Haunted House

You’ve recently purchased a new house. Upon your first full night there, you begin to hear noises but think nothing of it—until you see something that convinces you the house is haunted.

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  1. kathleenmagner

    Helen flicked the light switch, dousing the amber bulb at Jill’s bedside. “Good night, honey.”

    “Are…you sure?” Jill scrunched deeper beneath her blankets, pert nose, bright blue eyes, and tawny bangs peeking above the periwinkle comforter.

    “I am, Jill.” Helen stepped over the bedroom’s threshold and inched the door closed.


    “I’ll leave the hallway light on if you want.”

    She smirked when Jill stiffened, her memories of childhood squeamishness evident.

    “No. You don’t have to do that again.”

    Helen’s lips faded from their curve at Jill’s deepening soprano. “That’s my girl.”

    Jill smiled and with an uncertain sigh, rolled over. Moonlight streamed through the far window’s watery panes and the branches of the barren chestnut outside, tinting her profile in shades of silver.

    After a final glance, Helen crept into the hallway but left the door cracked. Jill’s breathing tapered into a gentle rhythm and once certain she slept, Helen padded down the corridor, stepping lightly on the hardwood planks. She winced when the stairs creaked during her descent and held her breath at the base, making sure she had not woken Jill. Up above, the sputter of electricity trickling through the ancient wires and the gusts fingering the roof tiles echoed through the corridors, but none of the noise teased Jill from bed.

    “Sleep tight,” whispered Helen.

    Turning from the stairs, Helen froze when a young man appeared against the mahogany walls. He scurried in a silent dash toward the kitchen and vanished through the shut door.

    Staring at the kitchen’s entrance, Helen waited for him to reappear. The swing door remained unmoving and nothing crept out of the shadows.

    “Jill….” she whispered.

    Rubbing her eyes, Helen sought to disperse visions of her daughter’s quivering lower lip and the stories of what she’d seen during the day. It’s your imagination, she heard herself reply.

    “And now it’s mine.”

    With a lengthy exhale, Helen headed toward the kitchen, bent on the familiarity of dirtied dishes left in the sink. She slowed at the door and her hand trembled when she put her palm against the wood.

    “You’re being crazy,” she whispered.

    Gathering her nerves, Helen pushed the door and stepped inside.

    “Put the eggs—”

    When she looked up, the spindly woman by the kitchen’s center island stopped short. Tendrils of gray hair wavered around her long face from where they had escaped the bun tucked at the base of her skull but above the ruffled collar of her blouse. Her rolled sleeves disrupted the garment’s silvery stripes and flour seemed to dust her ropey forearms.

    “Excuse me, Miss, I didn’t realize it was you.”

    Helen’s mouth fell open while the other woman beamed a smile and scrubbed her hands on her apron’s slack.

    “Can I get you anything?”

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