Tag Archives: bedroom

Barnam House

TRIGGER WARNING: Child death; violence; abuse.


Let me tell you a story about a place you know.

You know Barnam House.

Everyone I ever talked to about it, they all knew the Barnam House. Most don’t remember where or when, but they heard talk about it or saw the pictures or watched the documentary. And when I describe it, the large white doors, the high walls, the walls with flaking blue paint and the yard outside, always immaculate except for that one, longish patch of dead plants – then they remember. They see the picture again.

I bet right now you can see it. The old trees slowly moving with the wind, the wind whistling and howling past, and of course that one top window shutter that keeps opening and closing, opening and closing, but not in the same pattern as the trees move or the wind whistles.

The Barnam House. There are different stories about it. Some say the Barnams simply left, from one day to the other. There was something they feared and so they left without ever telling anyone. That’s why, if you look through the shutters and you’re lucky enough to have enough light, you can see that there are still plates on the dinner table. Continue reading

Five Days. Five Nights.

Noah J. was so kind to narrate this story. You can listen and read along:

This story was also translated to Polish.


The first four days Lachlan had been excited. The fifth day, that Friday that he came back from primary school with dirt on his knees, he was not excited. He was euphoric.

I was in my office, writing the final formulaic words of another research proposal.

“Daaad!”

“Hey!”

“Dad! Dad! Dad!”

“Oh wow, someone is happy. Enjoyed school?”

“School is awesome!”

“That’s great!”

“And I have loads of friends!”

“Of course you do.”

“Look!”

He stretched his small, dirty hand towards me.

“You cut yourself?”

“No.”

“That looks like a cut.”

“It’s a talesman.” Continue reading

A Pencilled Cage for the Soul

A pencil. Still. All around a glossy, relective yellow, only the tip and end the roughness of pressed wood. The tip fine and pointed.

Not true. I must have overlooked it. Maybe my younger brother, when he came. But not a toy rocket or stick soldiers with far too big weapons.

Three oval shapes, pointy at the ends.

I turned away from the desk, back to the boxes that still craved emptying. Stacks of files that long should have found their place in shelves. For weeks the room was more storage than office.

Files slammed in shelves, slipped, were pushed up by my hands, then held in place by more files.

I breathed heavy, more heavily than I should have breathed after half a box. I looked at the empty shelves. Should have wiped them first. Should have vacuumed behind them.

Scratching.

I turned around.

The pencil, rolling. The oval shapes – thick black spots in their centers. Continue reading

Floor 5

“You’re single?” he asked.

“Yes,” I said. “But hopefully not for too long.”

“That’s good,” he said. “Not that I mind, you know. But women smell too much.”

“Oh, I always thought men are more dirty.”

“Well, he said. “It all depends on your sense of smell.”

The apartment was large and sunny, solid wooden floors, a lift and large windows that I would soon grow to hate. In every respect a bargain.

“The only thing,” he said. “Is that you can’t use the stairs. They were too dangerous and we had to block them. So you have to take the lift and in case of a fire there is an emergency ladder that goes right to your bedroom window.”

“Five floors on a ladder?”

“Well,” he said. “You look pretty strong. I’m sure you can handle that.” Continue reading

Life in the Mirror

The apartment seemed as if it was made just for me. I had a bed and two shelves. The apartment lacked bed and shelves but had everything else – tables, chairs, a sofa. My bed was exactly 1.6 meters in width – and the tiny bedroom a perfect match.

There were two things I didn’t like. The first, of course, was the lack of a dedicated bathroom. The shower cabin was in the kitchen and the toilet in a small room off the balcony. The second thing I didn’t like was the mirror in the bedroom.

It’s not that I don’t like mirrors. But in a room just barely big enough for the bed, with walls to all sides, there was something disturbing in having one of the walls as just one large mirror. It felt misplaced and odd like a lone, smiling stranger standing in the middle of a desert road.

The first night I was tired from the move, every muscle in my body seemed to be aching and my body was still sticky and sweating even after two showers and four hours since the last box. Still I first lay awake for two or three hours, rolling from one side to the other and hoping for the salvation of sleep. Continue reading

Crackling

I’ve heard them for all of last week. Crackling noises. Every night. My bathroom doesn’t have a window. There it also happened during the day.

I don’t know where it started. I remember hearing it while I was making dinner. Then again while watching TV. It was faint, like a piece of paper being blown with the wind. But it was there.

Probably an open window. Something being blown around. At most a mouse. That’s what I thought.

Then I found the mouse. In a moment there was a crackling or rustling sound behind the sofa. Then a squeak. When I pulled the sofa away she was just lying there. The blood was still flowing out of the body. The head was ripped off. Or maybe bitten off.

I looked everywhere and couldn’t find the head. Continue reading