A story of 517 words written for the August 19 'No Dialogue Competition'.
| Silent Witness
It takes them all in, those secrets, and holds them close. The walls listen, the windows see all, and the doors slam shut to hold them in. Those secrets? They are quite safe. There will not be a whisper, or a murmur of gossip, made by this building.
It is far from new. In fact it has been standing here, home to many a family, for hundreds of years. It has breathed those secrets in and soaked them up, letting them sink all the way down to its foundations where they have become somewhat of a murky malevolent mess.
There have been birthdays and celebrations, happy chatter and laughing play. The air was so light on days such as this; the light that much brighter. If you had been there and looked you might have seen the walls shimmer with unaccustomed delight.
Far more frequent were the dull days, the dreary days, where everything was so run-of-the mill; same after same after same. Nothing to make them in any way memorable or remarkable.
It has been the black days, with their sordid secrets, that have held pride of place; these are the ones that always will.
The shouts have wormed their way in to the brickwork, becoming a part of the mortar itself. The blood, spilled on more than one occasion, has soaked deeply in to the floor. The windows have listened to the words of forbidden love, of clandestine meetings, adulterous whispers. They have heard the curses, the accusations and recriminations. The doors have opened and closed to all of the comings and goings, the to-ings and fro-ings; the people that have arrived and departed.
Every single secret has been held in place, unspoken.
But now there are new people arriving, bringing their own convoluted lives. The house simply does not have enough space to hold any more, to hide one extra secret. It's got to let some go, free some space. It needs to exorcise its ghosts.
On the darkest of nights, there's a rush on the stairs; but take a look and you'll find that there is no one there. Windows will blow open and doors will slam shut in a frenetic display of displaced energy. Some of those secrets simply have to go!
The entire house begins to shake, from the very depths of its foundation to the top of the chimney stack. It judders as those secrets sob and moan. For a moment it is touch and go, whether the house has the strength of will to stay standing. It will silently spit some safely held secrets out to the stream, to flow to the river and then to the sea before vanishing deep within the waves. So many of the sea's depths have yet to be explored. Those secrets are quite safe there.
And now the door stands open. The house is ready, prepared to welcome you inside. It's watching and waiting in a kind of subdued anticipation, because it knows that no matter the stability of its new occupants, they, too, will soon have many secrets to share.