Hello! This is a Random First Line writing prompt from https://writingexercises.co.uk/firstlinegenerator.php. The Random First Line Prompt this time was The old house, with its wildly overgrown garden, was silent, secretive
The old house, with its wildly overgrown garden, was silent, secretive, tucked away from the main streets and beneath a handful of spiralled, cobbled steps. High, bricked walls stood tall on either side, cherry trees intertwining to form a branched arch, casting a dark shade on the steps. Vivian hesitated at the looming darkness around the corner, nervous as to what she might find. She gripped the cold bar rail leading down the steps, her foot hovering over the second step. Her heart was thumping so hard she started to feel lightheaded and dizzy.
This was the house her husband owned, the house he failed to mention. Not once had he told her about the house he’d purchased almost three years ago, but she’d found the contract inside the bottom chest of drawers on his side of the bed, under his stack of car and dirty magazines.
Harold, her husband, had not been himself lately. He finished his work at 6 and was usually home by half past 6, but he started finishing a little later. She wouldn’t see him until 7.30 or 8, or 8.30, and when he did finally come home, he’d avoid Vivian, heading straight for the stairs. He’d have a cold shower before climbing into bed, turning the other way so Vivian couldn’t see his face she presumed. All he’d offer was a short excuse whenever she asked.
‘I had to do some overtime at work, so I stayed longer.’
He’d text her sometimes to let her know, but most of the time, she was unaware that he was staying behind for work until 6.30 passed and he was nowhere in sight.
One day when he returned from work at almost 9 o’clock, she tried to hug him at the door and plant a light kiss on his cheek. He dodged her, but not before she noticed that he smelt different.
‘Is that women’s perfume?’ she asked, sniffing his neck.
Harold grunted and shrugged Vivian’s arms away.
‘I just got back from work, I don’t need your lecture.’
He thudded up the stairs, leaving a bewildered Vivian in the living room when it dawned on her. He was having an affair.
The darkness enclosed her as she proceeded downwards, stopping for breath with each, shaky step. Her chest was tight and uncomfortable, her arms quaking from the chills in her body at the creepiness of it all. The faint whoosh of the sky quietened to a deathly silence the further down she was, her steps uncomfortably loud and echoed. She murmured, her breaths audible as the pitch black swallowed her.
Vivian stopped mid-step, deeply considering whether or not to turn back from where she came.
Suck it up, she whispered to herself, her quiet voice bouncing off the brick walls. Turning back was not an option, not if she wanted to find out what her husband was up to. Her unsteady hand reached for her front pocket where her phone was. She turned on the torch light and sucked in one, whistled breath, slowly breathing out, before she continued down the stairs.
At the end of the steps, a jagged, stone pathway led to the black-gated house, an old house with white, stone walls. Flowers of every colour bloomed from the roots of the house, almost hidden in the long, untrimmed grass. From a distance, Vivian saw a small, blonde child dressed in pink, swinging high on a swing on the right side of the house. Vivian’s legs were stiff, her steps careful and precise as if she were on a tightrope, high up from the ground.
Inches from the house, Vivian’s eyes remained on the child, her heart beating hard. The girl’s hair was long with a fringe that almost shielded her eyes and a smile, that somehow seemed familiar. The tall, black gates had concealed most of her view from afar, but now she could see that the girl was being swung by a man. A man that she immediately recognised as her husband.
Word count – 663 words