Wednesday April 15th, 2015

The exercise:

Write about: the papers.

The Canucks got off to a disappointing start this evening, dropping a 2-1 decision via a Calgary goal with 30 seconds left in the game. It was a pretty even game though, so hopefully the bounces go their way next game and they're able to even things up.

I put the second coat of paint on the bathroom this morning and it looks much better now. Still going to need one more, but then it'll be done.

And I shall celebrate with much merriment.


The farm house was covered with dust and littered with remnants of a life I'd long left behind. Spiders watched my every move. Every inch of the place smelled stale, uninhabited. And everything creaked: the front door, the floorboards, cupboards, dressers, chairs. Everything.

I didn't want to be there then. Hell, I probably never did. Not in a hundred years would I ever have expected to be back under that roof. When I left there was no looking behind me - I just dropped a match on every bridge I crossed and kept moving.

But this was important. Unexpected and important. Dad's last words had sent me back there as surely as if he'd thrown a potato sack over my head, tossed me in the trunk of his rusting Corolla, and driven me there himself.

A secret was hidden behind that crumbling facade, kept beyond prying eyes for the entirety of my life, and my brother's life as well. It was time for it to see the light. Past time, really.

One way or another, I had to find the adoption papers.


Greg said...

That was a pretty late point the Flames got, I think you can be justifiably upset by that one! Still, as you say, it could easily go the other way in the next game.
Well done with the painting, with only one coat left to go it must be looking easy now :)
Heh, I was wondering what papers the story was going to turn out to involve today, and I definitely didn't see that ending coming. Very nice piece of work; atmospheric and the twist is perfect.

The papers
The farm house was covered with dust and littered with remnants of a life I'd long left behind. I kicked a festering pile of clothes and contained the urge to jump when a rat raced out from underneath it and disappeared into the downstairs toilet. I knew my ex-wife was bad at housework – I'd cited it as part of the grounds for divorce after all – but she seemed to have reached an all-time low.
"Hi Honey, I'm home!" I called out, mocking her. She'd always used to call that out whenever she returned home, or so she'd claimed. I'd not seen her leave the house at all in the last five years of our marriage. The silence I got in reply was broken only by the squeaking a rusted hinge; curious, I walked through to the living room to see what was causing it. The armchairs were oozing stuffing over the mould-encrusted carpet like marshmallows melting over a campfire and the coffee-table appeared to have succumbed to fatal woodworm and was in pieces on the floor. The mirror atop the mantlepiece was fogged with dirt and cracked in three places, and the television appeared to have caught fire at some recent point in the past. The squeaking came from the bird-cage swing, where the wired-together skeleton of a budgerigar swooped back and forth in the draft from the broken windows.
"Honey?" I called again. I turned back and wondered about going upstairs, but at the foot of the stairs the general stale, slowly rotting smell of the house was drowned out by a sewage odour that made me certain I didn't want to go up there.
Maybe she'd finally left the house?
I walked back into the kitchen, and pulled open one of the drawers. There were some papers in there, which wasn't a surprise since I was the only person ever to put things away, and this was where I'd kept them. I leafed through, checking the names and dates, and smiled.
As I walked away from the farm house flames licked up from the roof. I'd not expected the place to catch fire so quickly, but the accumulated dirt of the years appeared to be highly flammable. The insurance papers, found in the kitchen drawer, were safely in my inside pocket and would afford a tidy payout: with the way she'd lived a fire was surely inevitable.
For a moment I thought I heard a scream from the house behind me, but I ignored it; it was probably just air escaping somewhere and whistling like a kettle. And if it wasn't... well, it was too late now.

morganna said...

"Papers, pretty papers. Polly knows where papers are." The parrot's chatter echoed through the musty apartment.

The woman paused in her searching long enough to aim a malevolent glance at the parrot. "I'm sure you do, you awful bird. But it won't do me any good if you don't tell me where they are, will it?"

The parrot apparently felt something in her gaze, because it suddenly said in a sing-song voice, "Look in the safe behind the dresser in the bedroom."

"You better be right, you mangy bird." She headed into the bedroom. Scraping sounds ensued, followed by an explosion.

The parrot nodded its head wisely, opened the latch to its cage, hopped out and headed out the apartment door. "Don't mess with Mr. Big. He'll get you every time."

Marc said...

Greg - thanks for the kind words on mine :)

Those are some delightfully disgusting descriptions, I must say. I have to agree with your narrator - that house was due for a burning sooner than later!

Morganna - oh my, that is one highly trained parrot. That's a bit terrifying, actually!