This short story was published in “Pagan Edge” in March of 2012. The theme for the month was house and home, so I took that probably a bit literally in this story. What can I say? Sometimes my Muse is like that.
“House to Home”
Nicholas and Sophie turned the key in the door to their new home.
“This is it,” Nick said gladly. “Our first home, and with good luck, the home we’ll raise a family in.”
The house still smelled of the cleaning chemicals used by the previous residents.
“I’m glad we have time to make the place our own before we have to move in all our stuff,” said Sophie. “Some things are just easier when the place is empty.”
“You take care of the cleansing. I’ll head out to get the paint and some supplies,” he said.
“Sounds like a plan.” Sophie went to the car and pulled out a box of supplies.
Nick first checked the paint swatches in the rooms to make sure they worked with the lighting, and then took the car and headed out.
First, Sophie walked around the property to get a feel for the boundary and for the types of plants that were in her yard. She’d done this when they’d been looking at the house, but now she took her time to really learn what was around. Next, she walked around the house to get a feel for it as well. She stopped in each room and tried to concentrate on the feeling she got. The house had been built over fifty years ago, and had only been owned by two families since it had been built. While she concentrated, she could almost feel the passage of time as two generations raised families in the house.
She pulled out some of her supplies and lit a smudge stick made of sage. She performed a cleansing ceremony in the house to rid it of negative influences. The house didn’t have much of that to begin with or they wouldn’t have bought it, but the cleansing ceremony was a good idea.
When she finished, she pulled out more ordinary supplies and started laying out plastic sheeting and taping up the light fixtures to prepare for painting.
Nick returned with the paint and some rollers. “It smells good in here.”
Preparing the house took a little time. As they painted a room, they cast spells of protection and blessing on the house, using the act of painting as a focus. There was a lot to paint, they had to have the chimney serviced, and of course they still had to move in all of their stuff.
At the end of moving day, Sophie took a small offering of food outside and set it out for the local land wights. When she came in, Nick had lit a small fire.
“Isn’t it a bit warm for a fire?” she asked.
“Maybe so, but I thought it would be nice to give an offering to Hestia on our first official night in our new house.”
“That’s a great idea.”
They performed a ceremony to Hestia to ask for her blessings upon the house. When the offering was consumed by the fire, the fire slowly burnt down and flickered out.
“That was a great idea,” Sophie said. “The house felt like a good house before or we wouldn’t have bought it, but now it really feels like our house.”
“No, now it feels like our home,” Nick said with a smile.
“You’re right,” Sophie said. “It’s our home now.”