Task: Write about a place or colour in 3 paragraphs.
With a slow groan, the heavy front door returns to its frame with a thud which unsettles the house, lifting the dust particles to dance in the beam of light until they return to their dormant position on the floor, and now also on to my face. No-one has crossed this threshold for years. My eyes scan the grand entrance, pupils dilated to fight the blindness of gloom.
They come to rest on the ornate coat stand, which once served as my prima donna in the puppet shows I set up for my family, donned in my grandfather’s trench coat that carried a lingering smell of clay-like mud and who-knows-what-else. The stand used to gleam under my grandmother’s watch, polished to perfection, but those days are gone now. It now stands bare, coated not in military finery but instead, the dulling flakes of dust and more recently, ash.
My step echoes as I progress steadily forward, towards the back of the house. As I pass, my hand instinctively trails along the smooth marble banister of the curved stairs, caressing the end post in the same manner so many of my family members did before me. The ground seems to shift as I dislodge years of neglect, kicking over charred wood and what was once a vibrant Persian rug which now suffers flame-bitten wounds, disfigured by destruction. The shadows withdraw the deeper into the house’s belly I walk, eventually replaced by the moon-reflected glow which covers the land in a silver gilded blanket. I stop.
I had not braced myself for the sight before me. The earth falls away from me, leaving me on the edge of the crater where once my kitchen stood proudly. In its depths, the four-poster bed I dived on at Christmas lies dejected against the granite-topped counters, ripped from the master bedroom which lorded over all above the kitchen to now disintegrate among its foundations. The floorboards of the bedroom jut out above my head, breaking the conformity of what would otherwise look like a perfectly sliced cross-section of this house, my home. I can hear the cackle of flames which taunted us as we ran that day. The splintering of wood as beams crumbled into ash. The ringing in my ears after that last deafening explosion, which has haunted me for years. The crying. Oh, the crying. The cursing of the Heavens, the breaking of hearts. The glance over my young shoulders towards the front of the house, once pearly white and majestic but now tarred with black. It currently stands like the façade it is, perfectly preserved and masking the desolation of the scene behind it. The wisps of smoke which remained for days after we escaped whispered of the memories we had built, entwined with the centuries of ancestral knowledge stored in the walls which now lay obliterated.
OK I subtly messed up the brief here. I got so wrapped up in the fact I had to complete the task that it completely slipped my mind that it had to be NON-FICTION. Instead, I wrote fiction. Darn.
Anyway, I hope to revisit this some time and see where it takes me….
All comments appreciated 🙂
edited image by myself, original image source: