House Of My Dreams
© Copyright 2019 by Valerie
It was a joyous day when I took possession
of my new
home by the beach. After living in an apartment for so many years,
being able to buy a large, beautiful house was a dream come true for
me. I had come into an inheritance from my mother, who had recently
died, and the money was more than enough to enable me to buy the
property and fix it up.
inside my lovely living room, surveying its beauty, I felt thrilled
that I finally had a place of my own. I could see in my mind’s
eye what it would look like when the decorating had been completed.
Doubly exciting was the fact that I had been able to purchase two
houses on one lot, thereby generating income from the small rental
property in the front.
After a few months of planning, it was time
on renovations, and arrangements were made for all the necessary work
to be done. I spent hours on the telephone with various contractors,
painters and other businesses, intent on turning my little nest into
a showplace. The only drawback to all this work was the fact that I
would have to move out for a few days. This posed a real problem
since I had three cats and a dog, not to mention four small parrots.
While contemplating how to make these
brilliant thought occurred to me. Why not move into the empty rental
house in front for a few days? The new tenants were not scheduled to
move in for several weeks, so the house would be completely empty. I
figured I could handle a few days without gas or electricity, so long
as there was running water. I would only need to sleep in the house
at night, and would eat all my meals at restaurants. I would be at my
office during the day which would take care of the remaining hours.
It seemed as if my problem was solved without the expense of boarding
Looking around at my cats, the realization
came to me
that it was going to take some sneakiness on my part to get them into
their carriers. Bella, Sailor and Maya seemed to have a sixth sense
when it came to change. They could tell by looking at me that I had
some nefarious scheme in mind, and were on high alert when I dragged
their carriers out of the garage. All three raced up the stairs to
hide under my bed until the threat had passed.
Leaving the cat carriers out in the
kitchen, I turned my
attention to the parrots. The bird room was attached to the front
house, so they would be no problem. They could stay where they were,
out of the way of workmen, safe and sound. The dog was also easy to
handle and would do as she was told, happy to be by my side, no
matter where I was.
I walked over to the front house to check
out the lay of
the land. The hard wood floors shone in the early morning sun, and
the gleaming kitchen awaited the new tenants. The interior had been
painted and cleaned from top to bottom, and it looked beautiful.
Unlike my two-story Mediterranean house, this was a Spanish bungalow,
built in the early 1920’s. It had two bedrooms, one small
bathroom, a large sunny living room with an adjoining dining room.
There was a view of the street from out of the huge picture windows
in both the living and dining rooms. It would be an ideal campsite
for two nights.
“This should be easy,” I thought with
pleasure. I’ll bring over fruit and water in case I get the
munchies during the night, as well as all the supplies necessary for
I went back to my house and struggled with
the cat tree,
dragging it down the stairs, out the front door, across the patio and
into the rental. I placed it in front of the picture window, so the
cats could sit and observe the passing scenery, then returned to my
house and collected a small mattress, blankets, pillows and a
flashlight for myself, as well as candles, animal supplies and a
book. I placed everything in the living room, thinking it would be
better for me to be in one room with the animals, safe and sound.
I looked around, wondering if I had
but all seemed adequate for two nights.
“Hey,” I reassured myself, “If I need
anything, I can always go back to my house and get it before the
workmen show up.”
Feeling satisfied that all was prepared for
adventure, I spent the rest of the day putting away valuables in my
house and tidying up. By 9:00 pm I was exhausted, and figured it was
time to lure the cats into their carriers and take them next door to
the rental. I grabbed Maya and shoved her into the carrier, listening
to her shrieks of protest with mild amusement. The other two were not
so easy to finesse, as they struggled and clawed at me in protest.
After a great deal of huffing and puffing, I managed to finagle them
into their temporary prison, and locked it firmly. Picking up both
carriers, the three of us made our way out of the house.
It was only a few steps to the house next
door, and I
immediately released the cats. They cautiously exited and then raced
around the room, trying to find a place to hide. Fortunately, the
house was totally empty, so there was no place for them to disappear.
I laid blankets and comforters on the floor next to my mattress, but
they immediately jumped onto the kitty condo and hid within its
confines. All that could be seen were their gleaming green eyes, and
I smiled, happy they were secure.
I placed their kitty litter box, food and
water on the
floor next to the condo, and prepared my simple bed for sleep. Dolly,
my dog, snuggled up next to me and it wasn’t long before we
were all fast asleep, snug and warm in our safe little house.
As I slept, I thought I dreamed. There were
just noises. Knocking and crashing sounds punctuated my sleep and
once I woke, my heart pounding as if it was going to jump out of my
chest. I looked around, but the room was in darkness. The cats were
quiet, and only Dolly was awake, her ears pricked up. I listened for
a while, but heard nothing further. I had no idea what the time
was, as I had forgotten my watch. It was so dark, and I wondered if
there had been an eclipse of the moon. Since there were no street
lights visible from the windows, I figured it was still the middle of
the night. I couldn’t see where I had placed my flashlight, so
decided to go back to sleep.
I turned over, and pulled up the blanket,
trying to get
comfortable. Drifting back into sleep I could hear the faint knocking
sound again, in the back of my consciousness, but decided it was
nothing important and allowed the arms of Morpheus to swallow me up.
awoke a few hours later, wondering why it was still dark. The fact
that no sunlight was filling the room was curious, and I crouched on
my bed, shaking the cobwebs from my mind, trying to adjust to the
cats climbed down from their condo and mewled at me, wanting their
breakfast. Ignoring them, I walked to the window and stared in
disbelief. Everything outside was blue. What could it mean? I ran to
the other windows – blue!
into the back bedroom, I peered out of the window – still blue.
What could it mean? I shook my head, trying to figure it out. And
then it struck me! I almost fainted in disbelief and horror. The
workmen had "tarped" the wrong house. They were supposed to
fumigate my house- the rear house – this morning, but they had
made a mistake. I was trapped inside with the dog, three cats - - and
even the birds.
that the workmen had not come inside to check the place out first, I
was determined to complain. Complain? How could I complain? I was
trapped inside and no-one could hear me. I felt my way back into the
kitchen, and banged on the door, screaming at the top of my lungs for
someone to let me out. I felt for the kitchen knob and turned it. To
my relief it opened, but the blue tarp was tight against the door,
and it was impossible for me to escape.
until I was hoarse I waited for someone to hear me – to answer
- to no avail. I could hear music blasting from a radio outside,
which drowned out my cries for help. I pummeled my fists against the
tarp, hoping to dislodge it somehow, but it was fastened taut.
despair, my heart pounding, I returned to the living room and sank
down on the mattress, looking desperately around for a knife –
anything I could use to cut through the tarp. But the house was empty
– there were no sharp objects to be found.
I gazed around the room with a sinking heart, I saw the room filling
up with black smoke. I grabbed a blanket and stuffed it over my
face, trying not to breathe too deeply. And then I heard the hiss of
the gas coming through the ceiling vents to kill the termites.
cats were meowing and Dolly was shaking uncontrollably. My eyes
filled with tears at the thought of my beloved animals dying this
way. Clutching them to my chest, I threw a blanket over us, praying
that the end would be fast.
room was becoming cloudy, and I could barely see as the room fogged
up with blackness. I was afraid to scream – fearful that
opening my mouth would finish me off faster.
Dolly,” I whispered, clutching the dog close to me as she
whimpered. “It’s OK.”
lay back on the mattress, feeling the thickness of the noxious gas
spreading throughout the room and permeating my lungs. It was then
that I knew with certainty that it was over. We were all going to die
of suffocation, trapped in this gas chamber of horrors. I could feel
the black sticky fumes entering my lungs and I prepared to die,
hoping it would be over soon.
As I drifted into unconsciousness, tears
seeping down my
cheeks, I heard a faint banging, which became louder and louder. And
then a man’s voice, calling. “Hey, Ms. Byron, are you
there?” “We need to start today. Can you open the door?”
I struggled to open my eyes. They felt
shut. Blearily, I opened them, staring at the ceiling of my bedroom.
I saw the lightness of day, and felt the sun shining on me. I was in
my own bed, with two of the cats sitting close by my head, and the
dog snoozing at my side. I staggered out of my bed with a feeling of
thankfulness, and threw on my robe. Running downstairs I opened the
front door to see workmen standing there, one holding a clipboard. I
peered at his name tag. “Bill - Andy’s Termites.”
“Did you forget, Ms. Byron?” We have to
fumigate today. You need to leave right away.” With tears of
joy I threw my arms around the startled workman and cried “Thank
you, thank you!” He looked at me in surprise, shrugged, and
then made his way into the house.
of the message
won't know where to send it.)
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