No one walks through the front door that is locked and latched with a rusty bolt. But when I come in through the back, I fill my lungs with the musty, ancient scent of time and mystery. I close my eyes and feel my heartbeat pulse through my veins...imagining all the people that once lived there. I pretend I can hear their laughter from the parlor, the sound of their footsteps in the ballroom. All those lives that lived and breathed, passed from this earth, now covered with fresh spring green in the cemetery a few yards out back. So many generations have passed through those halls; died so long ago. There is a coldness in the air--a whisper ready to tell all and unveil secrets buried by the ages.
Every floorboard creaks as I walk. The cold hearths look so naked and barren with no warmth within them. The house itself seems to have died and its lifeless carcass left for strangers to walk through. It doesn't bother me. I'm captivated. This place could be my home.
The tickle of spider legs echoes off the silk papered walls grown yellow and brittle with each passing second. The spider spins its web so secretly and silently, like people do their lies. As silly as it might sound, the spider's grace abounds in such a desolate place where once, I am sure, the rustle of taffeta swept over the floors and the sounds of a harpsichord played out the notes of Chopin or Bach. The imagine smell of chamomile wafts stale in the air, unattended by the clink of bone china. But why would it? The well is dry here; untouched by human hands in so long that the earth, and house, cry out from loneliness.
They say that Satan himself will take up the dry lands. But for this house, even Satan will not walk the weary halls. His demons, so willing to find a cold bed to rest their evil heads pass up the mold ridden mattress with rusty springs and rotten headboards. Yet here I am, an angel of sorts, a dreamer so passionate that a light within should fill this place. But it doesn’t. There is nothing but the sound of my steady heartbeat echoing about in my ears, so loud that I would have thought the dead souls would rise…and still…silence.
You see, I have but stumbled into the end of this house and all its passing glory. The lives I would imagine are forever gone, not to be thought of again. They will never, have never, haunted the halls. It would be an adventure for any good ghost catcher, any persons of ill-mannered imagination…and yet, they would be greeted with disappointed hearts.
I turn to leave, walking down the hall and through the abandoned parlor. The candle sticks have melted from the heat of the passing summer and now lay in a hardened pool around tarnished silver holders. The mice scurry beneath filthy rugs where decaying autumn leaves have blown in through broken windows. But just before I reach the front doors, I catch a reflection in a gilded mirror. I look and see my own face, the mystery in my own eyes, and I realize…that I am the only life left here…the only breath that this house has felt in so long….
And it shall be, I am certain, the last.