Last Night I Dreamt of Rebecca
by Noel Denvir
I don’t know how long I have been here, in the darkness. The shutters are down; it’s hard to tell if it’s day or night. I can’t count the days and nights anyway. But the dust tells its own story. I hate dust; it tries to suffocate me, take me over, but I stand firm. Within me are the remnants of that life. The little girl in her palace of pink ponies and princesses. The dark teenager pop posters, the Radiohead CDs, the wardrobe full of dated fashion.
Hall, who is usually very well informed about the comings and goings in the house, believes something bad happened. An accident of some sort, but not within these walls.
Living Room, usually the kindest and most forbearing of hosts, said she had felt almost overwhelmed by the amount of solemn visitors who entered and left during that ominous time before the shutters came down. No chattering television or roaring stereo, the laughter banished and the cats evicted.
Cellar, that mean old villain, says it’s the end. Soon they will come to bash us into the ground. He’d like that, but then he’s always been angry and bitter at having been relegated underground and given nothing but dirt and junk. He won’t even miss his cheap thrill of scaring people with his creaks and cobwebs. He’s always been dead. No paint or bright pictures. Just bare walls that were never christened. Something we above ground have taken for granted I suppose. Up to now.
Kitchen has no time for all this idle prattle and pretends to be busy and put-upon, full of steam and noise and wonderful aromas. But she, too, feels the emptiness; the water that sits still and stagnant in her pipes. She performed with maximum efficiency during that strange season of cold-cuts, never-ending sandwiches and tea. They had even had the audacity to remove all her chairs, leaving her looking like some tacky barroom. I expect she puts on that spotless clean face every morning, trying to ignore the tarnished layers that blot her beauty.
Attic is more philosophical. Things come and go. He is full of old photos and mementos. For him, life hasn’t changed much. His hermit enclave remains untouched. It’s peaceful up here at the top of the house. Don’t worry, things will turn out for the best. They always do, just give it time.
She used to talk to me, saying, “Good morning” and “Nighty-night.” She would tell me her secrets, and she wept as I listened to her adolescent fears. When I stoically ignored her promises to tidy up, she left without a word. I could only shudder as the slamming door told me the worst.
Garden hasn’t a clue. She’s off in the clouds, waving her shrubbery, blinking in the sunlight and gasping joyously when the rain lashes down. She’s always regarded herself as superior to us “interiors.” It wouldn’t make any difference to her if we weren’t here at all. Hall is irked by Garden’s irresponsible attitude. Presentation is everything. Garden is so... shameless. And the way she sings superficially to the wind, it’s... it’s embarrassing!
Hall has sent out a warning. He’s mortified, caught totally unprepared. There is someone in the house. Stairs is whimpering out frightened creaks as someone slowly ascends.
My door opens. A woman enters and stands in the half-light, holding her swollen belly. She sways slowly as her eyes survey my walls and ceiling. In a whisper, she says, “Hello, room.”
Hello, Rebecca, nice to see you again.
Copyright © 2018 by Noel Denvir