Feb 13

The House

NOTE: This is part of the Sprout1 Challenge. This piece was written by an anonymous writer during Vermont Writes Day, and we loved how it started us thinking. How about you? If you would like to extend this story, please click the SPROUT button below and continue it. If you find lots of sprouts, and we hope you will over time, and you like where someone else has taken this, sprout that post. Have fun. And we thank whoever posted this on vermontwritesday.org on Friday, Feb. 10, 2017. (We have made a few edits, by the way.)

The night is dark and rainy, as usual in this part of the world. I live on an old cobblestone street. The houses are faded and aged, most have peeling paint and drooping porches. Most of the houses are separated only by a thin alley, and when you walk down them, your footsteps seem to echo. Each house, even my own, is gloomy in its own way, a sign of changing times. Once they heralded the vibrant life here, my parents say, when there were jobs and purpose, but now many are vacant and forgotten.

There is one house though that is the most distinct. I walk by it every day to and from school. Sometimes, like tonight, I like to just walk and look at it. It is the largest house on the street with extra lots on either side that once held gardens and trees, now overgrown with vines and decay. The house has a slate roof that has withstood years of neglect. It has been vacant for my lifetime and more, say my parents, who have never seen anyone live in it either. 

On this night, as I take my dog for his walk, I head up the street towards the house. In our few working street lights I can see its elegance and beauty. I can see, too, its mystery. It's kind of creepy. As I get closer, I see something odd, unexpected; something I have never seen before: A lamp flickers in a second floor room.  

For a second I can't believe my eyes. My comfort in the view of this once elegant house fades instantly to dread, fear. Am I imagining things? I don’t think so. But it just doesn’t make sense. The house is overgrown; the porch is almost impenetrable; it is probably infested with rats and other critters. It’s not possible for someone to live there, yet there it is a light in the window. A kerosene lamp? I see a shadow...

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