Some of you may know that I’m a college student, and like many college students, I have a somewhat perverse streak in me that will unaccountably jump at any opportunity to temporarily avoid homework. Don’t get me wrong—homework is important—it just isn’t so important that I can resist the siren call of any excuse to write something new (and fictional) when essays have been on the menu for a while. To those of you who have read What Is and Could Be, this story might be beginning to sound familiar... and you’d be right. About midway through the term the student leadership decided to host a flash fiction contest, and wouldn’t you know—I thought, “Why not?” It wasn’t as if I didn’t already have enough to do.
So I wrote ”Once” around the feeling you get when you’re standing somewhere and you begin to realize that the walls around you have seen lives pass them by—some good, some bad. They’ve witnessed happiness and sadness, and maybe a little grief. Maybe nothing extraordinary ever happened there, but people were there, and that was enough.
I hope this story blesses you.
It was one of those white-hot summer days—the ones when the cicadas humming in the trees make someone want to do nothing but drowse in a shady hammock. I couldn’t have told anyone why I went for a stroll along that blistering sidewalk, or why I found myself at the old Abel place. It wasn’t as if there was anything to see but rank weeds, a broken lawn chair, and a roof missing shingles, but something drew me there as sure as curiosity killed the cat. Some say the place is haunted, but I think it’s only rats, skittering their tiny claws over the roof beams to scare the kids.
Anyway, there I stood. And there it stood. The stuccoed walls had begun to crack and crumble, giving in to the slow passage of time. As I looked at the broken windows yellowed with cobwebs and the dry brown lawn home now only to grasshoppers and lizards, I realized that the dead thing before me had once been part of someone’s life.
Children had once played on this lawn. Doubtless, some daring young adventurer had skinned his knee coasting his bike down the same sidewalk that had nearly burnt through my sandals. On the left of the two-story house were a few crazy fence posts, all that remained of a garden choked by thistles. I saw a mother there picking tomatoes, enjoying the scarlet-red firstfruits of her labor before any made it to sandwiches and salsa.
My feet crunched the sun-baked earth as I stepped off the curb, wading through the waist-high grass in silence. The peeling door hung listless before me, frame warped, and held on only by a hinge and a few rusty screws. How long had the house been here? Every day I ignored it, too busy to remember what had been. I stepped inside.
Welcome to Katelyn Buxton Books! I'm a Christian author and blogger, with a passion for writing stories that are not just enjoyable, but also lead people closer to Jesus. Feel free to look around, and enjoy your stay!