A/N: Written for a summer creative writing class. The prompt was essentially what would happen if your house talked. Mostly everybody else went with cute little Feeeeeeed me and Cleeeeeeeean me scenarios.
I did this instead. Tee hee?
Home is not where you live,
but where they understand you.
That is what I really am. To you, to everyone.
Some days you'll run your hands down my banisters or sit on my floors, make me feel useful.
But you're sad when you have to clean me, sad when you're left alone with me. Only you don't call it that.
You call it staying home alone.
Like nobody else is in these halls, except for you.
I always thought you'd know better than that.
You're so perceptive, too, that it hardly makes sense. It's been a while since I had someone walk through with eyes that sharp.
I had high hopes for you. I had hoped you could one day notice me.
Of course I didn't know how to throw signals your way, things for you to pick up.
I speak in subtleties, and I learned too late that your eyes are of no use to you.
You don't speak in subtleties, the way I do. You speak a language opposite of mine.
You are bright fireworks on the Fourth of July, you are shouts in the middle of the night, you are the girl bringing an entire stage to life, a presence, a star, with your voice. Subtlety is wasted on you.
And you cannot see my words.
At least, not yet.
It happens after your dreams get dashed to pieces, when you cannot go far and away to pursue your dreams. Mommy dearest and Daddy love cannot afford to whisk you half a world away, and so you are stuck at home, again.
You grow quieter as you stay longer. Life shushes you, subdues you, as you slowly learn just how little you are worth.
That stubborn sparkle still shines, that sharp sparkle I saw in you all that time ago.
But you are different, and anyone who knew you earlier can tell you that now. You can see different things now, now without all the fireworks ringing in your ears.
You start wondering what's happened to you. You talk to everyone you know. Of course I hear all of it.
"I don't know why, maybe I'm…just thinking too much," you say into your phone, anxiously studying your messy hair in your mirror, eyes darting as if you expect me to appear before you. A phantom, a ghost, a nightmare.
"But…I mean, I'm staying home alone more often. I think that's it?"
Of course it is.
Of course you are alone.
"I'm up late at night, anyway, and I think my house moves. I mean, I know that sounds crazy, right? Of course it is. Houses don't move. I know that. But I just can't get over it. I'm not alone. I mean, I don't think I am. Not really."
Have you learned after all?
Your friends laugh and ask what you're smoking.
You're almost ready.
I've been moving longer than you've known.
Sometimes my walls close in, a little. You blink, momentarily. Of course you won't miss it, not when you were born and bred on fairy tales and extraordinary things becoming quite commonplace.
Sometimes I let the doors creak when there's no wind. You're laughing, saying aloud that you don't remember asking to live in a haunted mansion.
There's a difference, and you'll see it yet.
It is wrong for me to encourage this, to wish for someone to talk to, and yet I do. I know the cost all too well, but whatever guilt I once felt has long since fast.
Besides, any prospects you had are long since gone. Your world is fast falling apart around you, the walls are closing in.
I breathe your name, a pretty one, prettier than all the ones who came before you.
And you hear it. Hear it and turn ghostly white, wondering where the voice with no lips came from.
I know you can hear me, Isabella.
You faint straightaway.
I thought you were stronger than that.
It turns out that I was wrong, because it isn't long before you call the people you love and trust.
People like your emotional mother, your cold father, your fully certified psychiatrist.
"Help me, help me, the voice is here in my head, and it won't stop, oh God, it won't stop no matter what I do. People aren't supposed to hear voices, oh God, it means they're crazy. Please, please tell me I'm not crazy. I'll do anything, anything, to not be crazy."
They send you to an asylum like you're a weak Victorian slip of a woman, suffering from hysteria or some such nonsense.
I never see you again.
I know you blame me for this. That even now, you are sitting in your solitary confinement cell a long ways away from me. Even now, you hate me for what I have done, in the spaces when you can think, in between daily checkups and drugs in your veins.
But deep down, you cannot face the truth.
You know that you are the one to blame.
You did not need to listen to me, Isabella.
But you chose to be sharp, to be aware of the world around you, to believe in the impossible.
Do you see it now?
The price of what you have done, and what you have failed to do?
I always talk, Isabella.
Nobody ever really hears me.
Except for the exceptional, the bold, the few, the proud.