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Out of Nowhere by Patrick LeClerc.
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The Visitors

by Patricia Todd

I own a Jacobean house. I've been the sole occupant for more years than I care to remember or, in truth, can actually remember.

Much use has been made of columns and pilasters, round-arch facades and flat roofs with openwork parapets. These and other classical elements appear in a free and fanciful vernacular rather than with any true classical purity. With them are mixed the prismatic rustications and ornamental detail of scrolls, straps and lozenges, so characteristic of Elizabethan design. This style influences the furniture design and other decorative arts I have in my home.

I've loved this house, the walls. the high ceilings with their wooden beams and the oak panelling on the walls concealing secret hideaways that I found when I was in my youth.

But now I seem to be sharing my idyll with complete strangers - uninvited visitors.

And I do mind. They come in groups at times, generally eyeing each room with a vacant expression on their faces until one of the group points out a card or a plaque that provides some explanation of the subjectt being observed. Then their faces light up with brief understanding, a quick ripple over their features and then bland and emotionless once again.

They move on, I don't.

I am going about my daily routine as I always did. I have breakfast, write lists for the day's duties, have lunch and high tea, all in the parlour. The time in between these events seems to pass unfelt and unheeded by me. I seem to be constantly in the parlour and this is where these people seem to slip through, day after day.

I have noticed that the procession seems to start at 9 o'clock in the morning, continues in clusters at two hourly intervals throughout the day and ends at 5 o'clock in the afternoon. Then I'm free to partake of my evening repast at peace at 7 o'clock.

Sometimes the groups give way to couples who giggle and I often hear peals of laughter, shrilly breaking the silence. And on the very odd occasion, one of my visitors stares at me in the parlour; then a questioning look will appear on his face and then look again trying to penetrate the gloom, as if willing a silhouette out of the shadows.

At this point I move the curtains or exhale loudly and the miscreant hurries along to join the others, afraid of their suspicions, not willing to acknowledge the dilemma that people of sound mind should admit - that they have seen and heard an apparition.

Time is different for me. I think that for every single day that passes, decades come and go. The strange garb that the visitors wear with skirt lengths rising and lowering for the women, and outer clothing discarded for barely a piece of cloth for the men, hint at an accelerated change in fashion.

I am like a bubble preserved in an ever changing universe. The only constants are this fine house, the echoing footsteps that traipse through my domain, and me.



2016-05-23 08:33:43
mark211 - That's rather sweet, if a little sad.

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