The garage, a separate building from the house, has the same architectural style – shingles and peaked roof – as the house. The white, again that faded white that begs some bleach, wooden garage door is smiling a little. Maybe it can be fixed instead of purchasing a new one. Sam darts into the dim interior and around the green Subaru Outback with a woof. Something crashes and then all is quiet. Racing heart out paces the slow flicker of the overhead bank of lights coming on. The new illumination shows the car and the tool bench but not the other room. The tools, remembered to be hanging in their assigned spots on the peg board, now lay about haphazardly on the bench. A stout rasp – the closest thing to a weapon – comes to hand. The light flickers on in the next room, showing moving boxes, the ride-able lawn mower, blanketed antiques. The smell of motor oil blends unpleasantly with something sweet and the faint hint of cigarette smoke. An empty box hides a large rats next made out of shredded packing material complete with momma rat and little rattlings. Sam barks at them, back bristled. Breath held no more. Just rats. And rat dung. Yuck.

Sam, not amused by being left out in the dog run, barks to get attention, tugging on heartstrings. Just a quick trip to town to the farmer’s market to get non-lethal rat traps, and more importantly to get fresh veggies and hopefully a pumpkin or two – one to carve with a scary face to ward off the malicious spirits and one to make into pumpkin pie and bread. Baked seeds from both to snack on during the dreaded online job search. Online – oh dear. Add that to the list. Dial-up just won’t do, especially if the new website generates interest in both art and artist.  Thoughts of blissful plein aire painting lakeside – maybe from the gazebo – are disturbed by the nosy clerk. Yes, back from the city. No, no idea what happened to him after he murdered his new wife. Not sure about the house – might stay there. Yes, brave. No, not haunted. Thoughts of disarrayed tools and the perfume of cigarettes return…hopefully not haunted. A set of window locks added to the pile in front of the register.