The Writers Voice
The World's Favourite Literary Website

House of Passion


Harry Buschman

My guide was an old native of the city. “You see that house at the end of the street?” he pointed with a bony finger. “That’s where Claude Roget painted the great portrait of Madame Recamier.”

“You mean the one in the Louvre?”

“Yes. He did those Dutch landscapes here too.”

My guide was recommended by the museum’s curator. The curator obviously had more important things to do than talk to me, so he looked up a number in his directory and dialed it. “You’re lucky,” he put his hand over the mouthpiece to muffle his voice and said confidentially. “I thought the old bugger was dead.”

But he wasn’t. His name was Ambrose and he owned the apartment. He was the concierge when Claude Roget lived there. He saved his money wisely and bought the hotel just last year.

The noisy cab stopped half way up the street. The driver didn’t want to go any further. “I’m going to have to back out, it’s too narrow to turn around here,” he said.

The street was barely wide enough to open the door of the taxi, and Ambrose and I flattened ourselves against a display of potted plants and let the taxi back out ... “I’ll wait for you at the end of the street,” the driver shouted.

Ambrose looked up to a window on the second floor. “That was Roget’s apartment. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked up there to see him working. He would paint with his back to the window and the easel in front of him.”

“Who lives there now,” I asked him?

He unlocked the front door with a giant brass key. “Nobody,” he grunted. “I can’t get anyone to rent the room ... it’s haunted you know, didn’t the curator tell you?”

“Haunted? You can’t be serious.”

Ambrose led the way upstairs. He took the steps painfully, one at a time. “You’ll see. You’re like all the others – you don’t believe in the ... the ... passion.”

I thought the old man was a little far gone. Hadn’t the curator back at the museum hinted at it? He was surprised to find out he was still alive. We climbed the stairs the rest of the way in silence and stood at Roget’s door. The old man looked up at me briefly and took another key out of his pocket – the lock grated loudly and he pushed the door open.

We entered and stood in the middle of Roget’s studio. The old man looked at me closely and I immediately knew what he meant by the “passion.” There was a tingling in the air, a humming like the sound of a powerful motor running somewhere far off. My hands itched and, with my left hand I reached in my side pocket for my note pad and my right hand dug the pen out of my shirt. A sense of urgency came over me. I had to write something! Right then and there! Even while standing there, in the middle of the room – even with nothing to say, I must write!

“You feel it then?” the old man smiled crookedly. “No one can stay in a place like this. It would drive a man mad to feel this ... passion, day and night. No sleep. No friends. Just a drive to create. It is not a good place to be.”

the end

Critique this work

Click on the book to leave a comment about this work

All Authors (hi-speed)    All Authors (dialup)    Children    Columnists    Contact    Drama    Fiction    Grammar    Guest Book    Home    Humour    Links    Narratives    Novels    Poems    Published Authors    Reviews    September 11    Short Stories    Teen Writings    Submission Guidelines

Be sure to have a look at our Discussion Forum today to see what's
happening on The World's Favourite Literary Website.