They say the house is haunted: They being the old-timers who remember when money meant precious metals and few had any. Some say it was a boarding house, others a bordello. Over stained dominoes and dog-eared cards they argue; each retelling set in marble effigies to a dark past none of them knew firsthand.
All that the tales could agree upon, is it involved a woman. Tall and voluptuous: No, petite and gamin, fair as the west wind; hardly, she was dusky as twilight in late summer. Short hair the color of ripe wheat whispering at sunset; it was walnut ink black and glossy as satin in a coffin.
No portrait existed of this mysterious femme fatale, unless, one was brave enough to spend the night inside the domicile, where, the old men insisted, her apparition lingered in search of new victims. It took buying several rounds though, to pries the ‘real’ tale from their lips. It seems the woman was overly fond of whips.
After a few more libations, the raunchy euphemisms curled like cigarillo smoke, forming lewd patterns on the dingy ceiling tiles. The apathetic fan blades spread the rumors: She was a vampire, a succubus, a man-stealing whore, but strangely enough, never a shrewd businesswoman, giving the punters what they wanted.
Whether or not any of the stories were true, the house on the corner of Main St and Eternity Avenue, was finally bought, renovated and turned into a suite of attorneys offices. Although, for all the lust of billable hours, it didn’t take very long for the house to be vacant early in the evenings. It seemed at least one myth was true.
Every midnight, when the ornate grandfather clock in the lobby ponderously tolled the hour, a loud crack echoed twelve times in synchronization. In the infinite gaps between the dueling sounds, faint background noises could be imagined more than heard. Ragtime piano chords, clicking glasses, loud guffaws and conversation.
Fainter still, was steady slapping, painful cries and ecstatic moans. When the time fell silent once more, the house seemed to exhale, and the walls shimmered as if from gossamer threads spun on a loom of tears and passion. The last noise one would hear, was a soft feminine chuckle as the hairs on the neck were seductively brushed by the past.