I kicked in the back door. Before me was an empty room. Torn pull-shades covering the narrow windows allowed a delicate amber light into the interior. On my left was an open doorway to a smaller room, and to my right a sagging smoke-stained fireplace. As my eyes adjusted to the light, I saw some of the walls in the main room were covered in newspaper, mostly old movie ads. The remaining walls were covered in what was once a cheerful rose patterned wallpaper, now yellowed and peeling like an onion skin. It gently quivered when wind puffed up through the gapped floorboards. Against this wallpaper, lived the ghostly impression of an old iron bed frame. Apparently the bed had blocked bleaching rays of afternoon sun and left its indelible imprint long after being removed.
To my right, fastened with rusted thumbtacks, a calendar hung open to April 1939 with an illustration of Jesus at his last supper. Rainwater from the sagging ceiling had spilled over exactly half of it, leaving the calendar tightly curled on one side just to where Jesus sat. I stepped into the smaller room.
Here was a wooden counter covered in peeling oilcloth with a pump handle attached. Beneath, a chipped enamel washbasin held a tortoiseshell hairbrush whose bristles had been gnawed by something.
On the wall above, a plank shelf was veiled in cobwebs. An empty stand-up picture frame stood beside a black book lying on its side. I picked up the book. Elastic strands of cobweb came with it.
The cover was embossed in gold with the words: “Holy Bible”. When I blew across it, a massive dust cloud spiraled above me and settled onto the long strands of web. Thumbing through its dry puckered pages, I found that the front half had been torn out. It was a jagged rip, not quite following the spine of the book, as if all those pages had been violently ripped out at once.