Unhinged: A Photo Inspired Short Story

Writing is one of the best ways in becoming a stronger writer! Imagine that! Follow along as I use my own photographs as spring boards for original short stories.

Part I

Evelyn and Arvid are introduced in this first installment of “Unhinged.” Will their dream of renovating an old farmhouse bring them together or will they be swallowed up in a money pit of their own making?

An ornate metal hinge on a freshly painted door
An seemingly benign metal door hinge.

The old woman gazed upon the wooden door with tender eyes blinded by years of anger and mistrust. The ornate door, temporarily unhinged and leaning against the wall, was original to the house. It was her husband’s first project when they began the renovation of this ancient farm house.

Her one regret in life, that she failed to see through his madness earlier.

“Oh, how naïve we both were back then. To think something that big would have brought us together,” Evelyn muttered as she shuffled to her closet,” Her meager collection of clothes still hung as she left them – neat and orderly. Evelyn took an extra moment to feel the satin of her favorite dress. At least she could rely on something consistent in her life.

“Mother!” rang the shrill voice of her daughter-in-law in the kitchen below, “I hear you moving around up there. You’d better be using your walker!”

Evelyn shuttered and responded with a forced smile, “As always, honey!”

She gazed around her bedroom but couldn’t make out the location of her walker. If push came to shove, she’d tell a little fib. It was something she took pride in. “A little falsity never hurt anybody,” she tried to reassure herself.

Evelyn closed the closet door and carefully shuffled the few steps between her and the beautifully restored bedroom door complete with it’s original hardware. She slid her hand across the meticulously painted door until she felt the cool metal of a door hinge. “Oh, who am I kidding? It’s going to be me who gets hurt. It always is.”


Auctions in the country are more than out-bidding your neighbor for a dining room table and three chairs. You can buy yourself a sloppy joe sandwich, bag of potato chips, and a can of pop for $3.75, proceeds benefitting the local 4-H club. You can then eat your sandwich, start the bag of chips, and drink the can of pop while you check out the lines of housewares, yard wares, and trinkets for sale.

Estate sales are probably the most common. Someone dies or goes to the nursing home (is there a difference?) and, before you know it, everything is out in the yard. The auctioneers voice moves in rhythm with the bidders hands up in the air. The lawn mower goes first, followed by a huge collection of garden equipment and six boxes of hand-stitched quilts – works of art really, which took someone years to complete. All this and more, gone in the first ten minutes of the auction.

Arvid needed a napkin. His beard was catching most of the hamburger from the sloppy joe but the grease rolling down his chin bugged him. “Shit,” he mumbled as tried finding something in his overalls to wipe his face. Without hankie or wadded up tissue to his name, Arvid did the next best thing and used his sleeves to wipe clean his face. “Evelyn won’t mind,” he tried to reassure himself, “She enjoys cleaning up after this type of thing.”

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Jeff Wallager
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