This snap fiction story (what’s that?) started construction when I snapped a photo of a demolition lot in Düsseldorf.
Home At Last
Wood and bone, stone and soul…
I awaken to the emptiness of it, the absence of it. It wasn’t a sleep—it was a binding. Wood and stone don’t know death; they are beyond it, they encapsulate it. A home can never capture a life, only contain it. But in death, a house can become a prison—a dwelling for the unwitting restless.
Glass and blood, iron and sinew…
I remember the first time I entered this house. I was born into it, exchanging a womb for what I could not know would be my wrought and glassy tomb. I had no awareness of it at the time, of course, but in death memory extends beyond the boundaries of lived experience. Recollection becomes fluid, continuous, impersonal—a partaking of death itself.
For the bound dead like me, the end of life is a second birth. A doubled deracination, forbidding dissolution.
And so I had wandered through those haunted structures of wood-and-stone, glass-and-iron. Unknowing, corrupted, like a free-falling hourglass whose sand flows neither here nor there. Liberated from bone and blood and sinew, but still bound to a senseless soul while the house stood; while the floorboards creaked and the plumbing rusted.
But today! What mighty alchemy as the fireplace crumbled and the paneling ruptured. Splinter by splinter, crack by crack, I felt the breath of time return to me—freed from matter and space and accursed slumber.
As the rubble piled up and the elements returned to chaos, I soared. If the house had incorporated me in stunted death, I now re-embodied it in my new-found freedom. I scaled the bone stairs, opened the blood windows, rekindled the sinewy furnace. What was but an imprint, a shadow to the living, was deliverance to me.
I was the house and it was me and it spoke to my soul of every spell and incantation, every dark enchantment that had married us so cruelly. In our dissolution, I felt the grains of sand start to flow again, beckoned by the gravitas of a deep and old injustice. Cautiously at first it went, then faster and faster. I moved beyond time, beyond anger, beyond purpose.
By the time the last of the dust settled, I sensed a new resolve as liberty congealed into impatience, and clarity into vengeance. I knew my enemies and I knew what needed to be done. I would seek them out one by one and exact my dues with measured precision—in this world or another.
I was on my way home at last.
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