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The Barn

by Gina Solomon 10 months ago in Short Story · updated 10 months ago
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If the walls could talk...

Photo by Ricardo Gomez Angel on Unsplash

I was once a tall useful bustle of life. I was home to 3 families of mice, 4 cats, a dog, a whole herd of black angus cows and I kept the hay and feed for the winter each year. I miss those days when things would start stirring inside with the creep of the sun’s rays coming over the hill. The man from the house would open my door and whistle for the dog. The cats would wander in and out as the dog helped the man with the cows. Fresh hay on my floor after it had been swept was the best feeling each day.

No one has swept my floor in so very long. The man stopped coming in to sweep my floor when other men came and took the herd of cows. Big trucks rumbled into the yard and puffed dirty smoke into the air. They rattled and clanked and filled up their backs with the black cows. I tried to ask where they were going but none of them knew. I creaked goodbye as best I could. Then someone came and took the cats and the old dog and the man stopped coming out of his house. I was left with the mice, the wind and rain and sometimes a skunk would wander around me but I would creak and try to rattle my door to keep him from trying to settle in. The mice and I do the best we can but lately my roof is starting to sag and it leaks a bit. There isn’t much left inside me. When the cows left the feed and hay that was any good went too. The little bits left have long been eaten by the mice now.

I had a barn owl live in my rafters last winter. She was so pretty at first and she was quiet and calm. As soon as she was settled into a nest though, things changed. She was hunting and eating my mice friends every night. I was so afraid for my mice. Their numbers dwindled quickly to just a few and by spring, the owl had hatched an egg and was training it’s young to fly so it too could hunt. I was so afraid they would find the last few mice I hid beneath boards and crevices. The owl was flying through the rafters one night and as it swooped down on a mouse, I tried to rattle my doors to distract it. Instead of rattling the doors one of them came right off its hinges and fell in towards the owl. It hurt me to lose the door but the mouse was saved and because the wind could now blow through me, the owls decided to move out. So I was not sad to lose the door. The nest is still in my rafters and there are several feathers. The mice don’t go near it.

I have noticed lately that the suns heat feels different this year. I think my paint is so faded and cracked it isn’t protecting me anymore. I feel like I am starting to crumble. The wind blows through cracks in my walls and makes me shiver. The mice have not left me at least, though there aren’t many of them. I have often thought if it weren’t for the mice I would be so lonely. They keep me company and entertained with their coming and going. But yesterday a man came to visit me. He looked in every corner and seemed to admire my rafters and beams. He patted my walls as though testing my ability to hold myself up. He was smiling when he left and looked back as he walked away nodding his head as though he was assuring himself I was worth coming back to fix up. I do hope he returns with tools and timbers to fix me back up. I would love to house a herd of black angus cows again. I miss their gentle mooing and the warmth they brought to my interior.

The man has returned with two other men and they have brought tools. I am so excited to be fixed up. They are causing my walls to creek and groan as they are pulling me apart and making a pile of my timbers. I do not understand how this will fix me up. Ohhhh this is not right. Please stop pulling my walls apart. No, no not my rafters, you will make me fall down. I will be no more and what will become of my mice? How will they stay safe? My walls are gone, you have left me with posts and beams all bare. I will be shelter no more. I will be nothing but sorrow.

Why are you cutting and slicing my boards? Was it not enough to tear me down and apart? Will you cut me into pieces to burn? Am I only good for your fire now? I do not understand why you have harmed me so. What good am I like this, in pieces stripped bare? No longer shelter for anyone. I can not save your feed for the winter months. Am I nothing to you?

I was wrong, I was so wrong. I am renewed but not as I was. Never could I have imagined the things I could become. I am a door to welcome you home. I am a table and chair with which to seat yourself and enjoy your meals. I am a mantle over your fire to lovingly hold your family photos. I am proudly part of your home.

Short Story

About the author

Gina Solomon

Life is an adventure and sometimes the adventure is figuring out who you are and why you have learned so many odd skills years before. I think it is time to share my adventures in stories my imagination has been aching to create.

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