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The House That Mack Built

by BP | Score: 6200

Mack stared up at the long, arching walls of the library. Besides his breathing there was no sound. Hammering of nails. Sawing of wood. Hauling of lumber. Shouts of crude comments. All gone. All packed up and taken away with the rest of the crew. All that remained was Mack and the house.

A slight wind had picked up and was playfully battering the walls. Throughout the library a slight hum accompanied the occasional harsh gusts. A stripped down orchestra playing just for him. 

The library stood apart from the rest of the house. A great, towering silo, it jutted up into the air a whole story and a half taller than the rest of the house. None of the other gables dared rival the libraries peak.

Make felt himself going dizzy standing there, staring up at the cylindrical top. Teetering, he pulled a washcloth from his back pocket and wiped his brow with it. Why was it always so hot, in here, he thought to himself. Why the hell was the whole house so hot.

The call had come four months ago. Home, out of work with a pregnant wife, Mack recalled the desperation that seemed to set in thicker and thicker with each passing day. Bills were one thing. They never stopped. Even after you died, someone would still be there, looking for theirs. It was pride, that wounded, limping thing, that had kept him up all those nights. That whispered to him whenever he got a little bit of change in his pocket from some odd job to go out, buy himself some beer and cigarettes. Sit out in the yard and drink and smoke until the little man inside him no longer felt so little. No longer felt so fucking useless.

A torrent of wind crashed against the house and Mack felt his knees buckle. Why should he be so afraid of the wind? Fifteen years experience as a carpenter. More if you included all those years he spent on his uncle's crew running around job sites, picking up nails, delivering screws, changing batteries for the boys' drills. He'd spent his entire life around job sites, the smell of fresh cut wood, the easy cussing of tired men, the sound of labor all around. He'd taken special pride in this library. Measured and remeasured every board, double checked his cuts and angles as well as the other guys--some of which had not appreciated the extra eyes. But he didn't care. Something about this job spoke to him. More so than the fact that it had saved him from poverty. He felt a connection to this place. Almost--and Mack never used this word, let alone to describe himself--but he felt an almost spiritual connection.

What chilled him now, what made him wake up in the middle of the night, leaving his exhausted wife as she struggled with the rigorous of new motherhood, and go to the bathroom where he would stand in darkness and stare at his own reflection in the mirror, little gibbous shadows buttressing his eyes giving them a darkness and a depth he had never seen before, was what that connection said about him.

Somewhere to his left, a door slammed shut. With no furnishing or carpets to blunt the sound it, the impact echoed throughout the new home as if at one point it split into a dozen little sounds and burst apart, sounding the various parts of itself down halls and upstairs like a family of rambunctious children having just countdown from ten and now were on the hunt, seeking the lone hider.

Was that me? Mack stared into the open doorway. It aligned perfectly with the other three doors between him and the main foyer. At least, it used to align perfectly. But the house had a funny way of settling. Everyday, no matter how much time, patience, and skill Mack exerted the previous down when laying down his boards, when he returned he'd always find something... off. Boards that previously had been perfectly straight. Angles that were ninety degrees--HAD to be ninety degrees--no longer were. It made no sense. Houses were built on math. Simple, elegant equations that man had mastered going back more years than Mack could count. And yet this house eschewed them without concern of consequence.

Fifteen years in construction. Countless hours at countless work sites. And Mack had never hurt himself or anyone in any kind of significant way. Callouses, tweaked joints, sore knees. These things happened. But accidents. Honest to god injuries. Mack prided himself on being professional. And yet this house.

"Where'd you get that wound?"

He looked down at his hand. The gauze he had taped around his fingers was bled through. Pieces of it hung loose, like withered leaves and if he stared too long 

Completed challenges

The following challenges were completed during the writing exercise:

Begin Start typing to begin
Location A library
Words Reach 50 words
Event Silence
Letter Use the letter W
Words Reach 100 words
Prop Include a washcloth
Event Someone is pregnant
Words Reach 200 words
Words Reach 300 words
Words Reach 400 words
Words Reach 500 words
Words Reach 600 words
Words Reach 700 words
Words Reach 800 words

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