. Fiction -- 970 words
Linda M. Fields
© Copyright 1995
In the early days the old house bustled with activity. Children were born and grew into adults, married and bore their own children within the bright and cheery walls.
Over a hundred and fifty years the house enjoyed the comfort of being loved and cared for by one family.
Then in the early 1950's the last Browning passed away. No more would the walls hold and protect the family who's very own personality filled its beams with life. Emma Browning never married; therefore she left behind no one to care for the house.
Disposing of the house became a problem. Days turned into weeks, weeks into months, still the house waited. Someone would come soon, someone to take care of and protect, someone who would care and love it in return. Soon, let them come soon.
A deep moan filled the empty dark halls. Wind whistled around windowpanes causing an almost human sob.
Still the house waited. Year after year, waiting and hoping, but most of all needing. Needing to hear and feel the laughter and the sorrow, to absorb the joy and the pain. Needing all the human emotions that make a house a home.
Winters came and with each passing it took a little more of the house. Shutters, paint and roofing disappeared. Spring rains battered the old wooden siding, stripping large areas bare.
Summers baked and fall winds tugged. Louder year by year the house moaned -- Please, please let it be soon!
Once, long ago, a young couple came to look at the house. Ever so silently the walls listened to their hushed conversation and when the house realized the couple didn't want it a loud moan echoed around the man and woman. The woman gasped, clutching her husband tightly. They hurried from the house never to return.
The house hadn't meant to scare them, it only wanted to let them know how lonely it was. Try to make them understand that the house needed them. Instead they ran. The house moaned and groaned louder than usual for months.
Hushed whispers of comfort filled the abandoned rooms. Soon even they failed to console the house, their promises unfulfilled year after year.
The 1950's passed and the house began its long wait through yet another decade. The 1960's were no better. By the early 1970's strange things began happening around the old house. Most of the land that had belonged with the house was sold and soon small brick ranch homes began popping up. Yet the old house remained overgrown and ignored.
Some men arrived one day and nailed large sheets of plywood over its broken windows and small signs were nailed on both the front and back doors. A horrible sob wracked the walls within the now dark house. The signs read -- Condemned - Not suitable for human habitat.
Children would sneak up on the old rotten porch to play. The house would feel a strong surge of an almost forgotten emotion as the children laughed and shouted at each other. This was the way it was supposed to be. Not alone -- never alone.
Then the children would leave and the house would settle back into its nothingness of waiting.
Hope became a thing of the past -- a shadow of something that could have been.
Days and nights became the same inside the old house. It neither knew nor cared any more of the passage of time. Soon the seasons would take their final toll and the house would be no more.
Only and occasional moan or groan could be heard now. Not even the children playing on the porch rekindled any hope within the walls. It waited, but now it waited for the end.
In 1992 a main beam rotted through and the only sound that echoed through the halls was a very low uncaring groan. The groan of defeat. The home had lost its being, it was just a house. An old, condemned house waiting for man or nature to give it its final rest.
In 1996 some people came into the house. It didn't listen, it didn't care. They were probably the ones sent to give it its final condemnation. Soon they would come with big machines and in one afternoon the house would be no more.
A soft sigh whispered through bedrooms, nursery, parlor, sitting room, kitchen and bathrooms.
If the people noticed they didn't show it. The house didn't care. They would leave soon, after that it wouldn't be long. It had already waited so very, very long.
] Before the people came back the cold bitter winds of winter claimed a little more of the old house. During one particularly cold and snowy storm several inches of heavy wet snow brought the front porch crashing to the ground. The house sighed softly. Nature had simply beaten the wrecking ball.
Winter slowly settled into spring and the rains began.
The house stood silent, already dead. Without someone to love and care for it, a house is nothing.
The spring rains finally ceased, the house didn't notice.
Then one day a group of people entered the house. This time they carried saws, hammers, cleaning equipment and love. Love for an old house that had suffered so much. As the people worked, pouring a little more of themselves into the house day after day, the house could feel life throbbing within its walls once again. Someone cared!
Now a new sign adorns the house -- HISTORICAL LANDMARK. BUILT IN 1779 BY NATHANIAL BROWNING.