I remembered trying to scream whenever I saw the Dark Man, but no sound issued from my child’s mouth.I went downstairs again and drifted into the garage area under the house.I had spent countless hours here in the shadows, building a replica of Brisbane in the dirt beneath the floorboards, complete with roads and suburbs and the Brisbane City Hall clocktower, fashioned from a narrow rectangular offcut of wood.
I remembered trying to scream whenever I saw the Dark Man, but no sound issued from my child’s mouth.I went downstairs again and drifted into the garage area under the house.Tags: Essay About Climate ChangeSuggested Topics For Research PaperResearch Papers On CancerEssay Proposal TemplatePostville Raid EssayOp Ed Style EssayArgumentative Essay In EducationCreative Writing Contests For High School StudentsPersonal Essay OutlineEssays About Your Goals For The Future
On the day of the Open House, I noticed some words written in chalk on one of the house’s wooden supporting beams – “Condon job” – perhaps scrawled there by timber merchants before they loaded it onto a truck and drove it out to the blank concrete slab of our future house in Bernarra Street. That the white cursive had survived for over a half a century was surprising enough.
But seeing it now, me twice as old as my father was when we lived in this house, it seemed it could be a message for me that had been sent into the future.
He was tall and wore a long, black coat and a black fedora and he had an infinite, featureless black face.
He would stand and stare at me and then disappear into the closet again.
Then again, this house had always been my romantic Brigadoon and forever opened that little drawer of hyperbole in me.
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I left the cool of the garage and walked down towards my car.I wandered through the small lounge and dining room, then down the central hall.I peered into what had been my bedroom, an impossibly small space that overlooked the backyard, and had flashbacks so intense I felt dizzy and needed to retreat. He was a character that lived in my closet, and sometimes at night he would step into the room.What had begun as a reflex, a seemingly banal decision influenced by curiosity, had swallowed me whole.As the months passed, then years, the exit doors became less frequent, and one phone call led to another email led to another interview led to another discovered document, clue, theory, possibility and conspiracy to the point where it felt as if I had created a map that nobody had ever seen before.It was as though I’d fallen through its co-ordinates and highways and byways and rivers and rivulets and streets and unsealed roads to become trapped on the other side, unable to penetrate a mesh of my own making.Perhaps this had been the “Condon job” I’d been destined to acquit, the prophecy written in white chalk in the dank undercroft of a featureless suburban house.Matthew Condon does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.One recent Saturday morning, I once again drove my children to the street in Brisbane’s west where I grew up as a boy. I had been her age in this strip of red-brick and weatherboard houses, part of an exciting new “estate” where the edge of the city met the bush and boulders of western Brisbane.But as I researched this story over the months, and then years, I was both surprised – and wearily not – that members of my own family had cameos in this narrative, and that I too had been in and around this drama since I was a boy.Like the house in Bernarra Street, my family history was all light and windows upstairs with a nice view from the veranda, but shadowy and sometimes pitch black down below.