House Of Ashes

This house in particular, hidden behind a busy road, had remained empty for almost two decades. The doors were boarded up and the windows were smashed by vandals. Cobwebs and woodworm plaguing every inch of the small cottage. Once inside i was surrounded by ruin and decay. Books and family photograph albums. Clothes left inside suitcases and children’s toys. Inside a small tin with the words ‘Hilton’ an urn covered in mould was hidden. Inside was the ashes of the bones of a man named Sidney Charles Hilton. A former bank clerk, he lived his life playing cricket and oil painting. He married Julia baker in the early 1950’s and they both lived a peaceful if isolated life in the cottage known as little hill house. Their son Charlie grew up in the bedroom that now contains a broken bed and the remains of a baby crib. Children’s lullaby books with titles The Taxi that hurried or Winnie the pooh were scattered among the floor. Inside Sidney and Julia’s bedroom, a collection of cameras were settled alone on a window still. A box full of photographs holding moments from christmas and birthdays. It's almost is if the home knew it was succumbing to decay. Pushing the memories it once held inside and kept save out into the woodland outside.

“It is a curious thing, the death of a loved one. We all know that our time in this world is limited, and that eventually all of us will end up underneath some sheet, never to wake up. And yet it is always a surprise when it happens to someone we know. It is like walking up the stairs to your bedroom in the dark, and thinking there is one more stair than there is. Your foot falls down, through the air, and there is a sickly moment of dark surprise as you try and read just the way you thought of things.” ― Lemony Snicket.

A faded photograph of a girl was placed between a pair of glasses belonging to Sidney. Her face was distorted by the water coming through the roof. Inside the bedroom, the wedding attire the Hiltons wore on their wedding day was still hanging inside the wardrobe. The ring, pearls and makeup were all sat upon her vanity table. The bed was broken and crooked. The pillows covered in feathers and mould. Teddy bears and diaries were shattered between the hollow floor.

Looking through the broken kitchen window i saw children playing in their garden between the ruins of the cottage and the haunting atmosphere of Sidney and Julia’s lives left behind.

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