Willow Forest Hall. Named so because when it was built in 1809 the land around it was filled with willow trees, and still is. People say the trees are the tallest and most beautiful willows in the country. People say the house is the most exquisitely designed for miles around. People say it has the most unique and stunning furniture they’ve ever seen. I say it’s the only place that’s ever been my home. Despite everything, it was the place I felt safe, the place I had been with my mum, the place I grew up. It was my home. I gazed at the vast manor house that stood in front of me, and grabbed Mark’s hand.
“You sure about this?” He asked in a whisper
I nodded determinedly “I’m certain. I should have done this a long time ago.”
I pushed the key into the lock, and turned it slowly. The enormous front door opened with a loud groan, and I took a deep breath before stepping over the threshold, into the familiar entrance hall.
My mum loved this house, she took pride in it. She ensured every inch was immaculately clean, and perfectly presented. It now looked nothing like it did, and she would be ashamed to see it. The furniture was covered with white dust sheets, the giant mahogany staircase was buried under a thick layer of dust and the marble floor no longer shined as it should. The only things in this room which remained as they were, were the two portraits which hung opposite each other on the walls one of my mother and one of my father.
“That’s my mum,” I said faintly, gesturing towards the beautiful woman on the left hand wall.
“You look like her,” Mark smiled
I gazed at him for a few seconds, slightly shocked. No-one had ever told me that before. I’d always thought that I looked like my dad, whenever I looked in the mirror I could see his dark brown eyes staring out through mine, ours were nearly identical.
“Is this your dad?” Mark asked, walking over to the portrait on the opposite side of the room.
“Yeah, it is,” I answered coldly, “The second I inherit this place I’m gonna take that picture down, and replace it with one of Jo, Sam and the kids.”
“What are you going to do with it?”
“Burn it,” I answered, before I started ascending the staircase. Mark followed me slowly, taking everything that he saw. The house was still amazingly beautiful, no matter how dirty it was.
I stopped as I came to the door that I was looking for.
I pushed the door gently; it opened with a slight creak, leaving me standing, staring into the room that had once been mine.
I thought of all the days I had spent right there, in that room. The amazing and beautiful memories I had of playing with all the toys my mum had bought me, my mum reading me stories and then kissing me and tucking me in every night. And then there were the horrible memories, all the times that I would hide away in this room, covering my ears so that I couldn’t hear my mother’s screams.
I closed the door again, not quite sure that I was ready to go there yet.