The barn doors screech as I pull them open, and a dull silence echoes within the dark walls of the coach house. I tug at the sleeves of my tattered, cotton shirt nervously as I gaze wide-eyed at the horrific site I do see. The 1933 Cadillac, Eleanor’s sweet carriage, and all of the rustic, ghostly sleighs are gone; as I stand in the empty hall, I can faintly hear the revving of the rusty, run down engine, and the squeak of the slippery, torn leather seats on the sleighs. They’ve mysteriously disappeared, like the soul of a dead loved one. Nobody is here to restore their presence, and nobody is here with me to remember them. In my mind, I could hear the malicious cackles of the twisted thief who stole history, and the thief who stole time. Their scraped, rough hands tug the beautifully crafted wagons down the roads. They swarmed my thoughts like a pack of wolves, on the chase for their prey.
The demonic thunder strikes, and rain hits the cement sidewalk like shattering glass, each droplet a memory now forgotten. I grasp at my senses, and scan the empty, hollow room.
My heart starts to thump defiantly. It beats out of rhythm, and out of sync. I feel the heat in my cheeks rise, as the dusty rose color forms. They look supple, yet damaged. A single tear falls, and streams down my face. Why do I feel like I have already failed a test I haven’t yet taken? Why do I feel at fault? I shouldn’t. I know.
I back up, slowly at first, one foot following the other on a nervous path. Then I turn and quicken my pace, now my feet do a dance of escape. I stop, suddenly. “I’m sorry for,” I scribble, and then pause. Why am I sorry? I shouldn’t be. I continue, “I’m sorry for having to be the one to discover the emptiness.” The words felt stuck on the crinkled paper I found at the bottom of my backpack. My hands shake as I hold the piece of paper close to my heart. Raindrops still fall, and my heart continues to sink in the quicksand. I place the paper where I stood, and once again, my feet spark a flame of speed as I sprint away from the coach house. I am determined to find the thief who stole history, the thief who stole time.
Inspired by the prompt about working for the National Park Service, and getting to be the tour guide for the public opening to see the Vanderbilt Coach House. Then, you are to write about walking in and seeing everything GONE.