I failed to post about this when it came up, but my story is now on the Daily Science Fiction website here!
It was a particular story to write. I haven't written regularly for a while, due to the dissertation and all, and so I mostly used prompted fiction contests as a way not to fall out of practice. I've been a regular of the Shock Totem flash fiction contest for a while, and this story was sparked by one of their prompts. Initially, it was a horror story. Then I read my first draft again and realised I just couldn't leave it like this. For personal reasons, I can't write a horror story on that particular subject. It's too close, and it simply felt indecent to use it as a cheap way to give people goosebumps.
So I wrote it again, in a way I felt was truer to my own feelings. Here it is now; I hope you enjoy it.
I didn't write about this earlier because lots of things happened, including buying a new flat close to the city centre. The change is going to be big. It means, first, that I won't have to deal with estate agents for a good while, and that's a huge relief. It's a change of life, too: we won't be far from the city centre, but not right in it. I suspect that means we'll probably enjoy it more: when we go there, we'll actually try to make the most of it instead of taking it for granted (I rarely go to cafés anymore, for example, since it's just as easy to walk back home and make myself some tea). We'll be trading a lovely view on the rooftops of the city for a little quiet, as well. I will regret the rooftops, but it will be a very nice change to be able to sleep in summer, or to work from home without wanting to shout at the crowd downstairs after five minutes every time I open the windows.
(right as I'm writing this, there are people blasting terrible music from the 80's from somewhere in the street. Picturesque, for sure, but I assure you, I'm glad I don't have to work 14 hours a day at the moment)
When you move somewhere, you realise something, too–how much where you live defines you. It doesn't sound exactly logical when you put it in writing, but that's what happen: you'll always soun like a more interesting person when you live on the top floor of a 17th-century building than when you live outside the busy centre, in a flat that was built in the 1980's for working couples and families. Buying a big place in one of those newer districts in the middle of motorways and shopping centres, because if you go there you can afford to get something bigger and more modern for a lower price, will brand you once and for all as an uninteresting person with a tedious 9-to-5 job and a pathetic little life (al right, I may be exagerating a little, but just barely). That's one thing I hadn't realised we'd have to take into account: what sort of person your house instantly makes you be.
I'd love to rant a little about how unfair and privilegded judging people by their house is (of course you sound like quite the artist when you live in a garret on top of a mediaeval building–and do you have any idea how expensive it is to buy such an artist place and to have the sort of lifestyle where the nightly din of the city centre won't be a problem for you?), but that's not very useful. Instead I'm going to do my best not to pigeonhole people based on where they chose to live next time they do me the courtesy of inviting me to their place. It's not the easiest thing to do. But I like a challenge anyway!