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This House

Bernice Cooke Art Artwork Galway Artist Giclée Prints Old Buildings Pen and Watercolor prints Romance Ruinlust Short story Writer


Stature of Mary

Boots lined the lime washed walls, the soles caked in dried mud.  Years of hard labour had formed creases and crevices - pathways of time engrained in leather.

The rusty gate groaned with effort, much to the gentle sigh of the fir trees as they bowed their heads in the wind.  A tiny confetti of needles danced to the ground.

A worn path under my feet, partially shrouded in lichen, hid a collection of past footprints.


The brass knocker hung limply from the paint peeled door, a rainbow of colours for every year.  The sun’s rays illuminated the interior, dust particles shimmered in its light, the broken panes of glass allowed the houses soul to breathe.  Dampness filled my nostrils as I gently nudged the door open, careful not to disturb this precious landscape.  An old tweed jacket and flat cap, casually flung over the skeleton of a chair, the innards of the seat spilled to the ground.

Branches of an abandoned nest filled the orifice of the fireplace, pierced the fine dust on the hearth.  Mary stood in the corner, dried flowers adorned her feet, a worn rosary looped around her neck, a single cobweb woven from her outstretched arms to the chipped windowsill.

Whose house is this?

An old newspaper dated 1979, ink faded on sun-kissed pages lay folded beside a tea stained cup, sat in its flowery saucer.  The carcasses of several flies lay littered among the empty plates. A brass kettle sat on a forlorn stove, the gas bottle dotted with rust.

Pale pink embossed wallpaper clung lifelessly from the parlour walls, mushrooms deflated underfoot, the moist carpet the source of their nutrition.  The pungent sickly sweet smell of wet soot oozed down the chimney breast, and beyond a gaping hole in the rafters admitted a skylight view.

Whose house is this?

I gingerly retraced my steps to the front door, stepping back through the portal of more modern times, closing the door to the memories of the past, the sale agreed sign fluttered in the wind.

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