House With No Number

On a hill, tucked back off the lazily curving path sat a quarter acre of land. The mailbox had no number on it, and the fence surrounding the generous yard was only standing out of sheer will, and support from a lovely little apple tree. Spring and now summer had seen the yard turn into a meadow, with grass and wildflowers stretching well over knee-height. Half a dozen taller trees rose out of the earth, lining the back half of the property, and serving as a canopy to the small cottage that dwelled beneath their sturdy branches.

It was a small little home, that cottage. Years of ivy had climbed up the north-eastern corner of the building, and had only been cleared away from the one window the vines encountered. The windows, two in the front and two in the back, were all small. No longer sitting properly in the walls, if one were to look closely they could see where holes had been properly patched. Rugged square beams framed the front door. They were sturdy, and the old remnants of chipping paint scraped away to make way for a fresh clean coat of red.The wooden panels of the door had been recently sanded smooth, and the iron that stretched out from the hinges cleaned of rust. From the road, even, the fresh, golden straw of the thatched roof, and the pathetic excuse of a lean-to that shielded the woodpile from the elements could only be obviously noted on th sunniest of days.

If one were to enter the dwelling they would find the interior to be exceptionally peculiar. The thickly woven rug was clean, but clearly a castaway, and none of the furniture matched. As a matter of fact, all of it looked as if it had been salvaged out of rubbish heaps and burn piles. Of the four chairs, three had wicker seats. The fourth with the cushion was the only expensive looking piece, except that a wicker sheet had been neatly tacked onto the back to serve as a support. At least one leg from each chair did not belong, having been taken from other scrapped chairs that had not made the cut. A chipped glass bowl filled with red apples sat on the small, heavy table, attempting to cover up a stain and distract from several gash marks in the wood most likely caused by an axe.

The small couch angled in a far corner seemed decent enough, decorated with miss-matched pillows. Of all the furniture, the buffet was the nicest. Heavy and lined with a relief of Rohirric knot work, it fit in with the rest of the room as it retained only two of it’s original bronze handles. The rest had been replaced by either glass or wooden knobs, and the top was (rather aesthetically) littered by wine bottles, mugs, tea tins, and a neat stack of wooden bowls.  A four-piece wrought iron tool set stood to one side of the fireplace, and a crate full of firewood sat on the other side. Pots and pans hung above the mantle, and three small bundles of herbs, mint, lavender, and bay leaf, dangled down from the ceiling to ward away any bugs searching for a home.

Finally, one might wander into the bedroom. Half the size of the common room, it just fit a single bed, modest dresser, and wooden footlocker. While all used, the furniture was in a much better state than the first room. A massive, well made quilt folded in half engulfed the bed. A thin, cheap rug mostly likely purchased from a merchant in town protected warm feet from the cool, rough wood of the floor. The footlockers sat at the end of the bed, firmly padlocked, and topped off by several decorative pillows, and a wooden tea tray waiting to be used.