images courtesy of Sylvia Kleindinst

I was intrigued and frankly, flabbergasted with the email you sent me about the house. Where is this house? The reason I ask is when I was going to school in Curtis, my roommate and I lived in a very tiny town called Moorefield. About five miles or so to the north of our little town was an abandoned house.

The story was that the house was built by a banker in Chicago who planned to move his wife and daughter and of course, himself to the more healthy countryside of Nebraska. He sent his help ahead with many of the family's possessions. When the butler and maid arrived, they had not even had time to unpack when the banker died. I was unable to find out for sure what from.

The family stayed in Chicago but for some strange reason, the help stayed in Nebraska. The house was left as it was while the married by then couple lived up the road and kept an eye on the house. In the 60's they moved into a nursing home in Curtis, or at least that's what my roommate had been told.

My roommate and I actually went through the house with a couple other school mates in 1976. It was eerie.

One of my most vivid memories of the home concerned the attic. I climbed the narrow and steep stepped stairway while my friends were still exclaiming over contents of trunks in the living room and sunroom. It was drizzling and cold that day. As I peered into the attic, I saw a lone rocker in the middle of the room. It was placed in front of an east facing window which gave one a good view of the road. The window was devoid of glass and the light rain had dampened the floor and rocker. The rocker swayed slightly in the wind. As I walked around the chair, I had the eerie feeling the rocker was occupied. By whom, I had no idea. But, the feeling was so strong I could not shake it, even when my friends (now tired of looking at Victorian clothing) joined me in the attic.

I had the distinct feeling that someone's spirit was still with the house, sitting in that rocker looking out that window. Looking for what or whom, I don't know. Although I was only 21 at this time, I had had these feelings/premonitions enough in my life already to trust and believe in them when they appear.

The house had deteriorated over the years and had been vandalized. The windows were broken and the elements had taken their toll on the house itself and the contents.

Like you, that house has been floating away in my subconscious for years. I can see it in my mind's eye, tucked far away from the road, perched on a bluff.

Use a guided imagery to get the creative juices pulsating.

The Deserted Farmhouse

A person comes into the room where you are and hands you a set of car keys with your name on them. You go outside to find a magnificent machine parked in your drive. Your name is on the number plate. You open the door and sit in the driver's seat, looking at the dashboard that could be in an aeroplane. You start the engine and head off for a test drive.

Within half an hour of leaving the metropolitan sprawl you wend your way up a winding road. A sign on the road catches your eye and you turn left, bitumen becomes gravel and as you look in the rear vision mirror a cloud of dust rises behind you. Despite the summer heat the pastures are green and when you draw in the fresh air you sigh, grateful to have left the city smog behind.

Suddenly the engine splutters and stalls. On the side of the road you try to start the car again but the engine will not turn over. You reach for the mobile, only to remember that it is still at home. Well! This is not how the day was meant to turn out.

A glance around reveals that there is a solitary house in the distance. You decide to head towards it to get help. It is quite a long walk to the gateway and then an even longer walk along the dirt track. Finally you reach the house. There is little sign of life but you are drawn to the shade of the tiny verandah. The floor boards are rotting... the window is broken and a piece of torn curtain sways in the wind.

As you walk in the door you feel someone's presence

Unsure whether anyone will be home you open the old wire screen door and rap on the go inside.....

So begins your story. You can use some of the lead material to kick start your piece or you can begin with the knock on the door.

Some responses to this writing prompt

The Farmhouse by Brayden
The Spooky House by Joseph Gagaridis

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© 2002 Heather L. Blakey 
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