A door never opened. A latch never locked. Letters neither opened, nor sent.
The room of broken things. Not the type of broken that needs to be repaired, but broken in their souls, broken through disuse, cast aside from their purposes. A sad place, full of potential, but this potential has seeped from its source. It is a place of power never used. Power that should never be used. This is a power that doesn’t flow the way it should. It cannot be controlled. It cannot serve. It takes what it wants, and so it remains hidden away, behind a door never opened, a latch never locked.
In the corner is a tricycle, shiny yet somehow tarnished beneath the gleam of paint and chrome. Its wheels are clean, but there is an air of corruption about it, staring-eye tyres watching, waiting. Beside the tricycle sits a box full of small shoes. They, too, are untouched. There is a malevolence about them that grows the more the box is filled. Tiny shoes, leather and canvas, straps and laces, some in pairs, some alone, all clean, far too clean for their size. Shoes this small should be scuffed, should be dirty. These shoes are wrong. From their box they look diagonally across the room, watching the growing patch of letters. Maybe that’s where the tricycle is looking, too. The letters spread out from their corner, creeping across the floor and walls like ivy, rustling in an almost silent whisper. Some of them are fragrant with smoke, but nothing burns here. Their whispers sound like a lullaby off-key, out of time.
At the edges of this paper ivy are knick-knacks, small accoutrements that gather in wait. Here a watch, its leather strap stiff; there a tin of hair wax. There is something in the shape of the air that brings the word rancid to mind, though to try and capture any scent, whether sweet or nose-wrinkling, is impossible. The smell, once noticed, dances away, leaving…
It is a different sort of nothing. A nothing filled with could-haves and would-be’s, a nothing that settles like a sudden rush of age.
The lack of a lock does not leave this place open. There is no danger here; at least, no danger to the items concealed. The book with the unbent spine will not be stolen. The pen with its untouched nib will never be removed. Not until the one comes. Not until the storm arrives, washing through the unused lock of the door, disregarding the latch as though it had never existed. The storm will gather all these things, all their power. Then, only then, will things move.
Until then, they remain still, quiet, behind the door never opened, behind the latch never locked.
RJ Witlaw is writer from Auckland, New Zealand. Between raising three children and studying languages, RJ likes to unwind by reading and writing down any idea that comes to mind.
Image credit – RJ Witlaw
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