A House Divided

May 2, 2013
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Once upon a time, there was a small agrarian village in the bend of the big river over there. All in all, it was a rather pleasant place, and most were happy. For most of the year it was warm, but, sometimes it rained, and sometimes it snowed, as is the state of things. Anyhow, in this village was a house, in fact, there were many houses, but, for the purposes of this story, there is but one important one. It was an older house with a fair amount of peculiarities, for instance, it groaned ever so slightly in the presence of wind, and a beautiful garden grew before it, and sometimes it rained only there, but nowhere else, and, for whatever reason, the place exchanged hands every six or so years. It was the last one of those that most grew to notice over a longer period of time, you see, it was simply a coincidence in the first years, but grew to be a powerful phenomenon that struck itself into even the most skeptical in town. Simply put, it was an enigmatic fact that wormed its way into town canon. Birds flew, fish swam, and the Clyde Manor went through owners like a sick man goes through Kleenex. It simply was.

Anyhow, despite the fact that, well, it was a fact, some saw themselves as able to overcome the long and twisted series of events that surrounded the home, they alone would conquer the finest home in town, and they alone would be able to rule the place, perhaps even to be propelled into something much greater by being the person who overcame it all. Not that they thought they were better, although some did, they just felt that they could overcome it all and make a difference. It was them who rose above the crowds and threw themselves at the house. The house abides. The chain of owners too, abides, all over a simple and powerful dream and, indeed a possible universal one, but I am not all, so I do not know. Anyhow, things never turned out, and, well, I'll just tell you.

You see, it all began with the home's founder and first owner, Robert Jay Clyde, who, after owning the home for six years, had an extremely brief and escalated argument with his own firearm, then followed Kenneth Bruckner, who was quite literally caught with his pants down, Frederick McCain had an experience with cocaine that took a notably less than desirable turn, Jonathan Hanson was chased down and beaten by a rival with a very large cane, Douglas Freeman's heart grew tired of its droll and uneventful existence, Linda Oliver Carter was stripped of her position by the Local Homeowner's Association, Curtis Kirk went up in a brilliant and blinding flash of white light while vacationing in South-East Nevada, Franklin Stein sold all of the chairs in the local post office to outside interests, Kelly Francisco died of mystery, Wilson Bush took a happy jaunt down the face of a cliff, and the McGuinness Family simply forgot to pay rent.

After this series of unfortunate events, the Ingrams decided to try their hand in ownership of the stately manor, and, to put it lightly, the locals in the surrounding homes were less than pleased. You see, the Ingrams were notorious for their constant bickering, a facet of their personalities that they had trouble seeing themselves, and, as such, refused to attempt changing. They were so notorious, in fact, that a brave few stood up to the Homeowner's Association in an attempt to bar entrance to the home by the Ingrams, however, they were soon swayed into letting them in after they were reminded that there were vacancies in the house that needed to be filled. Anyhow, soon after, the Ingrams moved into to the old place, seemingly oblivious of public opinion, and continued to bicker amongst themselves, much to the chagrin of anyone paying attention.

And they did so for nearly six years. Six long years of arguing and disagreeing and bickering and just generally not getting along, and then it all happened a bit like this...

It was on a dull Thursday morning that Mr. Ingram stood in the yard surrounding his home. He was round and short and a fair bit lacking in the coverage of his dome. He was getting on in the years, a far cry from his days as a commander, slouching and wrinkling and such. However, he did share a similarity in his days from the military in that he was very red faced, at least, for that moment. You see, despite the pleasant breeze that flowed around him, Mr. Ingram was feeling very uneasy, in fact, one could say that he was down right annoyed, standing there, hands to pockets. He grimaced and furrowed his brow, looking at something before him. He stood for a few more moments, and the house groaned, as if signaling to come in. He obliged. Arguments will begin on the house floor.

“Lyla!” he yelled as he stepped through the steel meshed door. “Lyla!”

A bookish woman came down the stairs, she was thin, and graying, and surprisingly quick in movement and speech. “What?” she asked brusquely.

“Somethin's the matter with the house.”

“Well that's one way of putting it.”

“So ya already know?”

“Of course, I know, how could I not know? That damned creaking has been keeping me on edge for ages.”

“Not that woman! The beams're fallin' over.”

“Which beams would those be?”

Mr. Ingram shifted about uncomfortably for a moment before answering. “The support ones.”

“Dear lord.” she sighed as she went for the phone. “Can we ever hav-”

“Where do ya' think you're goin'?” Mr. Ingram asked quickly.

“To the phone. Where else would I go? The toilet?”

“No. There'll be none of that.”

“And why not?”

“Cause' I'll be fixin' it myself.”

Mrs. Ingram let out a sharp derisive laugh. “Yourself?” she asked “Why, you couldn't fix toast. Besides, Junior's Repair needs the business if I can recall correctly...”

“We don't have the money for it.” Mr. Ingram interjected.

“Hogwash, we have the rainy day funds for just such an occasion.”

“Well, it ain't rainin' at the moment, and I can fix a house in the sun.”

“Discarding the fact that you can not fix a house, we need to support the town as much as we can, things've been getting stagnant here lately, and we need to do our part.”

Mr. Ingram thought a moment before answering. “We need to make sure we're safe first, before we can worry about everyone else.”

“That's disgusting.” Mrs. Ingram replied.

“That's life, it's how I was raised, and it's just the smart thing to do. We've got to worry about ourselves.”

Mrs. Ingram remained contemptuous about her husbands views, and Mr. Ingram attempted to make his points to her, as did she of course, and when all was said and done, they were exhausted. Despite the immediate danger to themselves and their neighbors, they called a recess in their arguments, to be picked up later. The wind picked up a bit, and the house groaned. They went to bed angry.

I wish she'd just understand. I mean, she just don't listen, and she always argues with me, it makes me angry. It's a bit cold tonight. Better bundle up a bit more. She's infuriating, I mean, if she'd just see reason, she'd agree with me, but no, she wants to help others I am a bit hungry, and she don't worry about us. God, I wish she'd just listen for once. I've been raised to be a bit thrifty, and to depend on myself, and be dependable to others, boy that's uncomfortable, close to me. I've been taught well enough to keep myself alive, and she goes around like she's never been taught herself...that's still uncomfortable...but maybe she has been. Maybe she has been taught well, just in a different way than I have. She always goes on about helpin' others with no care for herself. Maybe, she's been taught a different way. Maybe, I'm wrong. My shoulder hurts. Maybe, she's right. Maybe, I should let her make a decision without interrupting. But, then we'd be in trouble, we'd never make it ourselves if we helped everyone who came along, that's how it's always been for me. But, she's been that way all her life...and she's lived. Maybe we're both right. But we can't make an agreement. Maybe we should. But it'd be hard, we always fight, it'd be tough to just give up on the way I've lived. But, maybe we'd still go on. It'd be tough. Tough. Tough. I'm scared, what if we don't make it, what if I am right, and we can't go on. We can't go on. We can't go on arguing like this. She makes me so mad...And I love her.

That man can't seem to understand, it's like he can't show compassion to his fellow man. It makes me so angry. I'm a bit cold, I should bundle up. It's so cold, but he's colder I just wish he would help me help someone for once, but no, he can only seem to care about himself, saving up for some disaster that will never come, the paranoid old coot. Can't help others if it'd save us...Wait a minute. Is that what he's so worried about? Keeping us safe? He always goes on about the way he was raised. Maybe that's it. He's gone his whole life trying to keep us safe...but he can't keep everyone else safe either. I'm worried, the town is circling the drain, and I gotta help, I was raised here. He was raised that way. Maybe that's it. Maybe he's lived his whole life believing that...maybe I've gone my whole life believing this...do I really have to keep everyone else safe? Maybe, they can keep themselves safe. That can't be it, there's some out there that just can't...and he can't see them...but he sees us, maybe he's just worried...like I am. Maybe he is right in his own way. Maybe we should quit arguing. Maybe we're both right. Maybe we need to both get along, and work together...he'd never do it of course...he's so argumentative. He infuriates me...And I love him.

A stiff breeze picked up outside. The great white house made a final groan, and fell swiftly to the ground. They were both killed instantly. And, to be honest, good riddance, I mean, those two were so hateful and pigheaded, they'd never even think of making an agreement.

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This article has 8 comments. Post your own now!

BookNerd35 said...
May 30, 2013 at 11:14 pm
Well written. I liked how you used the run on sentences. Good Job!
PhoebeB said...
May 23, 2013 at 5:13 pm
I thought the story was pretty good... my only criticism is that the opening of the story was a bit too long for my tastes and so it was rather dull. But, your writing was overall, very good, and you should be proud of your acheivement in writing this piece!
Minkerbell said...
May 23, 2013 at 4:15 pm
I enjoyed reading this story. It's very passionate and it doesn't bore me (which is a really good sign because I get bored with pieces of work quite rapidly). Great job. Please read/rate/comment (as critically as possible) on my short story I Love Anne Walter. I would greatly appreciate it!
guardianofthestars This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
May 17, 2013 at 3:30 pm
Your writtting style was very neat! It gave the story's edge a nice kick.  I thought you did very well. :) I hope you'll put more works on TI. 
IMSteel said...
May 12, 2013 at 7:10 pm
Incredible writing!  I absolutely love the way you tell the story!  Some of the sentences could use some tweaking, but other than that, great job!  I would really appreciate it if you could comment on my book, The Voyages of the Waved Albatross, thanks!
agneumeyer replied...
May 12, 2013 at 8:37 pm
Thanks for the feedback. While there are some deliberate errors, I do agree with you on the tweaking part. Will be getting to your work soon.
agneumeyer said...
May 9, 2013 at 1:02 am
Thanks man, I like your writing style too. Anyhow, I actually meant to use the run on sentences and such as a way to make the story seem like it is being told rather than written.
BorderlineGenius777 said...
May 8, 2013 at 3:51 pm
Dude. I love your writing style. It's wonderful to see some dark humor. My only real complaint is that you have a tendency to use run-on sentences, and there are also a few other grammatical mistakes I see. Other then that, Nice job.
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