After what felt like an eternity of time, they finally reached the bridge. Its old, rusted nails and creaky boards left the children daunt and intimidated. Marcus, the bravest of the four, decided that he would go first to reach the house. Carefully, one foot in front of the other, he began to walk, trying not to pay any attention to the whirling, splashing, water that would happily swallow him whole beneath him. He was brave, like his father and kept right on walking. One foot in front of another. One breath at a time. Subsequently, when he was about half way, Penelope, the youngest and sweetest in disposition followed, imitating Marcus' foot steps. She too, believed she could be brave and fearless like her elder brother. Esther timorously followed, the pitter-patter of her little feet making noise against the roughness of the old wood. James, the eldest, took large steps behind Esther, trying to shake the rickety bridge as much as possible. Marcus and Penelope had reached the other side, and rejoiced, kissing the ground like the explorers do. Esther let out a loud screech of terror as James tried his best to scare her. Eventually, with out any help from James, they too managed to reach the other side, with Esther crying and James laughing hysterically. James thought his menacing comedic. And was the only one, quite obviously by the glares and shouts received from his three siblings. However, after some amount of arguing of how they "could have been killed", and "what on earth would the parents think of Esther's death?!?" had she fallen in, they continued to trudge onto the yellow house on the labyrinthine, cobblestone road, full of wonder and excitement of what would be waiting for them inside.
The long quack grass blowing in the wind looked like an ocean--a prairie ocean--and as the four walked to the yellow house, they pretended and let their imaginations take them to a time of pirates on a ship heading to another yellow, large, and magical ship to attack and steal away its possessions. But as they got closer, reality hit like a train. Esther gulped of fear as they approached the door. Her imagination took her to another place. One not as fun as on the ship with other may-tees, but to a more painful, horrific land. What could be in there? Bones of a dead family? Paintings with eyeballs of humans that still moved? Axes, and monsters, and all of the things that she saw in the movies that left her with nightmares for nights on row--sometimes weeks. She began to cry. Marcus, once again trying to be the brave, and gutsy one of the children said he would again go first. He opened the creaky door and peaked inside. But to the children's astonishment, it was nothing like they could have hoped to imagine. Where should have been bare, wooden floors was carpet of that from a wealthy, king-like era. A giant painting of a beautiful woman hung. Stone tiles led into the kitchen that looked like that of the most wonderful playhouse any girl could ever ask for. The egg-plant coloured tea pot still lying on the back burner of the retro, pale-yellow stove. In the living room was an old, black and white television set with leather couches and a coffee table with glass-ring stains on its dark, dusty finish. The smell of musty books came from the shelf. What once had been a lively, happy home, was now dark, lifeless, and un-lived in. Upstairs was a huge chest with stickers from different countries on the outside, and the inside full of old dresses, aprons, children's clothes, suits, ties, and shoes. The children dressed in suits and dresses--swimming in them like that of a ghost. They played for hours in that old, rundown, yellow house. Wondering what happened to the once American-Dream type family that lived there. Why had they left everything? Where did they go? Did they leave willingly, or were they kicked out? It didn't matter to them, really. They were here. Playing and rummaging through their things. Reading their old books from the dusty shelf. It was their home now away from home they felt. They would make it lively again. They would take over. It was decided before heading back home before sunset.
Of course there was trouble when the four children arrived back at the house. Their mother and father were furious and worried as to where they could have been. They lied and said they had gone in the cornfield which had turned into a giant maze of bewilderment and anguish. Their lies were to cover up--they didn't want to share any of this beautiful treasure "ship" they had found on the prairie sea with anyone, not even their beloved parents. They also were never supposed to go near the river with out accompaniment of an adult. Drowning worried their mother to the most extreme.
Despite worrying about coming up with another lie, Marcus, Penelope, Esther, and James sailed their ship to the old yellow house a few days later. Only to find their magical home of wonder, burned to the ground, the grey ash smoldering into the cold, clear, fall sky.