Uninvited House Guest

Uninvited House Guest

The wind howled through the house taking full advantage of all the unfinished home repairs. The curtains rustled in response and sent the two cats skittering for a less drafty spot to lounge. Nathan ignored the wind and the cats. He only needed the house for a few hours, and he was impervious to the cold.

Nathan had chosen this place a week before. He’d roamed the town unnoticed, exploring the sleepy community for a suitable spot and getting a read on its residents. Every town was different – he’d said that forever though usually to himself. He had almost given up and moved on when he spotted this place. The house had clearly been loved once. Someone chose it once, and someone else before them had built it. His best choices were always the houses that had only had a couple of owners, ideally in the same family, and this house fit the bill.

He’d done his research. He’d visited the library to confirm his assessment, asking the wisened librarian questions she wouldn’t remember answering. He’d had several meals at what passed for the fancy restaurant in town, tipping just enough to be forgotten and enough to inspire casual conversation with the waitstaff. He’d pulled up a barstool at all three local watering holes, ordering the drinks expected of him and blending into the regular churn of customers. He’d been seen at services at both the church and the synagogue, holding doors for the old ladies and tipping his hat to young men. He’d made a few stops at the local shops, pet the dogs that past, and lingered at crosswalks to chat with the crossing guards. He’d been seen by just about everyone in town and would be recognized just enough to escape notice and recollection. He was ready.

The inside of the house was just as he’d anticipated. It had all the marks of an inherited space with a blend of old and new. The quest to honor the benefactor while making changes to the house to make it a home were quaint and predictable, as always. The efforts these people – all of them – went through to give their home their “essense” never ceased to entertain him.

He chose to wait in the front room until after dark. He didn’t bother turning on lights – he didn’t need them to see and didn’t want to draw attention. He didn’t move with the actions of eating or drinking – he gained sustinance elsewhere. All the furniture and knick knacks and general accumulations in the house were there to be noted and ignored. Nothing would matter until he had company.

From where he sat the main road into town was visible and the hum of the cars crept in through the same gaps the wind used. He knew the car he was waiting for would come after most of the traffic had past and the residents of the town were all home and accounted for. The routine of it all made Nathan smile. Sometimes it seemed like this all was too easy.

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