Heart of the House

Your steps are slow. Here and there the roof under your feet groans, and shingles shift and scrape together. The wind has gotten cold now, and the sun slips behind a cloud. Curiosity pushing fear aside, you peak your head over the chimney’s lip, and take a look down into the empty house. Thoughts race as the long, narrow flue dips down into darkness . . . the heart of the house, just out of sight.