Life Can Be A Surprise

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Thereven Memorial Gallery

Night Terror Division Exhibit

The House Poems were written by Agents Rhonda House, age 13, and Rich House, age 16, in the days following the Vanishing.

The House siblings were instrumental in rebuilding the Foundation under Contingency DEROH-13 following the loss of almost all of its personnel.

Their personal effects have been preserved as a testament to that harrowing time.

A Message from Rich House

My sister, Rhonda, was only thirteen when the Vanishing happened. Despite her eventual actions, and her abilities prior to the Vanishing, she was still quite immature for her age, as can be seen in her writing and prose.

She had a certain natural fondness for rhyme, but not necessarily for rhythm. The art style, however, was a conscious design choice.

We fared relatively well in the immediate aftermath of the Vanishing. But what followed took harsh tolls on us all.


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My Mother

When I woke up on Saturday,
My parents weren't there to play.
Mom had promised she'd teach me how
To do some magic with a bough.
And dad would watch and smile and yawn
After waking early to mow the lawn.
They weren't there, which wasn't odd—
They often left because of their jobs.
And Rich, as always, had locked his door,
Watching anime and porn.
They weren't back by midnight's fall
So I went to bed, no cares at all.

On Sunday, still, I was alone,
so I made the day my own.
I ran and played and skipped and pranced,
And at the park my friends all danced.
I gorged myself on sweet desserts
Until they made my tummy hurt.
When I returned just past sundown,
Rich was waiting with a frown.
Through tears, he asked if I could say
I'd seen a grown-up all that day.
It's then I realized this was bad.
I started missing mom and dad.

I'm really starting to feel their lack.
I hope my parents will come back

—Rhonda H.

A Commentary by R. House

Our mom was big on poetry, always said that the written word was a kind of magic of its own, which in retrospect was kind of sus. I guess it should've been obvious that she was a thaumaturge, like Rhonda.

We grew up so fast.

I don't remember exactly what I did on that first day – it's been a long time, after all.

I wasn't watching porn. I swear.

—R. House


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A Final Cry

The first sign that things were wrong
Was when the algorithms became
Repetitive
And my Youtube stream got stale.
The panopticon of a modern age
Grew empty and hollow,
A thousand windows into empty houses.
The music played at first
All the same,
And there were other channels to watch
But less and less with every day.
The content storm becomes a trickle
A thousand virtual worlds grew silent
And we were alone.
Truly alone.
Not just home
Not just us
But the whole world.
Now
My batteries die
And so does my hope
At the last cry of Mister the Beast

Rich House

A Commentary by R. House

I suppose I thought I was clever by leaving the crossed-out "Mister" in. Looking back now, it seems kitsch. Foolish. Yet removing it would be a betrayal of who I was. A final erasure.

Whoever Mister Beast was, whatever he may have meant to me before… he was a symbol of an era that's gone now, a time that can't exist any longer. The free internet back then was a wild west that we lost in the transition.

Rhonda was surprised, honestly, that I still watched him at my age, but in retrospect, sixteen isn't that old. Especially for all of our idols to evaporate overnight, leaving behind only digital ghosts.

Thirteen, indeed, is even younger.

—R. House


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Sorrow

I don't know where my mother went,
I hope my dad is feeling fine.
Was this a murder sent by God
Or some secret hidden crime?

—Rhonda H.

A Commentary by R. House

We didn't talk nearly as much as we should have, I think.

In the immediate aftermath, all we had were each other. We were surviving off of a week's worth of groceries. But even then we didn't talk about our emotions. We were focused much more on survival. The first Mission of the Global Occult Coalition — I doubt anyone else alive even remembers who they were.

Our house kept getting power and air conditioning and heating, so I guess nobody was around to turn those things off – but nobody was around to keep them on, either.

I don't know how long we would've lasted if Director Thereven hadn't found us.

—R. House


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Against Moloch

The words come easily
When I let them flow
And I don't damn the flood from my heart
Because I have so little—
I don't know.

And the fridge is almost out
And in the distance I hear hollow shrieking
Echoing from the streets
Is it like Fortnite out there, I have to wonder
Looting and smashing and ruining and killing,
I've never actually played, I'd have to ask Rhonda

I dreamed about this once
Fantasized, even
When I was mad at mom and dad
That they could just

Go away
Leave me alone
Let me control my own destiny
Let me build my
Own fucking fate
Take it into my own two damn hands

Without their "suggestions"
Without their demands
Without their outdated ideas
Of health and life and work and meaning

And now they're gone
And it's just me
Me and Rhonda
Against the whole damn world
And I'm not ready.

A Commentary by R. House

The worst part was the survivor's guilt. In reflection, I was an angsty teen and my thoughts were excusable, normal even, but I didn't know that then.

There was a lot I didn't know.

Fortnite didn't even have looting. I think Rhonda told me that. I didn't play it more than once or twice.

We were thrown into adulthood. I had been rushing towards it as fast as I could, but once it was thrust upon me, it was more than I could bear. Who among us didn't dream of being free to rule ourselves? Yet once it happened, once we had no more choice… we weren't ready.

I still don't feel ready, but I suppose that's imposter syndrome.

There were, of course, things I simply wasn't qualified to do. I was very lucky that my parents gave "The Talk" to Rhonda because I would not have been able to.

God, I miss them.

—R. House


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