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Guest Blogger: Melanie Atkins
Friday, March 1st, 2013

The Neighbors from Hell

Once before, on my own blog, I talked about my creepy redneck neighbors. The ones who built a huge bonfire in their backyard a day or two after they moved in, backed a pickup truck up to their fence, and danced in the bed to music blaring from the radio. They disturbed the entire neighborhood and nearly caught the pine trees on fire. I should’ve known living next to them would be hell.

The folks who’d lived there before (and built the house) had kept the place spotless. They were quiet and unassuming, and never made a fuss. I wish they’d never left, because for the next seven years, cars and trucks came and went at all hours of the day and night. Made me suspicious about what the new neighbors were doing. They enclosed the garage right after moving in, and more people showed up with boxes of belongings. I had no idea who actually lived there, and who was just visiting. One time, what looked like a whole family moved out, and then several other people moved in. Talk about confusing…

redneck-neighbors1The neighbors weren’t very friendly, either. I never knew their last name/s, even though I introduced myself a time or two. They basically ignored us, and we ignored them—despite the junk and old cars parked all over their lawn. They once parked a trailer containing a truck someone had fixed up next to their house and left it there for weeks. Then they left a broken washing machine in the same place for months before hauling it away, and later did the same thing with an enormous old style big screen TV. Car parts and tires littered the ground around it.

Then year or two ago, they bought a four-wheeler and rode it fast up and down the street and all around their backyard, turning it into a mud pit suitable for pigs. They started driving their trucks back there, too, mud riding around the pine trees and spinning in crazy circles.

By then, we lived in the city—the newest city in Mississippi, to be exact (at least for a while)—and unfortunately for us, since the city was so new, the aldermen hadn’t yet enacted any ordinances. Once they did, I complained about the rednecks, as did the rest of the folks on my street. By then, we were all outdone with their insane antics and all night free-for-alls. The city sent them certified letter after certified letter, but kept sending them to the wrong address. Took ‘em a while to get it right.

A short while later, the rednecks took their toys and moved someplace else. I have no idea where they went, and frankly, I don’t care. They left the house and yard a wreck, of course—and left the side door wide open. We poked our heads inside and nearly got sick. The place reeks! They had kept two huge dogs inside, and I figure they let the animals have the run of the place. Garbage is strewn around in every room, and they even tore out some of the nasty carpet, leaving only the concrete slab, and threw the carpet and pad in the backyard. Such a lovely addition to the trash heap already out there.

We found out later the bank has foreclosed on the house but now can’t find the idiots so they can complete the paperwork. The city is waiting to take action as well. We need them to get it all straight so they can change the locks and clean up the place. IMHO, they’ll have to gut it and start over from the studs up. Just hauling off all the trash from the yard will take a huge dump truck.  We’ve had to call the cops several times since they moved out because the door won’t lock and keeps blowing open. Either that, or animals or people are going inside. The idea creeps me out.

Have you ever had neighbors you wanted to send packing? Please tell me your horror stories about creepy neighbors.

My book coming out next month isn’t about redneck neighbors, but it does center around a villain nobody would want in their neighborhood. The book is called Blood Bound, and it isn’t for the faint of heart. Hope you’ll check it out!

Blurb:

Fueled by grief after his fiancée is brutally murdered, Detective Sam Walker focuses on finding her killer — a calculating predator who binds books with human skin.  Dani Barrington, the newest member of NOPD’s Victim and Witness Assistance Unit and a survivor of another frightening attack, helps him discover the terrifying link between the monster’s known victims.  Despite his anguish, Sam is struck by Dani’s strength and determination, especially when her inquisitive  nature makes her the killer’s next target.  He must find a way to protect her or risk losing the one woman who can bring his dead heart back to life.

Excerpt:

Kristen was gone. She wasn’t at work; she wasn’t at home. She hadn’t gone out to run an errand. She had simply… vanished.

New Orleans Detective Sam Walker stood in the center of his fiancée’s cluttered bedroom and struggled to piece together the timeline of her disappearance. Last night, they were supposed to meet for dinner, but he had caught a case. They’d talked on the phone around eleven, and he’d asked her to meet him for lunch today. He hadn’t spoken to her since.

She was supposed to arrive at the Victim and Witness Assistance Unit for work at nine o’clock is morning, but she’d never made it. One of her co-workers had called him about ten, and he’d tried Kristen again, but she hadn’t answered.

So he’d come here and found her car in the driveway.

Yet she sure as hell wasn’t here. Her bed was meticulously made, the way she left it every morning, dumping him out if he’d stayed over. A damp towel lay beside the bathroom sink. Soulful jazz drifted from the iPod dock on her nightstand. What terrified him most, though, was the spot of blood marring the door frame and the lone pink sandal lying in the living room floor beside her purse, keys, and cell phone.

His heart lurched. He couldn’t breathe, couldn’t think. Simply could not absorb that she was missing. They’d been engaged for five months and three days, with only a month to go until the wedding. They should be mulling over the guest list, squabbling about which hotel to pick for their honeymoon, and deciding where they wanted to live.

Instead, Sam stared at an empty bed.

“There’s no sign of forced entry, so she either let the guy in or he jumped her when she went after the paper this morning.” Major Sabbatini’s voice seemed to come from far away. “I’m thinking she fought him off and ran, and he caught her here in the bedroom.”

“She would have clawed him.” Hell, she would’ve drawn blood with those nails. Sam should know. He had the marks on his back to prove it. Moisture blurred his vision as he eyed the smudge on the door jamb. “She… she just had her nails done a couple of days ago. They’re like talons.”

“We’ll check that blood for DNA. You know that. What were her plans for today?”

“Um… just work, far as I know. She and I were supposed to have lunch.” Sam shook his head. “Then tonight, she was going to a wedding shower. I just—”

“When was the last time you spoke with her?”

“Late last night.” Sam’s eyes fell on a partially filled mug on the table beside Kristen’s favorite chair, where she liked to read, and a hard knot formed in the center of his chest. “She didn’t… didn’t… even finish her coffee. She loves coffee.”

“We’re gonna find her, son.”

“You don’t know that.” Sam’s voice cracked. He turned to his boss. “What if I never see her again?”

13 comments to “Guest Blogger: Melanie Atkins”

  1. Melanie Atkins
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    1
      · March 1st, 2013 at 9:58 am · Link

    Thanks so much for hosting me today, Delilah. Couldn’t help but vent about the neighbors. I’m so happy they’re gone but want the bank to change the locks so the door will stay shut.

    I plan to use the situation, or at least an abandoned house, in a book one day. I’ve come up with all sorts of wild scenarios. lol



  2. Edie Ramer
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      · March 1st, 2013 at 10:44 am · Link

    Melanie, great excerpt! And horrible neighbors. You should put them in another book. :)



  3. Paisley Kirkpatrick
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    3
      · March 1st, 2013 at 11:30 am · Link

    I cannot believe people live like that, Melanie. Fortunately we’ve not endured such rudeness. You must have the patience of a saint not to have run them out of the neighborhood after a few months.

    Your story sounds really good. I am already worried about Kristen. I hope they find her alive. My daughter’s name is Kristen so it came natural to me. :) Best of luck with your story.



  4. Pepper Phillips
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    4
      · March 1st, 2013 at 11:41 am · Link

    I imagine that someone (wink, wink) should go over there and nail the door shut.

    Thankfully, we’ve never had neighbors like that, but they do manage to blossom like weeds. Them being deadbeats as well, stands to reason.



  5. Anne
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    5
      · March 1st, 2013 at 11:58 am · Link

    Nothing to that degree! I do have new neighbors and I’ve called the cops twice in 2 months because of screaming. Apparently the two adults(?!?) broke up and the mom is so stressed or she never did know how to parent because she always yells at the top of her lungs at the kids. In an apartment building. I heard her scream, “Get out, get out” and called the police asap thinking the guy had forced his way in. It was her yelling at the kids. But, you don’t know.



  6. Melanie Atkins
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    6
      · March 1st, 2013 at 1:26 pm · Link

    I’m glad nobody else so far has lived next to people like the ones who used to live beside me. This is a nice neighborhood, and everyone else keeps their yards and homes in good shape. They were an anomaly, thank goodness. I just hope someone nice moves in there once whoever buys it fixes up the place.



  7. Rachelle Lerner
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    7
      · March 1st, 2013 at 2:54 pm · Link

    We had to get rid of a toilet. a neighbor complained so I planted flowers in it and then covered the bottom with material and left it until the next trash collection, on purpose.



  8. Melanie Atkins
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      · March 1st, 2013 at 4:08 pm · Link

    Hahaha! Now, that was creative, Rachelle!



  9. Mary Marvella
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      · March 1st, 2013 at 5:09 pm · Link

    You got me with that one, Rachelle!

    I did have neighbors who were concerned that I had a 64 1/2 Mustang with dead tires. It was parked at the end of my driveway, visible only 1 neighbor. I knew there was a rule about cars on blocks in yards.
    The City cops left me several notes and I bought a larger cover and pulled it low. I finally got the ex hubby’s old Mustang out of my garage.
    Did I mention a neighbor offered to buy my Mustang, but I turned him down?
    Hmmmm. :roll:



  10. Mary Marvella
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    10
      · March 1st, 2013 at 5:10 pm · Link

    correction: :oops:
    visible to only 1 neighbor



  11. Melanie Atkins
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    11
      · March 1st, 2013 at 5:21 pm · Link

    lol Mary! Having one car out there is different from your yard looking like a junkyard or a parking lot. I once counted ten cars in their driveway and on their lawn. Only about six of them ran. When one quit running, they’d just push it into the backyard.



  12. Melissa Porter
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      · March 1st, 2013 at 11:35 pm · Link

    I think the neighbors live in front of me…. I wish they would move.
    The summer before their kids caught the trees on fire. When we had a no burning warning going on. They have a wrap around drive way full of broke down cars. They tear them apart and part them out then leave the remains of it there. Even ones that they cut the frames apart so they can use parts of it. Oil is dumped everywhere around the drive ways. Under their porch is where they stash all of their garbage for they are lazy and will not haul it to the dump (we don’t have pick up out here). GROSS… The did the weatherization (sp??) program. That is were the state of Alaska will help insulate your house for the winter. Well the people that were doing it ended up taking four truck (full size) loads to the dump of garbage bags that were full.
    I called the human society on their kids. They took a puppy and was dangling it from the upstairs window.
    The parents did not really care what the kids were doing as long as they were out of their hair. Four wheelers at all times of night. Cars in and out all day and all night… It never ends. It is like a revolving door at their house. I wonder what goes on at times. Somedays I have to just “try” and overlook their house.



  13. Terri
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      · March 2nd, 2013 at 12:03 pm · Link

    WOW! I cannot even imagine that. We had great neighbours, everywhere I can remember living. Although at one point I thought we had become those people.

    My in-laws had very good friends who moved from Newfoundland, where they all met, to Ontario, and the husband was a handy man. They were coming out every couple of weekends to spend time so they decided to bring their own trailer. It was an old dilapidated mess on the outside that Gary had fixed up on the inside for them. I shuttered every time I saw the thing. They eventually moved back to Newfoundland and left it for us. It took me a couple of months to convince my FIL to move the thing out of our yard. At least we didn’t have garbage strewn everywhere. And our neighbours know us well enough to know that we are NOT rednecks.

    FWIW – I am with Pepper – a few well placed boards might resolve the open door issue.

    Terri