In the grim shadows of the aging house, stood a frail figure. He looked out, with astonishingly big eyes, a small opening through his wall. The tearing wallpaper, appearing to age over a century, was tackled from one end of the wall with striking accuracy; it was carved in shape of a perfect triangle, serving as Malinant’s “window”. Drapes of a blood red colour were usually drawn during daylight , blocking all signs of life in the dreary house. But not today. On this day, Malinant  crept from his lumpy bed and risked the journey to the hole in the wall. He had been planning this moment for weeks.

In the shadows of his home,  Malinant’s spinning mind conjured several fantastical situations, one that always ended with his drooping head facing the triangle carving. These ideas were soon dismissed after the bitter tasting cocoa went down his throat, his mind clearing and the dreams fading away.

But for the past few weeks, Malinant  had gathered a sort of determination that rather scared him. His heartbeat escalated as the coco was frantically poured in his mouth. He waited, agonizing seconds, as the bitter seed traveled down his throat. Tick tock, the clock went. And still the wheels of his brain churned, spinning with thoughts of the triangle carving.

It had been long since he last traced the cutting edges of the carving, the gold light spreading over his withering features. He had memorized the rough texture of the edges; he could feel it on his palms sometimes, a hauntingly fascinating memory. It was time, he decided, to do the deed.

Despite his detailed planning for that Sunday morn, Malinant felt the hesitancy seeping through his blood. He knew it was an inevitable task, one that would eventually be accomplished, but his traitorous mind swept with various notions of sickness and maladies that he suddenly possessed. The familiar bed didn’t seem so uninviting anymore, the once forgotten covers now a haven for the reluctant man. Malinant had almost convinced himself of a raging fever when his eyes fell upon the blood red drapes, which taunted him with their silk folds. He watched as a sudden breeze blew them aside, giving him a view of the spindly oak tree on Edgar’s street.

And then it was as if his legs moved of their own accord. Malinant found himself out of bed, eyes in search of his checkered slippers. He limped his way to the small basin, splashing a handful of cold water on his drooping skin. The mirror, a lone ancestral possession, was suddenly in the man’s way. As he watched his ghostly reflection in the broken mirror, Malinant was flooded with memories of a paternal grandma. She was a rather narcissistic woman, her sole source of happiness, the mirror, that now laid rather flimsily on her grandson’s table. He could remember her clucking tongue, firing malicious retorts at his behavior.

“It would do you good to have that boy enlisted at etiquette school,” he remembered her advising his father once. ” I rather fear for his…mind. I have never seen him interact with… well, anyone.”

His father had taken her advice to heart and sent him to Carter’s Academia. Of course, his father had to withdraw him from the school once he realized that his mother had indeed been right. Malinant was not a normal young lad. While kids his age shoved and played with each other, Malinant avoided everyone like the plague. His eyes, a striking gray contrast, were filled with a million emotions when someone approached him. His shaking hands and sweating body, his stuttering phrases and lack of eye contact, made his father reconsider his decision.

The sudden buzz of the coffee machine withdrew Malinant from his trance. He slowly made his way to the ancient machine, the buzz like music to his ears. His shaking hands found themselves on the gray mug, his mouth itching to taste the bitterness of his remedy. As quickly as he had grabbed the mug, Malinant let go.

The sound of the fragile glass shattering echoed in the room. Oh, how he had longed to hear something, anything, in this house of lone. Malinant found himself grabbing a plate from the sink, crashing it onto the ground. And then another, and another, and another.

He let out a small laugh, a tinkling throaty sound. His eyes roamed the marbled ground, littered with tiny pieces of shattered glass. His feet were now moving towards the triangle carving, his eyes swirling with triumph. He found himself thrusting the curtains aside, finally in view of Edgar’s street. He had done it! Malinant had succeeded!

The roaring noises of car engines and the screams of children greeted his ears. He stood, his back hunched, gazing over it all. He was going to cherish this moment, ink every detail in his memory.  It would be a long time indeed until he would muster up the courage to do it all again. He stared and he listened, his mind painting a picture of the colourful scene. In the distance the children played, their favourite rhyme in the air. The rustling winds hummed to their chorus and the leaves swayed along.

In the old house just yonder north
Lived an old man of sorts
His head bent and mouth in frown
Never up and never down
In the old house just yonder north
Lived an old man of sorts