In the Country of Shadows (Exit Unicorns Series Book 4) by Brandner Cindy

In the Country of Shadows (Exit Unicorns Series Book 4) by Brandner Cindy

Author:Brandner, Cindy [Brandner, Cindy]
Language: eng
Format: azw3
Tags: General Fiction
Publisher: Starry Night Press
Published: 2016-03-16T16:00:00+00:00

Part Five

A Glimpse of the World Before

August 1976-June 1977

Chapter Forty-nine

The House With Moon and Star Shutters

Summer 1976

THE HOUSE WAS LONELY, or at least that was his first thought when he pulled up on his bike to the old Victorian. It was tucked away amidst a bower of roses growing wild, their canes clambering up the walls around the cupola and scrambling thick across the roof. They might be the one thing still keeping the house upright, for it had seen better days, to be sure.

He stopped and parked the bike in the overgrown drive. There was a ‘For Sale’ sign hanging faded and crooked off a post, nearly hidden in a patch of bramble at the end of the lane. He wondered if the house actually was for sale or if the sign was merely forgotten.

He walked up the drive slowly, taking in his surroundings. There was lavender gone wild next to the house, thick with bees and butterflies on this sunny afternoon, the shutters hanging off the windows of the bottom floor, the porch with an ancient swing, near rotted from the depredations of weather and salt winds. It swung slightly in the breeze, as if a woman sat in it reading, one foot on the porch floor, pushing the swing just a little bit.

The stairs to the porch were a silver grey, though he could see the original traces of white paint on them. They needed replacing. The porch itself had boards half rotted away, home now to ants and squirrels.

His hand traced a worn shutter, fingers stopping where a crescent moon had been carved with no small skill into the wood. Beyond it was a star, five-pointed and marked out in flaking blue paint. Touching the wood had set off an echo inside him, like hearing a beautiful song, but only a note here and there, so that one couldn’t quite recall the song in its entirety, only feel the ghost of it inside and the haunting of beauty half-forgotten by the mind, but remembered in some part by the cells and the heart.

He walked around it, eyeing up the house’s lines, counting the windows and imagining the layout inside. He automatically started compiling a list in his head of the materials that would be needed to fix it up. It surprised him a little, that he had gone that far in his thinking already, that he felt some strange connection to this house as if he needed it as much as it clearly needed him. He could do the work, of that he had no doubt. That he wanted to do it, well that too surprised him in no small way. He wanted to fix this house, and it was a foreign feeling for a man who had not wanted anything in a very long time.

Bridget had given him the keys but the back door was open, the old brass door knob turned verdigris with time and the elements. He walked in and called out.

“Hello? Is anyone here?” He felt a tad foolish as his words echoed back to him in the dusty, sunny air.


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