Note: This was written for the RG's October Writing Challenge Contest. Prompt is:
"October 27th, 1998
Sleep under benches. All I have are these fluttering pages in my Dante book, a Florentine something I can't remember getting or buying. Maybe I found it? Scribble like a manic. Etch like the chronic ill. Mostly shiver. Shiver constantly though the nights are not so cold.
Wherever I walk people turn from me.
- From House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
Silence echoed through the empty halls of this former bastion of humanity. The door of the basement opened with sinuous ease, and I looked upon that stone-fallen door. The shade was the same: a dull grey, the grey of death.
The end was immediately clear, foreshadowed eons ago by the hearts of our ancestors. Voices taunted me in the depths of ice, but no longer. Warnings were given, but nothing. Resonations of evil laughter fade upwards, and then dissipate into the world.
I'd always thought that I was blessed to be where I was, and I'd keep no secret of my wealth. Things material were who I was. But now all I had with me were scavengings: a silver watch, a gold chain and a little book that's kept me company all these years. When no one else listened, it did.
The sky glittered a faraway blue, and there were little smatterings of grey that sparkled in the azure. A single, innocent, cloud puffed through, chugging its way through the sea, ever ignorant of the bleakness of our land, and, as a result, chained forever to happiness.
And then that sense of security breaks, is shattered, forever fragmented. We eagerly grasp for it in the foolish hope for acquiring the unobtainable, but never find it again. I looked around me once more. Still that dull grey, an ever-seeking grey that spread everywhere, avoiding nothing. The tables: stone. The lights: stone. And the single rose that lay atop the hallowed, stone chandelier: stone.
When I was younger, I was by far the most possessive of people: I would take everything for me, and for no one else. Even up to this day, I only protected myself out of self-preservation. But in front of me lay fifteen years of my lustre-lost life. It was there, all intact, but I couldn't touch it through the wall of stone, and it cheerfully smirked at me, as if it had the last laugh.
There was nothing more to be done in this past. I took a look around once more, with a tinge of regret, as this would never be returned to. I saw the stone dog staring into the room past the wall of glass, with pleading eyes and wagging tail. I saw the fly on the wall, legs clinging on, ever on the edge of falling, but never. And I saw the statues of my family, gathered round the stoned fireplace, forever fixated, unfree, in screams of horror.
But all these shades simply fade into one, the same as it is, the same as it ever was. I turned, walked into the light, and then closed the door forever, closing the door on the shades of my past.