You should have seen me in my prime. I was the feather in the duke’s cap, his prized possession. The beau monde, princes, even foreign dignitaries flocked to me in grand carriages, eager to seek out my many hidden pleasures: the sumptuous banquets, the illustrious balls, the secret trysts, the endless pleasure seeking.
Ah, those were the days.
Now look at me. The Odd Fellows Home for Orphans, Indigent, and Aged. A setting for a horror film if I’ve ever seen one. Mewling infants cry for parents they’ll never have. The older ones are no better, shuffling along my hallways, eyes vacant as if focused on days gone by. All reeking of poverty and loss, nothing like the blithe beauties and dashing rogues of yesteryear.
Even my magnificent fountain, once the welcoming centerpiece of my masterful estate, lies dormant, covered in hideous netting in order to keep these idiots out. “For their own protection,” I hear.
How did it come to this? I am a shell of my former self. An eyesore, some say. A visual reminder of all that society wants to ignore, to obscure, to forget.
My cement eye sees the fear in their faces as they are led through my doors, doors that used to signify One Had Arrived. Doors that now open only to lost opportunities, lost selves, lost lives.
I listen to the young girl whispering confidences to me from her bed, telling of tragedies I can only imagine. I smell the fear on the sick and the dying, who know they have already come to their final resting place. I feel the pain of those abandoned, clinging to the meager comforts I offer because I am all they have in the world.
Now they are all that I have.
We are the things that nobody wants.
Perhaps these are my glory days after all.
Let me know what you think of my entry in this week’s Flash Friday Fiction contest! And come join the fun – it’s so fascinating to read everyone’s entries and see how varied the stories are based upon the same visual prompt.