It had once been glorious.
Footmen waited, unvarying in their dark livery, gazing over manicured lawns, ordered hedgerows, carefully weeded gravel paths silvered with torchlight.
Arriving in fine carriages, delivered to these very doors by pairs of high stepping horses, men and women of privilege were ushered towards the warm glow of the graceful entrance.
Inside, dressed timber floors polished to a blinding sheen, mirrored fabric and finery as the fortunate swept past moulded ceilings and inlayed doors towards the elegance of the dazzling ballroom.
These very stones once trembled with the sweet anguish of a string quartet, tittered with scandalous gossip and warmed at a tender proposal…
The words sprayed rudely onto the soot-stained stone were childish and crude, devoid of any passion or meaning. Beyond the gaping maw of the entry, what remained of the timber flooring was left gauged and thirsty. Everywhere, melted syringes and fast food wrappers had been permanently fused with years of dust, decay and senseless destruction.
Ahead lay the ballroom, a blackened shell half filled with the charred debris of the upper floors. The two remaining roof beams were skeletal, a fragile black to contrast angry grey of the afternoon.
I would have done anything to save it, if only I had known it was rightfully mine.