For an abandoned house, this was not at all bad. Really. He liked his recent accomodation. The former inhabitants, as long as they had stayed here at least, had obviously really cared for the house. Although windows were boarded up and all doors locked (except for the hidden door to the basement in the backyard, almost overgrown with moss and weeds, through which he had entered the first time and which, he had decided, would be the main entrance from now on). There was dust on the floors and mold in the corners of the rooms, but there were also carefully selected exquisite wallpapers and forgotten photographs. There were smiling faces, irregular teeth in children's mouths, sunburns and gigantic fish, held up high to demonstrate power over nature.
The municipal services had forgotten to turn off the water. He appreciated it. In the cracked bathroom mirror, he could see his worn face while he used an old-fashioned razor to shave. There was no electricity, but he had organized about a dozen candles, which also lit up the room. He could see the waterproof stickers with tiny fish on them. The family must have loved their children really much. Every detail in the house showed this. He smiled, careful not to nick himself. He liked the fish. They kept him company.
And they were not the only company the old man had. There were cockroaches in the abandoned cupboards in what must have been the kitchen, rats in the basement and down the corridor. And the two tiny skeletons in the room where he was sleeping. Their family must really have loved them, at some point. He wondered what had made them leave the kids behind.