A house that had previously escaped my notice called to me today. I was actually looking for interesting doors to add to the Thursday Doors collection of Norm 2.0. When I saw this one, though, I wasn’t sure if it would be appropriate for that setting because it isn’t the door that is intriguing. The interest is in the planks that bar the door and the situation of the house.
My first question was why the planks were over the door and the windows. Then I noticed a couple of broken windows and I had to assume the house was unoccupied, but that is not a safe assumption. In a cold Edmonton winter, any shelter is a good shelter.
It was only after I stopped wondering about the occupants that it dawned on me that the house was unusually situated. In this neighbourhood and on this street, the houses are all closer to the street and the back yard is bigger than the front yard. This one does not follow that pattern.
In this area, when a homeowner has built a garage it is close to the back alley. In fact, most houses have a garage in that location. In this case, though, as you can see, the house is placed where virtually all other homeowners have built garages.
I wondered if this was once a garage, but the presence of a house number (which I have obscured) and a mailbox convinced me that this was, in fact, a residence. Also, it has windows and a side door which suggest it was never a garage.
It is possible that the large front yard was deliberately created so that the homeowners could grow a vegetable garden and take advantage of the southern sunlight. Now, though, that area is all grass which has been kept short.
The conundrum, then, is yours to solve. For those of you using newfound time during the lockdown to devote yourselves to creative writing, I hope that this will add some detail to a mystery tale or a springboard to a short story.
Update 20 April 2020
Here is a photo of the house as seen from the alley. The presence of a tarp-covered vehicle and an empty garbage can at the property line suggests to me that the house is currently occupied or was recently occupied. Also, there is no litter and the grass has been cut.