Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Dark House, Part 6

Read the second draft of this story here.


He heard the hesitant tiny voice below him and slowly raised his head. A thick layer of plaster slid off his face. He looked at his swollen and bloody fingers. They must hurt, but he couldn’t feel them or move them.

“Martin?” came the tiny voice again.

He looked down the stairs, or what was left of them. They had no planks anymore, nothing to step on, just the framing. Martin wasn’t sitting on a floor exactly either. Again, just framing that would have supported the hardwood floor. The house was still. Barely any walls remained. Martin could see all the way through one side of the house to the first rays of the sun peeking through the trees. Molly’s bedroom door was still there and closed. He couldn’t see into her room.

“Are you still here, Martin?”


“No, it’s Juliana. Are you ok?” She put her trembling hands against the doorframe and stepped back into the house.

Martin stood up as best he could and shouted down to Juliana “I’m fine! I’ll be down in a minute.” He took a step towards the bedroom and watched a chunk of plaster fall down to the floor below. “Wait outside! The house is falling apart.”

“I don’t want to leave you,” cracked Juliana bravely.

“Wait outside. I’ll be right down.” Martin crept gingerly to the door. “Molly? Molly, are you in there?” He touched the door and it swung open. The room was intact. “Molly?” He stepped inside. His slippers were still in the corner. Their clothes still crumpled up in a ball against the wall. The covers were rustled and tossed aside. Molly was not in the bed. She did not seem to be in the room at all.

The bed seemed different. The headboard. She hadn’t had a headboard. He couldn’t quite see it in the dawn. He pushed the button to turn on the light. She looked at him, from the top of the headboard, her beautiful face now carved in wood, her arms reaching out to the corners of the bed, the subtle line of her chest just barely visible in the wood. He stepped towards her and the house began to rumble once more.

“No.” He took another step and a large beam from the ceiling plunged down to block his path. Chunks of the floor fell away. “No.”

“Martin!” Juliana yelled from below. More beams and wood fell from the ceiling. His way to the bed was blocked. Soon his way back to the door would be too. “Martin!” He turned and ran. The remaining wood of the stairs gave way as he tried to climb down. Juliana screamed again as he crashed broken and cut to her feet. The house continued to shake. Juliana did her best to help him up and they left the house.

“Ouch!” He stepped squarely on an upturned nail in the stoop and skewered his foot. He hopped with Juliana across the yard which seemed to have far fewer trees than before. The morning sun shown down brightly on them. As they reached the sidewalk the house gave up one last cry and then collapsed into a pile of rubble and dust.

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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.