The house was perfect for us. Three bedrooms upstairs, with a brand new kitchen and an open plan living area below. The house was just around the corner from the grocery store, five minutes from our daughter’s school and with a park next door. Like it had been built and put up for rent especially for us, and at only three hundred dollars a week we could hardly refuse. It was the first house we had looked at, and with only two weeks until our lease ended we were desperate, we needed to take it.
We saw the house online, and it was so cheap that we knew something had to be wrong with it. Estate agents never seem to take bad photos, no matter how shit the house is, but we couldn’t see anything wrong, on the outside at least, with Google Street View only showing the white picket fence, the lemon tree in the front yard in full bloom and the double lock-up garage. There weren’t any road works in the area either, and although the train station was a slight walk up the hill even the overnight rattle of freight trains couldn’t account for the price. My wife phoned the real estate office, arranging an appointment for the following afternoon. He sounded enthusiastic even if he was a little over the top. He couldn’t wait to show us through the house, he said, he was sure we’d love the place. We did.
The house was perfect, absolutely perfect, and for three hundred dollars a week there was no way we could refuse. We met the agent, Ezra I think his name was, something like that, a beautiful young man with bronze skin and pure white teeth, answering our questions before we had finished asking them. Yes we could dig up the flower beds and plant a vegetable garden. The owner had given permission for there to be pets in the house so he couldn’t see our chook pen being a problem either. There was air-conditioning in the master bedroom, and he laughed, with pitch perfect timing when my daughter said she would spend the whole summer in there. He showed us around inside, with the typical agent chatter about the current tenants, hoping there was no bong in sight, that we wouldn’t stumble into him stepping out of the shower. The place looked brand new. If anyone lived there they must’ve been an angel, if cleanliness is in fact next to godliness. We walked through the living room and the kitchen, looking into the back garden (“That would be the perfect spot for your chicken coop!”) We began wandering up the spiral staircase, as the agent did his job, pointing out the amount of vertical space, the natural light shining in through the sky light. The master bedroom was huge, with a walk-in wardrobe and an ensuite.
Stepping out of the room, I noticed the trapdoor up to the attic. I pointed it out to my wife, and as Ezra mentioned the extra storage space an attic would provide I knew I just had to see it, to look around inside, what with attics being rare in townhouses. Ezra shrugged, pulling down on the rope, showing us up yet more stairs. The small windows were set low, near the floor, casting a sliver of light across the near empty floor. We climbed up into the attic, expecting a small storm of insulation fibres and a wheeze of dust mites. The creak of the trapdoor and the lack of cobwebs were slightly unnerving, but not as unnerving as the chalk pentagram scratched onto the floor. But we had to take the house. It was perfect for us. And as Ezra so patiently explained, the demon was bound inside the pentagram.