Haunted by Sarah Gailey

Flamingo tongue on a sea fan

This is the VERY LAST short story in the Event Horizon 2017 collection of short stories highlighting authors who are eligible for the 2017 Campbell award for best new writer. Guess I need to find the 2019 version and start reading some newer stories!

Published: March, 2016 in Fireside Quarterly (you can read it for free at that link)

Genre: ghost story

Setting: a random house, present day

Summary: Short version: The origin and end of a haunted house

Long version: The house is haunted. It wasn’t always haunted, but it was sentient. It wasn’t haunted until Baptiste beats Marthe to death in the bathroom one night. After that, no one wants to live in the house. Baptiste decides that if he can’t sell the house, at least he can burn it down and get the insurance money. The ghost of Marthe ensures that’s the last thing he ever does. The soul of the house leaves the structure before it burns completely.

Final thoughts: A pretty standard story that was made a bit more interesting because it was told from the point of view of the house. I’m not a big fan of ghost stories, so this really didn’t do much for me. The house just wants to be loved. Part of that need is fulfilled by a family living inside it. It didn’t get any of that. Instead, it got a couple where the husband beats his wife and one day went a little too far. Now, the house is sad. It wants to comfort Marthe, but she just keeps reliving her death. Perhaps burning the house down was the best result. Otherwise, it just would have rotted into oblivion, with no one to care for it and only a sad ghost to live in the house. At least this was a quick end.

Title comes from: The story is about a haunted house


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