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This was my Runner Up entry for the Angry Hourglass Flash Frenzy Round 127.
Looking at the picture (courtesy Ashwin Rao) on the Saturday I really couldn't think of anything and was considering not entering BUT just as I was about to fall asleep that night, the first lines 'I have a house. It sleeps with one eye open' popped into my head.' I didn't suddenly leap out of bed and start writing but the line stayed with me, disturbing my dreams and waiting for me when I woke up. And when I finally put pen to paper, the house told its own dark story, finishing full circle on the opening lines. They demanded to be repeated. They haunted me then and still haunt me now.
I Have a House
I have a house. It sleeps with one eye open. Watchful in the wilderness, it keeps me safe. I lived there in an isolated childhood, hidden from view, never seen by anyone except the house and its guests. Its jewellery of locks and bolts kept me safe from prying eyes.
Visiting hours admitted strangers with masked faces and the house became a theatre with me as the star of the show. Sometimes I would give a private performance – just myself and one other. The floorboards both my stage and my casting couch.
I remember the wood, cold against bare skin, unyielding, unforgiving in the darkness of this nightmare womb. It was a long labour, contractions of pain lasting hours until I was delivered into silence and a mother’s hands. She would look at me with unfeeling eyes. Food and clothing meant I had passed the test; their absence, failure and another type of reward.
But I was outgrowing my role, becoming an aging star and my performances were fewer and fewer. The laws of supply and demand had struck. I had nothing more to give and everything had been taken.
Eventually, the house wrapped me up in its arms when no one else would, buried me in the cradle of its foundations, became my forever home.
I have a house. It sleeps with one eye open. We haunt each other
A writer - I think that says it all.