What Lies Within First Page

The wire mesh of the construction fence rattled, driven by the fine tremors running through Ash’s hands, as he braced himself against the cool metal. Looming beyond the flimsy barrier–at the end of a too short driveway–stood the building that fueled his nightmares, and hidden within its walls lay the key to unraveling Ash’s past. At least he hoped–and feared–his intuition wasn’t misleading him.
Despite how much the sight of the house unsettled him, Ash couldn’t help the stab of disappointment at its condition. In his dreams, the house stood tall and proud–larger than life somehow–but this…this was little more than a carcass, gutted by years of neglect. Long cracks interspersed only by holes of various sizes, created an intricate network of passages throughout the cracked paint and likely the wood underneath. Many of the shingles had slid of the roof to form mounts of rubble that poked out of the scraggly patches of yellowing grass, now passing as the house’s lawn.
Only the towering trees on either side of the path, lived up to Ash’s expectation. Though they allowed rays of light to fall through their crowns, they seemed to be sheltering the house with their shade.
He wanted to turn around and leave, but his mind felt drawn to the house; tempted by the opportunity ahead that lay ahead. This was his only chance, too. By next week the once grand estate would be nothing but an empty plot of land for nature to reclaim. Sooner maybe. Demolition went pretty fast these days. His cowardice had caused this. He squeezed his eyes shut and forced air through clenched teeth in a whistling sigh.
Like this, he could see the house in its former glory, smell the fragrant aroma wafting from the flowerbeds, that once ran along the foundation, and hear the children chasing each other across the yard. The memory of their laughter alone was almost enough to drown out the scrabbling deep within his mind–a sound that came far too close to gnawing at times. Only the chance to finally get rid of that, had driven him to give in to his current therapist’s prompting. Even then, he probably would have out it off, if not for a seemingly random article in a paper it had no business being in. Who knew that the other side of the country cared about the looming demolition of the only place ash ever remembered calling home?
No. As much as the idea of taking even a single step closer to the house terrified him, he had no choice. He needed closure. Needed to find out what he’d forgotten before he spent the rest of his life regretting yet another bad choice. Besides, other than probably mountains of dust, there wasn’t anything to fear here. He just had to talk himself into believing that.
Beady eyes in the dark. Staring. Waiting. Coming for him.


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