11/28/13

Housebound by Elizabeth Gentry

By the light of the moon Maggie climbed back over the split rail fence of her own property. From here she could see that her house was dark except for reading lamps, but by the time she cut through the meadow and opened the back door into the kitchen, everything had gone black, the downstairs windows covered in curtains that her mother shut ritualistically at the finish of each day. In the kitchen, Maggie stopped to let her eyes adjust and to listen. She took account of the state of the house, of how it had fared in her absence and in what ways it would now try to draw her in or push her out. She heard only her brother Warren clearing his throat on the other side of the pantry wall, not waiting for her, not curious about when she might return or where she had been, but simply doing what he always did. Yet she knew before she reached the first step that she would be sleeping on the landing like a sailor on watch over a calm sea, witnessing nothing, making sure nothing continued to occur. But something had already happened down beneath the depths that had only just this morning rippled to the surface, the tip of a fin that was her declaration to leave, and the whole huge leviathan would soon cause the entire ocean to heave.