Sometime last year, I wrote the following short story for a contest with the prompt “Write a story about an abandoned home”. Since I just moved into my new home (and needed a well-needed break from “moving chores”), I thought I’d share it with you. I mean, I didn’t win the contest, so I can share, right? ‘Cause, I still like it!!! Not even mad I didn’t win. Much… 😉
Don’t hesitate to share your thoughts, I’d love to read you!
Home also moans.
Sometimes, Home even cracks.
And whenever the wind picks up, it sounds like Home is singing. Not that she has a reason to sing. How could she be singing when there hasn’t been anyone to love her for so long?
There isn’t much wind today, so all Home can do is keep quiet as she remembers the last person who truly loved her.
Rebecca, who came into the world right there in the upstairs bedroom, then went on to stay with Home for almost a whole century. When she uttered her last breath, it was also in the room upstairs, the best room of the house, or so Home believes.
Not only because it was Rebecca’s for most of her life, but because it was the only bedroom that had a window facing East. Every morning, Rebecca would rise with the sun, Home waking up with her. Less than an hour later, Home would be filled with the warmth of breakfast, family, and love.
Rebecca never left Home, creating her own family within her instead. She brought in a husband, Thomas, and three children: Junior, Sarah, and Mary. Home loved them all fiercely, just like she had loved Rebecca’s parents and family before them.
Sitting at the edge of the now infertile plot of land, Home recalls the better days, her fragile frame trembling under the march of the termites. She remembers the children, running around the yard and letting out cries of laughter. She remembers Rebecca and Thomas sitting in the swing as they watched the sunset. She can still smell the comforting aroma of the stain Rebecca would massage into her wooden porch every spring.
When the children grew up and left, Home hoped they would return. They never did, not really. And then it was Thomas’ turn to leave, but Home knew he wouldn’t come back. Like Rebecca’s parents did a long time ago, Thomas had died. Home had been old enough to understand that what died never came back.
She had witnessed death too often, mostly with the pets the family would love to keep. They liked dogs, mostly, to Home’s utter dismay. She didn’t like them so much, mostly because of how they would urinate on her, scratch her walls, and chew on her bones.
Then, for many years, it was just Home and Rebecca getting old together, not a single dog in sight. The grown children would come to see them sometimes, but they would never stay for long. And too often, they would try to convince Rebecca to leave Home. She always refused, to Home’s thankful relief.
Until that one time, many years before Rebecca died. She did leave, long enough for Home to start believing she would never come back. The children would come by once in a while to water the plants and make sure Home was doing okay, but they never stayed for more than an hour at a time.
When Rebecca eventually came back, Home could see she had gotten much older and slower. Still, no matter how her children tried to convince her to leave Home, Rebecca refused. If Home could have sung her joy or hugged Rebecca, she would have done it. Instead, she made sure Rebecca was as comfortable as possible by keeping her safe and warm.
Home felt content, up until that morning Rebecca failed to wake up. The sun filtered warm and bright through the window, but Rebecca never saw its light or felt its warmth. For a whole week after that, Home was filled to the brim with people exuding pain and sadness, mirroring the ache in her own heart.
For some time, the children would come to go through everything Home had been keeping safe over the years. All that Rebecca had ever touched trickled out the front door until Home was mostly empty for the first time since forever.
Everything and everyone had left, leaving Home alone, dark, and cold.
She kept hoping to see the children come back. They never did, not even for a visit. A strange man came to plant a sign on the front lawn, leading Home to eventually understand that her family had decided to get rid of her.
The realization fell over her like a weight she never was able to shake. Not that she hadn’t hoped it would happen. Every time someone would come to take a look at her, Home prayed they would see all the love she had to give. Sadly, nobody ever did.
Eventually, the stranger stopped bringing people in. The sign on the front lawn fell over, and the dust settled over every exposed surface. That was the moment Home lost hope.
She lost parts of her roof and most of her shutters during a particularly violent storm some years later. Her once bright yellow paint had faded and had begun to crack and peel. She felt old, worn out, and so very dirty.
Her insides mirrored the outside, slowly fading away. Not a room was spared, not even Rebecca’s. Feasting on the little that had been left were mites, rats, and termites.
Ever so lonely, Home was grateful for the critters and bugs, as it reminded her of how lively she once was. When winter would strike, she tried her best to keep the cold from seeping in, glad to at least be able to offer some kind of shelter.
She couldn’t even find herself getting mad when humans came to hurt her rather than love her. They smashed her windows, they peeled her wallpaper, they ripped up her carpets, they wrote on her walls. Still, she felt blessed because she wasn’t on her own anymore.
It didn’t last. Soon, there was nothing left to be torn apart or written on. She couldn’t even protect anyone from the elements anymore. Even the animals abandoned her when winter came, in dire need of true shelter.
At least the bugs stayed, and Home chose to be thankful. Even though they slept most of the time. Home did the same, because what else was there to do?
Now, most of the walls have rotted out, the roof is close to inexistent, and Home herself is tired to the little bones she has left. She knows parts of her frame will let go soon, and she wonders if that means that she will die, too.
That right there is some kind of comfort for Home, who every day silently prays for the wind to take her away.