Writing Prompt: Start in an Empty Room


The sun streamed in through the sheer white curtains, creating pillars of light in which dust danced and swirled with the current from the air conditioning. The walls were wallpapered in soft pink with lines of depicted pearls; the bedspread was white, peppered with tiny pink flowers that matched the walls. All the furniture was white and clean, hard lines relieved by plush carpeting and frilly pillows.

The room always sat empty at the top of the stairs, waiting for someone to rumple the bedspread, to leave dents in the perfectly fluffed pillows. Whenever someone asked, they simply told the person that it was a second guest room. The first guest room was downstairs, decorated in dark woods and bright pops of color. Everyone who ever stayed with them had stayed in that guest room.

The pink room was reserved only for her. The uninvited guest that showed up that first night in the house and never left. She had led them to a photo album in the attic. Then lead them to a specific photo of that room at the top of the stairs. The faded Polaroid showed those soft pink walls, the frilly pillows, the white furniture.

At first, they had ignored the photo, the implied request. They’d decorated that room with the same dark furniture and pops of bright color that every other room in the house bore. But they would wake up to loud crashes, only to find the furniture broken and knocked over, the feathers from the pillows floating lazily in the air, their cases in shreds on the floor.

So, they had decorated the room in all that pink and white. And then there was quiet. Sometimes late at night, you could hear a soft humming and you might catch a glimpse of the white rocking chair moving backward and forward out of the corner of your eye. Otherwise, the room sat silent and attracting the questions of visitors, of guests who would never be invited to lay their heads on those frilly pillows.


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