I remember the email popping up on the screen scaring the wits out of me.

Dear Rebecca.

This abandoned property on Hamilton Way has potential to be stunning, but it needs work. A definite fixer-upper. If you and your team can get down there ASAP then that would be great.

Many Thanks.


Underneath the text was a link to the street view of the house. I remember looking at the picture and having to take a large mouthful of coffee. It was completely devoid of any colour. Two stories of dark grey brick, smashed windows and a splintered wooden door.

Dear Chris.

DEFINITE fixer-upper! Will get over there on Friday.

Best Wishes.


So the team and I headed down to the place on Friday. We all commented on the gloomy vibes emanating from the place.

Property consists of a hallway, living room, dining room, kitchen, one downstairs bathroom, one upstairs bathroom, one master bedroom, one single room and a back yard with tire swing (need measurements).

All furniture in the property has been removed except for one functioning refrigerator. There is also a built in cupboard in the master bedroom.

Upon arrival we noticed a peculiar smell coming from the upstairs bathroom. We do not know where in the bathroom the smell is coming from. The master bedroom window has been smashed by a tennis ball. We found the ball laying on the floor in the very far corner of the room and the cupboard doors wide open.

Splintered floor boards throughout the property.

Tire swing in the yard has been cut down.

Grass, shrubbery and foliage are incredibly overgrown.

I felt overwhelmed by the property. There was so much work to be done. I'll spare the details. We got it done in nine months. The house had been done up superbly. The outside had been painted completely white, the plumbing was operational, the floors were fixed and the garden was no longer looking like a jungle. However there was one problem that we couldn't get rid of and that we hoped the family didn't notice. The smell in the bathroom.

Dear Chris.

The reparations on the house have been completed (hooray!). Now all we need are cash buyers! Email me any details when you can.

Best Wishes.


Within two days of the house being put on the market, a young newly-wed couple and their three year old son were eager to start a new life in the suburbs. I showed Mr. and Mrs. Green around the property and they fell in love with it instantly. Spraying that bathroom with air freshener was a live saver.

After the Greens' had left the property full of excitement, I thought I should visit the neighbours' house to ask them about the area and the property itself.

“We just want peace and quiet,” Mr. Watson spat. “We don't want the residents of that house bothering us!”

“Why is that Mr. Watson?” I asked.

“Because they're nasty people,” Mrs. Watson answered for him.

I couldn't get any more information out of them. They obviously liked their privacy. I certainly wouldn't be talking to them again.

Within two weeks it was moving day for the Green family.

Dear Rebecca.

Just finished unloading the Greens' furniture into the property on Hamilton Way. I cannot stress enough how difficult this day was for us. Some old man and his wife rushed out of their house next door and started shouting at us while we were unloading the sofa! I'm not payed to get treated this way by a pair of old farts who have nothing better to do with their spare time. The Greens' were oblivious to it at first. They were too busy canoodling on the tire swing to even realize that they were shouting the place down. They certainly noticed when their kid burst into tears. The couple eventually went inside after ranting to themselves about “the horrid ones next door”. What a stressful day! Anyway, what's done is done and they've moved in now right? See you on Tuesday.

Thank goodness this day has ended.


The next time I saw Colin he continued to rant about the moving day. At least the couple were happy. They sent me regular emails on how they were doing and if there was any problems with the house.

Dear Rebecca.

The house is fantastic and my wife and I thank you dearly for sorting it out for us to live in. However there are a few concerns I wish to express.

Firstly, my wife has noticed an unusual smell coming from the bathroom. This was the subject of many jokes you may have guessed, but in all seriousness the smell is disgusting and we do not use the upstairs bathroom because of it. Please can someone come in and take a look?

Secondly, I was relaxing in the master bedroom and the cupboard door kept swinging open. Every time I tried to slam it shut it would open again a minute later. This needs to be fixed.

Finally, Mr Watson from next door has been acting out of the ordinary. I have noticed him staring in the master bedroom window at least three times a day. He just stands on the front lawn and gazes up through the window, sometimes when I'm standing there. It's become a problem. One time his wife stood with him and they were both pointing at the window looking very worried. My wife and I are disturbed by their behaviour.

If you could get back to me soon then that would be great.

Many Thanks.


I read the email and rolled my eyes. I gave him a call to tried and resolve the issues. It was agreed that one of my team would go down there and address the problems with the house. As for the matter with the Watsons', I told Lloyd to talk to them. If they continued then Lloyd should call the police. Simple.

Another week passed and I received a second email from him.

Dear Rebecca.

'Your man said there was nothing wrong with the cupboard door itself and that the cause of the problem was a draught coming from the window. There is no draught in the master bedroom! As for the smell in the bathroom, he came to the conclusion that it was coming from the walls themselves and was most likely caused by a dead rat or mouse. I hope the smell fades away.

These matters however are not the only reason I decided to email you. In the early hours of this morning my son complained of tapping on his bedroom window. When I went into his room (with a baseball bat I might add) and drew back the curtains we found a sticky note on the other side of the glass that read:

'We don't want you living here.'

I am more than concerned. The Watsons' clearly do not want us living next door to them. They don't just dislike us. It seems they want to scare us out of the house. Please respond as soon as possible.

Many Thanks.


I replied straight away.

Dear Lloyd.

Have you tried phoning the police? I am deeply sorry this is happening to you but this is all the advice I can give. I recommend you phone them as soon as anything else occurs.

Best Wishes.


At this point I was seriously concerned. The Watsons were trespassing on the Green's property. They desperately wanted the family gone.

My concerns turned into worries. The next evening Lloyd called me. He said that he was playing with his son in his room when the pair of them heard a loud crash coming from the master bedroom. They hurried in there to find a hole in the window the size of a fist and a tennis ball rolling around the floor. The cupboard door was swinging wide open. When they ran downstairs they found Mrs. Green crying her eyes out clasping a note she found on the kitchen table. It read:

'We really don't want you living here.'

The back door was open. Someone had been in the house. It was safe to say at this point that Lloyd finally called the police.

When the police arrived they inspected the house and found no-one. When they went next door, the Watsons didn't answer to let them in. After breaking down the door they found Mr. and Mrs. Watson sitting on the sofa in front of the TV with holes in their heads. Mr. Watson had shot his wife and then himself in the left temple. Resting in his lap was a small note with the words:

'Anything to get away from next door.'

I remember trying to process what Lloyd was telling me. Before I could ask any questions, Lloyd said that he would message in a week or so to update me on what was going on. He hung up the phone with a sombre goodbye. I received no such email from him.

However, there was one peculiar email I received a few days later that came from an unusual address:

'The Residents'

The email included a photo of the master bedroom in the Greens' property. The cupboard door was open in the background. In front of the cupboard was a cardboard box sealed with tape. Scrawled on the side in black pen were the words:

'In lots of little pieces. Finally leaving the house.'

I scrolled down the page and below the picture was one line of text.

'We didn't want them living here.'

Written by Elliot Cowling
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