“It feels good to finally have the closing and get started on the remodeling,” she spoke.
“Remodeling a house built in the early 1800s with the original kitchen with a hearth in the basement is going to take a lot of effort and many months. A lot of money too, now that I think of it,” he replied.
“It will all be worth it in the end,” she said dreaming of the final product.
“We shall see.”
“Mrs. Connor, from next door, told me that her mother told her that a Mrs. Fogel, who lived here in the 1930’s, disappeared and was never found. It was around the time the upstairs kitchen was built. She also told me that the kitchen addition has no basement. It was put on a concrete slab.”
“Mrs. Connor seems to know an awful lot about something that happened ninety years ago and before she was born.”
“Mrs. Connor told me she has always lived in the house next door. Even after she got married, she stayed in the house with her new husband to care for her mother. Her maiden name was Harris.”
“What else did she tell you?” he asked.
“That there was an outhouse in the back yard until the 1950s. When the family stopped using it as a privy, they stored garden tools inside. And there once was a coal furnace in the house. One of the children was playing in the basement when the coal man came and put a chute through the basement window and sent the coal down it. The kid was almost buried alive under all the coal.”
“How tragic that would have been. Did she tell you about any secret passages or rumors of treasure in the walls?”
“No, but I will ask her about those things,” she laughed.
He laughs. “You’re kidding. I was joking. You aren’t really going to ask her, are you?”
“Sure, I want to know everything I can about our new house.”
“You mean our new old house. Where do you want to start?” he asks.
“How about on the upstairs kitchen? The kitchen is the most important room in the house.”
“I think the bedroom is the most important room in the house.”
“You are such a romantic!”
“No, I like to sleep,” he tells her.
She gently slaps him on his right shoulder.
“Like they say, the kitchen is ‘the heart of the home’. And if you want to eat, you better get me some modern appliances especially a microwave and a dishwasher.”
“Okay, since you put it that way,” he grumbles.
He gets his tools and starts ripping up the linoleum. He soon finds that there are three layers of the stuff. “I think this red linoleum is ugly.”
“Yeah, me too,” she replies.
“You rip now and I will carry all the old stuff out to the dumpster.”
“You are such a gentleman,” she gives him a dirty look.
Three hours later, they get down to the original wood flooring. “We did it!” she exclaims and slaps her hands together. “Hey, look at that square in the middle of the floor. Looks like a trap door, but there is no handle and why have a trap door if there is only a concrete slab underneath?”
“I have no idea. Maybe there is a crawl space under this section of the house. Let’s see if we can pry it open. Hand me that crow bar.”
She does just that and after a while, he pries up one side of the slab of wood and looks in.
“Mrs. Connors was wrong. There is a small cubby hole down there. Maybe they used it as a root cellar.”
“That’s interesting. I can’t wait to tell her,” she squeals.
“Give me a flashlight and we can look and see what’s down there.”
“What do you see?” She anxiously awaits his reply after handing him the flashlight.
“Lots of cobwebs and two skeletons.”
“Two skeletons! What are you talking about?”
“What looks like a skeleton of a mouse and what looks like the skeleton of Mrs. Fogel,” he tells her nonchalantly.
“What?” she asks incredulously. “Are you sure?”
“Well, it is definitely a skeleton of a human being. Not sure about the mouse though.”
“Oh, my God. I have to call Mrs. Connor and tell her.”
He responds, “I think we should call the police first and then our real estate agent. We are moving!”

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