Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Dark House, Part 5

Read the second draft of this story here.

Molly pounded the door as the house shook. “No. No. I love him.” She slumped against it and slid to her knees. “I’ll do anything… anything to save him.” In a flash she knew what the house wanted. “Even that, but you have to let him go. You have to let them all go.” The house twisted and popped. Molly stood up and screamed into the din “Only if you let them all go!” And the house was silent.

Molly walked back down the hallway letting her robe fall away to the floor. The cold air embraced her skin as she glided back up the stairs and into the bedroom. The door closed gently behind her.


“Are we both going to die?” asked the child’s frail voice.

“I don’t know,” Martin replied. The house had gown unnaturally quiet again. His own labored breathing roared in his ears. Every sniff of the child echoed around the walls. Martin’s feet were going numb. His knees ached and wanted so badly to bend. Maybe being a chair wouldn’t be so bad. Maybe that’s what he wanted to be.

“I don’t want to die,” cried the child.

“What’s your name?”


“What’s your name?”


Martin chuckled. “Do you know judo?”

“Nothing. Nice to meet you Juliana. I’m Martin.”

“Hello, Martin.”

He wanted to reach out and put his hand on her shoulder, to comfort her, but he couldn’t get his arm to move. “I can’t move my feet anymore. I’m not sure I can move much of anything.”

Juliana simpered. “Then we’re both going to die. Unless the lady helps us.”

That’s when he first felt it. He couldn’t quantify quite what it was, something like a tingling in his foot, a tiny warmth, and a slight swaying of the house. Then all was still and the cold came back.

A moment later he felt it again, and then again. “Do you feel that?”

Snif. Snort. “What?”

“The house is swaying. When it sways I can almost move again. Can you feel it? There.” The house swayed wider and the pace quickened slightly. The wind began to whistle slightly through the walls. Martin moved his arm.

“I could feel something!”

With every sway Martin felt warmer. He could move. He could walk. “I’m free!” The house lurched and Martin fell over. As he looked, Juliana’s legs stopped being spindly chair legs and turned back into spindly little girl’s legs with toes and feet. He stood up just as she broke free and hugged him with all her tiny little might. The chair next to them turned its head and looked at them. It was a girl’s head now. Each thud grew stronger. The howl of the wind grew louder. As Martin and Juliana struggled to say on their feet, Ana popped onto her feet. Martin could see people slowly emerging from the furniture and the walls.

“Come on!” Martin grabbed Juliana and Ana by the hands and pulled them out into the hall. He nearly slipped on Molly’s robe. Other people and children, freed now from the house, began to fill the halls rushing for the door. At the foot of the stairs, Martin gave Juliana and Ana a gentle push out the door and then turned up the stairs. He fought his way through the crowd descending the stairs. The house now moved constantly and wildly. The wind sang through the cracks in the walls.

At the top of the stairs, Martin couldn’t keep his feet. His knees slammed onto rough wooden slats. The polished floor having almost entirely turned back into people and run away. The walls were ripped apart, crumbling plaster and wood. Someone kicked him in the stomach as they ran by. An elbow hit his eye. His head crashed through the wall. His fingers were crushed. He blacked out.

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In 1789, the governor of Australia granted land and some animals to James Ruse in an experiment to see how long it would take him to support himself. Within 15 months he had become self sufficient. The area is still known as Experiment Farm. This is my Experiment Farm to see how long it will take me to support myself by writing.