In my Writing class, we were giventhe task of writing a story about one of four pictures we were given. This is what I wrote for it, and I'd welcome any comments that you have.
(I had to read this aloud, and unfortunately I never finished reading it as my mouth was drying up and my words were becoming incomprehensible, so I cut off a paragraph short and just said that was all I'd written. Ugh. Public speaking.)
Havenbrook seemed perfect. It was the image that comes to mind when you think of the American Dream. The sun shone down brightly on neatly manicured lawns. White picket fences spread as far as the eye could see. Children were gathered in groups, kicking soccer balls or shooting hoops, while their parents took advantage of the weather to wash their cars and gossip with their neighbours. It seemed, to Jonathan, to be the perfect place to settle down and raise a kid. The satnav spoke up.
"At the end of the road, turn right. Then you have reached your destination."
As he rounded the corner, the sight he was greeted with was less than spectacular. A decrepit, barren house squatted at the side of the street. Made of old, rotting wood, it leaned to one side drunkenly. Empty windows covered in cobwebs stared out at the world. The front lawn seemed to be a mass of crabgrass and weeds, and was littered with crisp packets and loose bricks. The only tidy thing seemed to be the salesman, who stood just beside the grass-clogged pathway. He wore a bright red blazer, had a bright white smile, and enough oil in his hair to run a car.
"Mr. Cosgrove?" He crooned "Hi! I'm Mark Stein, from Dream Home Real Estate."
The instant that Jonathan was out of his car, Mark was at his side, shaking his hand and herding him towards the front door. As he guided Jonathan across the poorly maintained pathway, he began his salesman spiel.
"As you can see, this house is a real fixer-upper; a handyman's dream, you might say."
"It looks like it's about to fall over." Jonathan commented.
"Not at all!" Replied Mark as he withdrew a small torch from his pocket "Structurally speaking, the building is solid. It just needs a lick of paint and a bit of attention, that's all."
As they entered the hallway, Jonathan was struck by how different the atmosphere was compared to outside. Despite the heat of the day, the hallway was cold and dark; the sunlight seemed reluctant to enter the building, ending an unnaturally short distance from the window. Yet despite the cold, it seemed that the building suffered little of breezes; the air smelled dank and stale, as if the house hadn't been aired out for years. The walls and floor seemed to match the outside of the building; loose, slanted and, though difficult to tell in such dark conditions, they looked to be rotting. A precarious looking stairway squatted at the end of the hall.
"Now," Mark said "Imagine, if you will, this hallway covered in brand new hardwood flooring, and the walls-"
He was cut off by a loud crash from upstairs.
An eerie, childlike voice shouted down to them "Mommy? Where's my mommy?"
Even in the darkness, Mark's face was easily visible as it turned as white as a sheet. He quickly began ushering Jonathan to the door.
"I'm sorry Mr. Cosgrove," He said quickly "I completely forgot I have another appointment in five minutes. Could we possible re-schedule this until another time?"
"Hold on!" Demanded Jonathan as he pushed the salesman away "That sounds like a kid up there. They could be injured."
"Please," Begged Mark "Just forget about it and go."