The Haunting: a Short Story

I feel I have wandered these corridors for centuries. In the flickering candle glow, all these doors look alike. I swear this manse feels more catacombs than home. Sometimes, when I peer into the empty rooms, I see a curtain shudder or it feels like the walls breathe gasping wheezes. Skeletons of my past are harrowing harbingers of death. I am alone with my memories.

As I always have been.

These floorboards squeak as though my weight is not the only weight. These candles, though I swear I lit them minutes ago, turn flames into dancing smoke as though they had been illuminated for hours. Their wax melts like the faces of strangers in my dreams.

“Recurring Dream”, AG, 2016. Used with their permission.

In the library where cobwebs grow like moss on the underside of a stone and spiders’ legs are coated in a patina of dust, I refuse to follow the greenish sickly glow because I know its secrets. I never asked to be planted here. This isn’t the horror story where I chose this particular piece of real estate. Where I chose to second-guess the wail of the night and wonder the significance of the phases of the moon.


This was home. I was born into horror. My mother died giving birth to me, and my father locked himself away.

He refused to meet my eyes. And even the governesses he hired when I was young did not seem to breathe when I was around. I was surrounded by the decaying and the dying.

He haunts the library, a corpse in an antique wheelchair, waiting to be pushed to sea. Where his ashes will meet the salt water, and he can be carried away – grit of ash, powder of bone, bit by bit – by the minnows. I cannot forgive myself for representing what he hated. I know he loved my mother, a woman with eyes the color of jade, but I took her from him.

I ripped her apart, my face red from screaming, but I was a newborn. Helpless and begging for nourishment. As her breathing shallowed and the body I had carved myself out of cooled to a still clay, I began to hate myself.

Without ever knowing my name.

No one told me when he buried her in the graveyard behind our house, he took my young, frail body too and fed it to wolves.

They left behind no skin but a neat pile of bones.

So, when the floorboards creak, it’s not my imagination but a haunting all my own. My father isn’t a corpse, but I am not so certain I am not a ghost.

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