A collective of curious tales from places I once called "home..."
Laurel Canyon: When I was about eleven I lived there, with my mother. She had purchased this house whose back fence was shared with that of Errol Flynn's old place. I never cared for the house. It had one of those odd living rooms no one is meant to enter unless there is some sort of "company." Everything was a glaring white, or glass to reflect the barren, sterile room. It was a large house with many bedrooms and a pool that flooded the house when it rained. It probably cost an absurd amount of money. We didn't live there long, maybe six months, maybe more, (a child's memory is not equipped to mark the passage of time as we "adults" do). This is because the owners came back. Apparently, some crafty gentlemen had made a business out of learning which large and expensive homes were a second or third house for someone who rarely used it. They would brake into the homes, remove the contents and sell it. Then they would sell the house. An interesting occupation, no doubt.
Echo Park: My father lived in an apartment here for awhile. I remember my father's girlfriend lighting the gas oven in this little apartment. I remember the oven exploding. In her face. There is something else that happened. Something I am on the fence about telling. I'll remain on the silent side, for now. There was a large hill at the end of the street and at the foot of the hill a stairway. The hill was barren and open and you could see the top of it from a living room window of the little apartment. Some nights, if you looked out the window, in the darkness of the hill you could see a large bonfire and people cavorting around it, many of them without clothing. I longed to climb the stairs of the hill on those nights for the witches would welcome me, I knew. I might even get invited to the faerie realm if I behaved well enough. My father agreed but did not permit me to find out. *sigh* Anyone up for a drive to Echo Park?
Atwater Village/Los Feliz: There is no one home to play with today and I do not care to play indoors so I strap on my skates and traverse back and forth along the horse shoe of the cul de sac my house is in, over and over again. The houses on this side of the horse shoe overlook the LA River. Some sound and a vibration catch my attention. I lift my face skyward to see a small airplane plummeting, rapidly, it’s nose faces down and it is spiraling., a tail of smoke following behind., all of it so close, not only am I filled with fear but I wonder if I can touch it. When it hits the earth the ground moved, hard, under the wheels of my skates and I fall to the sidewalk. It lands about 150 feet from where I have fallen. The only casualty is the plane itself.
Green Valley (a suburb of Las Vegas) : It’s Vegas. Of course, I have many stories. This one vies for the creepiest. I live in an apartment complex on the second floor. Vegas is a transient town. A new phone book is issued every three months to keep up with the influx of new residents. My apartment building is no different. Two girls have moved into the apartment that is on the other side of my bedroom walls. They have been there for a few months now and are quiet. Of everyone I talk to, no one has seen them more than once, if at all. Their downstairs neighbor, announces one day that the girls came down to see her. They will be leaving for the long weekend, could the neighbors keep an eye out as there have been plenty of attempted break ins. I don’t know what time it is but it’s night. Bedtime. After having been asleep for perhaps, three hours I awake to sounds of animals. Chickens, maybe dogs or cats too…something that growls, that is for sure and there are more than one of them. They are also angry…really angry. The noises emanate from just behind my bedroom wall and I know what’s on the other side…the girl’s apartment. This can’t possibly be what I am hearing. I don’t strain to listen but I do strain to comprehend. I can hear occasional thuds against the wall, followed by howls or odd guttural noises.. The action, the sounds, they grow and intensify until…I know it’s insane but it sounds like they are literally tearing one another to pieces in there. I open my window and look to my immediate left where I can get a limited view of their windows. There are no lights on. The sounds stop. They don’t die out, they just end. I go back to bed wondering what the heck happened and am soon asleep again. By the end of the week the girls have moved out. The apartments have a small crew of three guys who handle maintenance. One of them is Alan, an older man probably in his late fifties. I visit him sometimes in the maintenance office. He’s funny and tells good stories. He teaches me how to make locks and sneaks cookie dough out of the freezer for me on summer days. I do not think he can read. I miss him. Alan informs me that the girls left, giving no notice or word. He opened the apartment earlier today. The walls in the room that share a wall with my bedroom wall has odd things painted on it, in black. Shapes and symbols he says. There is red stuff on the walls and the carpet. “Looks like blood,” he laughs. There were feathers around too.
Once the place is fixed up new people move in. They have lived there for a few months by now. I am sitting across the way, on the lawn in front of my friend Jan’s apartment with some other friends. Me being, well, me , I see one of the guys coming down the stairs of the apartment and call out to him , “Hey! Does anything weird ever happen in your apartment?!!” He is surprised at the odd lawn girl, yelling at him with familiarity and no doubt finds the question especially interesting. He approaches me/us and asks…”Why?” I reply by asking him again, “Does anything weird ever happen in your apartment?” He tells me yes. Things disappear only to reappear in places they are not meant to be. He sometimes comes home to find things broken or cracked when it is seemingly impossible. He has wondered if the apartment is haunted. I tell him a story.
I bet everyone has at least one story. Tag, you're it.