The Empty House

“There’s no point now. No point.”
The lamp turns to face the clock, stunned as always by its declarations, but the window watches on from its home between the walls and the world without commenting. The clock goes on ticking.
“No, really,” it whines. “Really, it’s all over now. It’s already over. No point. No point.”
“Shut up!” The plants groan, their stalks bending, irritated by the reminder of their inevitable mortality, which would reveal itself much sooner than the others’. The clock falls quiet, but the words no point stay as the walls toss them around and take them in.
“Will they come back?” The window asks without turning around, its clear, lidless eyes peering out into the night. It never moves from its station, serving always as the boundary line between the In Here and the Out There. “They’ve turned Lamp out. We need Lamp. We always need Lamp. Are they coming back?”
“The family will come back,” the decorative rug sighs. “Back to walk over me.”
The ground’s muffled voice comes slipping out from underneath it to join in the conversation. “You know nothing of being walked over. That’s all I’m here for. At least you’re pretty.”
“Quiet,” the blank TV growls, stripped of its power and meaning. “Everybody quiet.”
“It hurts,” the lamp complained, straining against the darkness. “Oh, it hurts. Candles, help. Help me.”
“We can’t,” the three candles chime from the kitchen. “Fire’s dead.”
“Dead!”
“Nearly always dead. We’re just corpses.”
The paintings shudder, repulsed by the idea of sharing a house with the departed. The lamp suggests holding a funeral.
“We never give Garbage a funeral. It dies every week.”
“That’s because Garbage is garbage.”
“You’re quick to deal out judgment; you don’t even exist.”
“Light exists!” Lamp shrieks. “It’s been scientifically proven!”
“Everyone, listen!” The books cry out. “Something important, something important to say!” Their voices get lost in the chaos. Nobody ever listens to Books except when the family is in bed and there is nothing at all to talk about except Darkness.
No point. Shut up! Listen! Quiet! No, really! It HURTS, it HURTS. No point. Not now. Not ever!
“THEY’RE COMING.”
Silence.
All eyes – real, drawn-on, and imagined – turn to face the window. It repeats in its slow, measured tone: “They are coming.”
The plants shudder and straighten their stalks, giving their leaves a final shake before freezing again into reality. The portraits reassume the dead, far-off looks in their eyes and the chirps of the books fade again into distant whispers. Rug stretches itself out, sighs.
The lock clicks, and Door steps aside to reveal Family.
Everyone slips out of their coats and shoes and stumbles in from the cold, rubbing their arms and mumbling in primitive sounds no one quite understands. The ground lets out an oomph as it’s tread over once, twice, three times and then over again, with each footfall of each human.
Lamp’s flicked on. It breathes a sigh of relief as light goes shooting off into each corner of the room. Remote’s clicked and TV comes roaring to life. “Shop smart,” reminds the woman in the screen.
The father, the mother, and the child all sit together on the couch and stare at TV for an hour. It enjoys the family’s patient and dedicated attention (and never forgets to rub this in Mirror’s face).
The clock announces pointlessness until the family gets up and goes to bed.
After everyone’s upstairs, Books make a profound statement that is then instantly forgotten.
Instead, the objects listen to Silence talk, always impressed by what it has to say.

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10 thoughts on “The Empty House

  1. This is sheer brilliance, dear! And a perfect, quiet ending. This is just so bloody imaginative. You could tell whole amazing stories in this style (not that this isn’t–but it strikes me as a bit more of an un-story if that makes sense). I can imagine a novel or at least a novella in this vein–Oh the things you can tell by not telling!
    You. Amaze. Me.
    Seriously.

    (p.s.–reminds me of a section in one of my daughter’s books–I’ll see if I can find it and send you a pic of the pages)

    1. An un-story?! I LOVE that! Yes! Un-stories all around!

      You’ve inspired me. Perhaps a longer story is needed…. will have to dwell over this more.

      Thanks so much! And of course – I would absolutely love to read that section of your daughter’s book! It’s always magic to see the same ideas popping up in different places 😉

  2. This is my first time reading your blog, and all I can hope is that the rest of your blog is as awesome as this post, because seriously, you are blowing a hoile right open in my boredom. Thankyou.

Thoughts? I love those.

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