Chapter I: Home

Looking over the huge, grayish-blue mass of water in front of him Harwood Clay wondered if he would ever get used to the peace and quiet again. Sure if one would really concentrate he could hear a myriad of sounds,  the hum of the river, the buzzing of the insects, the calls of birds or the wind in the trees… But after decades living in cities Twinbrook seemed like a quiet and peaceful place after all… A perfect place for retirement…

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Or so Harwood keep telling himself standing on the patio of his new house, his first day there. It is why I chose it. Peace and quiet… It had nothing to do with the fact he grew up here… No. This wasn’t the same place anymore. It didn’t look the same, it hardly even felt the same… Yet it smelled the same, musky and earthy, and damp… It smelled like home…

Home. Such a weird word. Harwood though. He never did have a home.  Or so he always told the interviewers. “They say home is where the heart is and my heart is everywhere at once… It is in my art but also in the world around me… It is hard to explain but it is how I feel. I am a wandering soul you see and as such not tied to one place.”  He answered the last time someone had asked him that, in a TV interview a few months ago.

Standing here now Harwood wondered…. Was that a lie? At the time he didn’t think so. He knew he was going to retire, drop the celebrity persona of Harwood Clay and go back to creating his art in peace, quiet and anonymity. But he didn’t know where he would go. It was fate itself that had brought him here, to Twinbrook, a small town in the early stages of complete rebirth…

The city he knew so well yet didn’t know at all… It was hard to explain and confusing to feel but then again it was the place where Harwood had first come to this world… Perhaps it was fitting he would die here as well… Cycle of life and all that. He sighed. He didn’t fear death, it was a natural part of life and he knew he wouldn’t escape it. No one does.

Yet he didn’t want to think about it now… He felt there was still so much for him to do… So much more art to create, songs to play… He wasn’t done with this world and he wanted to believe the world was not done with him yet either.

 

He turned his back to the bay and walked in his new studio. It was separated from the rest of the house and to reach it one would have to track over the porch. It was neat for now but Harwood wondered what would he do when the heavy Twinbrook rains hit.

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Yet the studio itself was beautiful, it was the perfect space to escape, and just what he always dreamed of when he thought of retirement. It had large floor-to-ceiling windows that let in the late afternoon light making it a perfect environment for creating art, all forms of it.

All his stuff were already there, some brought by movers some by Harwood himself. His easel was there, all set up, his sculpting workbench as well. Marla even threw in a drafting table, and a bookcase that he had yet to stack with choice books. Harwood sighed admiring it all. He couldn’t wait to start working here. He was already freezing some ice in the fridge at the other part of his house and his chainsaw was still in one of the bags still left unpacked in his room. He was eager to do some ice sculpting. He already had ideas twirling inside his head.

He was sure he would create great art here. That was the reason he came here, the main one… He told himself over and over. Yet as he looked trough the window, over the bay, to the city before him a cold chill went trough his body.  There are also ghost here… Ghost of his past… Ghost of all those he had once loved… Ghost who stayed and waited…. For Harwood to come back home….

 

He did not sleep well that night. He kept tossing and turning in his big new bed and he felt weak and disoriented as he opened his eyes. You are at TwinbrookHe told himself as he pulled the covers off his body, drenched in sweat. I was so warm… There was a fire… His throat was parched and he fumbled trough the dark until he remembered where the light switch was. It was only a dream…. He told himself as opened the door and walked into the kitchen to get a glass of water… Just a bad dream… Yet he found the dream hard to shake off.

And when he was back in bed, his eyes closed and the early touch of sleep pulling him in he heard a soft woman’s voice, barely louder then a whisper calling his name. Harwood…. Harwood…. He had recognized the voice even though it had been years since he last thought of its owner. His heart constricted in a bad way. Was it so strange she would come to him here?

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“Macy?” He said softly opening his eyes. For a moment he dared to hope she would appear, all young and beautiful as she lived in his memories but the room was dark and empty  There was no reply, just the sound of the rushing water outside.  “I am home Macy…” Harwood whispered as he turned to the other side  of the empty double bed and closed his eyes again willing himself to go back to sleep, jumping in to the realm of dreams were everything was possible.

There he could still be young and naive and untouched by death, tragedy and loss… There he could once again see his dead wife and they could be together as they were once in life… Yes… In dreams… Everything was possible there….  And maybe, just maybe here in Twinbrook as well…

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