On a bright sunny afternoon, I walk by the house again.
This house sits in the centre of a plot disregarded even by time itself.
Overgrown spiny hedges crawl and writhe all over the wrought iron gates guarding the grounds. The family who conjured this gothic grandiose place are far away now, distancing themselves from history. Shoving the gate I slip on the cobbles, as the gates and the thorns conspire to remain sealed. The gate begins to groan mournfully and the thorny tendrils tear as I begin to overcome their grip. The thorns give one last effort, jabbing my fingers and drawing blood, but I slip though the gap, I am on the path.
The path twists to the left around a dried up crumbling fountain, where a woman forever holds a green copper jug pouring nothing at all, then doubling back around an overgrown weeping willow tree, the path twisting as if even it does not wish to visit the house. Through, over and under thorns I find the porch, up the steps the door waits. I am suddenly aware of my heart beating, thumping my ribs, consciously I take a deep breath and climb the tiled steps, my shoes tapping on the tiles loudly, I stop and am aware of the absolute silence. Reaching the brass door knob I grasp it and I turn icy cold, my hairs standing up on my arms as I turn the knob, the latch clicks and the door yields.
The door wide open, allows the dust to dance in the summer light. A breeze gently blows past me sending glittery lint into the cobwebs, making them jangle and sparkle. Turning I close the door behind me, turning back into the room an apparition, gossamer phantoms glide in, a man and a woman holding hands they turn to face each other, followed by another pair and another, I back up and shiver as the door rests against my back. As each man takes his ladies hand the silence ebbs away as music flows in. The vaporous couples waltz around the hall, the ladies dresses flowing through the dust, I catch my breath and look to the stairs as the apparition fades, the music drifts away back to where it came.
Only the sound of my breath as I take a step onto the stairs, the stairs creak, the movement of old wood beneath my feet. I look over the balustrade to the hall full of just dust and cobwebs.
On the landing I glance into the room opposite the stairs. A man sits on thin air, stooped over a desk of vapour, eying ghostly papers and rubbing his temples, before leaning forwards and resting his forehead upon his arms and fading back to nothingness. I back out of this empty room and return to the landing.
I take a deep breath, to keep hold of myself, the smell of perfume hits my nostrils and the silence drifts away once more. The sound of a shower comes to my ear, and the room next door is full of steam I cannot see through, so I walk in towards the sound and see her standing in the bathtub, the shower pipe arcing over her head, hot water pours over her body, long hair lays against her bruised back and water shines on the welts on her buttocks. the sound of water fades and so does she, leaving an old bath tub and a twisted pipe.
Another room, another vision, I go back to the landing and hold on to the balustrade to keep hold of my mind, I look down at the empty hall, hear the silence, just breath.
I am gathering my sanity when I hear some giggling and talking, young voices haunt me, drawing me to the next room, two wispy young children sit on the floor with building blocks, the boy builds them up, the girl knocks them down, they laugh and they play and I expect them to fade. Instead I hear a rhythmic banging and squeaking and moaning through the next wall, I need little imagination to know what that is, inquisitiveness takes me and I leave the children still playing as I edge my eye around the corner of the next room. A horrifying version of what I envisioned, the woman is held down and has a hand over her mouth as an ugly figure fucks, two more men watch on and wait their turn. Horrified I run, I run down the stairs and slip on the last step, and sit, let the silence settle once more.
Silence is burst with a crash, from out the back of the house, I want to run, but I want to know. Just my steps now and the musky smell in the hall as I walk through the house to the kitchen, nearing the kitchen door the quiet is trampled by loud voices. Edging around the door frame I see a woman, the same woman, wielding a knife, she holds a man at bay, the same man. Both wraiths are angry, both are crying, neither have anything more to give, finally with a piercing scream she flies forward at the man, in the struggle the woman falls victim to the knife’s blade, the man falls victim to his fate, he slashes at his desperate soul and slumps to the floor, fading to history and story.