Most people will tell you to:
Work hard, go to school.
Work hard, find a job.
Work hard, find a girlfriend.
Work hard, buy a house.
Happiness will cascade all around as you prance around your middle income home with your modestly attractive wife and a well behaved dog and one or two honor roll kids.
Just work hard right?
Thats what Kevin always believed.
Kevin set himself good honest goals. Go to school for a degree. Work off student loans quickly by working multiple jobs. Find a nice girlfriend. Nothing too elaborate?
The degree came well enough. With some diligence he was able to obtain a Bachelors in Business Administration. Great put 'er on the wall. Next!
Find a decent job. That one was tough. Through one of his friends he was able to get hired on as labor for a small construction company. It was during his work on a large scale home construction site that he discovered that had a bit of a talent at being a handyman. When some of the other workers failed to show up Kevin was tasked with some other work to compete in order to prevent any delays on the project. It started by just learning to do some minor repairs and renovations but quickly expanded to roofing and flooring and various other skills. Over time Kevin was no longer a simple laborer and some of the more experienced craftman started to acknowledge his skill and attention to details.
Years went by with Kevin going from site to site. Not only was Kevin gaining many different skills he was also making quite a bit of money. In very little time he had already paid off his student loans and was already putting money away. Enough money that he, a relatively young 25 year old man, was starting to look for buying a home for himself.
That's when Jasmine came into his life. She was a pretty young realtor that he met at a party. The party was held to celebrate the completion of a particularly luxurious property renovation. He mentioned his job and his interest in buying a house which ignited a lot of excitement from Jasmine who claimed that the reason she became a realtor was her love for houses. They hit it off well enough so they exchanged numbers and started seeing each other.
After about a month of dating they were hanging out in Kevin's appartment when Jasmine started suggesting properties for Kevin to buy. She talked about one in particular thats price was slashed repeatedly because the previous homeowners didn't have interested spending the time and money to repair it. The way she described it, it sounded like a great deal for a guy like Kevin. With a lot of work and some materials it could very well transform into a premium home in this ballooning house market. Jasmine also said she would pitch in to help with costs when her commissions came in.
That being said Kevin was still hesitant to throw his savings into such a costly venture but Jasmine was pretty relentless.
"Are you sure Kevin? Imagine all the things you could do with the money if it gets done and sold right away."
Kevin shrugged since he knows full well there is money to be made flipping houses. There was a lot of risk to it as well.
"I guess the asking price is pretty low. But its not really getting me excited you know?"
Jasmine suddenly got an idea and decided to change her approach.
"Or you can imagine all the things you could do with the house... or with someone in it." Jasmine lays down on Kevin's chest and gives him a sultry stare. Her chest pressed against his with it's soft and comforting warmth. It was more than Kevin could resist Jasmine was able to seal the deal with a long passionate kiss, and quite a few other things as well...
As you might have guessed papers were signed soon after. Kevin was quite hopeful for his future. If everything panned out he would have a beautiful house and hopefully a beautiful wife. With a smile on his face he firmly believed his future was all filtered through a brilliant radiance.
After the paperwork was finalized and ownership was transfered Kevin got right to work on fixing up the house. He finished any ongoing contracts he was under and informed his boss of his plans and that he would likely need to be replaced, atleast for the near future. Kevin had become an indispensible employee to have around and he was loathed to see him go. His boss relented seeing how excited Kevin was to work on his own home and wished him well. With that dealt with, Kevin was free to go all in on this exciting new chapter of his life.
Early on it was clear that this house had many more issues than what Jasmine let on. But she reassured him that it would work out in the end. It was also around this time Jasmine was always busy with her work and was nowhere to be found. She always had a reason whether it was visiting her parents, work trips, a friend's wedding even. While this all seemed very suspicious even to Kevin there really wasn't much he could do about it. Besides she would still call on the phone od on the very rare occasion she would stay for a romantic visit. She had yet to mention any word of her own financial involvement which more than annoyed Kevin but she had a way of appeasing even the most troubled mind and ultimately brushed off his concerns and continued working on the ever increasingly expensive house project.
It was as if the house had some undeniable urge to collapse on itself. Through some thorough inspection with the help of a friend and coworker they were able to find several clues of severe structural instability which had Kevin losing his mind. Cracks repeatedly formed in the structure regardless of what resources and work was put in. As time went on none of the solutions seemed to be working which had Kevin sinking into depression. Forget about selling the house, he'd be lucky if the house wasn't condemned or demolished in a couple years.
Right now as Kevin was inspecting the basement walls, new cracks and fissures begin appearing in recently remade walls.
"How does this keep happening?"
With this Kevin was getting more and more nervous as his savings depleted at an alarming rate. His insecurities regarding his relationship was at an all time as well. Over two months have passed since he had seen Jasmine and still no money had been sent to help him. If it wasn't for her he wouldn't agreed to this to begin with. Enough was enough he had to know where Jasmine stands.
Kevin brings up his smartphone and videocalls her. A portrait of her beaming smile on the screen.
He dials here again. No answer as well.
Over and over he dials and dials until he has completely lost track. He decides to change tactics and tries calling through her laptop she uses for work. To his surprise it actually connects.
"Hello. Can you please call back between -What the hell do you want Kevin? I'm sleeping right now." A flustered Jasmine is wearing a hastily thrown on nightgown. She is speaking in a very hushed voice. It happens to be in the middle of the night in her home. This was odd since it was only 8 o'clock.
Its late at night where she is? I thought she just lived in that apartment downtown?
"What do you mean what the hell do I want? I never see you anymore, and what happened to the help you promised with this place!"
Some shuffling noises can be heard on her end indicating that she was not alone.
"Sweetheart who in bloody blazes are you talking to right now? It's the middle of the night."
A bassy masculine voice can be heard from the bed. Kevin can just make out a head peeking from a mass of blankets.
"Don't worry honey it's just one of my clients."
She turned away from the camera with a very forced smile and airy voice.
"Last year when we got married you said you wouldn't take late calls anymore."
Sweetheart? Client? Married?
Kevin's vision began to spin and his heartrate beat rapidly.
"Jasmine... whats going on?"
No explanation. No words.
She cut the conection.
Kevin sat there blanking staring at his phone thinking about everything leading to this moment. The meeting at the party. The conversations about house buying. The sudden almost aggressive interest she had in him. Her desperate seductions to persuade him to buy the house. The sudden unavailability after the house purchase closed.
Kevin fell back against a wall and slid to the ground still pondering a short while until suddenly he reaches a breakthrough this seemed to tremble within him. An understanding of the nature of the world that is both deep and profound and expansive as the frontiers of space.
A fiery rage was lit within him. All those hours he spent toiling away on this money pit piece of shit house. His hard earned money that so effortlessly slipped through his hands. The hopes and dreams he built within his heart, all but completely shattered.
Kevin places his phone in his pocket and tries to calm himself down, his hands clenching the sides of his head.
"Think, think, there has to be something I can do."
There may be legal options to consider but that will require a call to a lawyer as he really has only a modest recollection of laws relating to situations like this. Even if there is something he can do about Jasmine it will be difficult to get his money back for the house purchase. The main issue is that the house was sold "as is" so any issues that sprung up will be his to deal with.
At minimum he will have to go back to work fulltime in order to avoid losing the place entirely. The issue with that is that the house will not be ready to be sold before the housing market deflates meaning it will lose most if not all profitability causing Kevin to take a significant loss. To make matters worse, Kevin heard from his old coworkers construction and housing projects have started to dry up in the area.
Kevin kicks at one of walls which really hurts his foot. A loud crinkly popping noise can be heard as a large crack forms right down the wall ending he just kicked his foot.
"God fucking damn it!"
His heartbeat continues to race and heated blood fills his face. He looks around and picks up a nearby 20lb sledgehammer.
He smashes it viciously into the concrete foundation.
Another blow sends chucks of concrete falling to the floor and dust into the air.
More concrete is sent flying, some of which brushes onto his face near his eyes causing him to squint tightly.
This final blow was even mightier than Kevin could have expected. It carried all his anger and stress, Jasmines betrayal, his feelings of overwhelming frustration. The hammer is buried into the large hole in the wall. With a heave he dislodges the hammer and out comes some more chunks of concrete with dirt. As well as something else... a small figurine?
Kevin bends over to pick it up. It is unexpectedly heavy as it appears to be made from carved stone.
"Damn the house yourself you little shit."
A blinding light envelopes Kevin and with another bright flash he disappears.
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