‘For a while the houses on either side of us were empty.’ – Charles Chadwick, It’s All Right Now

10 – 15 minutes.


One thought on “Self

  1. Smoke rises through the air releasing the sweet smell of summer. I’d know that smell anywhere. My stomach growls as memories of running around the yard chasing my brother through the sprinklers and around the swings flash back. My mother always cooking on the grill in her apron that had stains of grease and coal smears across the pig image, “Character,” she would say. I haven’t thought about those summer days since we boxed the apron two falls ago when she passed. I wonder where that smell was coming from. I hadn’t bought coal for our Weber and the burner on the left side of our gas grill has stopped working. With fear of a leak we decided against refilling the propane tank. So I wander along the edge of the wrapped porch looking for signs of smoke, but see nothing. It is only until I gaze out to the west that I found the source.

    “That’s odd,” I mutter to myself. The houses to the west of the lake haven’t been lived in in years. One of the owners was an elderly man who was placed into a home by his children who had no interest in renting the home during the summer. And the other looked rather abandoned, but from time to time you could catch glimpse of a red head girl visiting throughout the years. I didn’t see anyone I recognized from this perch and the ache of hunger was only increasing. Maybe a friendly visit would offer me a hot lunch.

    I took the shortcut through the woods around the outskirts of the lake. As the house came closer into view I noticed that the windows were boarded up and the vines have overgrown encompassing much of the side. Flashes of shadows could be seen moving quickly past the small cracks from unprofessional repairs to the houses paneling. I decided to circle around a little before approaching the house. I hadn’t seen a grill and the smell wasn’t as sweet as I had let my memories make me believe. I heard the snap of a branch and quickly turned to the direction of the sound. Nothing. I turned back towards the house and jumped. A man stood right in front of me.

    “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to cause you a fright,” he calmly stated. He was an attractive older man with beautiful long blackish brown hair and stunning blue eyes that seemed to hide how old he really was. He was hypnotic in the way that he spoke and his words would leave you with a feeling of intoxication. I felt the instant urge to apologize and forgot the reason that I had stumbled across this house. “No, don’t be silly. It was my fault. I was taking a walk through the woods. I was looking for,” the words to fill the sentence seemed to have escaped my mind until a loud growl reminded me, “food.” The man’s mouth lifted into a half quirk, “I am a bit of a hunter myself,” he chuckled while lunging into me.

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