Louisa is frozen in the place she stands. Looking around her "new home," she feels sick to her stomach. How could she be so foolish? A shiver runs down her spine as she stares at the faded red stain on the floor.
Suddenly, something catches her attention from the corner of her eye, making her gasp in horror. She couldn't believe her eyes. At that moment, the reason why the house was free dawned on Louisa. She knew that there would be no turning back from this.
Moving To A Small Town
When Louisa Johnson moved to a small town just south of Louisiana with her three-year-old daughter, she was hoping for a fresh start. It was just what they needed.
So when she came across the perfect house for her and her daughter to start the new chapter in their lives, she was over the moon. However, there was just one catch. And when Louisa found out what it was, she realized she’d made a huge mistake.
Ready For A Fresh Start
After fleeing from her husband one cold night, Louisa, armed with a packed suitcase and her daughter in a buggy, jumped into their car and drove to a town 200 miles away.
With her daughter fast asleep, Louisa arrived at her new town. Straight away, she felt things could only get better, but she was so wrong.
Looking For A House
Louisa and her daughter stayed with a friend while Louisa looked for a job and somewhere to live. A few weeks in, she managed to get a job at the local diner.
Next on her list? To find the perfect home for her and her daughter. But Louisa had no idea what was in store for her.
Couldn’t Find The Perfect Place
It was a struggle at first to find a suitable home. Some were too expensive, and some were too disgusting. Louisa wasn’t asking for much, just a simple, two-bedroomed house with a backyard.
But a mysterious stranger was about to come into Louisa’s life and “help” her out. Or so she thought.
She Needed A Home
Louisa was looking at houses for sale at the town's estate agency. Her eyebrows arched, and her eyes rolled back with each place she looked at.
She let out a sigh of frustration. She didn’t want to keep living at her friend's house. Her daughter needed stability- she needed a home. And none of these were that. Then suddenly, Louisa felt a tap on her shoulder.
An Old Woman
Louisa turned around and saw that the tap came from an old woman. Her face was more wrinkled than a summer shirt blowing in the wind, and her wispy hair was the color of snow.
“Can I help?” Louisa asked, an uneasy feeling settling over her. “You’re looking for a house?” she replied. Louisa slowly nodded, and the woman smiled, showing the few teeth she had. She handed Louise a piece of paper before walking away. What was on the paper?
A Beautiful House
Quickly, Louisa opened the piece of paper, and to her surprise, she saw a picture of a gorgeous house. Then she saw how much this place was going for: zero dollars. This house was free, but why?
Boasting three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a large kitchen, and a gigantic backyard, it sounded perfect! But Louisa would soon learn this house was far from perfect.
Calling The Number
Underneath the picture was a cell phone number, and for a brief moment, Louisa debated what to do. Was there a reason this house wasn’t at the estate agency? Should she even take advice from a complete stranger?
She dismissed her thoughts and got out her cell phone. She dialed the number, feeling both excited and nervous. But little did Louisa know she was going to regret that very call.
After nearly a minute of waiting, the number finally picked up, and Louisa heard “hello” in her ear. She quickly introduced herself and explained that she was interested in the house displayed on the paper.
The seller, Mikey, was over the moon to hear Louisa’s interest in the house. He insisted she come over straight away, and Louisa agreed. She had nothing to lose. But she was soon going to realize that was not true at all.
Arriving At The House
As Louisa drove to the house's address, she could already feel butterflies in her stomach. The drive was quite long, this house was further out than she had hoped, but she didn’t care.
As she pulled up, Louisa was utterly gobsmacked with how huge the house was in real life. Louisa was already sold. “What could be wrong with this?” She quietly muttered to herself. But Louisa was going to find out soon enough.
Tour Of The House
As Louisa pulled in, she saw a man standing at the front of the house. While Louisa got out, the man came rushing over. A gigantic smile slapped on his face.
“You must be Louisa, and I’m Mikey,” the man said. The two introduced themselves, and Mikey swiftly kicked off the tour of the house. Louisa set foot inside her potential new home, not knowing what was about to happen.
Walking around the house, Louisa reveled in the excitement. She could already picture her daughter playing in the backyard and herself baking cookies in the stunning Victorian kitchen.
Accompanied by Mikey, Louisa could tell he was enjoying her excitement and optimism for this house. Maybe he was just happy for her? But Louisa had no idea what Mikey’s hidden agenda was.
She Loved It
The house needed some work, but nothing too drastic- a few coats of paint and a tidy-up. Louisa saw a dark red stain on the living room floor, but that was nothing a bottle of bleach couldn’t fix.
After seeing every area of the house, Louisa was confident she was making the right decision. But little did she know she was making a huge mistake.
Mikey completed his tour of the house and then started to explain its history to Louisa. This house was his grandmother's, and unfortunately, she passed away a few years ago.
Louisa was sad to hear that. She lost her grandfather a few years ago, so she could sympathize with Mikey. The two then went into the living room to discuss the house over coffee. But she had no idea what was coming.
There Was A Catch
Sitting in the living room amongst the gorgeous furniture and spacious rooms, Louisa felt this house was too good to be true. Why would a house like this be given away for free? It sounded absurd - there had to be some catch.
And Louisa was right. There was a catch, and when she found out what it was, she was left feeling sick to her stomach.
How Did You Hear About The House?
As Louisa and Mikey sipped on their coffees, Mikey said, “Oh, I forgot to ask, how did you find out about this house?” As Louisa placed her coffee on the crystal table in front of her, she replied, “an old woman showed it to me in town.”
As soon as Louisa said that, she saw Mikey’s face go as white as a ghost. As if he had just heard something truly terrifying.
The Same Old Woman
Confused, Louisa asked what was wrong. But then suddenly, she saw something in the corner of the room. It was a picture hung up on the wall, a portrait of an old woman.
It was Mikey’s grandmother. Mikey’s dead grandmother. It was the same old woman who had shown Louisa this house a few hours ago. Louisa sat frozen in her tracks, and a terrible feeling hit the pit of her stomach.
Lost For Words
“Your grandmother,” Louisa said, her voice trembling, “she’s the old woman who showed me the house this morning.” Mikey’s mouth dropped open, and he put his hands over his face.
Louisa didn’t know what to do; she wanted to run out of this house and get as far away as possible. But she also wanted answers. “Mikey, what’s going on?” She asked. Mikey looked at her and started to reveal the truth.
Was It Haunted?
You see, this house was free because many people have claimed it’s haunted. Many people have said the ghost of Mikey’s grandmother, Adele, haunts the halls.
Mikey had never seen anything out of the ordinary, but he also made sure to stay far away from this house as he could. What about Louisa? Knowing all of this, was this house still the house of her dreams?
When Louisa heard the truth, she decided not to go ahead with moving in. She usually didn’t believe in the paranormal, but after the encounter with the old woman, aka Adele, she felt different.
Instead, she managed to find a smaller two-bedroom house. But Louisa didn’t mind. After all, wouldn’t you rather have one less bedroom than a ghost visitor?
A few days later, Louisa was checking out all the paperwork for her new home at the real estate agency. Another old lady was working as the receptionist. She looked over 80 years of age, and she wanted to ask her something.
Although it had been a few days since her visit to the haunted house, she still wondered if it really was a true story. Perhaps this old lady knew something. It wouldn’t hurt to ask.
An Unwelcome Question
Louisa approached the receptionist. “Madam, I was wondering if you could help me with something?” she sweetly asked. “Hi, deary, sure, are you having problems with your forms?” she said with a tired smile. “No, actually, it’s an off-topic question about the old haunted house.” The old lady looked directly at her with stone-cold eyes.
The old receptionist looked as though she was about to tell Louisa to go away. Louisa watched her take a deep breath as if she was about to reply, but she just exhaled and continued staring at Louisa. Louisa realized she had hit a nerve and said, “I’m sorry I asked. It’s not my business anyway.”
Some Interesting Information
Louisa turned to walk away when the senior lady cleared her throat. She stopped and looked back at her. The receptionist was teary-eyed and said, “It’s alright. I’ll tell you.”
Louisa was shocked. So there was more. She knew there must be a genuine reason for the house's dilapidation. It can't be haunted, she thought.
There Is More
“It all happened a few years ago,” the old receptionist started. “The family that was living in the house was normal. They were a friendly bunch, always playing games in the park, always outside. But one day, something happened to the owners,” Louisa listened intently.
“What happened?”’ Louisa asked. “They disappeared, dear,” she said, her eyes staring into the distance. “Gone. Poof,” the old lady wiggled her bony finger in the air. Louisa didn’t understand, but she didn’t want to seem rude by asking more questions.
There was a moment of silence. Louisa wondered whether the old lady had forgotten she was standing there. She seemed to be in a world of her own. Perhaps Louisa had taken her back in the past, and she was reminiscing about the good old days.
Louisa turned to sit back down, but then the old lady screamed, “Gone!” Louisa turned back, startled. As she stared at the old lady, waiting to see what she did next, she thought, “What was wrong with the people in this town?” The old lady continued to speak.
A Small-Town Mystery
“Some people thought that they just locked themselves in the house,” she said, pointing toward the direction of the house. “But I knew, I knew, she told me,'' the old lady muttered as she walked outside. Louisa started to think that it wasn’t such a good idea to have started a conversation with this old lady.
“Then some people claimed that they saw them in the house at night,” she continued with her eyes wide like an owl. “Some people said they saw shadows dancing at night,” Louis looked confused. “She loved to dance all night, ” she finished in a weary tone, her eyes drifting off again.
Louisa wondered whether the old lady knew what she was talking about. “It's just a scary story. Do you have a bathroom around here” she said, trying to change the subject. The old receptionist just smiled and said, “You think I'm talking hogwash, dear?”
Louisa was a bit embarrassed, “No, it's just that I was-”. She cut her off “Going to buy that house, right? Or take it rather? Yeah, there is a reason why nobody wants to live in it, dear. I saw it with my own two eyes.”
The Real Story
“What?” Louisa shouted in a shocked tone, “You believe in ghosts, madam? You really think that place was haunted?” The old lady answered, “Dear, I’m old, but I am not dead. My eyes have seen more than they would have wished to, but I can't deny it.”
“Well, I don’t believe in ghosts, madam,” she said with distinction. “That’s fair enough, but you still went to view the property because you thought it was free. It's funny what people choose to believe if it fits in their budget,” she said with a smirk. Loisa did not know what to say.
She couldn’t believe that the old lady had said that. “Sometimes, when we really need help, the universe sends messages to remind us that we are not alone. Like the lady that came to tell you about the house, right?” the old lady chattered on. Louisa was confused because nobody was around that day. How did this old receptionist know?
“That's odd, I didn't mention speaking to anyone. How did you know about her? Did you see her?” Louisa asked curiously. ”Well, yes and no. You see, dear…how can I explain? She is my sister, and that is her house,” said the old woman with a pleasant look. Louisa was frozen with fear.
Disclaimer: To protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author's imagination. Any resemblances to actual events, places, or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.