New Short Story – Part One of a Quartet

 The Spa House

Water

The spa house, or bath house, as it is more commonly known, lies hidden like a jewel sunk into the navel of the surrounding council estate.

The estate is gargantuan and red brick, having the look of permanent hangover about it; listless and grimy, yet scratch the surface and you’ll find a soul. Strangers often find themselves lost, retracing their steps over and over. This is just the way of the place. It warms slowly to outsiders, as if taking them in and considering their worthiness but once you’re accepted it becomes a place of safety, a place to withdraw to when the world seems too much. It becomes as good a home as any other.

Untamed weeds curl upwards, thin but defiant between the cracks in the pavement that the council never seems to fix. In between well loved houses with neat herbaceous borders and freshly starched net curtains lies the odd house that has fallen by the wayside through neglect, usually reflecting the chaos of the lives of the inhabitants.

The houses tumble inwards and downwards towards the site of the spa house, surrounded as it is by a small coppice, dark and sinewy. its as if someone has half closed a pop up book as the houses cling precariously to the edge of the valley as it folds in upon itself. The place is quiet, punctuated only by the sounds of the nearby motorway and yap of the odd stray dog.

When you arrive in the grounds of the spa you will notice that there is a change in the air. Tiny, almost imperceptible, there is a change in atmosphere that some folks can’t cope with. Some people find themselves glancing behind them nervously while others feel the hairs on the backs of their necks stand to attention. The spring itself has fallen into disrepair. The water flows the way it always has done, clear and cold from beneath the hill but the pool is now dark and stagnant. It is like looking into the eyes of a dead thing, decomposing, lifeless. The bath house itself is a fairly modest red brick Victorian building with lead lined windows that are now shuttered through repeated attacks of vandalism. The house crouches as if waiting for the next phase in its life to begin, craving action and attention.

Find the rest of the story here

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