Sponsor a story at EDF - Your message can reach thousands of readers for just $4

YESTERDAY’S HOUSE • by Tim Sevenhuysen

It had worked for Dr. McNaughton in the past: if the child refused to open up, give them a table full of playdough and watch what they did with it.

Sometimes kids created playdough monsters, and he would ask them to describe what they were afraid of. Others rolled snakes. McNaughton’s colleagues were almost immaturely Freudian, but he typically saw snakes as signifying a lack of imagination.

Some children just ate the stuff.

But Ross, this troubled four-year-old, had built a house.

McNaughton had left the room for a few minutes, to allow Ross to feel comfortable, and when he returned, there was a cutaway model of a suburban home sitting on the table.

“What’s this, Ross?” said Dr. McNaughton.

“It’s your house,” said Ross simply.

For a second, McNaughton was taken aback. His house? How could the kid know — but no, this wasn’t actually a model of his house. There was an extra story, and too many bedrooms. Still, there was something familiar…

“My house?” was what McNaughton said.

Ross nodded. “This is the kitchen, and this is the TV room, and this is the room where mommy and daddy yelled a lot, and this is the door where daddy said ‘goodbye-and-be-brave.’”

It was McNaughton’s house. Not today’s house: yesterday’s house. Where he had grown up. Where he had listened helplessly as his parents’ marriage fell apart. Where he had watched through the window as his father drove away.

“Ross, you built my house,” said Dr. McNaughton. “How did you…”

Ross looked up at him with eyes that were, for the first time, vulnerable.

“Ross, is this your house?”

Ross nodded.

And Dr. McNaughton took a deep breath, and said, “Ross, I think we can help each other.”


Tim Sevenhuysen is a Master’s student in sociology in Victoria, BC, Canada. He has been writing microfiction at www.FiftyWordStories.com since February 2009, and maintains a blog at www.TimSevenhuysen.com.


GD Star Rating
loading...
YESTERDAY'S HOUSE • by Tim Sevenhuysen, 3.5 out of 5 based on 53 ratings
Posted on November 27, 2011 in Literary, Stories
Tags:

22 Responses to “YESTERDAY’S HOUSE • by Tim Sevenhuysen”


  1. Paul A. Freeman Says:
    November 27th, 2011 at 12:14 am

    Spooky, effective and hard-hitting.

    An excellent piece of flash.

  2. ABHA IYENGAR Says:
    November 27th, 2011 at 1:28 am

    wonderful writing, extremely touching.

  3. Lilias Says:
    November 27th, 2011 at 1:36 am

    What a great story, saying so much in such a short time. Loved it!

  4. stu1 Says:
    November 27th, 2011 at 4:00 am

    Reading this story was a good game to play.
    well done

  5. K. DeMeester Says:
    November 27th, 2011 at 5:18 am

    Wow. This one socked me right in the gut. I love how the two characters serve to reveal something to each other. Five stars today.

  6. Walt Giersbach Says:
    November 27th, 2011 at 6:37 am

    So nice to see how you did this in fewer than 1,000 words when I’ve been struggling with a longer piece telling the same story. Four stars!

  7. Seattle Jim Says:
    November 27th, 2011 at 7:08 am

    Nice. Straight forward. Admirable economy of words. Finishes with an moment-of-truth that stands up and makes me want more. What else could you ask from flash?

    Mr. Sevenhuysen, you hit a home run. Five stars…..

  8. fishlovesca Says:
    November 27th, 2011 at 7:13 am

    Writing a complete story in so few words is really tough to do, but this author has a lot of experience in micro which explains his mastery of the form.

  9. J. Chris Lawrence Says:
    November 27th, 2011 at 7:49 am

    I wasn’t surprised when I saw a relatively short piece under your name Tim, nor was I surprised to find it well written and masterfully delivered. You have natural talent for flash fiction sir, and it shows in this piece.

    I found the narrative engaging. I like how the protagonist utilizes the playdough, and how he shrugs off the Freudian implications of the snakes. The interactions with the child felt natural, and the twist was well delivered. My only complaint would be that I wanted more, but that does not detract from the plot as it easily stands self sufficient, so I would say that it’s a good sign that you hooked this reader.

    Well done!

  10. JenM Says:
    November 27th, 2011 at 8:27 am

    Whhat a unique story. I liked the fact that ther’s a chance Ross could be psychic, though it’s more likely he was just letting out his own expirences.

  11. Rose Gardener Says:
    November 27th, 2011 at 8:37 am

    Excellent.

  12. Folly Blaine Says:
    November 27th, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    Short and sweet. Very good work. My favorite line was “…this is the door where daddy said ‘goodbye-and-be-brave.'”

  13. Yesterday’s House on Every Day Fiction « Tim Sevenhuysen.com Says:
    November 27th, 2011 at 2:36 pm

    […] my story Yesterday's House, which was published today at Every Day […]

  14. Roberta Schulberg aka Roberta SchulbergGoro Says:
    November 27th, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    I don’t think the child was psychic. I think he was saying, “It’s your house because I made it to share with you. I made it for you so that you, who are so nice and not Freudian, (after all, kid’s precocious) can be in the same house as me.”

  15. Roberta Schulberg aka Roberta SchulbergGoro Says:
    November 27th, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    To whom did Daddy say “be brave”? Won’t he be there to help his child? Didn’t he work out the parting together with his wife so the home would be strong without him?

  16. B. Stanley Says:
    November 27th, 2011 at 5:57 pm

    Beautiful story–well written, tight, open to interpretation. Dr. Ross McNaughton, is it?

  17. Tim Sevenhuysen Says:
    November 27th, 2011 at 6:36 pm

    Thanks for all the feedback, everyone! I’m glad so many people have appreciated the story. I’m especially enjoying all of the different thoughts on how best to interpret the story.

    To be honest, I never made my mind up on exactly what the implications were. I really like the various ideas I’m seeing, though!

  18. Kim Says:
    November 28th, 2011 at 12:20 am

    brilliant!

  19. Kathleen Cassen Mickelson Says:
    November 28th, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    Wow, nicely done. Complete, succinct, finely-tuned.

  20. Dan Purdue Says:
    November 28th, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    Interesting idea. A bit sparse for my tastes, but definitely interesting.

    I must admit, I can’t work out how you’d build a cutaway, multi-storey house in playdough – it’s not the most rigid of building materials! Ross is clearly a gifted child.

  21. Gretchen Says:
    November 29th, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    Creative, touching, and delivered in just a sprinkling of words. Well done!

  22. fifa 14 Keygen Says:
    November 5th, 2013 at 5:03 am

    The author at FUT Millionaire really has a nice writing style and his experience on FIFA
    Ultimate Team shines through. Keeping it updated is an important way to make sure you are getting the most out
    of your games and using your video card to the utmost of its capabilities.
    From the 2007 Globe Cup throughout Indonesia, Brazilian gamers
    experienced a lot of critique at Home since they had been eliminated simply by Portugal inside the quarterfinals.

Comments

« | Home | »