Danielle slides the mobile into her back jeans pocket and walks from the kitchen towards the study, her safe haven from the outside world. The floors continue to creak as she walks down the hallway, and she takes note of how shabby the walls are. "He's going to take one look at this place and condemn it," pausing at the doorway of the half bath, again noting the poor condition of the entire room, "and this is going to have to be completely gutted. What was I thinking? Maybe I should tell him not to bother... it's going to be too much work for one man." Looking away and down to the next doorway... the spare bedroom turned storage... is a room full of dust and the small collection of her possessions. Not even opening the door, she continues down the hall, but briefly touches the handle. Her hand slides off the door knob and to her side.
Once inside the study, Danielle inhales deeply and holds the breath in an attempt to relax, then expels the air quickly, almost like a deflating balloon. The fire is more like embers so she places a couple logs on top, then pokes at the embers to coax the fire to return. Standing still, a blank expression upon her face, she stares into the building flame. Moments pass in this fashion before she looks to her desk and the open face book, contemplating the inevitable. She has to hire this Sam repairman, because the house requires it. Taking a seat at the desk, she looks over the page, an annul full of dates next to names, showing when immigrants first arrived in the Americas. Fifty-six pages, and still no mention of a McCulloch. It is past frustrating. This wild goose chase, more or less a hunt for people, who by the records, do not exist.
Vibration gives way to a simple tune, alerts her to an incoming call. Unknown caller, but she knows who it is. A swipe across the screen picks up the line, "Hello?" A pleasantly tenor speaks from the receiver, "Hi, this is Sam. Tom passed me your information, says you're lookin' for a handy type. You lookin' to repair that old place of yours?" What is it about the town folk, that they are so... friendly? Danielle fights past her sudden dry mouth and replies, "uhm, yes. I need to have the house repaired... or remodeled... and I'm not sure where to begin. Are you able to come out and survey the property?" "I sure can. But do you really want to remodel that farm? It's a nice bit of property from what I remember, real nice old house, and I'm sure it can't be too much needin' done." "Well, honestly, I don't know. Perhaps it's best if you come out whenever you have a day to take note of the house and then progress from there?" She feels as though she's talking in circles and is not all-together sure that she is relaying her thoughts properly. He pips up quickly, "I can do that. How's about this afternoon? Say one o'clock?" Startled, Danielle looks at the face of the old grandfather clock. It reads 12:15 pm. A stutter and a cough, she says, "uhm, okay, if you'd like... do you need directions?" He laughs heartily, "Oh no darlin', I grew up in these parts. I know exactly where you are. So I'll see you then at one." She mumbles her thanks and 'see you then' before she disconnects the call. Head spinning she stands and quickly moves from behind her desk, briskly walks towards the kitchen, closing all the doors in the hallway on her way.
Busying herself, she starts cleaning the dishes in the sink and setting them to dry. Danielle rushes out into the garden and looks at the flora growing around the fence, noting the faded shades of the petals, she scoops a handful and heads back into the house. Laying her bunch next to the sink, she rummages through the remnants of the previous residents miscellaneous items within the cupboards searching for a vase. She finds one, though dingy, rinses it out, and places the freshly gathered flowers in the water. Placing it on the center of the dining table she brushes her clothing down, trying to smooth the daily wear wrinkles out with her hands, and while looking down notices with horror the state of the socks she wears. "This will not do. I cannot entertain a guest looking like a ragamuffin!" Danielle rushes up the rickety staircase and into the master bedroom. She pulls open the top drawer of the dresser, sorting through her socks for a decent looking pair. Sitting on her bed, she jerks off the offensive socks and replaces them with a cleaner looking pair. It's not enough, she thinks, but it'll have to do. Walking back towards the stairs she sees her reflection and gasps, a mass of unruly hair sits atop her head, thoughts of taming it suddenly forefront in her head.
As if working against her, the chime begins it ominous bellowing through the house, letting her know she has run out of time. She pulls the band out of her hair and rushes down the steps to the landing in front of the door.