As the sun set low in the distant rolling hills of Somerville Missouri, you could see the warm glow of the suns last light touching the tops of the oak trees. Standing tall like a room of giants with their arms spread out as they try to take you in their embrace. Matthew walked slowly up the drive and stared out at the old farmhouse with peeling gray paint and sagging porch and sighed. It felt like an eternity since he had been home. As Matthew drew closer he stopped for a moment, his mind filled with images from the past, a thousand memories that he had tried to forget, a thousand screams he had tried not to hear. Closing his eyes and pausing for a moment to steel himself Matthew finally opened his eyes and stepped into the yard.
It had been almost 15 years since he last walked through this yard. Standing here now he looked around and took a deep breath. The smell of lilacs filled the spring air. The air was so cool and sweet with the smell that sometimes you thought you could bottle it up and save it all year. Matthew felt his hands shake as he stood there enveloped by the sweet smell, lilacs had always been Mary Ellen's favorite flower. Finally after a long pause Matthew walked up onto the porch of the house, the steps protesting from age and weather as he stepped on them. Pausing at the top step Matthew slowly removed a crumbled envelope from his pocket and shook it allowing a lone key to drop into his sweaty palms, only to find that his hand was shaking so badly that the key fell clattering to the wooden floor breaking the ghostly silence with a small clinking noise. Shaken but determined Matthew clawed at the key on the floor trying desperately to pick it up when the silence was broken again with a loud curse as a long sliver from the wood wedged itself under his fingernail. Exasperated Matthew finally got a grasp on the key and plucked it from the floor before shoving it in the lock and flinging the door open to the silence within.
As Matthew stood in the entrance to the house he found himself automatically slipping his shoes off in fear of a man they had put in the ground 9 months earlier. Matthew's feet felt the cold touch of the wooden floor and shivered as he half expected to hear that voice holler out his name, but instead all he heard was the pounding of his heart in his chest and the fast rasp of his own breathe. Finally after a few long moments Matthew forced his breathing to slow as his eyes darted across the room and it's seemingly timeless clutter.
Sitting against the door frame was an old worn umbrella worn through in places but always gently, almost reverently, shaken off and carefully stowed beside the door. In the window a small stained glass angel hangs. It once filled this small foyer with shimmering rainbows, but now in the evening twilight, the glow coming from it seeming almost ominous and foreboding. With a voice dry and cracking like a man lost in the dessert Matthew quietly spoke up "I'm home." and for the first time in what felt like a lifetime, he was.
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