You know that house you pass when you get lost on a back road?
Every back road in Pennsylvania has one.
The house the forest has been lazily trying to reclaim since the day it was built, tucked neatly between somewhere and nowhere?
You know the one I mean.
It’s just a house, of course. You tell yourself that it’s just a house, anyhow. You’re a rational person, and it’s just a regular house. There’s a suburb like a mile back, for Christ’s sake. You’re not exactly stranded. Just lost. It’s late, and you need to turn around.
The porch is a heap of deer skulls and axes and water-logged indoor furniture, and you try to slow your breathing. Plenty of people hunt. Plenty of people chop firewood. Plenty of people survive turning around in someone’s driveway, so why are you being such a baby? What are you afraid of?
And surely it’s a safer place to reset your GPS than the… Well, what must have been a farm, once… up the road. With its single, emaciated horse and its howling, feral cats and its tetanus-trap of vine-choked, scrap-ravaged cars.
Surely this is safer, you think.
And you’d be right, most nights.
I mean, there’s an even chance you’ll be pulling chunks of deer out of the grille of your car if you panic and drive away too fast, but that’s not the house’s fault. That’s just Pennsylvania for ya’.
Most nights, everything is perfectly fine, and you’ll laugh it off as sleep-deprived paranoia and arrive at your destination unscathed and unchanged.
But every so often… If the sky is clear and the air is crisp, and you listen very carefully, you’ll hear me…
I’m there, you know…
Perched on the roof, just outside of your view, just fuckin’ shreddin’ on this toy accordion I got on Craigslist for ten bucks. Just, like, reallllly goin’ at it like you would not believe, whispering, “Hell yeah,” every few measures.
I’m getting pretty good, actually.