Ted was checking out houses and condos for investment purposes. He'd had an idea shortly after Lois Lane had left his office for keeping the City in money and helping it's residents at the same time. City housing. The City would buy the houses and keep them maintained, while the rent would be cheaper so that the poorer and disabled residents of the City could afford to be in nicer areas with better resources around them.
Property generally only rose in value. Even when the market failed, the property itself didn't really lose it's spot, just what one could charge for it did. But it always rose again eventually.
He'd decided to scout some locations and draw up a proposal before going to the Mayor with it. A vague idea wasn't any good, you had to have numbers to back it up. Evidence that it was a good idea. Ted knew this. He also knew that the mayor was a busy guy and that bothering him with the very beginnings of a plan would probably only cause more work for him. He liked the mayor, he didn't want to add pressure to a job that was already difficult with the things going on.
There were already spots that Ted liked, his list was growing, but it was all condos and co-ops so far. No actual houses. He felt that having a house, some place that could have more than one person in them at a time possibly, would be a good idea too. There was a bigger side to this plan, of course, in the name of buying a whole apartment building, but that had to be worked up to.
Seeing an address without a door number attached to it attracted Ted and he skipped down several spots to visit that one next. He'd get to the others, he was sure. But houses went quickly. He wanted to see this one before anybody else had a chance to put a bid on it.
And it was a big house. He could see that from the outside when he arrived. But it looked so empty. Like nobody had lived there in a really long time. It wasn't so much neglect. Somebody was coming around to cut the grass and trim the hedges. But there was dust in the corners of the windows. The door knob looked shiny and untouched. The lock, when he got close enough to see, seemed freshly oiled.
But the door opened smoothly enough. He stepped inside and began to take notes on the things that he saw. Sure, every listing provided square footage and number of rooms. But seeing stuff for yourself always provided a much different view. A room with large footage might actually not fit a bed because it was an odd shape. Or a kitchen that seemed spacious might be so stuffed with cabinetry that you couldn't move.
Ted saw none of these issues. It made him all the more curious as to why nobody was living here, and why it seemed nobody had for a very long time.
He thought he heard something fall in another room and went to investigate, but found nothing. Then there was a scraping noise that he could feel into his bones, followed by a very disturbing giggling.
In a place where nothing could be ruled out anymore, Ted felt immediately suspicious and afraid. He went to the front door to leave, but discovered it wouldn't open. As he turned to try to find the back door, something flashed by him. Something unpleasant. He got a vague sense of blood and maybe a missing half of a face.
Ted became very still.