For the sake of objectivity, I need to bring to light the fact that some of the regular occupants of Wynwood house did not experience any of the phenomena that occurred that summer. At least two whom I have contacted whilst writing this account have confirmed that they neither saw anything, nor felt anything for the duration of their stay in Wynwood house.
Neither of these people, however, denied at any point what the rest of us saw, nor have they attempted to provide an alternative to what happened; their view is simple. It didn’t happen to them.
The House on Beaumont Grove Part 2
“Shit. I need my coat.”
“For fuck’s sake man!”
“I’ll be one minute, it’s in the kitchen.”
The taxi driver rolled his eyes as Jonno jumped from the car and dashed up the path and back into Wynwood house.
The enthusiasm from the other two in the passenger seats dulled slightly as they watched Jonno rattling through his keys at the front door; one hand over his head in a futile attempt to protect his precious hair from the rain.
“The big ponce!”
“The meter’s still going, girls.” The taxi driver said, unsmiling.
“What’s he doing in there?”
Less than a minute later Jonno, still carrying the faint musty odour of the house on his leather jacket jumped back into the car.
“OK,” he said, panting. “Let’s go.”
The car pulled off and purred down Beaumont Grove toward town.
“What were you doing in there, Jonno?” Marney prodded him through the back of the seat with her knee.
The windows of the cab were steaming up as twin headlights cut through the rain.
“Getting my coat, keep your wig on!”
There was a pause.
“Why were you upstairs then?” Liz continued the interrogation.
“Your coat was it the kitchen. You left it hanging on the chair, I saw it!”
“Yeah, so?” Jonno was getting more and more confused.
“So why were you upstairs? He kept the meter running you know!”
It was the taxi driver’s turn to roll his eyes.
Jonno turned around to glared at them.
“I wasn’t! I went in, grabbed my coat, came back. I didn’t even have time to go upstairs.”
Liz and Marney looked at each other.
“I saw you too.” Marney said.
Her voice was quiet now, the fervour of earlier as the three had passed a bottle of cheap wine in the upstairs living room was replaced by a sudden uncertainty.
“We saw the light go on Jonno; we even saw you moving up there…back and forth behind the window.”
Marney and Liz look at each other for a moment. Liz speaks.
“The living room…and… the attic.”
Neither Marney, Liz or Jonno told anyone about this strange little incident for weeks. None of them knew why, it just seemed too weird.
Like they had imagined it.
It was like when Rose spent her first night at Wynwood house. She didn’t want to tell either.
A party. Carla had been drunk, staggering about, on and on about the walls moving in and out like the peeling plasterboard was the inside of a lung; but the place felt familiar to Rose; even with the flies, the stink and the cold. One of the younger ones, she was a latecomer to Beaumont Grove, but it didn’t matter. The place swallowed her like it had done everyone else. Like she belonged.
People flitted from room to room as teenagers do; up and down the stairs; in this strange house that wasn’t quite theirs. Rose found herself in one of the downstairs bedrooms while the party thrummed from above.
“Hiya…” the door hissed open and a name froze on Rose’s lips.
No one there.
Into the other bedroom and a shape lying on the bed’s bare mattress.
“There you are.”
Rose snapped on the light.
Just a cluster of those black flies bobbing against the window where a streetlamp peered in with its single orange eye.
She spent the night in the attic, woken early by the thump of feet in the rooms, up and down the stairs. Back and forth. She found herself staring from the kitchen window into that back yard with the faces in the wall. There was more than just faces. Twin arches. One of the faces gazing into the arch. A knife. A skull.
Rose jumped. Held in a scream.
Carla stood in the doorway.
“Finally,” she says. “I’ve been listening to people moving round for ages. When I looked…there was no one there…”
“We didn’t imagine it, we both saw him didn’t we?”
“And I literally just went in the kitchen, grabbed my coat, came out.”
Jonno had lost his grin. His eyes were wide, scared. He was one of the oldest of us and he wasn’t bullshitting.
The ten of us; the core were sat in the living room in a loose circle. We were snuggled in blankets and sleeping bags. Whatever we did with the heating in Wynwood house, it was never warm. We passed around cigarettes, took half-hearted swigs from a crumpled bottle of cider. No one was in the mood for getting hammered tonight. We had started talking instead.
“Has anyone else seen anything?”
I looked around. The flies, the cold, that damn attic door that stood, wide in the hall behind the living room. It just hadn’t clicked; we were young, we had other priorities. The house’s little quirks, if anything, were endearing. It gave the place edge. It was different.
“Remember the hanged man?” Carla’s turn to speak up.
Marney covered her ears. Carla ignored her and pointed to the light bulb that cast a feeble light into the living room.
“Look.” She said.
The rest of us huddled a bit closer. We were quiet. The Eels ‘Beautiful Freak’ trundled from a cassette player in the corner.
We looked to the ceiling as one. The errant twist of tinsel that once clung to the wire was gone.
“The other night, me and Marney were chilling in here.” Carla said. “It was bad enough with him looking at us.” She jutted her thumb to the far wall where a poster of Evan Dando stared out mournfully. A rare remnant of the house’s student occupants. The opposite wall, by contrast, had been painted with huge, elaborate Disney characters.
Children and adults.
“It’s like his eyes follow you round.” Marney said.
“Anyway,” Carla goes on. Centre stage. “we’re just chilling when we notice the shadow on the ceiling from that light. It wasn’t moving but it…it just sort of became a silhouette of a hanged man…and it was like….someone was in here with us.”
“It was horrible.”
The irony was utterly lost on us; with our white faces, funereal dress and silver jewellery encrusted with skulls.
Suddenly there was a thump from the attic staircase and we all jumped.
“Fuck off Steve!” Carla shouted.
No one laughed.
It was the first time we had all acknowledged it being there with us. All together.
And as we were about to find out; wasn’t going to take such words lightly.