Ok I cheated and wrote for 30 heh.MilesThe Harmon house is one of the oldest in the town of Moon Kettle, a town which is itself one of the oldest settlements, and county seat of, Rainfield County. There are only two routes out of town- one that leads to the highway and the other which is a two laner that gradually becomes a one laner that gradually becomes a dirt spiderweb of goattrails winding through the wild, empty mountains north. When I took my job in Moon Kettle, home of the fighting Moonies, I came by way of the first road, and directly past the Harmon House. It's an old victorian, at once rather stately and utterly strange. It's in good shape despite its age, but the current owners have fallen in love with purple paint. But it wasn't purple when I passed by that afternoon, and the owner at the time was one Ms Barlenson. Now I happened to walk past that house when I was settled (My own house was just down the road in fact), and Ms Barlenson, already a wispy feather of a woman, was sitting on the porch, shining the surface of an ancient looking violin. "Do you play?" I asked as I was passing by, and soon enough I found myself inside the old house. The inside was more amazing than the out, even years later when it was purple. Ms Barlenson had shelves full of items, not junk (As I thought at first) but- as she explained- relics of her past. An old umbrella had belonged to a long lost aunt, who had been a nurse in Honolulu when the bombs fell on Pearl; a little music box with a moon and sun that rotated on a wheel when opened was a gift from a long ago lover, a German who had dissapeared into the Black Forest and never been heard from again; and the violin was her father's, something he played for the whole family when she was very young, and America was out of work and starving, and they lived in a boxcar. Extraordinary tales that she went on to tell me over the course of a year and a half when I would stop by on my daily jog. One summer, she died. I was surprised to get a call from the lawyer. She had left me a box of items with a little hand written note that said: take these to Lylesville, 50 miles south on the highway, address 105 K street. You may keep 1 for yourself. All the while there, I wondered who I would be delivering these items too: friend? Family? Lover perhaps? But when I arrived at 105 K street I found myself not at a home but an antique store. The man inside took one look at the box and said: "Oh so she decided to hand those back after all when she passed? Poor woman, I saw the obit." "What do you mean?" I asked. "Old Ms. Barlenson would stop by here once a month and buy one of these things. My best customer! But I always expected they'd end up back here in the end. She had no family that I know of." Dejected, I started to push the box across the counter to him. "You sure you want to sell these back?" He asked. I hesitated. Over the years I've learned to trust my intuition. I've never been able to call it out to help me win the lottery or even a hand of poker, but when it speaks up, always on its own, I listen. It spoke now, reminding me of the one item I was to choose and keep. I hovered over the items like the prodigal Lama, waiting for another life to seize my heart and hands. Then I found it: a glass zebra with the words LB and DG, Maryton 1959, the one item in there she had never spoken of. Everything else went back to the shelves- the reatomization, I thought, of a never-been life, sowed up like Frankenstein's monster and real (I had thought until now)- back to the dusty gathered ghosts whose combined smell you can smell and whose combined weight you can feel whenever you enter a place like that. The glass zebra rode home in the seat beside me. As we sped down the highway I wondered if maybe, just maybe, the one thing she had never spoken of was the one thing that was real. One day, I thought, maybe I would take the zebra to Maryton, and pull the thread on those faded words, and see what might unravel.
Wow, Miles... that's a great story. And I would never consider goin OVER your writing time cheating. That's success!!Thanks for posting. Hopefully the glass zebra will make an appearance again soon and let us know if you find something on the other end of that thread.
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