a year in stories::three

And so another story, the third for the year. I almost forgot because I’m kneedeep in the novel. Hoping to get between seven and ten thousand words today to go with yesterday’s eleven thousand. It’s coming together beautifully. I love weekends like this. When I have nothing but time and can dream out loud and live in the sustained reality of the novel and just write, translating the visions into words.

Anyrate, a short story about literature and a picture unrelated.

A Haunting

 

There was a little girl, one just like you, as it so happens. She wandered far from home where she found a shore and by the shore she discovered a house. Being a girl like the girl she was, she walked from the watery shore of that great sea to the little house colored only white from outside. The grass was high as her shoulders and it swayed in the gentle autumnal breeze. The girl ran her fingers through the high blades watching her feet shadowed by her head in sunlight. The house appeared like any other house from the outside except for the doorway which lacked a door. Hello, she said and peeked her head in, Is anyone here? Through the windows numbered five and the doorway came sunlight and with the sun’s light she saw the nothingness inside. No carpet or furniture, no lights or paintings, no outlets or chandeliers, no stairway–only walls and on the walls colored white was paint.

She stepped back into the grass and followed the closing trail she made through the high grass. With each step the noises of life became louder. Insects chirping, birds singing, waves lapping, she closed her eyes, the sounds all around and now inside, the caress of wind on skin, the heat of sunlight spotting the inside of her eyelids with red luminosity. Walking back to the shore she looked back at the house and the house looked at her. Her steps quickened and she did not turn around again till her feet were underwater buried in sand. The cool water clinging to her skin, the slow slide of sand on her toes, the soft break of shallow waves. Off in the distance was the line called horizon where the ocean met the sky to copulate and form the world which began always at the furthest point of sight and stretched to the you who watches it.

When the sun began to descend it fell over the house casting it in haloed light with its shadow spread to her lying on the shore. Clouds rolled in from the horizon colored purple in great puffing castles atop mountains of condensed water. She returned to the house and the sounds of life began again to lower as if life muted the longer she stayed in the house’s shade but the sun descended and blackness blotted so she crept into the house and slept beside the door in the deep silence of that house. The air hot and still, she kept her head against the wood and tried to listen to the bones of the earth shift but there was nothing.

A whispering woke her but she did not move. The sun had not yet risen but the sky took on form and shape though the blanket of cloud was thick and grey. The whispering fell away and she fell away into sleep.

Sunlight in eyes peering through clouds woke her and all was silent, still. Rolling over, she blinked to wakefulness and when she saw she saw the white walls were now covered in ink colored black. Frowning she sat up and turned to the nearest wall. On the wall were words in calligraphy and these words formed sentences and paragraphs and as she read the words became a story but not the whole story, only a small section. She pulled away from the words and walked the perimeter of the house trailing her fingers against the words finding their ink dried. She looked for the beginning of the story for a long time but could not so she left the house and returned to the shore.

Feet underwater in sand with the sounds of life returned she did not watch nature around her but only stared down at her rippled reflection in the water swallowing her ankles. She turned back to the house and a whispered hush silenced all around her for a moment and disappeared, giving back the swell of sounds of life to her ears.

In the grass she measured the boundary of the house, where the world began to quiet and marked its perimeter with sticks, then noted where she no longer heard anything beyond the house and this was marked at the doorway.

She entered the house again and walked around staring at the words written in beautiful hand. As her eyes wandered the walls they struck upon its beginning and the words tore her sight along the sentences that wrapped round the house and craning her neck. When the sun fell over the horizon again she had read all the words on the walls that made a story and when the words to be read were all gone the whispers returned.

Who’s there, she said but the whispers stopped. I can hear you, she said, turning this way and that. She looked out the window and saw the world lit by stars and moon but it was not the same sky. What have you done to the world, she said but still the house was silent.

Shouting against the walls and pounding her fists against them, she fell asleep from exhaustion and woke to the walls covered again in ink but the words were not the same but the whispers were. Again she read the words and they once more took her all daylight. When the words were gone and the light was gone the whispers returned but this time she listened.

She listened to a different story to the ones she had read as she stared out the window at the stars in the sky that was not the same sky. As the whispers whispered on the sky continued to change until the whispering ceased and the sun returned but the sky was yet another sky but in the new light the walls were again blank.

As she followed the shoreline that was no longer the same she stared at her feet repeating the words whispered and the words read until the world she once knew and the one she walked through now began to melt together and she lifted her eyes once more and walked against the other wind.

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