Homecoming

The night's rain fell in drenching sheets, each fat drop adding to the cacophony until it was near deafening. An older man who had been caught in the torrent while walking his dog now ran with the small terrier tucked under his arm, cursing his rotten luck. He missed the eyes that tracked his passage from the trees on the far side of the street.

The man who owned those eyes stood motionless, just one of many shadows. After the dog walker was gone, his eyes went back to what he'd been looking at originally: His old house. It was old in that the house itself had been built around the turn of the last century and also because the man had not lived there since he was a boy. The porch light was on and several lights inside as well. The man was confused, he didn't remember leaving the lights on when he'd left all those years ago. He was confused about a great many other things that swirled around inside his mind, questions that he'd always had or things that had come to him in his long journey here. Without his medicine it seemed that he was always confused. Now was not the time to worry though, he was home.

He stepped out from the trees and off the curb, crossing the street towards the house. He wore blue coveralls and his feet were bare. The torn remains of his straitjacket hung heavily from him, drenched with the rain. The dangling buckles caught the yellow street lamp light as he passed through the pool of illumination before melting back into the darkness.

The front gate opened silently in the rain and the man passed through, heading around the side of the house. He stopped in the deep shadows there, standing back from the house and looking up to his bedroom window on the second floor. The light was on and he caught a flicker of movement inside. He frowned, wondering who was in his room. Standing back further from the house to get a better angle his breath caught in his throat when he saw the young girl pass in front of the window. Who was she? and why was she in his room? He didn't like this at all.

Grumbling to himself, he continued on into the backyard. There was his old doghouse there and a shed next to the back fence that he'd never seen before. He walked towards the shed and faintly through the rain he heard a growl. It had come from the doghouse and the man drew nearer to it, peering inside. There hunched a strange dog, much bigger than his old dog. The dog growled at him again but refused to come out into the downpour. The man smiled and straightened, continuing over to the shed. He popped open the latch and slipped inside.

It was dark in the shed and it took the man a few moments to find the chain dangling from the ceiling. The chain clicked when he pulled it and he was bathed in the dim light of the single bulb in the ceiling. The shed was filled with tools. Two shovels and a pickax standing against the wall. A peg board against the back wall held a hammer and a wood saw. Lying on the bench in front of the peg board was a wood chopping ax. There were many other things in the shed, so many choices that the man did not know where to begin.

 

The End

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