Thursday, March 10, 2022

The Upper Floor (Part 1 of 3 parts) blog post #540

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This week let's start another three-part story that’s a little different from my usual fare. Let me know how you like it.


                               THE UPPER FLOOR 

I’d bought the Dowd House despite its reputation. The place was a pleasing two story, red brick Tudor with plenty of yard, both front and back, and I was a modern man unincumbered by belief in witches and goblins and the like. The closing took a month, after which I moved in on the first day of June. Moving is not a pleasant experience even though I had plenty of help from friends and coworkers. Jackson Marple is my name, and developing conceptual designs for an architect is my game. And no, I’m not related in any way, shape, or imagination to Agatha Christie’s intrepid sleuth.

I became interested in the Dowd House while Julie and I were still engaged and planning on a wedding somewhere down the road. Julie was gone now, the victim of a drunken driver who plowed into her and an office mate as they crossed the street on their way to lunch. That was six months ago, and I still suffered from the tragedy today. Relived it in my mind repeatedly.

Even so, the house we’d planned to buy remained foremost on my mind. Friends counseled against it, cautioning that because the purchase was something we planned together, living there might be too painful despite the fact I claimed to be an emancipated man free of shades, even one from my recent past.

Which leads me to the Dowd House reputation I mentioned. The house had been built by a man named Elmer Dowd some fifty years ago. Apparently, he was an accomplished architect because I could find no flaw in its layout or in its construction. I planned on some minor remodeling, mostly installing more outlets to support the electronics, particularly my CAD, which I used constantly to do some of my work at home, as well as some freelance jobs that occasionally came my way.

But I digress. I don’t know the entire story, but it comes down to the fact that someone was murdered in the upstairs master bedroom. Shot to death, I understood. That had been over twenty years ago. I’d been a toddler at the time and have no recollection of the events. I’d heard of the Dowd House and how it was haunted all the time I was growing up, but wasn’t motivated to learn anything about the event sparking the wild tales.  I’d been more interested in admiring the house from afar since my teens, intrigued by its distinctive brick and masonry style with its half-timbered upper floor, its curvilinear gables. Corbels carved into small gargoyles alone set the house apart from its neighbors.

And not long after Julie’s death, the house belonged to me. The June first moving day had turned into a party. Slave labor eased by free-flowing beer and snacks. Even after everything was in its place, the gang remained behind, soothing sore muscles and scraped shins with liberal doses of alcohol. I’m certain the neighbors feared that would be the norm after a young bachelor moved into the immediate vicinity, but that wasn’t the case. That moving party was a singular blip on my rather mundane daily living radar.

Don’t get me wrong. I have plenty of friends, both male and female, and I socialize… to a point. Guys advised me to glom onto a new girlfriend, while gals—at least some of them—let it be known they’d like to try out that role. But it was too soon for me. I needed healing time.

I’d set up the downstairs master bedroom as my home office, complete with desk, worktable, a small conference area, and a Murphy bed for when I worked too late and simply wanted to lay my head upon a pillow. The rest of the downstairs was dedicated to a kitchen, dining room, breakfast nook, a living room, and a couple of bathrooms. Upstairs held the large master bedroom with bath, and two smaller bedrooms across the hallway with a bath between them. More house than a bachelor needs, but someday, I’d get back into the dating groove and end up marrying some nice woman. Then we’d quickly fill up the other rooms with children. At least, that was the hazy dream floating around in the back of my head.

For a week or so, I was totally captivated by my acquisition. I was tired from the move, distracted by rearranging this or that, all while working at my regular job and handling two private tasks. I went to bed exhausted and slept the sleep of the innocent.

But the second week, things began to happen. Things my rational mind couldn’t explain.


I worked late on a private job in my office downstairs one Friday night and was late going to bed. Because of the hour, I was tempted to pull down the Murphy bed, but instead trudged upstairs and took a shower. After drying off, I plopped down on my mattress and covered up. I was nearly asleep when I suddenly jerked awake. What had happened? Something had touched my genitals.

I scrambled out of bed and flipped on the light. No bugs or scorpions on my jocks, and no spiders in the bed. Had it been my imagination? Probably, but it had seemed so real. Breathing a sigh of relief, I turned off the lamp and crawled back in bed, pausing when I heard a rustling noise in the corner. Light on again, I took a careful look around, fearful that a rat or a mouse was loose on the room and had been intent on feeding on my gonads when I woke up.

No. Nothing. Grabbing the flashlight I keep in the drawer of the bedside table, I got on all fours and carefully searched under the bed. Still nothing. Not nearly as sleepy as I had been, I settled in bed again. Sleep was slow to come because I kept waiting for something to happen, but it hadn’t by the time I finally dropped off, somewhere around three a.m., I’d guess.

Fortunately, the next day was Saturday because my tail was dragging. Funny how I could party all night and function the next day, but let something unexpected interrupt my sleep, and I was whacked.


Has Jackson Marple (no relation) bought a house infected with bedbugs… or something worse? Remember, he’s a no nonsense modern man who doesn’t believe in things that cannot be rationally explained. Wonder what next week will bring.

 Until then.

 Stay safe and stay strong.

 Now my mantra: Keep on reading and keep on writing. You have something to say… so say it!

 A link to The Cutie-Pie Murders:

 My personal links:



Twitter: @dontravis3

 See you next Thursday.



 New Posts every Thursday morning at 6:00 a.m. US Mountain time. 

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