On a desultory journey toward an ambivalent goal, the narrator stumbles onto an abandoned house amid the never-ending plains of the midwest:
The parlor was a riot of carpets and overstuffed chairs and draperies and knicknack shelves, all of them variously torn, sagging, broken, and coated with greasy layers of dust. The piano appeared intact, but when I experimentally plunked a few keys, the result was a sound like tearing metal. The dining table was set for six, with cut-glass goblets and gilt-edged plates all strung together with spiderwebs. Astonishingly, it appeared that there had been food on the plates when they were abandoned. The only trace left was a scummy residue on each of the plates, along with a scattering of bones. Even the flies had gone. The kitchen, likewise, was filled with signs of activity--bowls, whisks, roasting pans, cutting boards and knives, all out on the counters, all of them dust-covered and as it were mummified. There seemed to be a yellowish pall in the air.