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Dead in the Water

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It’s been so long since I’ve seen someone in my house. I’ve lost count of the days and years, barely noticing the sun rising and setting anymore. I’m not sure I could even notice now if I tried. Time doesn’t seem to move for me, even if I can see shades moving through the fog outside my window. My whole world, this solitary, empty house, has faded to nothing but grays.

No one comes here anymore. They used to come.

The first to come was a family, a mother and a father and a small girl, who was maybe three, maybe four. I didn’t care. They left me alone in the attic, and I was able to watch the sun move across the sky before it disappeared into the grey fog that was to come.

I had heard the neighbours warning of something awful that had happened in the house some years before, or at least, that’s what I think they were saying. Sometimes it was so hard to hear the words that came out of their mouths. It was just too soft, or maybe they’d been whispering. I could never tell. I never left the attic, and even when I had my ear pressed to the heating grate I could barely make out what was said. It had felt strange, worrying, since I had always been able to hear people downstairs, even on the first floor, clearly before in this way.

It wasn’t until the couple were about to have their second child that I started to care that my house had new owners. They invaded my attic, my sanctuary, and began to push my things into boxes, carting them away to god only knew where.

Of course I hid. I was afraid they would find a way to force me back out into the world, and I wouldn’t go. Not back out there. It was all bright lights and weakness and heart ache.

I wouldn’t go.

Slowly, over several days, all my things disappeared. There wasn’t much. Just a few tiny boxes now, a few scraps of newspaper that didn’t mean anything to anyone but me, but they were all I had left.

In a desperate attempt to keep everything from being stolen from me, I crept out when everyone else in the house was sleeping and stole back my favorite scarf, the one my grandmother knit for me just before she died.

She was the only one who had payed much attention to me as a kid. Everyone else was too busy with themselves to think of me. Maybe it was because she hadn’t come from money but married into it. She wasn’t even my real Grandmother. She was still my favorite anyways.

Even now, when I find it harder and harder to remember my past I can see her wild, helter skelter hair and devil-may-care grin, her laugh wicked and malicious even if she wasn’t, not really. She hadn’t taken crap from anybody until the day she died. She sure had given it though.

I had smiled softly looking down at the blue and purple stripes, fingers gently moving over the material. I don’t know how long I stared at it. Maybe it had been just before the sun rose when I picked it up, maybe I had stared at it, lost in thought, all night. All I know is that when the first bird squawked out it’s morning ‘wake up so I can annoy the shit out of you’, barely audible to me even then, I realized I had to hide again. Had to hide my prize.

And I did. They never found it. No one ever did.

Not the family, even after they had tried to take over my attic with their awful attempts at making it a nursery. Not even when I began throwing their shit out the windows in rage at the audacity of defiling my private place.

Not the elderly woman who bought the house after them who tried to remodel and rent out my attic as an appartment.

Not even the various teenagers, looking for cheap thrills, who broke in after the house was eventually abandoned.

It’s still my treasure, though I can’t seem to summon the strength to take it out and look at it anymore.

Now it’s just me and my secret, alone in this attic. I like to think that if there is any colour left in this world, it’s been trapped inside that scarf.

I’ll never know until I see it again.

I suppose it doesn’t matter very much.

Not much matters to me anymore.

Not the wraiths below me that wander through the fog.

Not the dull, lifelessness of the world.

Not even that I’m dead.