Spider silk clung at the doors, over the windows, across everything she had left behind. Sasha stepped up to the door, hand trembling as she put the key into the padlock that barred the way. It took a few tries to unlock then she slipped the padlock off.
Sasha set it aside and shaking even more, she reached out, her fingers clutched the handle. She opened the door, the hinges creaked in warning and all the nightmares came flooding back.
Sasha wanted to close the door and run away from it all again. Instead, she steadied herself, taking in deep breaths before walking inside. There was thick layer of dust covering everything, showing that no one had been here in years.
She walked into a spiderweb, the almost invisible strands hard to brush off. Sasha wiped it from her face, her anxiety almost flooding over. Shutting her eyes, she went to her calm place and told herself she wasn’t going to live in the past anymore. She had come here to end that.
Opening her eyes again, Sasha ignored the ground floor rooms, though the faded sounds came to her. The noise of a loud TV, glass smashing, thudding on wood, shouting. Sasha was a child again, hiding behind the sofa with her younger brother, Sonny. Fear was causing them both to shake and cry. Sonny had wet himself as their mother had screamed in pain and their father’s shouting had echoed through the house.
Sasha stopped on the stairs, the memory freezing her. She glanced to the closed living room door. She could see the room clearly; the sofa and the arm chair, facing a small cracked TV on a plastic stand, a broken coffee table and the old gas fireplace.
She reached a hand out of the staircase railing. Goosebumps raising on her arms. Sasha went upwards, children’s crying in her ears. There was a half opened door at the top then around a bend two more door frames and across the carpet were shards of wooden doors.
Forcing down everything, Sasha went into the first bedroom. Wood crunched under her feet, she peered into the gloom and felt a low gust of air rush past her legs. She glanced down, there was nothing but she was reminded of all the times she and her brother had run to their room. They had hidden wherever they could; under the bed, in the wardrobe. It had made no difference where they hid when father was in a blind rage.
Sasha flicked the light switch, her fingers finding it out of habit. No light came on above. She took her phone out and used it as a torch, the bright beam showed her that nothing had changed since they had left.
The small beds on either side of the room were unmade, things scattered on top of them. The doors to the wardrobe were open, children’s clothes tumbling out. On the floor a few broken toys lay twisted. Sasha slowly searched the room, not sure what she was looking for nor if she would take anything.
She found her brother’s teddy bear, hidden under his pillow as Sonny had liked to hide it. She took that, the worn fur feeling stiff against her hands. Sasha picked through the clothes, seeing some that she remembered her or Sonny wearing; a school uniform, a nightdress, a stained jumper…
She looked through the stuff on the bed; some books, school things, a baby doll and metal cars. She looked underneath and for a moment was convinced she would see Sonny’s bruised and tear stained face staring back at her. There was nothing but a dead mouse and more spiderwebs.
Standing up, Sasha left, the teddy loose in her hand. She went to her parents’ bedroom which looked like someone had smashed everything up. She guessed her father had done that, perhaps after her and mum had run away. That memory stung sharply it was like a snow storm and she couldn’t see it clearly.
Sasha looked through what she could but there was nothing worth taking here. She poke her head into the bathroom, decided against going in and went downstairs again. She walked through the living room, dinning room and kitchen. She had half been hoping to find photographs but there seemed to be none.
Arriving at the front door again, she didn’t look back as she left again. Sasha closed the door behind her, re-locking the padlock. She put the key and her phone into her pocket then looked down at the teddy bear. It was smaller and dirtier then she reminded. Why had she picked it up?
She turned back to the front door, thinking she would return the teddy to the bedroom. Sonny would cry if it was lost and he would never sleep with it.
‘Sasha? Are you okay?’ a voice called out.
She jumped and turned, feeling like a child once more and someone was going to notice her injuries.
It was only her husband though, standing in between the open car door and the empty gate posts.
Sasha calmed herself and walked over to him. She hugged him without saying anything.
‘You are covered in dust and…webs?’ he questioned as he tried brushing her down.
Sasha stepped back, looking at herself and seeing it was true.
‘What’s that?’ her husband asked, pointing at the bear.
‘It’s Sonny’s. I should take it back, he’ll miss it,’ Sasha said quickly.
‘All right, but let me come with you,’ her husband said.
Sasha bite her lip, wanting to tell him, like she had done when they had arrived that she wanted to go in by herself. This time though, she didn’t think she’d have the strength. Nodding, she took his hand and they went to the front door.
Once upstairs again, Sasha placed the teddy back underneath the pillow.
‘There Sonny,’ she whispered, ‘go back to sleep now.’
(Inspired by; https://mindlovemiserysmenagerie.wordpress.com/2018/09/14/first-line-friday-september-14th-2018/ with thanks).