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Flash Fiction: A Haunted House

Flash Fiction: A Haunted House

A Story by CharlieO
"

Contest entry.

"

She used to say this house was haunted. She insisted there were two of them, a couple, a man and a woman, often hand in hand roaming the house and gardens.

 
I never saw them for myself. She used to tell me this was because I didn’t believe. She never specified what it was I didn’t believe in.
 
Looking back now, with time, and the distance it creates I can only pick out a few distinct memories relating to that house and those spectres. These recollections are like little pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. Unfortunately the pieces of this jigsaw are old and worn and many of them are missing, as such I can bring reason or meaning to it.   
 
She would tell me she could hear footsteps on the floorboards and doors opening and closing. She could hear them whispering and laughing moving from room to room. She told me their lovers chatter was like birdsong to her, she could sit for hours and listen to it, particularly at night, it would fill her up and help her face the day.
 
She would sneak around the house and gardens, following them she said. She would appear in rooms soundlessly and stare off into space. At least she would be smiling, basking in the glow of their newfound happiness she said. She wouldn’t say a word she would only turn the room cold with her presence.
 
At times she would become angry with me, claiming I was intruding on the couple's happiness. She would sit in the darkened dinning room, watching them she said, the woman aglow, basking in the presence of her lover, the couples fingers entwined, toes touching, glazing at longingly. I would come and disturb this happy scene with my noise, she said, forcing the couple to awaken from their lovers’ trance.
 
I tried to get her out of the house, she started to chase around the house saying she was looking for something, that the happy couple had left something for which she had to find, she would run up and down the stairs opening and closing doors with loud bangs which thundered through the house.
 
I still attempted to get her out of the house, but even then she would still see the lovers. In our picturesque, chocolate box garden, she would follow them. She would pace the blank canvas of green grass and trace its boarders lined with oaks. The woman was running from the man, she told me, and he was catching her up in his arms like a child, gazing up from my paper I soundlessly watched her.
 
One day, near the end, when her behaviour had become obsessive, I remember her stood in front of the bedroom mirror. In desperation she told me to look in the mirror to see the woman. I saw only her; a little pale, a little tired and a looking a lot like a lost little girl. She became agitated; telling me to look harder she pointed to a chair where she said the man was admiring the woman. Looking over my shoulder I saw only myself.
 
Eventually it all began too much for me, after a number of attempts to exorcise the house, both literally and figuratively, she and I parted. When she left she told me the couple had held her attention for one reason, they had brought the Technicolor of love into our black and white world. Now I am the ghost, which haunts this house. 
 

© 2008 CharlieO


Author's Note

CharlieO
This is just a short piece of flash fiction for a competition. Its my first attempt at this sort of thing. Constructive criticism please.

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"they had brought the Technicolor of love into our black and white world"

Nice touch. It sounds like she found her own relationship dull and routinized compared to that couple.

I had a bit of trouble with the ending, though. First failed to exorcise the house, and then she became one of the ghosts. It must have been her destiny all along.


Posted 11 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

Did you mean "Now I am the ghost, which haunts this house" metaphorically? It seems to be a sudden tone poem effect, rather than literal, as in someone feeling black and white and less alive than the "technicolor" (seems a stretch, but striking) phantom lovers. If it's meant literally, it seems more abrupt than a convincingly sudden revelation. Needless to say, I prefer the poetic interpretation. Some typos, grammatical errors, but you can find 'em.

I'm thinking you meant the absence of love makes one ghost-like, haunting one's own life. In which case, I like this. ;-)

Pax

Posted 11 Years Ago


this was nice writing,you wanted to say something ,some details are needed,though about the woman and the narrator.
its really nice but you could make it better ,if you go deep into their characters try to give it more hear and heat ,and why is this all happening ,its just my humble thoughts really only i thought i will tell them ,it may be best this way ,i think you should be the judge of that ,it was a nice writing,M

Posted 11 Years Ago



Very good...nice twist at the end. Interesting and unique.

Write more...!

Daniel

Posted 11 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

I enjoyed this short tale - for flash fiction I think you built up the story nicely. Halfway through the reading I began to believe she was the ghost - nice twist at the end of the break up and him being ghostlike in the house.

a few grammar edits:

She insisted there were two of them, a couple, a man and a woman (I don't think you need both the word "couple" here and the phrase "a man and a woman" - I think either one would do it just seemed to read awkwardly with both of them.

Looking back now, with time, and the distance it creates I can only pick out a few distinct memories relating to that house and those spectres. These recollections are like little pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. Unfortunately the pieces of this jigsaw are old and worn and many of them are missing, as such I can bring reason or meaning to it. (in order for the ending to fit - I would reword this to make his memories of the events faded perhaps - but not of the house)

that the happy couple had left something for which she had to find, (either "for her to find" or "which she had to find" leaving out the word "for")

remember her stood in front of the bedroom mirror. (either "she stood" or "her standing")

Now I am the ghost, which haunts this house. (the comma is not necessary here)

I think the phrase "she said" might be overused a tad - you might take a quick look to see where it could be cut out.

This was a great story - the edits are just little technicalities - I enjoyed it very much. :-)













Posted 11 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Not too bad. There were a few spots where you could make the narrator feel more "human" by maybe tweaking the use of commas and turning some of them into words, or new sentences. There was one spot where you say stood that I think should maybe be "standing". It feels like a good story with a few spots that need some sandpaper to make it nice and sleek. Keep up the good work, can't wait to see what you do with it!

Posted 11 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

"they had brought the Technicolor of love into our black and white world"

Nice touch. It sounds like she found her own relationship dull and routinized compared to that couple.

I had a bit of trouble with the ending, though. First failed to exorcise the house, and then she became one of the ghosts. It must have been her destiny all along.


Posted 11 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Does the "flash" in flash fiction mean that it's really short? Because if I have any criticism of this piece, it's that it seems a bit rushed. But if it's the nature of the beast, then I have no real complaint. The story itself is quite nice, and I like the inverted way it ends. Regardless of whether or not berevity was neccesary, I would have like to know more about the woman who saw ghosts, her relation to the narrator was unclear, and therefore the reason behind why said narrator returned to the house in the end. But it's still good. Not scary, but gothic and entertaining.

Posted 11 Years Ago



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Added on July 6, 2008

Author

CharlieO
CharlieO

Southampton, United Kingdom



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Hello there, I'm have been on this site for a couple of months now.I have just started writing again having gotten bogged down in work for my university course (English Literature at Southampton Uni).. more..

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