The Man in Black (The Bad)
The word dilapidated can only be fully expressed when applied to a worn-out old shell of a barn—like the hovel just off the side of I-80 a quarter mile up past Cherry Glen. That barn has more holes than timber for walls now, but in some forgotten past, livestock and freshly harvested foodstuffs must have been safely stored inside. A far cry from the few oversized splinters that remain. With all traces of goodness and color washed out ages ago, what is left is the color gray—all fifty glorious shades. No need to get the Big Bad Wolf—this tinder pile’s bound to blow down any day now, under the slightest huff and puff from Mother Nature. This barn, this practically-begging-for-a-demolition pile-of-sticks, is the especially gossipy type, spreading rumors about the things buried deep down underneath, and has managed to collect a colorful variety of nicknames such as “Zodiac Shack” and “Body Barn.” So when the local news anchor mentions that a corpse has been found in an old shanty on the outskirts of town, this hovel is the default mental picture. And a good half the time, that mental picture lines up perfectly with the real picture as well.
Eastwood Style (The Good)
But this barn is also the first piece of shelter runaways stop at after fleeing home—the cops find the lost kids there every time. And the Zodiac Shack is the séance capitol of the tri-county area—a real Winchester mystery hovel—just perfect for tourists on a budget. The thing practically reeks of old country charm; new barns are pretty much like new housing tracts, all looking and feeling the same. But a piece of history like this barn can only grow more unique as the days go by. Sometimes less is more, and what’s more minimalistic than a run-down former barn structure off the side of the freeway? Sure, no horses or pigs or piles of hay have sought shelter inside for half a century, but there is still refuge to be provided. When an owl screeches outside of a house in town at midnight, the hatchlings chirp back from up in the time-tested rafters of the barn just outside of town. And more than one deer has birthed a fawn under those same rafters, which half obscure a perfect golden moon.
The prompt was to write about a barn: once in a positive manner, and once in a negative manner, without using pronouns.