The House, a new short story of mine, featured on Anderbo.
The house stood next to the belfry where it had always stood; it just seemed smaller, and the pink was more of a pinkish-grey now, dissolving with every flake of the coat peeling off. Yes, it was the kind of winter that exists only in St. Pavol in January—all the bookish heaving, crisping and freezing was happening in real time here.
The huge red gate, the huge gate key, and more keys—to the yard, the kitchen, the back room. I think of my grandfather as a boy; surely he didn’t have to unlock three doors when he was herding the oxen out of the gate with his father. No, there used to be a simple bolt, even I remember using it. That was before we got robbed.
Grandma’s painting got stolen then; the one with the poppies that I never noticed, and then suddenly missed when it was gone. The gypsies did it, people had said. And after that they added quickly, as always when the gypsies were mentioned, not the good ones, the bad ones. One more inevitable sentence would follow: If Betka hadn’t sold the first house to the gypsies back then, we could’ve lived in peace….
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