The sun rose again, from where Nathan couldn’t tell. How many days had passed since he lost everything, since he was the only one remaining he couldn’t tell. What he could tell was the number of days that had passed since he was put in the room with no way out except a small window. The tally marks on the wall signified the rise of the sun he could see from the window. The tally marks showed that a year had passed, 1 year of his life had been spent alone. All Nathan knew was the wall and the marks nothing else, nothing else had mattered, just him the wall and the marks.
Then one day it was gone. Nathan had woken up from a loud blast sound in the middle of the night. He got up to see what was happening from the small slit window but it was dark outside. He had though it was his imagination but when he sat on his bed opposite to the marks on the wall were gone as well. The panic could be seen in his eyes but no words came out. He began to bang on the windowless door no one came but the door moved, it gave way and slightly opened. Nathan walked out and the cold still wind hit him right in the face.
Nathan didn’t shiver even though his cloths had no way to prevent the cold. He walked slowly forward as far as the way let him but only a few meters he had walked when he hit his head on a wooden wall. His head didn’t hurt from the impact so he kept moving forward, using his hands to feel the wall for a doorknob. The doorknob came within few steps and he twisted it and the door opened with ease. Nathan stepped out and the sudden bright light blinded him for a few seconds. When he regained his sight he saw himself standing at the edge of some stairs.
He placed his hand on the wall and took each step so slowly that it felt like the next step came after ages. But he slowly made his way down the stairs to the floor below. This floor was empty from any life, all the furniture was cover in white sheets, the lights were on but it didn’t faze Nathan one bit. Nathan walked into a room that under all the white sheets could have been the living room. He took off a sheet or two and a under the sheet were pretty sofas. In its heyday the room would have held the whole house together but now those days where centuries away. Nathan could visualize kids running around, snakes being brought for the family gathered to celebrate the holiday together.
Nathan brushed his fingers against the sofas, he left the sheet on the floor and started to move towards the next room. It was the kitchen it was clearer than the living room but it stilled looked as if it was barely used by anyone. He could smell the food being made here every day. He could hear a woman’s voice sweet as honey singing his childhood rhyme here every morning. Nathan kept moving forward to the next room which was a little further from the kitchen. He opened the door and walked in, this room was pink with a bunk bed and toys all round. Nathan could imagine two little girls giggling until they fell asleep.
Nathan closed the door and moved forward. The dark was fading away and the sun was coming out. He walked to the window and saw the sun rising, he stood by the window till he sun came up and the world around him was bright and clear. From the window he looked down and saw people gathered in the back yard. Though the back yard was small but it was big enough to fit two elderly, a woman and two small girls. Nathan walked slowly towards the stairs and walked down then walked to the back door that led to the back yard. He walked out and saw that the people were smiling at him. The warm smiles of each and every one of them made Nathan tear up. Tears running down his cheeks, his bare feet in the snow and he slowly kneed down to the ground.
The harsh cold wind hits his hands which he uses to cover his face. The people standing in front of him vanish as if they were never there and had never existed. Nathan removed his hands from his face and stared at what lay before him. In the white snow covering the ground inch by inch what could only be seen were 5 grave stones poking out of the snow. Starting from Bruno Spence then Helen Spence then Miranda Spence and finally Lily and Rose Spence. Each stone with the same exact death date signifying them all dead on that tragic day. Nathan weeps but doesn’t stay take long on the ground. He gets up and grabs a shovel and then starts to clear from the graves. He then places flowers on the graves and heads back inside.
He walk back to each room putting everything in its place, first the kid’s room then the kitchen then the living room. He then grabs a marker from a cabinet and starts walking up the stairs. Nathan walks back up to the top floor, walks back into the dark room and then the room with in it. He picks up a marker and puts another tally on the wall signifying the start of another year.
It turns out that every year on the death anniversary of his family Nathan cleans off the marks. He then walks all around the house remembering them then he walks to the graves, cleans the graves and heads back into isolation and starts a new year waiting for the day to come again. He lives on waiting to join is family one day.