Monday, September 26, 2011

Locke Hills - Arrival

There were two hundred houses in Locke Hills, every one of them empty. A construction firm bought the land from a farmer's estate, demolished the old buildings and graded it flat. Within two planting seasons silent new homes in off-white shades sprang out from between the curbs and the drains and the pristine blacktop. Credit tightened, then stopped, and the company dissolved. Nothing was left but lawsuits and bankruptcy hearings and these empty rooms.

The place was circled by a lane named Maple and cut into sections by streets named Oak, Beech, Cherry, and Elm. Each house was one of exactly six models: the Monarch, the Tudor, the Lee (which was split-level), the Windsor, the Stewart and the Moore. The homes stood against the dark curtain of trees and held nothing within: not a single scuff or coffee stain or height mark penciled against a wall. They smelled of new carpet, their faces blank as fresh paint. Silence lay steadily against the vinyl and Plexiglas of Locke Hills. These homes sheltered no ghosts. They waited.

And then one afternoon, some few hours before sunset, a gray van came rumbling through the gated entrance. Five people, consultants from the bank. They stopped, got out, and stared at the vacant porches, the curtainless windows, and the clean black street stretching into another clean black street just like it. They began to work, going quickly so they could leave before dark.

NEXT CHAPTER

Photo by IDuke. Creative Commons license here.

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