Horror logo

A New Home

Just an empty house. Probably.

By L.C. SchäferPublished 3 years ago 7 min read
A New Home
Photo by Philipp Berndt on Unsplash

Footsteps echo loudly in naked hallways, don’t they? Without carpet or furnishings to cushion the noise, it feels intrusive and loud, like hooves in a temple. Half of me savours the sassiness of the sound and the other half wants to slip my shoes off, tiptoe, whisper. 

I stand motionless, listening to the emptiness pouring in on me. The door clicks shut behind me. That, too, seems obnoxiously loud. It’s almost like this space is sacrosanct, like a grave. Or it's telling me it’s not mine.  Okay, I concede soothingly. To myself. To the air.  To the walls. Not mine.  Not quite.  Not completely.  Not yet anyway.

It feels cold. 

I feel on the brink of something. I am in a kind of limbo. The emptiness yawns around me, and I’m not sure if it’s intimidating, like a deep hole, or inviting, like a bright clean sheet of paper or a new exercise book on the first day back at school. This is mirrored by the fresh not-quite-spring light coming in through the bare windows. I have the urge to visit each room.  Size them all up, screwing up my inexpert eyes and picture them full. Imagining what will fit where like a game of Tetris. My feet clicking across the nude wooden floors and my fingers brushing possessively along bannisters and windowsills. 

Why do I hesitate?

I take my shoes off, and tuck my hands into my armpits.

Really quite cold.

I am sure we will warm one another soon enough. Like putting on a coat. Sometimes the material feels cool at first. Give it time.

The stairs are right in front of me, to my right. They look inviting, but there seems something obscene about going straight up there without methodically moving through each of the downstairs rooms first.

I move softly. As if someone is ill or sleeping nearby and I don't want to disturb them. But I am definitely alone here. Aren’t I? I feel like a ghost. Maybe I'm not really there at all. I pause again, and I tell myself it's so that I can press the soles of my feet against the floor and feel the affirming chill. I am here.

Around me, it's like the house is breathing gently, but I know that if I look directly at any one wall it will be stubbornly flat and still. I do not look.  I do not. Shrug my arms into the sleeves...

I turn slowly, already mentally filling each niche.  Is it my imagination, or does the space shift and flex around me? Does it know I'm here? Peering into each corner, it looks and feels thoroughly empty, and I feel both disappointment and relief. Some stuff left behind can be a real find, but sometimes it’s just purposeless, unwanted clutter that is hard to get rid of. I would rather not deal with that.

I head back along the hallway and - what's this? Was this door even here before? How did I not notice it? I try the handle, but its locked. Something inside me seems to sink.  Or shrink.  Is that my heart?  Or my gut? Is it supposed to do that? I rattle the handle, not that I expect it to do any good. It’s just the sort of thing people do. What do I need to do about this?  How big of a problem is it?  How unusual?  I am keenly aware that I have not actually done this before. It is human nature, I suppose, when you are not sure how to deal with something, to deal with it by not dealing with it. I am starting to feel at home already. So, like a child hopping from a balloon to a lollipop to a brightly coloured shiny whatever, I push those concerns aside for now and turn my attention to those stairs. That childlike corner of myself is eager now, tries to hurry my feet, but I won't let it.  Grown up people don’t tear all the paper off all their presents in one go, do they?  Softly, softly. 

Feel the fabric settle on my shoulders...

The bannister feels satisfyingly smooth. Is it my feet carrying me upwards, or my hand gliding up the handrail? Am I really that fanciful, or is that an effect of being here? Things tend to take on the shape of the container, after all, and that's what this is, really.  Just a big fancy container for Me.  My other hand reaches for the wall, fingertips trailing, leaving no visible mark on the fresh paintwork, but leaving a mark all the same. Hands emboldened a little, reaching out, and feet treading more firmly.

From here I can see a succession of doors, all waiting to be opened and peeked behind.  This entire floor seems to bulge and shimmer with endless possibilities.  Including the very real possibility that there is almost nothing here.  Nothing except me.  Am I an almost nothing?

I am here, aren’t I?

I half-hope to find something exciting, but what I am really hoping for is for all to be exactly as expected.  That is human nature, too.

I feel a tickle of unease on the back of my neck, but I keep moving my feet, steadily and resolutely, without looking round. Is she still here? My feet did NOT stutter on the top of the stairs. They did not.

I step inside each space, eyeing it, letting my feet tread more firmly, then move on. A little like an efficient lover.  I have no idea how long I spend on this; it’s like time turns sideways as I stake my claim on each area.

Poke my fingers out of the sleeves...

Eventually, I come to the last door.  It won't open. It resists me. This would be annoying at the best of times, but this is going to be MY room, and I want to look at it, in all its blank and boring glory.  Underneath that petulant soil is a small seed of panic. I am shut out! I try to soothe myself.  After all, I have barely begun to live here – there is no sense imbuing this place with frustration, anger and – will I admit it? – yes, fear. I take some calming breaths, carefully not looking at the flat, unmoving walls.  It’s not just the container affecting the contained; the same works the other way, too.  Tupperware remembers tomato soup.

I don't know whether it was the jiggle or the firm shoulder shove, or the silent prayer to a non-specified deity (any of them would do at this point) but here I am, relieved, stepping over the threshold, incipient anger dissipating.

There is a large window directly head of me.  Young branches with early buds tap on the pane, starkly outlined against an empty pale blue sky.  The sight brings back the feeling of newness with a jolt, that sensation of palpable potential bubbling up and cresting, offering – or threatening - to carry me with it.

Fasten the front...

Should I wait? After all, there are still nooks and crannies I haven't properly checked out yet. Who knows what I might find? There could be ALL KINDS of treasures. Or baggage that will surprise me later.  Either way, I may as well uncover it all now.  

Should I wait?  Suddenly, I don't WANT to.  Although, “want" is not really the right word.  That feeling of being on the brink of something is brimming over, like a little bird on a waking branch.  Just a little scrap of Nature, so light he's almost not there, barely more than a wisp of an idea, only-just-ready wings being buffeted by the Spring wind. I have a reckless urge to ignore that warning tickle. Whatever might be left can lie dormant and ignored, forgotten.  

Adjust the cuffs...

I don't think I can wait any longer.  No matter how long that little bird hesitates, something will tip him off the branch. I can feel it now. The something.  A breeze lifting my feathers.  Half jovial, half threatening – like the least liked uncle at every party. Jump or I'll push you

The barely budding branches tap insistently on the glass again, drawing my attention to the bright cold winter-spring day outside. Are they tapping, or is that me? Or something else? You might as well jump.

It's a bright blue-white-and-yellow sort of a day. A perfect day to be born. 

Adjust the collar...

I take a breath and there's no denying it this time, it’s breathing, too.  We are synced.  I open my eyes, and look down at myself, feel the crisp white sheet covering my new body. I flex my fingers and feel my mouth  - yes this mouth is mine and it feels wonderfully solid and soft at the same time - curve into a smile.

This will do. This will make a perfect new home for me. 


About the Creator

L.C. Schäfer

Book-baby is available on Kindle Unlimited

Flexing the writing muscle

Never so naked as I am on a page. Subscribe for nudes.

Here be micros

Twitter, Insta Facey

Sometimes writes under S.E.Holz

"I've read books. Well. Chewed books."

Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights


There are no comments for this story

Be the first to respond and start the conversation.

Sign in to comment

    Find us on social media

    Miscellaneous links

    • Explore
    • Contact
    • Privacy Policy
    • Terms of Use
    • Support

    © 2024 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.