Every town has one. The abandoned mansion the town has taken over for back taxes.
For the price of one single dollar they sold it back to him. The old house and grounds had seen better days. The lawn hadn't been mowed in a couple of years. Grass was waist high, and weeds were as abundant as grass. The house itself was a shadow of its former self. The roof had long since began to leak. Shingles were either missing or loose on most of the roof. In many places one could see the original roof boards under what's left of the old shingles.
The clapboards were worn down to bare wood in most places though the house traces of white paint were left only in places where weather couldn't get to . Most of the windows were either broken, or gone completely. The front porch was missing large sections of rail, and had many places where the floor was falling into the crawlspace under it. The ravages of time and teenagers had taken it toll on the porch and first floor.
It was home, or at least it used to be. The origins of the old estate were the stuff of legend. His grandfather had been an original settler of the small rural Texas town. Over the years there had been many years of boom and then years of bust. Such is the natural cycle of a town. The last few decades have been extremely hard on the small town. It had once been a bustling center for the county. The local hub for the major railways were located there. Thus bringing in goods and people from all over the area. Downtown once had several large hotels, that were filled most of the time. The bars and restaurants, and general stores, all were hopping with business. The outskirts of town became a sort of a suburb.The houses ranged from simple wood cottages, and some brick, to large estates, with rolling lawns. Estates which had a staff of people employed to keep it running.
Such was his old mansion. What had once been a landmark of the area, was now a busted down old farmhouse. He knew the history. Hell, he’d lived most of it. He walked around the old house. Memories came back as he rounded the corner. The path around the house was barely visible through the weeds. He almost didn’t need the path to remind him where to go. The back of the house opened up to a grand lawn. Or at least it used to. He remembered playing in the yard as a kid. The outbuildings were falling apart as was everything else on the property.
Once upon a time grand parties were held in this yard. Deals were made here, hearts were broken and mended here. The rich and powerful from at least three local counties would meet and mingle. The swimming pool had seen more pranks and hi-jinks than a school pool could ever. The pool house was the scene of several marriage proposals. The weddings held here were grand. But that was in the past.
He slowly found his way to the old pool house. The french doors broken, pulled open and left open to the elements. Inside the pool house was a old table and chairs. The chaise lounge that had once sat on the porch in front of the pool house was now in the back corner, covered in the remains of the table cloths from the poolside tables. he lifted the old tablecloth. For a moment he was 20 again.
Back on the veranda by the pool. Debbie was young and pretty. His mind came back to the moment he asked her to marry him. She said yes. From that moment, his mind played the next few years . It came back to him. It had been over 50 years since her father disappeared. There had never been any answers as to what happened to her father. It had tore him up inside. Knowing where her father was. He could never tell anyone what had happened. The fight came back in vivid detail. How he had meet him behind the pool house right after they had been married. Her father had demanded that he have the marriage annulled. Or divorce his daughter. He had steadfastly refused. The old man had pulled a gun on him. In A desperate move he lunged him. The gun went off. It was dark that night neither could clearly see what they were doing. But the recoil of the gun going off shook him up. The next instant, He was looking down at his father-in-law.
No one had heard anything. A they were all in the house celebrating the wedding. He knew he had to do something quick. He hid the body. The old man was known to have too much to drink, and wander off and fall asleep. and wake up hours later. He had counted on this. So as quietly as he could he rejoined his new wife in the house. He made passable excuses about where he’d been. The next morning her father could not be found. The remains of the party goers spent some time looking for him. They never found him on the grounds. Police were called in. They never found him. It became a local mystery. A mystery only he knew the truth of.
Going around behind the pool house he plowed through the weeds. There buried behind what had once been the back garden, was his father-in-law.
Seeing that the land was undisturbed. and had not been touched for decades.
He slowly turned around. He made his way back to his car. Once inside his car, he cried. Turning the car around he drove back down the long driveway.
“Is he still there?”
“Yes Debbie, the old man is where we left him.”