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The House of Her Childhood


Alzheimer's is a fascinating and strange disease. Its effects sometimes include some remarkable changes in the people it affects.

In my case, I have begun, on occasion, to wake up with an entire, fully formed idea, poem or piece of prose in my head that, if written down quickly and verbatim, emerges as a complete and intact piece of work. This phenomenon never occurred to me until recently.

Anyway, here's a short story that emerged from my subconscious a couple of months ago. I think it's all my own work, but perhaps my sleeping brain dredged it up from a long forgotten memory (please let me know if you've read it before). As far as I'm aware, it's all my own work, and I wrote it down a half an hour after waking and haven't altered it since.

The House of Her Childhood By Pete Middleton

Verity brushed away the cobwebs and peered through the window into the lounge. It was the house of her childhood, a house she hadn’t visited for over fifty years.

Nothing had changed. She recognised the floral patterned wallpaper and the landscape painting on the wall behind the table. And there was the rocking chair, still in its old spot next to the fireplace.

She could see through the far doorway into the kitchen. The old cooker sat there with a pot on the stove, and some cooking utensils hung from the rack above. She could see the edge of the stone sink and the white-painted wall behind it looked slightly grubby.

She moved around to the side of the house and looked through the bedroom window. There was the rather grand brass bedstead, just as she remembered it, with it’s fluffy pillows and patchwork quilt.

Along the back wall she saw the small dressing table and mirror, and next to it the washstand complete with enamel bowl. “I bet the chamber pot is still there under the bed” she thought.

Suddenly, she noticed a small figure in a night gown, sprawled on the rug at the foot of the bed. She let out a squeal of alarm and flipped the little metal catch that held the house closed. The side wall of the house hinged open exposing the entire downstairs bedroom, the nursery and the gable end of the attic.

Verity reached inside and gently picked up the delicate little porcelain doll. She hugged her for a brief moment, gave it a kiss then pulled back the tiny quilt, placed the doll in the bed and tenderly tucked it in.

Verity closed up the dolls house and said “Good night Rosie. Sleep tight.”

“What’s that my love?” said the voice of her husband from downstairs.“

“Nothing dear. Nothing,” she replied, “only a ghost.”

Wiping a tear from her eye, she turned off the light, closed the attic door and left her childhood behind her once more.

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