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— by Happy Grasshopper

A Mansion, a Necromancer and a Realtor®

Down a dark lane, in a forgotten corner of town, surrounded by overgrown trees, you will find an old mansion. It’s not as grand as it once was, merely a shadow of its former self. Occasionally, you will see the lights in the windows or a shadow skirting past the front door. No one is sure what has become of its occupant, but the stories grow each year – especially in October as All Hallows Eve approaches.

In a corner coffee shop, there sits a woman, sipping her hot tea and reading the real estate section not far from the house. Red pen in hand, she feverishly circles ads, hacking and slashing at the pages. Rumor has it, she lives in the old mansion. The legend also states she was once a remarkably successful real estate broker until her business slowly withered and died.

The idea sends shivers down most real estate agent’s backs. There is nothing more horrifying in real estate than that, is there? Perhaps, but perhaps not. A slight figure approached the woman from across the room, “Is this seat taken?” they inquired.

The woman jumped – nearly dropping her red pen on the floor. She quickly looked over the less than intimidating figure and stated, “No, it is not. Feel free to take it.” She gestured away from her table. The figure silently moved into the seat with such speed that the woman wasn’t sure what she was seeing. She slid her reading spectacles halfway down her nose, looking the other up and down before she went back to her real estate section.

“Are you Betty?” the figure asked. The woman looked shocked; she quickly glanced down to see if she had her name badge on – but she had stopped wearing that years ago.

“Who are you?” Betty asked. The air became still and ice cold, the window adjacent to Betty’s seat frosted up as though a cold arctic blast had hit it. This is Savannah, not Boston – where did it come from? Betty pulled up the collar on her jacket. The figure seemed to grin while not moving its face. It’s Face. What is that? Or was that?

“Madam, I am Sebastian Malcorde; I am a specialist of sorts – the type which I think might be able to help you. I understand, my dear Ms. Whitehall, you were once the belle of the town – the queen of real estate. Is that correct?” Sebastian seemed to know the answer. Betty nodded slightly, with a slight sideways smile.

“Excellent. The tales I have heard, you neglected your sphere of influence and your past clients. Then, fairly soon after, your business came to a halt, the end wasn’t too sudden, but it certainly felt that way, didn’t it?” 

Betty took a deep breath, fondly letting her mind wander to the days when her business was booming, and her database was humming. Oh, the happy and bright days of yore. Sebastian was right – in her hay day, Betty was popular, successful, and had leads coming in left and right. Business – and life – were good. She was able to spend time with her family, support her community, and do things she wanted to do.

And then, like a puff of smoke, it was gone. Her lead sources dried up, advertising costs skyrocketed, and business started shrinking. Now she has to work 12 and 16 hour days just to support herself. Family time is nearly non-existent, let alone time for a vacation or her beloved volunteer work. She is a shell of the agent she once was and there is no way back. Or is there?

“So, what of it, Mr. Malcorde? The past is the past, is it not?” She was getting a little annoyed with the mysterious questions, attitude, and what felt like a horrific reminder of what she let slip away.

“I apologize for my caution, Ms. Whitehall. It’s a topic I broach cautiously – as not everyone is a fan of the dark arts. Do you know what I mean?” She looked intrigued, so Sebastian continued, “It seems you might. Have you heard of necromancy, Betty – may I call you Betty?”

“Yes, you may, and yes, I have. What does communicating with the dead have to do with me? I am alive and well, thank you very much.”

“What if I told you I could bring your real estate business back to life? Would you be interested?” He certainly got her attention now. She raised her eyebrow and leaned forward a bit, beckoning Sebastian to continue speaking. “Good. I know of such a place and a way to revive your business and get your cold, dead database to spring to life. It will be more glorious than it ever was. Intrigued?”

“You’re mad and an old fool. My business and database are dead, beyond repair or relief. Stop wasting my time with such foolishness. You might as well tell me you’re a genie, and I may have three wishes.”

“How did you guess?” Before Betty knew it, she was magically relocated to her home office, overlooking the shrubs which shrouded her home from the cul-de-sac below. The better to keep from the gawking eyes of those other REALTORS® touring the street to see what becomes of a real estate agent who neglects her contacts and allows their business to die. 

She quickly drew the blinds once she was reoriented, turning to the mysterious Sebastian. He had now seated himself at her desk and was quickly sorting through her contact lists, spreadsheets, and other methods of containing her contact list that included her sphere of influence and past clients.

Through the eerie glow of the computer screen, Sebastian made a promise – “I can revive your real estate business, returning it from this state of the undead to the realm of the living. Your zombie contacts will rise from the ashes and welcome you back with repeat business and referrals. Watch, and I will show you.”

Sebastian’s hands flew over the keyboard, landed on a website, and within moments had sent an email.

“That’s all?” she asked.

Sebastian smiled wryly and pointed to her cellphone, lying on the desk covered in dust. Suddenly it sprung to life, vibrating with notifications of new emails, text messages, and she even thought she heard the phone ring. These sounds had haunted her nightmares, reminding her of what she had lost. And with one press of the send button, they had returned. 

Within a few minutes, her clients and her contacts were sending her messages. She was overwhelmed with excitement. She turned to ask Sebastian what this secret was, but he was gone. The only thing left in his place was a URL written in the dust.

For Betty, this mysterious visitor had brought her intrigue, promise, and hope – her zombie database was rising up from the earth, her business back from the dead – pulsing with life and opportunity. It was all beyond her wildest dreams; only it was now her reality.

What’s your nightmare? Do you have a zombie database? Bring it back to life with LCA Nurture… without a spooky Halloween visitor.

 

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