Saturday, March 11, 2017

Lonely House

picture source:

In an ordinary street stands a square double-storey house in the centre of a large piece of ground.  It’s surrounded by tall proud pines that sing in the wind and fill the air with their clear green presence.  A low stone wall braces an ancient mesh gate standing slightly ajar, random stones leading to the steps of a deep veranda.  She has seen this house many times before, never seen a soul in the wild garden, not a car, sometimes a cat sunned itself on the wall.

She didn’t know why she entered here, late this Friday night.  She didn’t know who would answer the door, or what she would say, but the light of the moon propelled her forward without thought, without fear.  Her footsteps made no sound as she crossed the polished red cement to the front door.  Her knock was soft but self-assured, not a tremble in her hands as she waited, then she lifted her hand once more and turned the brass doorknob.  Unlocked, the door swung open in a silent rush.

Soundlessly she stepped inside into a seemingly empty space.  A large threadbare Persian formed an island on the wooden floors, on the mantelpiece above a fireplace three candles flickered, casting a warm glow.  Long lace curtains floated with the breeze, moonlight dancing with shadows shy in the ballroom, their midnight dance.

She absorbed the room, her eyes searched the dark corners, a wingback chair over there, a guitar leaning against the armrest, a low table with an empty glass, a dirty ashtray and silence, the deep slow breathing of a sleeping house.

She moved toward the back of the house, past a half-closed door, a bathroom, into the kitchen, wooden tops, table and chairs, the back door standing open, it always stands open.  Turning back she went up the stairs running her hand over the warm smooth banister, following her instinct, as if she knew what she would find.  The smell is the same, the energy familiar, even the rhythm of her heartbeat is in sync with the breath of a motionless form on a bed half hidden from the shimmering stars.

“……it’s been 5 years,” says a voice from the past, again the silence, the sound of a distant car, “I have seen you, walking past….. sometimes you slowed and looked up to this window…… you never stopped.  I always wondered what you were thinking, why did you look, what did you look for.  And when you walked past I wondered when you would stop, knock on my door, 5 years….. why did you come here now?”

And still there's only silence, stretching time out of proportion, a deep, deep sigh fills the air as she turns over in her sleep.


  1. Marvelously written. The ending takes a while to hit you. How fitting.

  2. hello shadow its dennis the vizsla dog hay i do not like an empty howse on akkownt of i hav sumthing kalld separayshun anksietee but as long as mama is arownd i am all rite so i wil preetend that the lady in this storry is my mama and then evrything wil be fine!!! ok bye

  3. This is so atmospheric and wonderfully descriptive. I was with her every step of the way - until those few final words!

  4. Oh my goodness....only a dream? You had me as she walked the red walkway to the door from her silent footsteps. Then, was a dream.

    I think you meant 'island' instead of inland?! Not sure. [the rug]

    1. know Anni, didn't quite know where to go without having to write a whole lot more, so this scenario flitted across my mind, hee heeee heee

      And I do mean 'island', thank you for that *smiles*

  5. There is always a dream of "home & hearth" to get one through the longing nights. Perhaps the dreamer could wake and go back, perhaps not, dreams are good.

  6. her house of a heart,
    in her hidden rooms,
    - my scent lingers

    “But I have sometimes thought that a woman's nature is like a great house full of rooms: there is the hall, through which everyone passes in going in and out; the drawing-room, where one receives formal visits; the sitting-room, where the members of the family come and go as they list; but beyond that, far beyond, are other rooms, the handles of whose doors perhaps are never turned; no one knows the way to them, no one knows whither they lead; and in the innermost room, the holy of holies, the soul sits alone and waits for a footstep that never comes.”

    ― Edith Wharton, The Ghost Stories of Edith Wharton