- A wet stick of white school chalk
- The vacuum cleaner after it tries to suck up a rug and starts squealing
- An unlit basement overrun by long legged spiders that spin gossamer thin webs at eye level
- Fresh baked peach cobbler with a dollop of French vanilla ice cream on the side
- The shirt she left behind the night she said it was over
- The backseat of that classic car you wanted to restore
- Salt on the rim of an icy margarita glass
- Earwax stuck under the nail of your little finger
Always backstage, house manager, lighting technician, sound effects, anything but standing in front of the curtain under the heat of the floodlights, a sea of a thousand faces all expecting to be entertained, to laugh or cry, to love or regret, to live a little all because you gave them all that you had, remembered lines or not, your heart laid bare for others to judge and cheer or jeer or worst of all to sit on their hands indifferent to your performance.
The bright lights orbited the moon for several years, never venturing closer nor accelerating to escape the moon’s gravity. These were clearly artificial, but since no one knew where they’d come from (which didn’t stop people from claiming they knew) most people grew bored of looking up at the same seven lights in their slow methodical and unchanging motion. They appeared harmless. No one from Earth had much motivation or means to travel that far, catch something that size (small compared to the Earth and moon but about the size of a post office) left the buzzers or buzzards, as they came to be called, buzzing around and around.
Detailed photographs revealed little. The lights appeared to be solid and smooth, no visible means of propulsion. And yet, if anyone care to look long enough, they would notice small perturbations in their movement. As it was, over the years with little to capture their attention, the Earthers were caught off guard when the lights detached themselves and dashed the short cosmological distance from satellite to world. In point of fact, almost no one actually saw the event, the Descent, except for a few unlucky enough to have fallen down or rested on park benches and looked up at the night sky.
Bagdrum, a minor demon cadet class, found himself summoned on a muggy autumn eve when a bored group of misinformed high school girls conducted a spell by accident. They were attempting to recreate a love potion but substituted some of the ingredients when hogs warts and basilisk tongue were found to be in short supply. The result? A three foot tall red faced (as well as the rest of him) double horned Bagdrum appeared, angry as a hornets nest after getting kicked by a giant. Tonight is getting weird thought Bagdrum.
When the last box was deposited in the roll-off dumpster, Binton let out a deep sigh. Several days of schlepping and the house was finally cleaned out of all the ephemera and memories. An overdue cleansing.
He felt a need to expunge any remaining entanglements with his childhood home, the smells of his youth and more recently the essence of aging parents. Binton took the five-gallon gasoline can and poured the liquid over the boxes, crates, containers, bags, and sundry other containers and loose detritus. A single match and the whole collection burst into flames.
In short order, the trees overhead soon wicked the fire into their branches, and before Binton could douse the flames, the trees faithfully shared the conflagration with the house itself. By the time the fire department could respond, the house was well and truly engulfed. Evening came and the fire raged on, assuaged by a gentle autumn rain. Under the smoke, Binton caught the scent of petrichor and took it be a sign of renewal.
The insurance adjuster wrote the property off as a total loss but noted the lack of fire coverage in the policy.