The House That WTF Built, Part the Second

So I bought a disposable digital-capable camera and a new set of maglites — including a head-band light — because I immediately went from the local shopping emporium to the house.

I will admit, after dark the site was a couple thousand orders of magnitude creepier than it had been during the day. The parking lot across the way was mostly unlighted except closest to the row of houses that started along the far side and more than half the streetlights were out, including the ones closest to “John Q’s” former place of residence. Further down the street most of the houses had Christmas lights up, there were cars coming and going, somewhere nearby I could hear carolers singing, and somehow that just made the place seem even more desolate. Also: the temperature was twenty degrees lower and the wind was coming up, which greatly enhanced both the creep-factor and my desire to get done and get gone as quickly as possible.

The problem with disposable cameras is, of course, the shot limit. The one I’d bought had twenty-one exposures on it and so I budgeted accordingly. Eight shots from up above, down into the cellar from the foundation edge, two to each side, for the ‘before’ documentation. I noticed, as I was taking the pictures, that the cellar floor was more scuffed up than it had been on my last visit. There’d been some very light rain between and the temperature had gotten noticeably colder both day and night, and there’d been at least one relatively breezy day. Natural environmental factors could easily be the culprit. As I came down the stairs, I found the smudged remains of my own prior footprints. Only my own footprints, which I admit gave me a little pause. The note that had been left in my car implied that someone had found me down there while I was too disabled by the migraine to be aware of my surroundings — which also sort of implies that there had been someone in the basement with me at some point. Even allowing for natural environmental degradation of the site by exposure to the elements, there just weren’t any other prints. Not unless whoever it was — Agent Felix Delgado, implied — had stood exactly in my own footprints and moved me without any pushing or pulling or dragging at all. I’m not heavy, but there’s a difference between dead-lifting, say, a small child and dead-lifting a grown man. Another mystery. For later.

I found the spot where I’d theoretically fallen, a few feet away from the steps that I hadn’t been able to see on the day. I took another series of ‘before’ pictures of that particular patch of cellar floor, and then went to work with the semi-firm bristled paintbrush I’d also picked up, trying to dislodge the layers of accumulated soot and randomly occurring basement grime as gently as possible.

Rin’s imagery genius friend was right: the four did have depth. They all did, as a matter of fact. I uncovered a couple square feet of cellar floor and all but a few inches of that was covered in carvings — the number four, repeated over and over again, in varying depths and sizes. Roughly carved, probably with a chisel or a file, and a hammer, not molded in when the foundation was poured. Up close, with the headband maglite on and a second directional torch, I could see that the carvings weren’t localized to that area but stretched off as far as the flashlight beam could provide decent illumination, probably right up to the basement walls. I opted not to explore that far. I’m not entirely sure why. I just took pictures of the basement floor nearest me and then of the basement walls from minimum safe distance, and got the fuck out as fast as I could.

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~ by Dr. Nate Harada on December 29, 2011.

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