freedom house

Haunted House

(photo by yistergirl)

It was a mammoth Victorian, dingy white, with exes of tape on the windows, three stories plus a basement and an attic no one ever visited.  It sat on a line of newer, smaller houses that repeated the neighborhood’s pattern of dereliction with cement gardens and security doors and plastic potted plants. The street was bald and one dimensional save the four old-growth walnut trees flanking the Victorian, remnants of forgotten ancestors; one and a half in front and two behind.

Jo and her little brother Max didn’t live there, they just visited, usually for the weekend but sometimes longer.  Their mother Joyce had a thing with Philip, a longstanding resident whose seniority and hard work at the program meant conjugal visits whenever he wanted. They stayed with Philip in the first bedroom on the second floor, at the top of the once-grand curving staircase. Joyce and Philip shared a double bed and the kids rolled out sleeping bags on the closet floor. 

The rest of this story is closed for remodeling. Thank you for reading!


A couple links that informed/inspired:

About Anna Fonté

Girl in the Hat, aka Anna Fonté, is an author who writes about invisibility, outsider status, everyday monsters, and her attempts to befriend the neighborhood crows. The things she writes want you to look at them.


  1. gail

    i would be really interested to know what others say about this.

  2. Ooooh, fantastic. I love it. Are you editing some of these old posts or do they just show up in my RSS reader for no good reason? This one came up for me as August 5. Anyway, great story. The haunted house made me all kinds of shivery and I love the kids’ perspective.

    • Oh, dear. I’m afraid this is one of those moments when I’m caught referring to an artist’s recent release as her “new record.” I had no idea that editing pieces I posted previously would send them out again. And I have no idea how to fix it. Grrr. Sorry to anyone who subscribes! And if anyone can direct me to a magic button I can press to prevent this from happening, please tell me!!!!

      • I’m having an, “Oh crap!” moment here. I hope this isn’t happening to me. I may have to apologize to everyone for all the editing I’m doing on my darn story. Anna, if you figure out how to change that setting, please let me know. If this is happening with my many edits, I send you my first apology. (Please tell me if this is happening!)

        • I’m not sure if it’s happening all the time or if it was one fluke but I don’t think I have seen any of your posts reappear so I don’t think you have to worry. (If you see my old stories come up again, let me know!)

        • Ré, I don’t think I’ve noticed it with your stories. And Anna, I haven’t noticed it happening with yours since this post!

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