The Living Thing


The house stood back a mile from the road. Gravel covered the path leading to the rickety, front, paint-free door. Shutters slammed against the weathered siding in the strong winds. I stood in front of the once famous estate.

Now people-free. Only the spirits of once residing residents remained. It was if you could almost see them, their moans were so loud.

I went up to the door. I didn’t have to turn the knob, as it gently rocked to and fro in rhythm with the wind. I stepped over creaky boards and stood in the middle of the living room.

Furniture draped with off-white sheets. Spiders taking care of their young in beautifully built webs. What was once heavy velvet draperies, now hung to the side, shattered and torn.

Above the fireplace, there was a large oil painting of the couple who had built this home. He had built it as a wedding gift for his beloved.

He wondered what stories the painting could speak of. He was sure he would love to hear them. He walked into the kitchen and everything was in its place. Nothing standing on the cupboards, the table empty.

The strange thing though was, although there was no living person around besides himself, there obviously was something living within these walls.

When you looked up and down at the walls and the windows, they were graced with beautiful Ivy. It had made its home to the entire room.

Looking to mate with each vine, they had intertwined themselves and weaved a delicate scene display all across the ceiling.

He stood back a little as this wondrous sight gave him slight shivers. He took one more glance and then turned and walked towards the strong, detailed oak stair case.

One step in front of the other, he made his way to the top. The Ivy had extended its beauty into each of the four bedrooms, gracing the doorways, running through the floorboards, and covering each glass window pane.

He saw something. He walked closer to the glass. How intricate, he thought. In each pane was a form. Yes, a human form. There were multiple head shapes of people. He remembered the paintings on the stair wall and rushed back to them.

Standing and mentally memorizing each photo, he went back to the room with all the windows. Oh my gosh, he thought, these precisely woven vines had carved out faces. Each of these faces matched the photos he had just looked at on the staircase.

He was astounded. He stood their taking in all the details when suddenly he felt a choking hold around his neck. He instantly placed his hands to his throat, trying to force what had a hold of him.

He squirmed and twisted but with each turn, the rope got tighter. With all his might, he thrust himself backwards. He fell with such force, he nearly knocked himself out when his head hit the floor.

He sat up and looked at what had grabbed hold of him. Ivy, Ivy had tried to attack him. He scrambled to his feet and he could hear moaning. A moaning of someone starving. It was as if the stomach acid was churning from lack of nourishment.

This house wasn’t haunted. The souls of each person whom once lived here, were still alive within the walls. The Ivy was their guardian, nurturing, feeding, and training them.

He turned and ran out of the house as fast as he could. He never looked back and he never returned.

Written by,
Terry Shepherd

 

 

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