She looked about the room; it was empty but for the chair, which leaned uselessly against the door frame. Others might wonder how such a magnificent place could have fallen to such a state of decay. Not she. At first she’d felt anger, hatred even; now sorrow, regrets and pointless wishes for another chance dominated. Particularly in this moment.
“Are you ready miss?”
She turned to the real estate agent; she knew she didn’t have much choice. And yet… this was her home; this was the place she grew up. How could her father have been so naive? No it wasn’t a fair question. He hadn’t been naive per se; he was… she wasn’t sure. He was a genius in his domain and she’d always envied his imagination. But imagination took him too far.
She knew what people said: he was a man under influence. They thought he was a drug addict who couldn’t create unless stoned. It wasn’t true. He’d never drunk or smoked in his life. No he got lost in a world where his creations took a life of their own. His Muse, as he called it, inspired him. But as years went by, whatever it was this so-called Muse told him made him go into darker worlds.
She thought it’d been a figment of her father’s imagination, just another expression of it. She had, however, caught him once or twice talking with it. She never really heard anyone speak back but it was obvious her father was having an in-depth conversation with someone about the story he was writing.
From speaking to one Muse he went on discussing with multiple characters until he became persuaded they were alive and real. More alive, more real than the actual people around him. He’d isolated himself, cut ties even with his editor; writing stopped being a passion, it became an obsession. He didn’t write to publish but merely to set to paper his conversations with his imaginary friends.
He’d become a hermit; he let the house fall into disrepair. He let himself fall into decay; he spent so much time with his creations that he forgot that unlike them he needed food and water. The doctors said he passed from malnutrition. Anger and hatred were useless, just like the chair: there was nobody Sophie could direct these feelings towards except maybe herself for not coming more often despite her father’s constant rebuffs.
Now he was gone and all that was left were the piles of papers that he’d written. Part of her was tempted to throw it all out. But who knew? Maybe she would finally understand what her father’s world was made of.
In response to Deviant Art Flash Fiction Month prompt for July 5th 2017
Visual prompt: Chateau du Directeur by Forlorn Treasure