The Outdoor Toilet is a strange story about two young boys who wander off to explore an old abandoned house in the countryside.
I was seven years old and my brother was five. We spent the Summer at our grandmother’s house. She lived in the countryside and kept a few chickens and pigs in the fields behind her cottage. She didn’t keep too much of an eye on us and let us do as we pleased. Her only rule was that were were forbidden to wander off beyond her fields.
For a few days, we managed to amuse ourselves in the courtyard, feeding the animals and playing with the dog, but we soon got bored. As the days went on, we began to roam further and further away from the cottage.
On one of these trips, we saw an old, abandoned house down the road. The windows were boarded up and the garden was overgrown with weeds. Before we could even think about exploring it, our grandmother called us back inside, under her watchful eye.
Late that night, while lying in bed, we talked about the abandoned house. It seemed mysterious to us and we wanted to explore it, even though it meant disobeying our grandmother.
The next evening, when our grandmother was feeding the pigs, we slipped away and headed for the house. We climbed over the low fence and walked around the dilapidated building. The boards over the windows were secure and the door was locked.
Around the back, the grass was tall and thick and there was an old outdoor toilet. It was eerily silent. We couldn’t hear any noises at all. Even the birds didn’t sing. I started to get a little nervous and told my brother we should go back home.
“I need to go to the toilet,” my brother said.
“Wait until we get back to Grandma’s,” I replied.
“No, I can’t,” he whined.
My brother went into the old outhouse and shut the door. While I was waiting for him, I walked around the house again and tried to peer through the boarded windows, but it was too dark inside to see anything.
Eventually, I got tired of waiting and went back to the outdoor toilet. I banged on the door and shouted, “Hurry up!” but there was no reply.
I pulled the door open and was surprised to see it was empty. My brother wasn’t there. I assumed he left without me, so I just went home.
When I got back, Grandma was in the courtyard, feeding the dog. I asked her where my brother was, but she said she didn’t know. So, my brother didn’t come back, I thought. Just in case, I went inside and searched the house. He was nowhere to be seen.
I went outside and walked around the cottage, but there was no sign of him. Again, I asked my grandmother if she had seen him. She got mad and said that it wasn’t her job to play hide and seek with us.
Then something hit me and I felt my heart sinking in my chest. Maybe my brother fell into the toilet in the outhouse.
I turned and ran back down the road, all the while imagining my brother drowning in the filth below. I jumped over the fence, ran to the outdoor toilet, yanked open the door and peered down into the hole.
There was nothing there. No filth. No poop. Just dry ground. I couldn’t understand what happened to him. Where could he have gone?
Confused, I climbed over the fence and went back to our grandmother’s house. On the way, I saw a man rushing down the road. He was carrying something in his arms. Something big. When I recognized my brother’s jacket, I ran to meet him.
My brother’s jacket was torn at the shoulder and it was stained with blood. My grandmother came running and the man brought my brother into the cottage. The man began to say that he had found him near his home.
When my brother saw me, he grabbed my arm and pulled me close.
“Am I alive?” he whispered in my ear.
“Yes,” I replied. “You’re alive.”
“Are you sure?” he asked. He kept repeating it over and over.
My brother wasn’t injured, but his face was scratched and his clothes were torn. Seeing this, Grandma told us to go to bed. I was left alone with my brother. He looked at me and I was scared to ask him what happened.
After a brief pause, my brother asked again, “Am I alive?”
I was angry. “Yes, you’re alive!” I said. “What are you, stupid?”
“Then… are you alive?” my brother whispered.
I rolled my eyes and told him to go to sleep.
In the morning, I was awoken by my mother. Usually, my parents only came at the end of the summer to collect us and bring us home. I smiled, but she didn’t smile back. She just told me to put on my clothes and come out to the car.
I got dressed in a hurry and I noticed that my brother’s bed was already made. I went out into the courtyard and saw my father there, talking to some other people. I went over to greet him, but he just patted me on the head and told me to get into the car. It felt like something strange was going on, but I didn’t know what it was.
Then, I saw my grandmother. She was in tears. I was afraid to ask what happened. Nobody was paying attention to me. The adults were all busy with other things.
Only after some time did I realize from listening to their conversations that no one had found my brother. Nobody had brought him home. He was still missing.
Nobody ever saw him again.