to let her take those reins.  Ray didn’t care much for Lisa’s hobby and was fine with the apartment, but he guessed that it would be too small to raise a family in, and agreed to find something bigger.  Ray loved Lisa with the intensity of a burning star, and as such he would do most anything for her whether he agreed with it or not.  Starting a family wouldn’t be too bad and the house was really a lot less than he had expected to pay for a house that was, in a matter of speaking, brand new.
The realtor, Jamie Goodman; was a squat, nervous looking woman that wrung her hands a lot while showing the Johnsons around the house.  She didn’t know what it was about this place, but it made her feel uneasy, and more than a little bit anxious.  She was glad that the wife, Lisa was it? Was so excited and keen on the place and that it didn’t take long for the Johnsons to decide that they were through looking at the place.  They hadn’t seemed to notice how nervous she was as she had shown them the house which she was very pleased with.  Just a few more minutes and she could leave, and with any luck, the couple would qualify for the mortgage and she could finally wash her hands of the place.  She had grown more and more uncomfortable with the frequent check-ups that she had to do on the house to ensure that there wasn’t any damage, vandalism, or break-ins.  It had been time-consuming to be a realtor, but she had never had any issues with all the work until she was given this property.  There was just something about the place that she could just never put her finger on, but the more she had come to the place the more uneasy she felt.  She had started to wonder, what it could be about the place that stirred such feelings.  Jamie had to steel herself again before the Johnsons DID notice something was wrong with her.


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