On the weekend I went with some friends up to a very cool very abandoned house… when I got back I got to scribbling. And this is what came of it.
It was white once, but that was a long time ago. There are leaves everywhere. Not just on the path and in the back yard, but in the hallways and staircases too. One whole side is surrounded by a massive balcony, which looks like it’s missing some flappers and cocktails.
It’s not locked. We walk around the back and go straight in, like coming home to this dilapidated old mansion.
Tara thinks it was once a part of Kew Cottages. We all picture disabled kids being tied up and pushed down stairs.
We crunch around on the lino for a while, drifting in and out of rooms. Chandeliers have been stolen and cords hang empty from the ceiling. There are NO SMOKING signs on every bedroom door.
The place is huge. At least 12 bedrooms, two big kitchens, three bathrooms. Hidden walk-in bits – cellars, pantries, something that looks like a jail cell.
“Where they were put when they were naughty,” says Tara. Words that could be a joke, but she’s absolutely serious.
There’s a little door at the end of a living room down stairs, which leads to a cold cement landing. More stairs, into a pointless cold room with a bizarre crevice hidden behind another wall.
The downstairs kitchen reminds me of the way RSLs were before they were replaced by the bright shiny things that flash and swallow pensions, telling us about the brave men who fought hard to give us this life.
In this old demented castle there’s little type-written placards stuck around the place.
“ROOM 12- 3 BEDS”
They must have dormed people in these bedrooms.
There’s something written in an Asian script above a heap of switches, which Ollie flicks a bunch of. They do nothing, of course – electricity left this house years ago.
We wander around downstairs, a weird sort of basement with too many rooms and hidden things nd not many windows.
“Maybe it was a student share house.”
“Wonder what the rent on a place like this would be?”
“That room wasn’t that colour last time I was here. It’s been painted. Maybe someone’s doing it up.”
“But its unlocked”
Something hits the floor upstairs. We all stop talking. I’ve heard that kind of noise few times as we’ve been walking around, but I put it down to wind. I was avoiding creeping myself out.
Tara looks at me, wide-eyed and excited, like she wants some hellish crazy thing to happen and scare the shit out of us all.
We had passed a cop car when we were walking down here.
“That’s always comforting when you’re going to break into a house,” Danny had said.
Maybe it’s the cops, one of the neighbours made a call.
Maybe it’s a squatter.
Ollie creeps up the stairs super-slow, making it lookke a farce, but nobody says a word.
“We should probably go soon,” I mumble, and everyone falls over their agreement as we slide out th nearest door and find an open gate.
When we’re safely back on the road we explode into adrenaline-fuelled rants of how cool and creepy that all was. We feel manly and brave.
That night I dream about it though, about a mean Neanderthal-looking man dragging himself around that dirty art-deco villa with its missing chandeliers a awkward rooms.
When we get home I look the place up. It was an aged-care facility, assisted housing. This makes the place both more and less scary.
Part of me wants to go back there, to chill out in its ancient emptiness. But the rest of me thinks of that Neanderthal dude that my mind invented and I’m just too scared.