Gergely Sülye

George arrived at the abandoned house described by his assistee. He had been on the run for well over a week and had completely shaken the cops off his tail. Well, at least so he thought. He was probably in a different state by now, hopefully where they wouldn’t chase him any longer. Not to this place in the middle of nowhere, anyways.

He first saw an old and deteriorated wooden fence, although it didn’t serve much purpose, since it was small enough to be stepped over. The house itself was in a clearing in the woods. He had been hiking through this forest for the past days, so it was refreshing to see something man-made, even as abandoned and reclaimed by nature as it was.

The building was a typical American home, and looking at how run-down it was, he guessed it must have been unoccupied for at least two decades. Well, what was sure was that it would have its first resident in a really long time. There seemed to be some furniture left, although everything looked pretty empty. He explored the house and its rooms. He wouldn’t be using all of them, but he figured if he was going to live here for the time being, then he should tidy up a little bit.

Fall was approaching rapidly, and the forest had already started shedding its leaves. George was also fast at work. Since making himself at home, he had been gathering everything that didn’t spoil and storing it in the basement. It wasn’t really spacious, but besides a few tools he didn’t really have to store anything down there. While making trips in hopes of finding something edible or to gather firewood, he constantly reminisced over the times he went out hunting with his father in his childhood. He had learned a lot of practical skills, most of which he now knew would be necessary for survival. How to set up traps for small animals, the ability to distinguish poisonous plants from edible ones. In regards to firewood, he gathered any branches and fallen dry wood he could find. Thankfully the house had a fireplace, although it had to be cleaned thoroughly, as it was clearly not taken care of by its previous owners.

George took refuge in the guest bedroom, as it was the smallest of the three bedrooms and the easiest to warm up. There was a bed with a mattress, on top of which he laid an old carpet that he found in the basement. Of course he cleaned all of these beforehand. The room ended up looking rather comfortable after a few weeks of work. He took care of his hygiene by a small stream that a path behind the house would lead to. George was really a clean freak, especially after being forced to live in inhuman conditions previously.

Since the weather had turned unusually cold, too cold for him to be making trips outside, George was stuck in his room doing menial tasks. These included sewing and patching up his clothes or other fabrics and cutting firewood, among other things. Another important activity was contemplating life. He had been alone for about two months now, without any human contact. In order to maintain his sanity, he considered it necessary to get stimulated by talking to himself. He mostly thought about his childhood, and where things must have gone wrong. An overlying sense of regret came to him, unlike anything he had experienced before. Since prison never managed to squeeze even an ounce of guilt from him, this feeling would define most of his days spent in the heated guestroom.

Spring is often regarded as the season of change and renewal. George, too, considered it as such. Being confined with nobody but himself for so long, he had plenty of time to regret his past. But also to look forward to a new start.