Moving: the creepy

I know I said I’d do good, bad and ugly, but I’ll do “the creepy” too because a couple of things stand out.

First, after we’d been moved in about two hours, my Patient Husband stood by the window at the front of the house.

And while he watched, and SUV pulled up to the driveway and stopped. He thought, “Oh, we’re going to meet the neighbors.”

Then he saw a flash, and a moment later, the SUV continued on.

What? Someone stopped and took our picture? Except none of us were outside! How odd. Especially when you consider that anyone who’d wanted a picture of the house was more than welcome to get it off the real estate listing that had been online for, oh, a year.

I said maybe it was Google Maps coming by, in a strange coincidence. But also, why the flash? It was broad daylight.

I have no idea who would want to spy on my Patient Husband, since his job is in industry rather than in, say, espionage. And anyone who wants to spy on me deserves what they get. (“Aaagh! I’m blind! I’m blind!”)

Second creepy factor: we live on the edge of a woods with a brook. Yes, in Major Metropolitan Area, such places exist. The area appears to be protected, and there are stupid regulations that say we can cut down trees but we cannot remove any gravel from the brook. This is fine by me. We’d been told that if you follow our street down a certain distance, you will find a trail that leads you to the brook.

On Sunday, we went hiking up our street (we’re very lame hikers: thou shalt hike on paved roads) and shortly the houses grew further apart, then disappeared, and everything got quiet. A little beyond that, it became all woods, and the paved street began to look less and less paved.

We kept finding markers on the side, but nothing indicating a real trail to follow (“boundary marker” and “witness marker” were two of them.) There were signs off the side of the road that said absolutely nothing at all. My family friend with the bunker would have been going crazy at this point, looking for the bar codes put there by the UN.

Before moving here, I’d looked forward to hiking around in the woods and on the paths when the kids were at school, being quiet and one with nature. As I walked along this road, my New York senses were ringing five kinds of alarm bells: if I were alone, I could be killed by anyone along this path and no one would know for weeks. Not that we’re in a dangerous area. The crime statistics on Angelborough are beautiful (ie, nothing) but I’m still a New Yorker at heart, and you don’t let those instincts die easily.

And then, abruptly, we found three things:

  1. A dirt path veering off to the side, with an unsigned sign, looking as if no one had taken it for sixty years.
  2. The paved road became tragically unpaved beyond belief, as in “severe tire damage” unpaved. And finally,
  3. The woods suddenly ended, and there were huge fields on either side behind a chain link fence. And no signs whatsoever on the fences.

I turned to my Patient Husband and asked if we had wandered into an X-Files shoot. We went a little way up the road along the fences, and then we turned around.

Google Maps has no idea what that area is. Neither does Mapquest. I’ve asked a couple of locals, and neither do they know what that area is.

Creepy. Very, very creepy.


  1. knit_tgz

    You know, the “do not remove gravel from the brook” regulations are not stupid at all… (A brook is a kind of small river, isn’t it?). If you remove sand or gravel from a river, you disturb a very delicate system, and you can change the whole flowing, especially in the winter. Besides, if there is any bridge on that brook, if you remove too much sand or gravel the bridge may become unsafe (this has happened in my country, unfortunately on a major river, and unfortunately when the bridge collapsed there was a bus and a car on it).

    About “the creepy”: if it were something of note, I think the locals would know what it is.

  2. Jenni

    Makes me think of a park in Ill where my best friend was married. My sister and I later went driving all through the beautiful woods there and they suddenly ended in fields. Weird.

    Your moving story makes ours a walk in the park. I thought I knew stress, but I have no idea how you all managed all that with four kiddos. Hats off to you girl!

  3. philangelus

    I should have been clearer: it seems stupid to me that we could clear-cut the entire lot with their blessing, but removing a cupful of gravel from the brook is illegal. Either the land should be kept as-is, or they shouldn’t really care.

    Maybe the neighbors — USED to know…but they were brainwashed? 😉 Or maybe they do know and they’re all in collusion to keep us ignorant? 😀

  4. philangelus

    Jenni, my husband’s co-worker said to him, “Wait, stop. Are you telling me that the actual move was less stressful than making the deal work on the house?” and when my Patient Husband agreed, the guy said, “Then that was pretty bad.”

    We’re nearly moved-in now. We only have two or three boxes left in our living space, and almost everything else is in final put-away form.

  5. Ivy Reisner

    Ah, you moved near a Jinn production center. It makes sense that your home would be scanned for signs of errant magic. It’s not a photograph, but it does resemble one with a light. It is also passive, like a photograph, and therefore completely harmless–as long as you aren’t harboring anyone with an uncontrolled magic power of an illegal magical creature. They are very serious about discouraging unlawful magics around the production centers.

    Don’t worry. Production is a summer process, since it’s solar powered. It runs from June 21 – September 21, after which the entire complex, including the fences, will completely disappear.

    There are some big advantages. One is that that stray magics are gathered up for use as raw material during the summer (so random pools of weirdness won’t be able to accumulate and form). Those are to blame for the sudden teleportaion holes that sometimes show up in laundry machines to steal small items. Another is that factory-new Jinn will be cheaper in your area. The best is that you’ll always have a trained team of mages around, which is important since you are hatching your own dragons.

  6. philangelus

    I wonder if guardian angels show up on magic-sensing cameras? If so, we must be giving them a lot to wonder about. “Don’t mess with the Philangelus family. There’s a lot of power gathered over at that house.”

    Does this explain why my Patient Husband and I have been dreaming like gangbusters every night since we moved in? (When he normally doesn’t dream at all?) And why Kiddo#3 has had several nightmares, when normally he doesn’t?

    The cats feel very comfortable in the house, though, so the Jinn in production must be the good kind.

    (And now half the people reading this weblog are wondering if I’m completely crazy. Thank you, Ivy, for letting me be strange in the morning.)

  7. knit_tgz

    🙂 I’ve been dreaming a lot too, lately. Which means I wake up tired like I had not slept, and a bit angry that I remember I dreamt vividly, but don’t remember the details of the dream…

  8. CricketB

    I want to know what’s behind the chain link fence! What crop is that valuable?

  9. philangelus

    It’s not a crop, Cricket. It’s just grass and the occasional wildflower in there.

    Clearly I’m going to have to ask around a bit more.

  10. Judy Teeter

    If you are in the Midwest, it may be a parcel of land being returned to native prairie. I know that the Chicago Botanic Gardens has several such plots, and other organizations may as well.

  11. philangelus

    I like that idea. It’s less creepy than the alien experimentation zone.

    At some point, maybe I’ll actually meet someone who lives around here and I can ask. It’s very weird because I’ve been here about two weeks no, and I’ve spoken to just about no one.

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