Pastor Bailey found himself standing in a large living room. A staircase rose not far away disappearing somewhere above them. “Hope upstairs was not on the tour,” he silently prayed.
The minister started to look around, his eyes adjusting to the room lit only with some sunshine managing to come through dusty curtains. It was apparent that the old house was now being used mainly for storage.
Guessing his thoughts, Eula said, “Mick and I have stored things over here for years. We are packrats. The whole family uses it. All those items in the corner belong to Brother,” she pointed across the room. “We all have some things here. Some items go all the way back to when the house was first built.”
She looked up at some water stains on the ceiling, noting, “I’m not sure how much longer we’ll be able to use it even for storage. Seems we have a few new leaks after every storm.” The minister noticed some damp places on the floor. There were also signs that some real packrats and other varmints had taken up residence there. Clearly no one had been living here for a long time or could for that matter. Suddenly there was a creak above them which sounded a lot like a footstep to the minister. Eula ignored it. No one alive living here anyway, he thought. He considered whispering another prayer for a short tour but had the thought that God was enjoying this. He could almost hear the conversation between God and the angels: “Yeah, let’s have some fun with old Pastor Bailey today. He’s got it way too easy anyway. Only works on Sunday, you know? Let’s bring a little excitement into his life.”
Shaking such thoughts from his mind, he asked, “How old is this house?” Eula was still looking around and didn’t answer at first. “Well,” she said in a moment, “my grandfather built it and my father did some adding on over the years, especially as the family grew. I think it must be close to a hundred and twenty-five years old, give or take a few. My grandfather ran the only saw mill in this area for a long time. Daddy helped him and eventually took over running it. Every piece of lumber you see here they cut and put into place. Their fingerprints, their sweat and even blood are on this wood.” She reached out to touch the wooden railing of the staircase.
The minister didn’t care much about remarks concerning bloody wood. He was already a bit shaky. Was that an echo of laughter he heard from heaven? “Go ahead and laugh,” he mumbled. “So glad to be able to entertain you.”
Eula looked at him and said, “Did you say something?” “Uh, no. Just a little dusty in here…trying to…uh…clear my throat…”
He decided to change the topic and started taking a closer look around the large room. The floor planks were, he was certain, made of heart pine and at least 10 inches or maybe even a foot wide. You just didn’t see wood like that anymore. If the rest of the house was made of such materials, then this old house was in better shape than he thought. Again, he heard another noise somewhere above them, and tried to ignore it. After all, old houses make a lot of weird noises, at least he hoped.
While he had been examining the floor boards, Eula had disappeared through a doorway into another room. Finding himself alone, he quickly followed her. Noticing the expression on her face, he knew this room held some special significance for her. He wanted to ask her about it but decided she would share if she wished. Besides, she might start talking about blood and wood again or something worse. He kind-of got the thought that maybe she, God and the angels were enjoying this a bit too much, and that she was even in on it.