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By MerelyDave All Rights Reserved ©



I dropped everything I carried and stood, gazing up at 1307 Whippoorwill Road.

There were fifteen more years on it, fifteen stubborn and remorseful years, a sodden two-story mobbed by tall grasses and lived in only by small animals. The country was always wet around here, and the house hadn't aged well.

I didn't need the city's yellow Unsafe sign to tell me our family didn't live here any more, but I could see the truth of our presence. The patio, empty of chairs. Yellow gingham curtains in the living room window. The screen door, hanging by one hinge, eaten by weather and insects. The wooden ramp for Laura Lee's wheelchair. Two lines of gravel where a tired Oldsmobile would have parked. I'd been born in the upstairs bedroom, ran down the stairs two at a time, raced cars over the kitchen tiles, built forts of cardboard, watched cartoons on a flickering color television. Fifteen years ago, I left.

I'd tossed and turned ever since, argued with myself, and decided to come back, supplies in hand. I would stay only a moment, enough to take care of everything, then get in the car and go away again, forever. The worst days of my life happened in that house, and it ate at my heart to know it still stood.

The windows that weren't broken winced silently down at me. Remembering. Days of work, days of optimistic hope, days of shouting between a bourbon-fueled man who spoke with his belt and a woman whose dreams had withered. Mama was our cook, our seamstress, and our buffer. Dad worked his heart away at the refinery, and it took more and more of him each year, leaving only rage.

Dad raged at everything. He raged at me for going to college, raged at Laura Lee for not having legs that worked, raged at Mama for no good reason. Someone would be hit. He'd make it up to us with big holiday dinners and board game nights and attempts to take us fishing or hunting or shopping. He'd paint the walls and fix the plumbing. He'd make promises to us and to himself, and he really meant to keep them. He must have wanted us to be happy in that house. Maybe we thought we were, but the house was always brimming with that rage.

Then a day in April, when he'd hit Mama and she came running out of the bedroom screaming back at him, to go downstairs like she always did to make herself some tea and calm down and read herself to sleep, except that this time she missed the top stair and hit every step on the way down, breaking the carved bannister and coming to rest on the wooden floor like one of Laura Lee's dolls. Dad and I burst from our rooms at the same time, and his wails were terrible to hear, for he had lost the only woman he loved, and I hated him then more than he could imagine, for his love was made of pain and I had lost a sane ally and an anchor. I'd left after we buried her, and he raged at me, and Laura Lee had to stay with him. She wouldn't go with me. Maybe she had to share his regret.

The house on Whippoorwill Road remembered as sharply as I did. The windows were haunted with the memory of games we played, of songs we sang, of heights we never managed to reach but always looked up at, thinking it might be ours. Laura Lee had moved away, and Dad was left to rage at himself, although he always called us on the holidays, hoping to see us. Then he left too, trading the lonely house for a nice plot at Greenview next to Mama. I'd already visited that and had my say.

It wasn't the house's fault.

I picked up the gasoline cans, walked back to the car. I realized there was nothing here I wanted to do. The house was already condemned.

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cato50802: this book is truly well developed and truly captivating, I thoroughly enjoyed every part of the book. there are little to no grammatical errors, and the characters are very interesting. it’s one of those books that’s hard to stop reading!

Jen Lewis: A little slow in the beginning, but once the tide came in, I was caught up in it, and couldn't escape. I read it through without stopping, literally couldn't put it down. Above all, the ending was very satisfying.

Ariel: First book from the Author I've read, and am extremely impressed and very much satisfied that this story was a short-story, yet, filled with great writing, fantastic characters, and all I'd like is more, please. Malice, she is my favorite!!

Ashley Kimler: I love the drama and the darkness of this story. Sadly, I was distracted my editorial errors and couldn't delve into it. The grammar mistakes kept me from being able to forget where I was and immerse in the story. If not for that, I think I would have given this chapter 5 stars. My advice to the ...

_Dusks_kiss: I never knew that one of my favourite childhood cartoons could turn into such a beautiful story. Tho there are many grammatical errors and writing errors, this story warmed my heart to 100%. I would definitely want this book to get published and I would also buy it. It’s amazing character develop...

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Nabeel Parkar: With a lot of twists in the story as well as a few grammatical mistakes, this novel is great. It's not an original concept, but the interpretation of this concept is the best I've seen so far. I recommend this to all willing to read and who love a good romance/fantasy story. Very good overall!!

Isha Chaudhari: Amazing book ...the most beautiful part is the kind of relationship Carla has with Peter. However, the epilogue was the one that surprised me the Most....Carla getting married to Peter....when in the book her relationship is mostly discussed with Ridian.Was a bit confusing thus.Lovable book that ...

Alkira Joan: Great story, I found it hard to read especially the dialogue. You just need to fix up some spelling errors and the gramma .I enjoyed this book. was a little hard to get though.,.,..,.,.,,..,.,.,, , , , ,.,, , , , , , , ,., ,,.,,,,,

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