Shortly after a difficult divorce that zeroed my excellent credit rating, plus continued child support issues, my family’s 2700 sq. ft. home went into foreclosure. Even my working three jobs w hile trying to sell the house was not enough to save it, and because of my damaged credit, my children and I were left with nowhere else to go other than temporary housing.
I decided to move out of the state of Florida to be near my mother in North Carolina. I found a seventeen-year-old, much-deteriorated singlewide trailer that I was able to purchase with my tax refund money plus savings for a grand total of $5,000. Much relieved, I moved into it with my two children: Brittany, age 7, and Austin, age 1. Over a period of five and a half years, I renovated the once old trailer into nearly new condition. I also rebuilt my credit and was once again able to qualify for a mortgage loan. I looked forward to living in a house with a yard.
I was ready to move and began looking at homes for my family. I contacted a realtor who advised me to also contact my bank for a pre-approved loan. This information would be helpful with my search as it would give us a price range of houses to start looking into. I was so proud to have a pre-approved status once again. The loan amount that I had been approved for, on my single parent income, made it a challenge to find a decent house. It took me almost a year and a half of searching to finally find what I thought was going to be the perfect home for my family and me.
After five and a half years of dealing with the issues of being a single mom and raising young children in a trailer park, it was time to move. I was tired of the regular window peepers, neighbors’ questionable activities, a snake-filled creek near my bedroom wall and, worst of all, the helpless feeling of using a 911 system that put you on hold to transfer your call and then showed up thirty to forty-five minutes later.
Needless to say, I was thrilled when I got a call from my real estate agent telling me about a house that had just been listed that day. It was in East Flat Rock, North Carolina, about twenty-five minutes away from my current dwelling.
“This house is almost too good to be true and it is in your price range,” she said to me. Then she gave me a few details about the house…
Lock & Lights
After receiving the keys to my new house, I returned to my old trailer and picked up my children. We gathered ingredients for a taco dinner, along with supplies for cooking and serving. This would be our first supper in our new house. We loaded up the car as full as we could get it with boxes to be moved. Each child brought along one of their most prized possessions to place in their new bedrooms. Brittany brought her TV and PlayStation. Austin brought his baseball bat and glove. Despite Brittany’s earlier apprehension, everyone seemed to be excited.
The kids were anxious to arrive in East Flat Rock and kept asking me again, “Mommy, how much longer until we get there?”
Finally, we arrived and pulled into the driveway of our new home. Brittany and Austin jumped out of the car. They each grabbed the items that they had brought along and raced up to the front doors. I got the keys out of my purse. I attempted to put one of the keys into the deadbolt lock and then the other. Neither of them would go into the lock…
Chilling Gusts and Eerie Noises
After recuperating from my weekend graveyard shift and dropping my kids off at school, I returned to the house. I planned to start painting the ceilings. I had my car loaded with ceiling paint and supplies. The East Flat Rock house had been built in the middle 1970s, and the ceilings looked like they had not been painted since the original owners resided in it. They were yellowed. I wanted to put a coat of white paint on each to refresh them. I figured that it would be best to paint all of the ceilings before any wooden flooring was installed.
I arrived at the house and entered the front door with a can of paint in each hand. I carried them up the stairs to the upper main level and set the cans down at the very top of the stairs when, all of a sudden, I heard this loud, rhythmic snoring coming from the level below.
I immediately thought that someone was inside the house…
The Sleepless Family Sleepover
I drove to the trailer and gathered supplies for our big family night sleepover. I got clothes for the kids to wear for school the next day and food to prepare for dinner, as well as some popcorn for a movie snack, cereal for breakfast, and bed pillows. For Sally I got leashes, dog food and her water bowl.
Our dog, Sally, was also going along for the sleepover. This would be her first sleepover and visit to the East Flat Rock house. I loaded everything into the car with Sally in addition to a few more packed boxes of toys. I left early and put gasoline into my car, and then continued on to pick up my kids from school. Sally was so excited to get to go along for the ride in the car.
After picking everybody up, my kids talked about their day at school and their plans for an evening movie. While driving on the Interstate south, I was glad to see that the rain had stopped. My children would be able to play outside. I warned Austin and Brittany about the neighborhood dog. I told them about what had happened to me the day before.