The realtor enters first, staring in fascination at the outdated furniture and décor. The air feels heavy with dust and it tickles the back of his throat.
Awkwardly, he remembers and steps aside to let the other man in.
He steps inside after the realtor and, like him, stops to take it all in. He scans the room, absorbing the old furniture, the layer of dust covering everything like a shroud. The dust in the air is heavy and gives his throat a dry tickle that makes him want to cough.
With a distracted nod to the realtor, he steps further into the house, feeling a momentary pang of regret for not taking his shoes off. “You are supposed to take your shoes off when you enter someone’s home,” he thinks. He looks around taking it all in.
“It’s eerie how the house feels like the family just left it moments ago, like they are about to come back at any time. The house looks lived in, except for the thirty years of dust coating everything and the vague feeling of abandonment.”
The mostly green cover of a comic book left laying open on the floor catches his eye. He picks up the comic book and looks at it, trying not to disturb too much of the dust clinging to it. It’s unavoidable, his fingers rub smudges in the dust coating the old comic book. The Thing, an orange blocky comic book creation made of stone, part monster and all hero. On the cover, The Thing appears to be battling a many-armed green wall, the green arms surrounding him in a barrage of punching fists. Marvel Comics, The Thing issue #21 dated March 1985. The price on it is sixty cents.
The top front corner is curled from a boy’s rough handling.
He puts it down with a frown, wondering if it’s worth anything on the collectors’ market. He can’t take it, though. It belongs to the municipality, along with the property and its contents. At least until after the auction. He hopes the realtor didn’t notice it.
“How often do realtors scoop up gems like this without anyone ever knowing?” he wonders.
Against the wall on a stand, a tube T.V. with its faux wood exterior box, two front dials, and bent rabbit ears poking up from the top at the back, sits darkly silent, a haze of dust coating every surface.
He walks through the house, past a pair of socks discarded on the floor, and into the kitchen.
“Did you say they still lived here after the boys vanished?” he called to the realtor in the other room.
The realtor is studying the spines of books in a bookcase on one wall. It’s made of the old particleboard that expands and crumbles when it absorbs moisture, which it inevitably does over time. The shelves have some warping and bubbling, crumbled on some edges.
“Yes, I don’t know how long. They lived here while the search for the boys was going, and for some time after the search was given up.”
“And the husband moved out, leaving the mother alone?”
“I don’t know. Months? Years? They locked the place when they took her away. Like I said, we’re the first to set foot in the house since they institutionalized her.”
He leaves the bookshelf and starts for the kitchen.
In the kitchen, the buyer walks around, taking in the two tea towels carefully hung on the oven door handle, yellowed and rotting with age. The teakettle on the stovetop. On the countertop, a measuring cup sits next to a mixing bowl with a wooden spoon. Two bags he guesses are flour and sugar bags sit next them. The bags are faded and stained with age, the paper brittle with age, and even the larger print words hard to read.
“Looks like someone was going to make a cake.”
He turns away, circling the table, studying the place settings set with care.
An old tan rotary dial phone hangs on the wall not far from the kitchen table, where the person on the phone can sit down at the table while they talk, the coiled cord stretched from them to the phone on the wall.
The realtor walks in and looks around, his footprints in the dust coating the kitchen floor joining those following the buyer’s trail across the room. “Weird, the table is set for four.”
“For her family.” It is said with a dull gravity that makes the realtor turn and stare at him.
He breaks the awkward moment.
“I’ll show you the bedrooms. There’s three bedrooms, I think.”
* * *** ** *** ** *** **
While writing can be a panacea for stress, finding the time for it in a busy schedule can be a seemingly insurmountable challenge to circumvent.
Things get hectic and perhaps you feel like you have lost control of even the little things (like your unread emails!). It’s well worth finding that little niche of writing time. Even writing these little bits, like the very short chapters of The Woods, can help keep that inspiration alive to feed the bigger stories brewing behind your hectic day of everyday life.
Some of my blogs are woefully neglected. I try to find the little ways I can contribute and keep in touch with the world.
I am still plugging away when I can at those other writing projects. Always in hopes of making significant progress.
Then again, the best progress could be sitting on the deck with a large glass of wine and looking out at those marvelously spooky trees.
What kind of dark secret pushes a man to commit the unimaginable, even as he is sickened by his own actions? Find out in Where the Bodies Are.
Take a step back in time to learn the secret behind the bodies in Where the Bodies Are: The McAllister Farm reveals the secrets behind the man who created the killer.
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