Disclaimer: I do not own Faulkner’s A Rose for Emily. But I am totally in love with said story. This little piece here was based off a prompt I came across. It’s the room in which the town finds the poor fella but… it’s not in the same timeframe. Think of it as… Homer is in mid decay. Anyway, enjoy!
It was the iron dust that settled deep into the open veins of the floor and wall, the muddled windows and heavy drapes that really created the stuffiness. The pulling of the walls. The room that withstood the changing of the decades, the grotesque, decaying body that still held faint features of what made it beautiful. Once. The scent of death passionately embraced the sticky, heavy humid air, twisting and rolling them along sweated skin. None us could have known just how embroiled in the desperate one sided love it was. The windows only allowed a foggy light, the glass growing grime, mold sleeping in the gentle etchings of delicate flowers. Perhaps it was best Miss Emily could never see everything about the room, the look of shock, rather than adoration forever expressed on that cold carcass.
It could have been betrayal as the fly buzzed around him, testing the turning skin, sinking into the mushy decay. Rotten, old meat smell should’ve filled the room, the heat intensifying the stench. Yet, whenever Miss Emily had entered, her face never once acknowledged the odor. The bed was simply made, the sheets a thin cotton, a curtain pulled back to the bedpost. It was a bed large enough for a family, a couple who did not want to spend separate nights. The spot beside the corpse started to hold an indentation of her – the pillow dipping where her head would lay, the sheets beginning to mold to her body.
In front of the bed was the dresser, the mirror covered by a thick black shawl. The dark wooded dresser had only one drawer partially open, a sleeve dangled over the edge, a black tie hung from a brass knob. It would occasionally flutter in some microscopic breeze that managed to slither between the cracks of the windows. Each drawer still held some neatly folded article of clothing, now useless, frail. Time had aged the course fabric into the softest of fragility. A pair of thick black books remained at the foot of the bed, the laces tied perfectly, the soles still caked with dry, crisp mud.
A half burnt candle remained on her side of the end, perched on the middle of the end table. A book was closed, a page bent, marking where she had left off in her reading. It was easy to imagine her curling up next to him and reading allow the latest adventure of Odysseus. Yet, the silence of the room was as comparable as the silence to her last manservant. No music could be heard, no laughter – just as the doors and windows remained shut to the world, so did any sign of life. As wildly as he had entered the town and Miss Emily’s life, had he had just as suddenly, vanished.
The floors were still a strong and solid wood, meant to last for lifetimes. But time and misuse has stared to erode in them, the mold festering between the pieces, careful not to become too noticeable. Any painting or art that had once graced the walls were removed, stored in some other part of the house. The bareness of the wall served to draw focus to the bed. Mainly to Miss Emily and Homer. This room would only ever be seen by her eyes, whatever illusions she had given herself over too.
So, when she had finally died and we crept into her forgotten home, it was no surprise to find it neat, tidy but dusty. The floors had squeaked, cracked and creaked under our feet, almost as if warning of an impending fall. The voice vibrated through us, made us want to turn back and run. Curious overrode us and we continued to make our way. The door crackled at us as we pushed it opened, not sure what we would find. The house itself had resisted time, neglected to keep up. And as our eyes skimmed across the room, we landed on the secret horror before us.
It was only when we had finally solved the mystery of where Homer Baron was that we lost the beauty of the room. All we could focus on was the single iron grey strand of hair. And while we found where Homer Baron was, the real mystery remained.