There’s a house at the end of the street. The tar paper siding has veins of rust extending out from the nails and the corners are turning up. Behind the windows that are never open are drawn blinds, yellowed from countless days blocking the sunlight from penetrating the smoky interior. You can just see through the screen door a round bruise of a mark the size of a man’s boot on the white wooden door. It’s usually quiet around here.
The neighborhood is peaceful, idyllic even, if a little worse for wear. The good economic times of a decade ago passed over this street, but the recent downturn has mostly ignored it as well. It remains unchanged except for the house at the end. The tears and scars of the neighborhood crack the paint of the trim and the roof sags under the weight of the secrets. Dorian Grey could live here, but he doesn’t.
There’s a bicycle left in the tall grass in the side yard. It’s exactly where the little girl left it when her mom burst through the screen door and scooped her up. There was never violence in the house, but there was a constant vibration of unease. The girl’s mother was fine living there until things got “weird.” Their bags were packed before the girl was home from school.
In the back is an old television console, a boot sticks out from the tube as if caught in a muddle puddle. The trail from the feet being dragged through the yard look like nails across a chalk board. There are bits of glass in the grass but nobody ever walks barefoot in this yard so nobody bothers to clean it up.
The new TV works better.
There’s a car parked on the cracked cement driveway. It’s not on blocks but you can tell it hasn’t been driven in a long time. Unless you’re a mechanic you probably couldn’t identify the make or the model. The tires are soft. There’s dust on the windows but nobody thinks to scrawl “Wash Me.”
Despite the fact that the trash cans haven’t moved from their station outside the back door, there isn’t much there. What can be seen are magazine photos of people with names like Jones, Koresh, Vorilhon, and Moon. There are small holes in the corners and notes on the back, but nobody has ventured close enough to read them.
There’s a shadow in the window occasionally.
There’s a house at the end of the street. Gus Black lives there.
Previously: Don’t Fuck with Gus Black