Monday, April 8, 2013
Home from home.
This is, in part at least, based on a true story. 'Absurd!' I hear you cry, but no, not at all. Pull up a sandbag and gather around...
When I was fourteen years old I had a school friend, who's real name shall remain a secret. Let's call him William.
William's parents had some spare money which they used to buy a holiday home on the Isles of Scilly, off the South West tip of England. They found a nice house for a fair price, although it did need a bit of tender loving care to bring it up to the standard to which they were accustomed.
Being practical people they were able to do a lot of the work themselves, and so, at the next available opportunity, they made a start.
Some of the floor boards in the old house were a little loose and so William's father decided to pull a few up to see if the substructure was sound. Underneath the dry and warped old planks they discovered, to their great delight, another floor, approximately six inches below the first.
This floor was different however... it was made of glass.
It should be understood that at the time this happened there was a bit of a rush on for character houses in which old and original features had been preserved alongside modern enhancements - a sort of steam punk retro-modernism, if such a thing exists, so it's no real surprise then that William's parents decided to rip up the entire wooden floor in favour of showing off the glass one.
But first it needed a bit of a polish...
William's mother set herself to the task with great vigour, scrubbing away decades worth of grime and dust and then polishing up the thick glass surface until it shone like new. Only she didn't get to the shiny part of the plan, because she suddenly began screaming hysterically.
Father and children ran to her rescue to see her ashen face staring downward. They all looked. They all saw. They all ran away.
Underneath the glass, and staring right back at them, were several of the house's previous occupants. All long dead and in various stages of decay, they had obviously loved the house so much that it was their idea of heaven and so they'd been buried there.
Apparently this is not an unusual practice in the Scilly Isles. There are several graveyards sporting glass topped graves so that visiting relatives can chat away to great grandad Albert while he gently moulders away to dust.
Now I'm not in the business of criticising the customs of another culture regardless of how close it is to my own (a matter of a perhaps two hundred miles from my town of birth geographically), but I think in this case a little forewarning by the realestate agent, who surely knew about the other occupants, wouldn't have gone amiss.
Shortly thereafter William's family put the house up for sale, and at something of a financial loss it seems.
This is a tasty story in itself but of course I couldn't let it rest there, so I've taken the idea and embellished it somewhat with a story entitled 'Home from Home'.
Home from home - outline.
This is a straight forward narrative following the story line development of a single character called Maria who inherits an old house. An old, creepy house that is, to everyone but her. She falls in love with its ramshackle appearance and its rampant, neglected gardens, much to the disappointment of her partner and children who want nothing to do with it. The house itself however, has an agenda of its own and is more than capable of deciding who lives there... and who dies there.
Maria. A property developer with a driving ambition - to make lots of cold hard cash. She starts out as a bit of a bitch but softens as the tale progresses, by which time it's far too late. I tried to sympathise with her, I really did. It's just not something I'm good at. Still, all is not lost...
Rob. Maria's long suffering partner and father of her children. He spends most of his time being dragged along in her wake but in the end he finally puts his foot down, albeit in the wrong place.
The twins. Two lovely kids, even if they are a bit cheesy. Initially put off by the state of the place, the house wins them over in the end. Shame.
Greedyguts. The resident pet. A firm and faithful friend ...if he likes you that is.
Here's a link to the digital version from Smashwords.
Home from home is one of Uncle John's Bedtime Tales. The full collection of ten stories is available in ebook format on smashwords.
For those who prefer a print version, Uncle John's Bedtime Tales is available from:
Amazon.com: Click here
Amazon.co.uk: Click here
Direct from Spinetinglers publishing: Click here