Last week, I gave myself a writing prompt of 5 words: abandoned, nurture, trimming, silently, cupboards, and clocked ten minutes on the countdown timer on my cellphone. Now that I go back to it after a few days, I don’t hate it so much, so I thought I will post it here:
They have grown silently around the abandoned house, those creepers, those creatures of nature and of stealth. They have piled in through the broken basement windows, they have grown over the cracks on the steps, they have climbed the steps to the forgotten bedrooms. They will not leave the house well enough alone because man makes homes, but Nature nurtures graves.
The house has stood here silently on the mound under the dripping rain, the blazing sun, and you have seen it change its face. It has grown old with you, like you: you, whose nails need trimming, whose clothes need mending, whose table needs cleaning, whose utensils need washing. And so is the house with its wild lawns, its rusty banisters, cobwebbed chandeliers, broken gates, and nesting sparrows.
You and the house have grown old together, silently and alone, like old friends. Those who left you in hate, left the house at the same time, but you do not wait for them, and the house does not, either. You await death and the house waits for demolition, and meanwhile it is a rambling old place where a boy or two can find adventure, where a homeless man can find shelter from the rain.
But you do not welcome the boy or the homeless man, you wander like a ghost in the house, and keep out the real ghosts who do not want to step into this wanton seclusion, this morbid togetherness. The shadows of the house cling to you when you take out your aged car, it waits patiently for you to return, because it knows you will.
It is alive, dying, and pulling you in with it all the time into its corridors of no sunlight and stale air, into its musty cupboards with doors thrown ajar, its old kitchen with the burst oven, its leaky roof, its dark cellars and its noisy chimney on stormy nights. Even the fireplace throws out more shadows than light.
The house has its eyes, it has its nose and teeth, and all work together to keep you in and others out. Don’t you see its arms holding you back, pulling you inexorably in, in, in, in, always in—no light for you, no life, and that is the way the house wants it. I know you want it the same way too, but today I stand here, calling to you. Won’t you listen, just this once? Or will you pick up my call, fold it over and toss into the bin across your bed?
You have to decide, because this will be the only call that will ever come, the call from me to you.