"It's a real fixer upper," said the real-estate agent. He paused. "I have to warn you, it's just as they left it."
"Who?" I stepped in after him, my eyes taking a minute to adjust to the dim light after the glare outdoors.
"The family that lived here. Don't tell me you never heard about it? I guess you're not from around here."
I started to see details now. The old magazines on the coffee table, a faded doll sitting on the chair, and the table, set for four. I walked over and looked at the dishes, covered in a layer of dust. "What happened to them?"
"No one knows. They just disappeared. The house belongs to a relation who put it on the market last January."
"Four people vanished into thin air?" The kitchen was the saddest room of all. A fly batted itself against the grimy window. Someone had pulled the curtain down, as if snatched away from the sink. I closed my eyes and saw a woman reach out and grab the curtain, as if it would anchor her to the room. But she was whirled backward, out of the room, out of the world. Four people, and not one left to do the dishes. It was, as the man said, a real fixer-upper.