A story about a abandoned old home and your journey through it. (written in second person)
|A door opens. Not one of those fabled “doors of opportunity”. When this door closes another one doesn’t open. This door is a one way ticket to....you guessed it! A house. Not a home. Its worn varnish has peeled away and left it looking pale and ragged. The old stained glass windows are dusty and a small grey spider scuttles up the faded floral designs. As if looking through the eyes of a bobtail unable to see what’s going on around you, you cautiously take a step forward, through the door into the shabby remains of what must have been a “happy loving home” once...right?
You survey your new surroundings. The realtor’s ad declared it a “Renovators Dream!” and now you see why. You’re standing in what any middle class suburban housewife might have called a “Foyer” if it was in better condition. As is, you must make do with plainer, less expensive descriptors like “Entrance” and “Doorway”. The place is more dilapidated than you first thought. Renovators dream? Try nightmare. Already you can see that this place is going to be like a wine stain on a new carpet. Ugly and hard to get rid of. Speaking of carpets you’ve just seen what (according to the yellowed house plans sitting in your car) must be the formal lounge and, a little further in, dining areas. The carpets shows the vaguest hint of what must have been the traditional “mauve” coloured carpet that was all the rage back in the day. Right now however its closer to a grimy brown. Patches of it have been torn up, burnt to a crisp and smeared in God knows what. The walls are just as bad. The tired paint seems to beg to be put to rest...the plaster sags a little. Like an old man developing a beer gut.
The house is haunted by relics of memories long forgotten by those they should have meant something to. Furniture is scattered around the house covered in oversized bed sheets ranging from your standard “pale blue” to pinstriped frilling. Your hand grasps at the edge of one faded “Disney Princess” design and, accompanied by a small cloud of dust, you sweep it off the strange profile in the corner of the “Formal Dining” area. It appears to be a stack of paintings. The first thing you notice is the large grey bands of electric tape crisscrossing over the expanse of the first frame. You see a long lashed resplendent eye identical to your own peeping back at you through all the sticky tape and you realise what you’re looking at, a large mirror as wide as the wall it’s leaning against. The tape is keeping all the pieces together. It, like every other part of the house so far, looks like it’s been hit with a sledge hammer. Cracks spread across the reflective glass like a spider’s web all the way to its ornate ceramic borders. Whoever made this was an artistic genius. Although worn around the edges the paint has held well over the years and the golden bronze that the mirror was edged with seems to add some sort of life to your seriously dilapidated surroundings.
You straighten; abandoning the tragic sight you continue your exploration through the French doors and into the kitchen. Everything is burnt and charred. Where the stove top should have been there’s a gaping hole and the remnants of the cupboard that lay beneath it. There are two double doors which - although black with soot - don’t appear to have been destroyed completely, and upon opening them you start back in fright as insects and creatures of the night burst forth in a bid for escape.
You speak aloud for the first time since entering the house. “What the hell happened here?” The silence which follows is eerie. Echoing with the sounds of creaking floor boards and tired furniture as well as the sounds of...light switches flicking on and off? A chill travels down your spine and in an effort to shake it off and escape you run into hallway leading to what used to be bedrooms. You have no idea who used to live here but you’ve already realised simply from the sheets on the things around you that there must have been kids living here as well. You wander into the first of two bedrooms that lead of this particular corridor and discover nothing. The walls are plain, dirty and the room is practically empty. The window is broken and the strong winds you faced earlier penetrate the room. The ceiling fan hangs by a single rotting cord and you watch helplessly as the wind rocks the metal structure from side to side and on the third swing it plummets to the floor shattering its glass globe and becomes stuck in the floor boards.
Shutting the door you head to the next bedroom hoping for a slightly more promising picture than the one you’ve just left. This room obviously belonged to a girl. The walls bear the faded floral designs that only a girl would live with willingly. The room is basically intact. Everything has been left standing in this room. You see the outline of a bookcase, a smallish desk and what must have been the bed over in the corner. In the centre of the bed is a cast iron box no bigger than that of the standard shoe box. It is the only thing you have seen so far that has not been protected by a sheet. Curious, you open the lid of the box and peer inside. There are few items in there but they all seem to be journals. There is no name. You open the first and begin to read it.
The Empty Glass
" I sit here, on the aged old leather couch, staring at the empty glass sitting on the counter. There’s a dull ringing sound in my ears as if I’ve been to a concert where the girls just don’t stop screaming their adulations. Dried tears crust my cheeks. I’m sitting ramrod straight. Tense. Unmoving and expressionless. I do not blink. My chin droops as I hang my head. I wonder how I got to this point...where I have nothing left.
I close my eyes and put my head in my hands, visibly breaking in two. The memories are crushing me.
An overturned photograph sits in the dusty cabinet in the corner of the room. Though I can’t see I know whose faces I’ve attempted to shut out. The happy memories that just make me want to die.
It’s a picture of my best mates and I. Smiling, happy. Back when I wasn’t alone. When the air in my apartment didn’t suffocate and back when the empty glass sitting on the counter was at the very least half full. "
After this the page is torn away and the remainder of the book has been ripped out.
More confused than when you walked in you decide that enough is enough. Reaching into your pocket you pull out a new mobile phone and call your partner. You want everything moved out. Everything except the old mirror in the formal dining at the front of the house...
You take your time walking through the decrepit remains of what was someone’s home. You still don’t understand how came to be this way. You walk through the front door and give it a loving pat. You promise the aged walls that they will be restored to their former vigour and leave the nightmarish scene with the hope that you will be able to reinvigorate the house and chase away the darkness that lies within.