The House, Part 16/x.

What else was I doing, while all of this was going on?  Going through the house itself, looking for clues. I had checked the attic first, but had not found the de rigeur battered old sea-chest filled with a cryptic set of journals that would reveal the Horrible Truth about the house, just slightly too late.  I was grateful for this, as it would have been humiliating to find out that I was embedded in any sort of cliche, let alone a terminal one.

But there was one thing that I did finally notice about the decor: there was a remarkable amount of bird-themed art and decoration scattered about the house.  At first I assumed that it was simply the eccentric whim of whoever it was that decorated the house, but when I mentioned it to my newly dear old friend Wayne at our now-weekly lunches he laughed and shook his head.  “I’ve never received any instructions about the decorations there at all,” Wayne said. “I truly don’t think that the owner cares, either. Any art you’ll see there was left behind by a former tenant.”

“Really?” I said. “They could not take it with them?”

“Would not,” said Wayne. “You must understand: I usually find out that the house will be available for rent when I get a hysterical call in the middle of the night informing me that the former tenant is now at a hotel in the next town, that he will not be coming back, and that the security deposit can go to the Devil.” He shrugged. “And they mean it, too.  When I sent back deposits anyway, I’d invariably get them Returned to Sender. One person actually burned the check, and mailed me the ashes.” He shrugged. “Well, I assume that’s what the ashes were.”

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