“No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream. Hill House, not sane, stood by itself against its hills, holding darkness within; it had stood so for eighty years and might stand for eighty more. Within, walls continued upright, bricks met neatly, floors were firm, and doors were sensibly shut; silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever walked there, walked alone.”
― Shirley Jackson, The Haunting of Hill House
From my blog (I called it an “Online Journal” then), The Daily Epiphany, Wednesday, January 16, 2002
I’m continuously amazed at how the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex is vomiting itself northward, spreading across the cotton fields and mesquite scrublands like a virulent plywood fungus.
The houses are enormous, stuck right up next to each other, and virtually identical. Cheap brick veneer, wooden shake shingles, monstrously large bathrooms, two-story entryways, full of odd corners of wasted space.
The streets are full of smells of cut pinewood, wet concrete, and hot asphalt. Even in the winter, the Texas sun beats down unhindered by any trees to bake the brick and kill the fresh-laid sod. You never see any residents out on the streets or sidewalks – I have to imagine there are sometimes children behind the eight foot wooden privacy fences enclosing a tiny polygon of ex-prairie – sometimes I can see a piece of custom-made play equipment sticking up over the fence. The only humans ever visible in the new suburbs are crews of Mexican workers cutting grass or building walls. Sometimes they have leaf blowers – though I have no idea where any leaves would come from.
The eternal question is, of course, who lives in these things. Did a crack dealer and his stripper girlfriend save their money, get married, clean up and move to the suburbs? Did some guy invent the battery-powered inside-the-egg egg-scrambler and spend his millions gleaned from late night television advertisements on that brand spankin’ new house and shiny black SUV?
And now, a piece of flash fiction for today: