Monday, May 26, 2014
The Farm House (Blogophilia 14.7)
Bright sun shone in his eyes as Jeremy finished his meal. Caffeine rushing through his veins, Jeremy waited in line to pay for the meal. Various rednecks and farmers joked with Tubby and the Big Man as each completed food order landed on the spike. Murray’s order and life will be on that spike soon enough. He turned his head away so no one could see his face.
A small woman with blue and orange hair was feeding bills to the jukebox. She was the illustration of anti “happily ever after”; silver eye shadow and black mascara had melted to clumps on the oval face. Large black dots smudged at the corners of her eyes,she was a broken bedtime story. The music choices matched her mood.
“How can you mend a broken heart? How can you stop the rain from coming down…”
Jeremy's mind drifted a bit. Sarah used to play that song. Then mother would come in and turn it off, flinging a switch across her legs. Sinful it was, thinking about a boy. Or to think about joy. Jeremy would get the switch too if he happened to be in the room. He was as much of a conspirator than she was.
He quickly paid for the meal, making no eye contact with Tubby as she drove his order onto the spike. Blinded a bit as going out the door, he made his way to the car. As far as Ms. Blue hair, too bad for her. Sympathy was for the weak and there wasn’t time to get involved.
The traffic back towards the city had thickened to almost a crawl. But the lanes his way were almost empty. The turnoff to the farm came up and He was pleasantly surprised it had been paved. “Good. Less noise as I drive” He thought.
The speedometer counted out the half mile to the driveway. The roof of the house peeked over the rise just as he remembered. Slowing for the curve, he looked around. A couple of new houses had gone up over to the right, but they were at least a quarter mile off the road. Going down a little ways further, he crossed a creek bridge. He made the U turn where two more driveways came in. A truck came behind him just as he finished. Rattled, he remembered his manners and waved. The other driver waved back and drove on, not slowing. Releasing his breath, he continued driving.
Stopping just before the drive, he got out of the car. Carefully looking for signs of recent habitation, he looked at the surface. Tracks had formed in the hard, red clay. Small puddles reflecting the images of muscadine and blackberry that ran along the fence. A large Cherokee rose rambled over the gate and into the pasture, scattering small white blooms like confetti. The lock hasp had long rusted away. With a gentle push, entrance was made. This was almost too good. He drove through, stopping again on the other side to move the gate back in place.
The car bumped and bounced as he went over the rise, an orange cloud of dust following. Overgrown with thistle and cherry, the pasture had not been mowed in years. A small patch of tulips defiantly put up a weak pink and yellow assault against the weedy invasion. Pine saplings sprouted in random bunches, reaching to seize as much territory while they could. The opposite of orderly, the place had not been visited in years.
The barn, half fallen in with age and neglect, sat about eighty feet past the house. The carcasses of a tractor and a truck sat in front. The farmhouse itself looked like it came from Hansel and Gretel, with its faded wood trim and ornate roof tiles. The family must have been prosperous at one point. Now, the house was broken and abandoned by everyone, much like himself. The wooden stairs groaned as he climbed up to the front porch.
A small, black cat sat on the rail, green eyes wondering if this trespasser was good for some food. Rage rose up in Jeremy’s mind. Cats were evil things that screamed insults at him, but this one looked gentle and hungry. Sympathetically, he tapped his leg as he reached for the front door. His new companion heeded the signal and ran in front as he stepped through the unlocked door. The house opened into a fairly wide hall, with a staircase running up the left hand side. The whitewashed heart of pine panels had faded, but still retained much of their rich grain. Flicking the power switch next to the door did nothing, another sign of abandonment.
A quick tour of the place found most of the first floor dry and usable. There was some debris from the last resident and a good bit of dust, but very little in the way of overt damage. A large living room was the on the right, with a smaller room to the left of the staircase. The cat had gone into the kitchen, which was at the end of the hall on the right. It contained only couple of cabinets and no counters. But there was a sturdy table to work on. This was good. A box of cat food was on the floor, he poured out a little. Purring, the black shadow happily scarfed it down.
Climbing to the top of the staircase, he could see the house did have some roof damage. Water stains peppered the walls and the ceilings were down in a couple of the rooms. He probably wasn’t going to use anything up here anyway. As long as everything on the first floor stayed dry, there shouldn’t be any problems in planning and executing and testing.
Coming back out the front door, he walked down to the opposite of the porch to check visibility. A large hardwood plot lay about 50 feet away, giving no view into the neighboring property. Good.
He then walked out into the drive and back up to the top of the hill. Looking back down at the road, he confirmed that there was nothing that could be seen from that direction. Turning slowly to his left, he looked along the wood line that bordered the pasture. No obvious breaks or trails could be seen, which meant there shouldn’t be hikers or other odd company.
It was perfect.
Reaching into his pocket, he found the folded up piece of paper he had written. He put a check in the column next to the farmhouse. Walking back to his car, he thought about the next steps. He wouldn’t be coming back out here until he had most of the materials. Then he would stay until he was ready to execute. He needed to get back to town. There was work to do.
As per the new protocol:
Pic Rutgers Siskens.
Pic guesses: Orderly (used in blog) Tulips (used in blog), Windmill, Tilting at windmills, Holland, Zee.