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Fiction, Short Fiction

A House is not a Home

by: Sara Spears

The copper kitchen. Each hanging pot giving forth a distorted reflection of my passing, every gleaming piece of flatware marking movement with streaks of darkness in the clefts of my vision. The kitchen smells of grain and grease. I pad through this room, bringing with me the shadows I hid from under frayed quilt and threadbare sheet. The night will dispel the webs from my thoughts with it's bittersweet breath and somehow I believe that the crickets and babbling of the stream wending it's way towards far reaching waters will absorb the night chills and take them on a journey of dissipation.

Wooden threshold and my eyes adjust to the glow of night time upon the hills. My bare feet feeling out seams in the woodwork. I pause to hold open the door with a tentative hand. First breath and I am gone. I reach out and touch the grass, the hillside heaves slightly against the warmth of my touch. First step and I am gone. Foe hidden by my tress tunnel vision. We hold our breath.

I sink down, folding my night gown beneath my knees. Dew finds it's way through onto my flesh. The moon is not full, and I am dim, quiet, forgetful of the shadows I run from. Everything is a shadow out here. My arms are pillows. The 'scape is a dream. The shuffling of daytime grazing animals marks a barrier to loneliness. Each moment is less than transient on the hillside. Action becomes and is.

As I begin to mouth words towards the scents and sounds that soothe me in recompense I am stilled by a tiny rustle in the forest edge. A childless rabbit pauses at my glance and shivers at my gaze. Neither will settle. Neither will bow. Our mutual gaze remains unbroken.

The chirping resumes, as if bored with the night's events and the rabbit moves forward into the broken moonlight and begins rummaging on the hillside. I rest my head at last, eyes towards the unbroken ground lay fallow for a duration of nights. Lesson, the dirge. Suddenly the four walled frame looms above me, and I am reminded of a bed and smooth wooden floors to support my weight. Woodland scents become cowed by the trappings of the home and I heave to my feet, fears dissipated, hillside forgotten for the hearth.

Copper kitchen towards solstice hallway. Striped light falls across my thigh as I mount the stairs. For one dizzying moment I think of the hillside and I look inward to those memories. Glazed eyes, shallow breath, mocking those shadows and quelling the longing, I take those stairs to the frayed blanket and muted chirping. Sleep falls fast amongst the creaking of this house I call my transient dwelling.


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