As he lay, listening for the voices which had now ceased, he became aware that his mouth was open, his clothes were damp from mulch and darkened with dirt, and his fingers had clenched inside his pockets where, rather absurdly, he had placed them while the two young men spoke. After a very long time in which he convinced himself that they had truly gone, Anthony eased out from underneath the shrubs and re-entered his home.
They had not taken much. He did not have much. Some money, his computer. Otherwise the house was whole. And yet now Anthony viewed it with fresh eyes, and he did not like what he saw. All of the food was canned, mostly beans and tuna and vegetables, and if he counted back to the last time he had actually cooked instead of eating straight from the can, his memory and fingers failed him before he could recall a day.
He opened the upstairs toilet seat and discovered the intact skeleton of a small bird, he thought perhaps a wren based upon the feathers floating in the bottom of the almost empty toilet. He carried the skeleton to an enormous empty box and threw it in, and then it was followed by a number of books gone to mildew, sheets which had rotted in the centre, moth-eaten cushions and enormous clumps of leaves and dirt that had become matted together with age and damp. He found a few more dead birds, and a lot of dead rats, their foul, partially decomposed bodies hidden underneath sodden piles of clothing, sheets, cardboard, cushions.
I know how I got this way, and I should not let it get me any more, he thought. He was ashamed that the two men – boys, perhaps – had seen his home in such disarray. Cleaning soothed him but he found little solace in turning his home from its decrepit state into something liveable. I know how I got this way, he thought, and no more.
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The above piece of writing comprises part of my fragments project, some of which are available on this website. I intend to add new fragments piecemeal, not in any particular order, and as the occasion take me.