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[personal profile] namaste
So I've been trying to write some original fiction, playing around with a couple of ideas. All I can say is it's harder to come up with completely original stuff than playing in someone else's sandbox. I figured I'd post this here, and if anyone has feedback, I'd appreciate it. (It'll eventually play with other ideas about dreams that don't come true.)




The house sat alone at the top of a small hill with just one scraggly tree to keep it company. Even the tree looked worn down, exhausted by the winter it had just seen. Its branches were still mostly bare, with only a few small buds showing on the lower limbs.

The house looked white, but there was a patch of pale yellow still visible in shade of a dormer window on the north side, where the sun hasn’t quite bleached out all the color yet.

“It needs a coat of a paint,” Dee said, shading her eyes from the sun. The sky was a clear pale blue of early spring, but there was still frost in the air and a gusty wind was blowing hard, carrying the feel of ice from the lake that was maybe two miles away.

“It needs more than that,” Danny said. He took his attention off of the weathered shingles on the roof and the peeling paint to the entry at the back of the house.

Someone started an addition there, a screened in porch that looked down the back of the hill to a neat row of pine trees and the barn and fields beyond that. The work was abandoned along with the house, though. The walls were just rough plywood and tarp. Long strips of vinyl siding were stacked next to the building, a pale yellow color that looked like it would have matched the old paint job.

Danny wondered when they’d started the addition, the people who used to live here. Maybe they’d planned on fixing the house to sell later, hoping to turn a profit or at least break even. Maybe they wanted to fix it up for themselves. Maybe they’d dreamed of long summer evenings out on that porch, sitting in the shade as fireflies lit up the yard. He wondered when it had all gone wrong, when they knew their dreams wouldn’t come true.

The paperwork from the county gave rough facts and figures: the names of the people who’d bought it five years earlier, and how much they’d paid back then, along with the amount they were behind on the mortgage when the bank foreclosed. The papers don’t say anything that he really wants to know, though, how they’d felt when they moved in, what they’d imagined. He wondered if they’d given in easily, accepting their fate, or if they’d fought and cried.

He took a few steps back from the house until he couldn’t see inside the porch anymore, lost sight of the chairs they’d left there. It feels wrong being here. It’s like they’re intruding somewhere they don’t belong. It’s like when Danny was a kid and could take the shortcut through the graveyard, the way every sound would make his hair stand on end. He reminded himself that he’s a grown man now, and he should know better, but the wind let loose piece of the tarp and it slapped against the plywood, almost sounding like the crack of a whip, and Danny jumped, expecting to see someone there to chase him away.

This is the fourth house they’ve looked at today, the fourth one abandoned by its owners, and the sixth since Dee got the idea that they should look at some of the properties coming up for county sale.

“We can get a deal,” she’d said the day she showed him the list for the auction set for at the end of the month. “The dogs need more room.”

She’d already circled some of the properties, those with extra land or even just a vague promise of additional buildings on the land.

“It’s almost poetic, don’t you think?” she’d asked, “finding homes for abandoned dogs at abandoned houses?”

Dee wasn’t really the poetic type, or she hadn’t been before. She loved numbers and facts, had gone into computer programming because computers didn’t lie, she’d said just after they’d met. Numbers are numbers. Add two and two, and you knew what you were going to get. She liked the outdoors, liked to run, and found trails through the woods and up hills and around the lakeshore that she’d follow for miles and miles. She’d memorize bird songs to help the miles pass and could pick out the sound of a thrush from a warbler in just a few notes.

She wasn’t a dreamer. Danny hadn’t found out her name was really Dorothy until just before the wedding, when they had to fill out the paperwork.

“If you had people quoting the ‘Wizard of Oz’ and telling you to follow the yellow brick road for as long as you can remember, you’d hate it too,” she’d said. “And don’t even bring up munchkins or Toto.”

So he’d held his tongue when the first dog showed up, a small, shaggy black haired thing that she called Hank.

“I know we didn’t talk about it, but they were going to take him to the pound,” she’d said. “I had to do something.”

“I thought you didn’t like dogs,” he’d said.

“I never said that.”

No, she hadn’t. But dogs shed, she’d said before, brushing off the golden retriever’s long hair from the sleeve of her dark wool coat after they left a friend’s house. Dogs need to be walked, she’d said. Someone would have to be home. They couldn’t just take off for weekends in the mountains or on the lake up north.

But there she sat, on the floor, next to two old plastic bowls -- one filled with dry dog food, the other with water. She held a few nuggets of dog food in her hand, her palm open and up toward Hank.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-05-21 03:54 am (UTC)
topaz_eyes: (Default)
From: [personal profile] topaz_eyes
I think it's promising. I like the setup and mood, the subtle sense of loneliness and despair you set up with the rundown house. I like how you show Danny as empathetic: his wondering about the previous owners was very moving. Dee strikes me as more practical.

The only thing I'd like to know is how long you intend this to be. I don't really see a conflict yet.

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