Friday, June 02, 2006
The Real Cottage Along the Woods
Below, a fiery glare burst through the trees. The rising moon reflected in the broken windows of the cottage. Next to the windows, an open door.
--From "Flashlight Tag," Part 4
It sits along the road. The foundation laid from stones dug from its own mountain. Old as gnarled muscles pounding the Earth by hand.
Other foundations hide in the briars. Perhaps older. Time has nearly washed them again. Yet, as the cottage sags under the weight of rot, maybe its foundation is the oldest of all. Who knows. Its smell of mildew is the smell of centuries.
For four years now, this sad place has cast its shadow over us. At first, just a midnight ghost in the headlights. A place we hurried past on our way to the hollows where they quarried the stones. But then, in 2004, we bought the parcel of land beneath it. It took a little time to fully understand this place was ours too. Even now, although I understand it, I can't feel it. There's no room for my mark on this house. Or anyone's. If houses can die, this one's spirit has ascended from the chimney. And it's grave lies open for all to see.
Is it haunted?
Most definitely yes. So much haunting, the pressure of it nauseates me when I stand inside.
We know that a woman lived. Alone. A woman who had no one, except a distant heir who inherited nothing but loose ends and life decayed.
How do we know about her, you ask?
Before I tell you, there's more. We know she baked. Probably cookies which she shared with her visiting nurse. She brought out the cooking oil. A rolling sheet. Pans and a rolling pin. They all were there.
They're all still there.
Something happened to this woman. Something abrupt. Her life was in motion--on the counter, in her bedroom, in the living room with shelves of romance novels she loved.
Then it stopped. It all just stopped.
Her business was conducted by a personal representative. Her address changed, most likely to a nursing home where she shortly died. But the cottage remained. Untouched.
Ransacked, but untouched by life-giving hands.
And so it will always remain. Until we close the grave.
We promise to close the grave.
Posted by jason evans at 12:02 AM