Bereft of a Sister

But for all the questionable design, the melody holds the coveted gossip position. However, no one living, in many years, has braved entering the house the make sense of this sound. Quiet pieces reach those who chance a walk past…the song is new.

No one describes the song as angry or malicious. But very few are willing to acknowledge the sound at all.

There’s life still to be found within the Anstad House.

The windows are boarded up, yes. The roof is alive with vines and flowers growing in the cracks and creases. The floors warping and bending from moisture and time. But warmth fills the spaces between the walls, and lights reflect in the mirrors and gild.

With undisputed age and defacement to the property, it’s impossible to neglect the new decorations found in the kitchen.

A door hosting seven custom locks from top to bottom, and an unbroken seam of metal between it and the frame is curious. And ever so unnoticeable, should one look closely, are connecting lines that disappear and reappear as the sourceless light invades the house. For those with the courage to look, they’d see their own confusion drawn in the lines. But, they’d acquire a feeling of such dread as to merely look at them.

No, whatever warmth fills the Anstad house, it doesn’t come from the basement. Whatever light shines amidst the forced seclusion and complete absence, it doesn’t come from the basement.

If you ask me, the greatest of the house’s attributes lie in the second-floor reading room, which is now blockaded by fallen timbers and ever-growing vines. Two paintings adorn similarly decorated walls across from each other. Paintings portraying two young women. Forgotten as they face each other, endlessly locked in combat.

The two sisters, Aphelia and Neranda. Captured for all time in a full-figure display, both wearing the epitome of their wealth reflected in stark contrast. Aphelia in rich purples, browns, blacks, and blues. Neranda in brilliant oranges, reds, whites, and yellows.

No dust, age, or time affects them. These sisters hang resolute, siphoning their vibrancy from the skeleton of the house itself.
But where one would expect regality or frailty in the appearance of such women, instead, they find disparity.

Aphelia, a woman of average size, with pale skin and red hair, protrudes both away from and into her painting in varying levels and depths. Her right eye is missing, along with two fingers from her right hand. Both wounds display pink, fresh scars as if received recently.

Her eyes display a fiery passion, only contested by Neranda. A deep, affluent part of the melody flows from Aphelia’s painting. Like a heartbeat. A pure enmity.

All this coinciding with the silver-laced starlight of Neranda’s body. As Aphelia grows in dimension, it seems that Neranda heightens, sharpens, and divines herself. Her once delicate features, average frame, brunette hair, and auburn eyes are be-speckled with illuminate dust from the night sky. She may not stand out from her painting, but her natural state is blending with that of the ethereal.

However, there’s no mistaking the fury in her eyes, clearly directed at Aphelia. Neranda may shimmer and shine, but her left arm is gone, and the harsh scarring of severe burns show briefly from the left side of her neckline. The scar’s tendril look to be clawing for her throat.

When the music sounds, light erupts from the stardust and harmonizes with Aphelia’s heartbeat. Neranda’s song is different every time, yet always finds perfection with Aphelia’s.

If one could acquire entrance to the reading room, perhaps they’d wonder how such magic is possible. Maybe this would distract them from the adornments on the door in the kitchen. Maybe they’d forget about the dancing dust and the luminescent books on their shelves.

It’s hard to say. No one now living bears the courage to enter the Anstad House.

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