The House – 2c

The House (500Words, Week 2, Day 3, 12/27/17)

At the end of a winding road stood a massive piece of architecture. Built before plans were done on paper, the house stood, almost defiantly, alone on the large plot of land. There were fourteen trees surrounding the house. The ones on the sides, three on the right and three on the left, were tall and thick and full of fat green leaves. In the front and the back grew stolid evergreens, four across the back and two on either side of the ornate front door.

The bold brick façade seemed to swallow the sun as it passed. It had three stories to contend with, and small fourth story that perched dead center on the building. The windows were set up in such a way that it felt like the house staring at passerby, each trimmed in a different color. The roof hung over on all four edges, far enough to create something of a moat around the house where plants would not grow. Beyond this dead space the grass was green and lush and full of life.

The house was empty. Its walls were multi-colored only because of the bright spots left by missing paintings and pictures. The floor had texture only because of the clean spots made by rugs that had disappeared. The chairs missed their cushions, as did what used to be the sofa. The tables, tall and low, held nothing beyond scratches and stains. The light from outside was the only thing that filled the rooms, and only that because the curtains and blinds and shades were all gone.

The house was empty. It was not quiet.

Each room sang a different song. Crafted by the wind sneaking through the gaps and cracks, and the shudders from the unstable studs, the house was full of sounds. Treble and bass clefs were well represented. Taken all together there were harmonies present, filling the space left by missing things.

The house was empty. It was not odorless.

Smells clung to the walls and the furniture, serving as unspoken memories of the people and things that once were. Pet smells in and around the chairs. Food smells in the kitchen and in rooms upstairs. The dank smells of death danced with the lingering smells of tobacco. Damp scents hovered around the stairs and bathrooms, empty though they were. Perfume wafted in and around it all, making the house feel like it had been empty for years and as if people had just left, closing the door behind them.

The house was empty. It was not dead.

Life persisted there, in the corners and behind the walls. Spiders continued their busy work up high by the ceiling, still in hiding out of habit. The scuffling of mice added to the songs and smells of the house. Silent creatures with more legs than were useful stood frozen behind pipes. Moths danced around in closets, looking for food that wasn’t there. Only the dust mites were content and still thanks to all the source material left for them.




* All 500Words are fiction.  Any resemblance to people or events is strictly coincidental. *


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