The slate stones cracked underfoot, unstable yet unbreakable. The dirt in between disturbed with every footstep, but stuck in its submitted state as it had been for centuries. The occasional dandelion poked through with strong roots. A weed to some, a strong and hardy plant to others. The wild bushes watched all who dared to enter the unkempt sanctuary, their derogatory stares as they took in the wild front garden, made of neglect and lack of pride. Seemingly, anyway. Brambles grasped with thorny arms, taking pleasure in their triumph over the remaining colourful blooms. Their scent overwhelmed by soil and worms and subterranean power.

The last of the feathers on the dead blackbird’s carcass wavered delicately in a breeze that wasn’t there. There was a calmness to its stillness that betrayed its moment of death. The perpetrator long gone, only the piercings from its claws remained. The body lay just before the filthy step, overlooked by a sturdy black door with layer upon layer of peeling paint, the lacquer of lives past peeping through the blackness. Once it was a rosy red. But that was a time long forgotten.

The spider crossed the mosaic tiles comfortably and without worry, stopping at the curled foot of the small rusting table and considering the climb. It had already made a home within the intricate swirls that held the thick glass on which sat a sturdy telephone. The numbers were obscured by the thick dust collected in the nooks and holes on the dial. The spider had never felt its sound. The spider had never felt any sound in that hallway. The shredded corners of a brown leather address book fanned its pages at the stagnant air. The yellowing edges held the story of a well-used life, keeping dried up ghosts of the fingertips that once held it dear. It kept the names of those souls who were needed. Souls long since moved on from this life. Except one.

The door was ajar. As always. The once glossy floorboards creaked and groaned, bereft of feet to bare. The last tracks that dared to seek were still visible, disappearing through the doorway, into the cupboard’s undiscovered secrets. Blackness still held power inside. Reigning over the creatures it kept, the memories of the last souls to breathe its musty air, and hiding the crippled chair that still crawled with life. A life not quite human, not quite animal, and not quite alive. The wooden legs bristled with longing, sat amongst the offerings of decaying flies and moth wings. It’s high back stood proud within the blaze of darkness, holding onto the last of its leather waistcoat, dirty red and flaking like scorched dead skin. The brass rivets grasped desperately at this skin, holding on, blackened and weak with the effort. And the chair took strength from their effort, from the worship of its creatures and the death they brought to its feet. But it still needed. It still craved. It still had a purpose unachieved. The echoes of its roots demanded it. In the silence of its own making it screamed into the ears of nothing. And the nothing heard.

[127 years earlier]

They hadn’t known what to do when they’d found it. The builders had seemed unsure when they were given their answer by the foreman. The foreman had seemed unsure when he was delivering it. The words given to him by the owner…
“Leave the bones where they are. The house will need them.”



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