What We Found When We Cleared The House
An overgrown path
To a debris blocked door.
And inbetween the terraces
Waist high weeds to be cut down.
In the garden, a forest.
Not a few weeds,
Or beds left to pasture;
An actual damn forest,
Crammed into a rectangle ten yards deep.
(An owl, something, hooting in there,
And just out of sight, something big, breathing.)
At the back doorway
(The door already removed from its frame,
Some unknown time before):
Three pots of paint –
Three different shades of white.
A black bucket full of kindling.
The remains of a small girl’s dresser.
A traffic cone –
Its insides coated with sick.
In the kitchen:
Sharded glass from the kitchen window,
Itself disturbed by the outside wood,
Branches entering the room through it.
Everything else but the kitchen sink –
A muck-encrusted hob –
Something brown cooked into the surface.
Wet stains across the wall and ceiling.
Floor dusty underfoot –
Several sets of footprints there,
And pawprints too, from unidentified animals.
(Probably dogs, right?)
No old cans in the cupboards,
But lots of pasta and bread,
Furry with damp.
The fridge held shut with suction –
A padlock fitted to the door,
But the clasp not pushed true.
And inside, not much on the shelves,
Except a half-eaten apple,
And a family-size gateaux,
A slice taken out,
Cream yellow and hard with age,
And soft, red, gelatinous fruit,
That looks like strawberry,
But will turn out to be something else
When tested back at the lab.
In the basement,
Off the kitchen,
(And only this house,
On this uniform street,
Seems to have a basement)
There is nothing more
Then a bare lightbulb.
Under that lightbulb
There is a broken round in the concrete floor,
And in the dirt that this reveals,
There is a very deep
And over this hole
A mirror has been placed,
On the back of which
(The shiny side faces down
Into the screaming
There is a post-it note.
The note reads:
Endlss hordes hell
In infinite loop.
Signed off with an “x”
A teenage girl’s kiss.
The living room is carpetted
And covered in shed fur,
A large TV, pushed to the corner,
Screen facing the wall –
(Despite the lack of electricity,
The set releases a persistent buzz,
And the wallpaper behind it is bleached white
In an almost even halo around the antenna).
The sofa –
I wouldn’t let my brother sleep on the sofa,
And he’s a twat.
There’s a king-size bed in the master bedroom,
Crudely bisected along its length
One half of the mattress and bedding
Perfect and in place
(Aside from the stains)
Joins its mate
Where it is almost attached at the pillows
But slumps sadly off it’s broken frame
The further down you go,
Like a drunk
That even lying down
Can’t help falling further.
A chainsaw sits in the corner,
(Although later we’ll find bloody handprints around the handle).
In the dressers, only womens outfits,
Despite one drawer containing mens underwear.
One bedside cabinet
On the unmoved side of the bed
Contains enough sex toys,
And in so many styles and fashions,
That it makes you weep openly.
In what turns out to be the boy’s room:
A year’s worth of pornographic magazines,
Arranged neatly in piles on the floor,
In date order and mint-condition.
And a less tidy assortment of comic books,
Stuck together with organic material
That we will later fail
To match to the boy
Or his father’s
Various toys and books and art materials –
Someone has used the latter to write gibberish on the walls,
In random patterns that don’t appear to make any sense
(One of the team will later recognise this writing
As the lyrics to some of the greatest hits
Of Andrew Lloyd Weber.)
There is a desk.
A home computer –
Inexplicably a screen-saver still rotates
In three dimensions on the screen
A goat’s head,
The single bed,
Perfectly made despite,
A blossoming stain along the middle
Consistent with a severed artery –
Though samples taken turn out to be
Crammed under the bed,
A street-sign reading:
A town on the other side of England.
And a box which turns out to be
Full of rolls of packing tape,
With a few coils of police tape,
Filling out the box.
There’s a loft
That you get to via ladder,
Through the boy’s room.
It is little more than a crawlspace
Its sole function is storage
Of old boxes of books
That none of us has ever heard of.
Although closer inspection
Reveals that the insulation
Rolled across the floor,
And in silver tape-backed rolls in the corner,
Is mostly composed of human hair.
The bathroom is just a bathroom.
There is a piece of carpet,
Matching that in the living room,
On the lid of the toilet seat,
And wrapped in a smile
Around the toilet base.
The airing cupboard is in the upstairs hall.
There is no boiler in the airing cupboard in the upstairs hall.
Just ten traffic-cones
Crammed in where the boiler should be.
And two off-pink rodent-worn towels.
Wrapped in one of these,
There is a handful of bones,
Polished white with care.
Of someone very small.
And that’s all we found when we cleared the house.
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