The Vanity House

“Those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt without being charming. This is a fault. Those who find beautiful meanings in beautiful things are the cultivated. For these there is hope. They are the elect to whom beautiful things mean only Beauty. There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all.”

― Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Grey.

On the side of a quiet road, a house has been sealed shut since the death of Mr and Mrs Parslow in the quiet county of Shrewsbury.

Nicknamed ‘Vanity’ because of the numerous boxes of makeup and jewellery left upon the chest of drawers within the house, it was known locally as the house of sounds. The peculiar sounds of voices heard within the boarded up windows and the locked doors.

To get inside the house we had to tunnel ourselves under the kitchen floor. Teacups and family photographs depicting happier times between the decay stood on partly empty shelves. Boxes filled with Mr Parslow’s books and collections of antique glass where shattered between the furniture.

The unusual sound of ticking was coming from one of the many bedrooms upstairs. Multiple clocks were sat upon the dusty chest of drawers between a book of Alice in Wonderland.

The book was placed around the clocks as if the white rabbit was taking Alice down the spiral of madness. Only one could still tick inside the empty house. Echoing throughout the walls. The garden was overgrown with the trees from the forest nearby.

Suitcases placed upon beds still made from the mornings the family spent together. Letters and postcards from holidays and relatives overseas.

A faded photograph of young girls performing ballet was laying next to the bed.

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