The battle between the powerful and the powerless

Elizabeths story

The battle between the powerful and the powerless

By Libby Balzke

A low whistle of the cool breeze wound its way through the tall, sturdy gum trees, leading to the house. It wriggled its way through the tiniest of cracks in the doorways, the windowsills, and the old, creaking floorboards, bringing with it a cunning technique to leach the small home of its inner warmth, and leaving behind the coldest of airs.

The flick of a match against the rough metal surface echoed through the winding interior of the small home, and illuminated an old, weathered hand of the fellow whom lit it. This hand, beaten and tainted by the sun as it was, shakily reached up to a tall mount above an empty fireplace, to a rusted, twisted black candleholder which carried a candle. This candle was unlike many other candles, as it was obvious to skilled eye that it had been hand-crafted from beeswax, and patterns of moons and stars and other unique shapes had been carved into the side of it, swirling their way around majestically in somewhat of a line.

As the interior of this rickety house was illuminated with the low light of this strange candle, an atmosphere of warmth began to fill the place; only without the physical temperature. The floor was of wooden planks, hastily nailed together to form an uneven, jagged surface, and had been worn down from years and years of use. The walls were of wooden planks as well, but had been nailed with a more accurate hand than those of the floor. They were decorated with beautifully crafted frames, containing within them oil paintings, and drawings, and smiling faces of family and friends of the occupant of this house. The ceiling was a yellowing creamy colour, stained in certain points and evident to the fact that there was a worn point along the areas where the ceiling met the walls. It was also bent slightly in the centre, holding a single rickety fan on the spot where it was lowest.

Along the side of one wall, was a slightly off centre fireplace. It was shaped in an arc over where the firepit lay, and was of a furbished dark brown wood, with curvy carvings and shaping of it shining in the light the candle let out. Adjoining to this arc, above the fireplace, was a mantelpiece, of which held similar frames to those on the walls, and containing similar materials and imagery.

A shrill scream pierced through the night, shattering the warm illusion of the room. A sharp, icy wind dashed towards the candle, and struck the tiny flame into oblivion, taking its warmth and life.

Howling winds circled the house, crashing from time to time into its rickety frame and causing destruction of varying levels to occur inside the poor home.

There was a look of dread in the tired, wrinkling eyes of the fellow. His thin, unstable legs had begun to lose traction, and his skeleton-like arms struck out at nothing as he spun in the centre of the room.  The wind smashed into the exterior of the house, and whooshing and lowly groans were allowing themselves to be heard as the wind began lifting trees, and sneaking its way along the underside of the floor of the wretched old house.

A light rain had begun to patter on the tin roof of the weathered home, and the winds continued to lash their anger and destruction onto the undeserving and innocent homestead.

The fellow began to sob, feeling alone in this unforgiving of circumstances, and the weather, as if on cue, began to bucket down as the howling winds continued to smash around and chaotically destroy the exterior, leaving only the interior of the home yet to be demolished by its power.

His stance betrayed his half-heartened attempt to hide his darkening emotions. His aged, wiry fingers trembled as the sound became louder. The poorly man fell to his knees with a cry of agony and despair.

Sound; booming voices, screamed around him and enveloped the wretched soul in a blanket of terror and destruction. Tears streamed down the face of the man, and his wrinkly, sun stained skin began to crumple as his face fell. Low voices cried out in anger and immense pain, carried on the wind, and shrill screams of women and children pierced the night, bringing with them the most horrid of worlds. As the roof opened up, and the floor began to crack, this was the end of the old home’s time. It was obvious that the man knew that this was to be his most certain doom as well, and the doom of his beloved home.

That was when the man – the elderly, wiry, shaking, terrified fellow – stopped shaking. He raised his eyes to the sky, and slowly raised enough strength to drag himself onto his tired feet. He rolled his shoulders back and pushed his bony chest out. His back became straighter and his legs stood steadier. He defiantly raised his head up and let out a bloodcurdling scream of agony and defiance into the air.

Wooden pane by wooden pane, the house began to fall apart and join the screeching wind. Glass shattered and the fan was torn from its post, spinning recklessly as it was flung into the air high above. Pictures flew into the air and smashed together, destroying decades of crafting and unforgettable memories. Somewhere in the midst, the poor, desperate fellow was flung into the air, and with a crack and a last cry of despair, his soul left the world.

 The howling, destructive wind continued to smash into the house with more and more force, and the rain continued to bucket down, until nothing remained and all was destroyed and washed away.

Except for one thing; one sturdy, hardy, beautifully crafted old thing.

The fireplace remained where it had stood, splintered along the front and tattered along the poor, empty mantelpiece.

But it still stood.