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The Disappeared

 



The Disappeared

 

The door of the house, beaten and open, hung askew, letting in the elements. Crude red-painted slogans of hate had dripped down, forming blood-like droplets on the tile floor of the foyer. November’s dead leaves scuttled through the opening with the wind.

 

In the main room, an empty bookcase lay on its side, stripped of knowledge and dissent.

 

A smell of decay permeated the house from the dining room. Platters and dishes of moldy food sat around the table. Broken glass littered the floor around overturned chairs.

 

In the basement, hidden in an old fruit cellar, a human nest in disarray held an overturned cot and a few scattered possessions.

 

On the second floor, an open window and a large stain of dried blood on the walkway below greeted the casual passersby, who quickly looked away and hurried on.

 

An attic full of memories and furniture, breached, its contents rudely pushed about among the cobwebs where black-clad searchers sought their prey. Drag marks scoured the dusty wooden floor.

 

The back door, not abused like the front, opened freely. The small garden, trampled by many boots, struggled to regain its composure. A tattered piece of cloth from a ripped shirt fluttered on the barbs at the top of a wire fence like the pennant of a defeated army.

 

The house, once a haven, cheerful and inviting, now held the silence of the disappeared.

 

      

Lee Conrad

 

Lee Conrad lives in upstate New York. He is a Vietnam-era veteran, worked at IBM and on staff at a major labor union. His stories have appeared in Down in the Dirt, Fiction on the Web, Literally Stories, Longshot Island, Storystar, The Magazine of History and Fiction, and Literary Yard.

 


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