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"The House"

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It was a cool autumn morning as Mr. Lewis stepped out from his home. The howling of the wind and a symphony of dead leaves moving across the street were the sounds that could be heard; even the birds whose songs normally fill the air remained in their nests. Just as the light of the sun began to break over the tree line, Mr. Lewis walked out to the sidewalk and commenced with his ritual run around his neighborhood.

The neighborhood was like many others throughout the town: white two-story houses stood in the centers of their respective lots, similarly white fences surrounded a majority of the front yard, and uniformly cut grass covered the yard like a giant brown carpet. Occasionally, a yard would contain a small garden, which would be full of various vegetables if it was still summer. Closer to the street, large oak trees hung over the sidewalk. During spring, the oaks would awaken from their dormancy and shower the neighborhood with beauty, but for the moment the empty branches gave off a slightly ominous aura. Despite this, Mr. Lewis and the neighbors agreed that everything about the place in which they lived was perfect, except for the house at 101 Smith Drive.

Mr. Lewis gasped for air after he completed the climax of his run: a quarter-mile up-hill trek known as Smith Drive. However, the reaction to his lack of breath was minimal compared to his disgust at the decaying house before him with the number 101 barely visible on the mailbox. Once, it was like all of the other houses, but after the last owners moved out the lot was abandoned and left to rot. Mr. Lewis thought that someone should just demolish the house, and many of his neighbors felt the same; it would be much easier than trying to fix it up. Besides, the place was an eye-sore and drastically lowered the value of the other houses in the neighborhood. The very thought of lowering the value of his house after all of the money it took to make it look nice sickened Mr. Lewis to such a degree that he decided to shorten his run and head back. He had run by the rotted house countless times and had always gotten annoyed with its hideous features, but this particular time was different. Instead of merely felling annoyed, he radiated anger.

As he journeyed back to his house, the neighborhood was beginning to come to life. Mr. Lewis became optimistic. He thought that maybe these peaceful and familiar sounds would divert his focus from his frustration. But rather than hearing the harmonious sounds that most people identify with a nice, upper-middle class neighborhood, his ears honed in on the disturbing sounds that many in his neighborhood would overlook: the overbearing noises coming from televisions and videogames, the rumble of cars speeding through as if to escape the place, and the occasional shouting between couples coming from this house or that. Meanwhile, Mr. Lewis could not find a single child playing outdoors or a single group of neighbors conversing.

The harsh sounds drove him mad. He didn’t think that what he heard could possibly be real, but that they were a figment of his imagination caused by the events of his run. As he pondered this, he increased his gait in order to hasten his arrival to his house. Mr. Lewis finally reached the end of his driveway and was about to enter the safety of his house when an idea came upon him. To Mr. Lewis, it was a truly frightening idea. He turned around and looked up and down the street at the yards barren of any life while the noises that had disturbed him earlier dominated the air. Mr. Lewis could just barely make out the damaged roof of the house at 101 Smith Drive. Then, he gloomily mumbled to himself, “We may appear nice on the outside, but we are all just like that house.”

Then, he turned around, more desperate than ever to go home.





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