"Me neither," said Bones.
"Maybe we could visit him?"
"He doesn't like having visitors. Remember?"
Rod had told us over and over not to bother coming to see him.
"I can't have visitors," he'd said. "My Mum and Dad don't like them. They never let anyone into the house, even if they knock on the door all day!"
There wasn't much else to do so I dragged my bike out of the garage. Bones got onto my sister's bike and came after me. He didn't like riding a girl's bike, but it was better than going all the way home for his own.
Rod lived miles out of town. It took us over an hour to get to his place. It was up a long shingle road with only a telephone line and some fences to look at, and a few sheep. We were glad to reach the end of that road, I can tell you!
"There's his house!" said Bones, pointing.
I had a second look at the number on the letterbox.
"Nobody'd live there!" I said. "It's just about ready to fall down!"
The house really was a mess. It had a verandah with a sagging roof and missing boards. It had cracked windows and walls with big gaps in them where the borer and fungi had eaten the wood. There was grass growing from the guttering and ivy all over the chimney. You could see bird's nests all along the eaves too, and a tree was growing through the front steps pushing the concrete blocks sideways.
Bones and I looked in wonder at the house as we pushed our bikes nearer. It was strangely silent. No birds were singing; no crickets were creaking. Not even a sheep was bleating.
"Might be haunted?" said Bones hopefully.
"Do you want to try the door?"