This snap fiction story (what’s that?) started construction when I snapped a photo of a demolition lot in Düsseldorf.

Home At Last

Wood and bone, stone and soul…

I awaken to the emptiness of it, the absence of it. It wasn’t a sleep—it was a binding. Wood and stone don’t know death; they are beyond it, they encap­sulate it. A home can never capture a life, only contain it. But in death, a house can become a prison—a dwelling for the unwitting restless.

Glass and blood, iron and sinew…

I remember the first time I entered this house. I was born into it, exchanging a womb for what I could not know would be my wrought and glassy tomb. I had no awareness of it at the time, of course, but in death memory extends beyond the bound­aries of lived experience. Recollection becomes fluid, continuous, impersonal—a partaking of death itself.

For the bound dead like me, the end of life is a second birth. A doubled deraci­nation, forbidding dissolution.

And so I had wandered through those haunted struc­tures of wood-and-stone, glass-and-iron. Unknowing, corrupted, like a free-falling hourglass whose sand flows neither here nor there. Liberated from bone and blood and sinew, but still bound to a senseless soul while the house stood; while the floor­boards creaked and the plumbing rusted.

But today! What mighty alchemy as the fireplace crumbled and the paneling ruptured. Splinter by splinter, crack by crack, I felt the breath of time return to me—freed from matter and space and accursed slumber.

As the rubble piled up and the elements returned to chaos, I soared. If the house had incor­po­rated me in stunted death, I now re-embodied it in my new-found freedom. I scaled the bone stairs, opened the blood windows, rekindled the sinewy furnace. What was but an imprint, a shadow to the living, was deliv­erance to me.

I was the house and it was me and it spoke to my soul of every spell and incan­tation, every dark enchantment that had married us so cruelly. In our disso­lution, I felt the grains of sand start to flow again, beckoned by the gravitas of a deep and old injustice. Cautiously at first it went, then faster and faster. I moved beyond time, beyond anger, beyond purpose.

By the time the last of the dust settled, I sensed a new resolve as liberty congealed into impatience, and clarity into vengeance. I knew my enemies and I knew what needed to be done. I would seek them out one by one and exact my dues with measured precision—in this world or another.

I was on my way home at last.

• • •


Father, son, husband, friend and writer by day; asleep by night. Happily pondering the immortality of the crab wherever words are shared.

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