House clearance

Suburban giveaway, North Vancouver 2019

Suburban giveaway, North Vancouver 2019


“We haven’t met before. Is this where you live?” Laura smiled at the elderly woman who was keen to talk.

“Not anymore. We’re moving. Just clearing out some stuff,” she said.

“Oh, what a shame we haven’t met before. I’ve been here forty-six years.”

“It was nice chatting but I’m afraid I must get on,” said Laura. “Have a good day.” Laura moved to walk back down the path to the house.

“What a shame you’re moving. Are you busy right now? I can make a coffee if you’d like to in me?”

Laura hesitated at the doorstep. Coffee would be nice. She’d hauled a number of items out from the house. Things they didn’t need or didn’t like anymore. Her hair felt matted and tangled with dust and she’d broken a nail trying to pick a poster off the wall her son had stuck on with glue. Coffee would definitely be nice.

“Sure,” she said, turning round. “Coffee would be nice.”

“Oh, that is lovely. I’ll get on with that while you finish up. Number twenty-five. With the red door. See you in a minute.”

Laura went to step forward to ask the elderly woman her name but she’d vanished. Laura hurried inside to shake the dust out of her hair and wash her hands.

“I’m just going over the road for a coffee with a nice old lady,” she said in a loud voice up the stairs to where Nick her husband was.

“Okay,” he said before appearing at the top of the stairs. “What old lady?”

“Over the road. The house with the red door.”

“Oh. Never noticed it. Okay. See you in a bit.”

“Yup,” said Laura slamming the door behind her. “Sorry!” she said through the letter box. “Didn’t mean to slam.”

Laura walked up the path to the house with the red door. The curtains were drawn across the downstairs windows. The front lawn hadn’t been cut in awhile. She knocked at the front door. Nothing. She bent down and called through the letter box.

“Hello? Hello?” She drew her eyebrows together in a frown and stepped back.

“Can I help you?”

The voice behind her made her jump. The postman.

“Oh, well. I don’t know. Does anyone live here?”

“Not for a long time. Been empty about three years. The old lady that lived here died in the front room. Nobody knew for days. Terrible really.”

“How awful.” Laura’s heart began to thud hard in her chest.

“She loved having people round for coffee. It was sad when they found her. They found packets of the stuff all over the house. Nobody’d been round for months.”

The blood drained from Laura’s face. She reached out for something to steady herself on.

“Miss? You okay? You look as if you’ve seen a ghost.”

Laura pushed passed the kind man and began to run back down the path.

Feeling brave? Want to share your story? In the words of one Disney princess, Let it go, in the comments below.