I am not alone, though I should be.
The colonial house is dark, as I made it on my way to bed. Every room, I know, is lit only by the light reflecting off the snow outside. The moon is full and its cold light sucks the heat from my veins.
I am alone. Or I’m supposed to be.
Three bedrooms, a den, dining room, kitchen, basement. But they are alive with sound. Creaking of feet on floor boards. Thumping of careless party-goers in stumbling revelry.
The walls pop as the cold dives deeper into my chest. I would expect to see my breath in such a chill. The blankets seem to seek my warmth instead of the other way around.
I came to bed exhausted, assured of a long restful sleep. But the moment my head hit the pillow all thoughts of sleep were gone. Now the empty house is alive with the activities of spirits.
The wind outside pushes at the seams of the windows. Its job, to keep the spirits in. Trap them, as if I were their jailer. But they torment me instead of the other way around.
The sound of them will surely rattle objects off the dresser, and I will be forced to slide, barefoot and shivering, from under the covers. Cold skin on cold wooden floors. To find my spilled objects before they are taken from me.
A house of thieves.
Author’s note: These snippets are unedited free-writing exercises that I use as a way to shift my brain into a creative state. I use Lynda Barry’s What It Is YouTube timed exercises (usually 9 minutes worth of writing) for these. They are handwritten in a composition notebook, and then typed up here. As I transcribe them, I do tiny grammar and spelling checks, but the overall “clarity” (if you can call it that) of the exercise is left as-is, raw and unfiltered.