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The two-story cape house on Verwendet Street hid behind the overgrown weeds where its lawn had once grown. The apple trees in the side yard had been stripped of all their fruit and a hole lingered where the baby cherry tree had stood. Instead of prize winning roses, the front yard now held tires, washing machines, oilcans or other items of trash  the neighbors couldn’t get the garbage men to haul away.

The newer picket fence lining the yard had sections gone, and you could see some of those pickets holding yard sale signs on the weekends. The pathway leading to the front door had missing bricks here and there. Often those bricks showed up around the neighborhood holding up flowerpots or propping up a plywood ramp for kids to drive their bikes over.

The front porch still held muddy boot prints that no one had bothered to wash off making the periwinkle color now brown from dried mud. A caravan of carpenter ants streamed into the white pine siding for an almost endless buffet. The windows had panes of glass not broken but missing. And although the front door was closed, there was no handle. The second story windows held one shutter apiece and the gutter was gone on the right side of the house.

When you peeked inside the pane less windows you wouldn’t find a carpet or appliance. The outlets showed exposed wires and the mantle above every fireplace was gone.

If  you happen to pass by this house in the early morning hours you would see a family of mice leaving through the hole they had made in the roof. You could watch the mice run across the street and into the neighbor’s yard where they sat and munched on blossoms from a baby cherry tree.

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5 Comments

  1. Great final image, Joanna!

  2. Abandoned describes it. I loved the implication of where the baby cherry tree ended up.

  3. Maybe we should call it “gutted,” too. Human scavengers have removed anything of value, and now the house is basically just a shell. Makes me think of a shipwreck, where treasure hunters take anything not nailed down, leaving nothing but a corroding hull.

  4. Love it, Joanna! I like how all the creatures inhabit it, like mice and ants, but no humans. I’m guessing abandoned… but it reminds me of an above water reef!

  5. The word I was thinking was “Exploited” or “Used”. I left a clue…the street name is actually the word “Used” in German. lol

    Tanya, I love your idea of the water reef. That is a different way to look at it.


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