Wednesday, April 3, 2019

The House at Hollymont

The child with black eyes, Tobin, lives under this room.

Before his eyes were dark, the boy Tobin played in the shadow of the church. It stood before our modern machinations, outlived the boy and his family, and will likely outlast us, as well.

Although his domain is now what is beneath, it should be known that the family was fraught with precautions unclear to us now. The cellar entrance has been cemented off from the outside, but multiple doors on the second and third floor bear locks on the exterior. 

Some are defunct and rusted over; others, broken, the original wood feverishly clawed from the ground up.

The locks and markings gave one pause and the slightest step back for a moment of concern. 'But it was from a different time.' For surely there was a benign explanation to this haphazard, ramshackle approach to the interior security of one's domicile. But such brevity was abandoned upon moving a cast iron stove for maintenance and cleaning. 

It appears that the family had maintained access to the cellar, although they made no effort to advertise the fact to their neighbors. Or the municipality.

The black below the cellar door belonged to him, as dark or worse than those eyes. I would not commit myself to such a reckless endeavor, alone and without so much as a light. Trying to find solace elsewhere, a somewhere with windowed light and even the faintest inkling of the waking world, I returned upstairs. 

The locks were also on their closet doors. I could no longer find faint, naive joy in attempting to picture the normalcy and routine of the family's daily life. It would only make the now creeping, lingering feeling worse. Embolden it.

There was room to breathe. It would be unwise to turn this place into its own dose of claustrophobia, having found it of my own flight of responsibility. 

I sat and collected my thoughts at the top of the stairs. I had already stayed a night unharmed, comfortable, content, before he had whispered his story in my sleep. There was no reason to fear the place only now. I could see the church through the bedroom windows, the house itself in the same shadow the boy had dwelled, over two centuries prior. 

I found a place of safety, I had believed. It did me no good, however, in the process of mentally and emotionally catching my breath to think on it for too long: I realized that, yes, I had felt secure in my naivety. But now I had opened and unlocked every bolt and breach in the house that time had sealed.