Before I get to my response to this week’s flash fiction challenge over at Carrot Ranch, I want to share one of my favorite Twitter accounts/blogs with you.
Abandoned America (blog here, Twitter here) is a collection of photographs by Matthew Christopher, who explores a wide variety of abandoned structures, including schools, hospitals, prisons, homes, and pretty much any other place you can imagine.
I have to be careful about when I visit the blog, because I can easily spend hours surfing through the categories and imagining what these places were like when they were used and perhaps, loved.
Who walked through those halls? What did they see through those windows? When they closed the doors for the last time, did they know they wouldn’t be back?
I think there’s a mysterious romance of sorts to places like these. Someone (or some people) had visions for them and built them when they were bursting with potential. Now, they’re collapsing from decay, taking their stories back to the earth.
It’s strange to think these places once housed people stressed after a long day, or offered a place of solace to worship, or invited hundreds of visitors to see a performance. No matter their purpose in life, these buildings now all share the same fate.
It’s in this spirit that I offer my response to Charli’s prompt for this week: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story using the term backup. You can back up or have a backup, just go where the prompt leads!
Rotting wood bends beneath each step. Our porch is almost how I remember–elegant, though neglect has eaten away its soul.
Easing the door open, I back up a step as echoes wash over me.
Hurry, Marie. Leave everything.
With glass crunching under my shoes, I pass our furniture’s remains, heading to the office. I open the desk drawer, feeling inside for the silver pendant but finding only grit.
The empty drawer confirms what I’d known in my heart. The soldiers had left nothing of value behind.
Leaving the drawer open, I depart, knowing this time will be my last.