If you missed Part Four, click here.
Breaking into an abandoned building wasn’t as easy as one would think. Tash was finding that out the hard way. Her first choice was a ramshackle apartment block that was boarded up so tight she decided she’d need some serious power tools to get in. The old house beside it was the same. But the next one had a loose nail or two in the plywood that covered a door leading to the cellar. After a bit of manoeuvring, Tash was able to squeeze in through the narrow opening she’d created and she found herself in a very dark space.
Not at all comfortable with the dank and eerie atmosphere, she rummaged in her bag until hand closed around the tiny flashlight she carried around for emergencies. This was definitely an emergency. Tash flipped the switch with her thumb and a narrow beam of light revealed a dirt floor littered with the trash of previous occupants. She shivered. Garbage was something she abhorred with a passion.
A simple wooden staircase to her right looked safe enough and Tash ventured up, hoping to find just one small room she could clean up and use for her own. But to her dismay, the main floor wasn’t much better than the basement.
What did you expect? It is an abandoned building after all. Full of junk people throw away. Discarded, just like you.
No! Tash stood to her full height and pushed her shoulders back. She set her jaw and said out loud, “I am not a discard. I am not junk. I am somebody!”
And she went to work.
In an upstairs bedroom, Tash cleared out enough filth to satisfy herself for the time being. A rain barrel outside was full from the recent wet spell they’d had, and she was glad for the water to wash the surfaces that needed it the most. Then she covered an old mattress with a large sheet of plastic she’d found wadded up in a closet. It wasn’t great, or even good, but it would do for now. At least she wouldn’t have to sleep on who knew what might be lurking inside the lumpy padding.
When she was done, Tash surveyed her work. She tried to see past the peeling wallpaper and the wires hanging from the ceiling where the light socket used to be. She tried to ignore the holes in the floor and the old chair with only three legs. She tried to smile, but choked back a sob instead. It just wasn’t home.
But then, what was?