"Haunted (part two)" an original work of fiction for the #365daysofwriting challenge

in fiction •  2 years ago  (edited)

This is day 38 of @mydivathings' #365daysofwriting challenge

Every day @mydivathings invites you to write a short story based on the image she chooses. Today's image (below) is a Photo by Daniel Norris on Unsplash

Find out more about the challenge (you can join anytime!) here https://steemit.com/365daysofwriting/@mydivathings/day-38-365-days-of-writing-challenge

This is part two of a new story. You can read it as a stand alone piece if you wish, or you can read part one here: https://steemit.com/f/@felt.buzz/haunted-part-one-an-original-work-of-fiction-for-the-365daysofwriting-challenge

Gillian watched her husband chatting with Steve, over the otherside of the fire pit . She hadn’t seen him like this for… well, for years.

Not since Michael.

Dan laughed at something Steve said, and poked at the fire with a metal pole, he had found in the basement.

They had made the right decision. To leave London - with all it’s memories, betrayals, guilt, and recriminations - behind, and to move to this - albeit, decidedly, strange - house.

It was a new start. For all of them.

Katie loved it here. Gillian hadn’t seen her this happy, or relaxed for a long time, either. She laughed and squealed as Arlene, Steve’s niece, pushed her high on the swing.

Admittedly, it hadn’t been a great start.

Leaving Katie outside whilst Steve showed them around the house was a mistake.

There was so much house to look at. It took longer than Gillian had thought. Much longer. There were three stories of house. A lot of stairs, and so many different rooms. A bit of a change from their pokey little London house. Steve had been in all the rooms, before they arrived and opened window to them.

Apart from that room at the top of the house.

The attic room had a rusted lock on it, and although Steve had the key neither he, nor Dan, could get the thing open. Dan was all for shouldering the door open, but Steve stopped him.

“Be a shame to break the door frame, when all it needs is a bit of WD40,” Steve said.

On the way back down Gillian glanced out of the window, at the top of the stairs, at the empty garden.

Katie was not playing by the swing.

Gillian couldn’t see her anywhere. For a moment it was like she had been sucked through a wormhole to five years before. That feeling of blind panic, of helplessness.

Gillian shivered, and pulled her jacket tighter around her, and moved closer to the fire pit.

Even though she knew she wasn’t cold.

And then, when they found her, there was that story about the boy. And the name she gave him too. She knew it was normal for children, Katie’s age, to have imaginary friends. But she sure as hell wished she could have chosen a different name for him. Katie had taken them to “where he lived”. It was a strange part of the garden, and one Gillian didn’t have a good feeling about. It creeped her out.

It was if something bad happened there.

It was probably nothing. Just a silly feeling. The shock of losing Katie for those few minutes, that’s all.

Dan had handled the whole thing surprisingly well. A week before even a mention of the name Michael could have lead to him withdrawing and not talking for the rest of the day. But this time he had just hugged Katie and told her not to go into the trees without him, or Gillian again.

She watched Dan stir the contents of the pot on the fire pit. This had been his idea, too. Get Steve over for a meal. To say thank you for taking care of the house, for being here to welcome them.

And for being so helpful and nice.

They were still waiting for the electrician to come round to give them a quote for rewiring. Dan said there was no way he was going to touch that oven. It was a bloody death trap, he said. So, he decided to build a fire pit.

“We’ll cook outside,” he said. “It’s dry. A bit chilly, but it’ll be fun.”

Katie loved the idea, of course.

It wasn’t just the oven that needed condemning. The house probably hadn’t been rewired in fifty years, and each time Gillian flicked a light switch she took a deep breath, first, wondering if it’ll be her last.

And the boiler in the basement made an unholy noise every time it fired up.

Steve said it was fine - “a workhorse of a boiler,” he said - but he had given them the numbers of a reliable electrician and plumber. “For your piece of mind,” he said.

Their furniture was arriving tomorrow. Having a delay was another one of Dan’s ideas.

“Give us a chance to give some of the rooms a lick of paint,” he said. “Before we fill it with all our crap!”

Katie had chosen her room, the room next to theirs on the second floor, and they had painted it together. Deep blue. Her current favourite colour.

The first night they had all camped out in the living room, on mattresses that Steve had thoughtfully organised.

It was the first night for a long time that she had fallen asleep in Dan’s arms.

“Looks like we’re gonna need more wood,” Dan said, poking at the fire.

“There’s some down in the basement,” Steve said, wincing as he tried to push himself up. “I’ll go fetch some.”

“You boys stay here,” Gillian said, leaping to her feet. “I need the toilet, anyway. I’ll bring some on my way back.”

There was a toilet downstairs off the corridor between the kitchen and the dining room. Gillian didn’t like it much. It was a long narrow room with just enough width to sit down on the toilet at the end. There were no windows. Gillian didn’t usually suffer from claustrophobia but the first time she'd used it, it was like taking a crap in a coffin.

Still, it was a long way up to the bathroom.

She told herself not to be silly and took a deep breath and flicked the light switch. The light flickered and hummed. She closed the door and sat on the toilet and peed as fast as she could.

The sink was in the utility room next door. Another light switch. Flickering, humming. More flickering.

Gillian was going to have to chase up the electrician. She washed her hands, wondering at the same time why she was bothering if she was going to fetch wood from the basement.

It just wasn’t right not to, that’s all.

The door to the basement was reached by another short corridor that came off the entrance hall. At least there was a window in the corridor, so Gillian didn’t have to flick a switch. The hinges whined as she pulled open the door. Gillian wedged the door open using the old heavy iron that was left there as doorstop.

She took a deep breath and flicked the switch. For a moment there was nothing. And then the hum, and the flicker and the light came on. There was an odour that drifted up the old wooden steps. Not exactly unpleasant. Just old house smell. The steps creaked as she walked down them, holding on to the banister.

The boiler sat in the corner of the room. It was huge and orange. It looked like a large metal insect.

The lights flickered again.

The wood was in a neat pile on the other side of the room. There was a hatch above it where coal would have been shovelled through, in years gone by. When Gillian had tried to open it, the other day, she had found it too was rusted shut.

She wondered how long the wood had been down here.

The lights flickered, again. She thought she heard a voice, calling her name.

“Hello?” she said. “I’m down here, in the basement! I’ll be right up.”


Gillian picked up a log. It was heavy, but, using both arms as a cradle, she managed four pieces. She made her way across the dusty floor, back to the steps.

The lights flickered and went out.


This time she definitely heard a voice.

“Get out of my house!”

The voice of an old woman. Mean and spiteful.

Gillian dropped the wood, on her foot, swearing as the lights flickered back on. She looked around her, wide eyed. She was alone.

Wait! There was someone at the top of the stairs.

“Hey!” she shouted.

The door began to close. Gillian started up the stairs, stumbling and grazing the hand she put out to break her fall.

The lights flickered again.

Off. On. Off. On. Off. On. Off. On.

Gillian pushed herself up and ran up the stairs.

The door closed with a bang, in her face.

And the lights went out.


Click here to read part three



So... the big news is that one of my steemit stories (Reunion - told in 8 parts last month) has been selected to appear in the Isle of Write Anthology (see this post https://steemit.com/writing/@isleofwrite/isle-of-write-curation-to-publication-update). I am so excited to be a part of this. Please pay them a visit and check out the other stories that have been selected too. You too can be curated: so read the post and find out how!

Some more of my short stories

“Haunted (part one)”
A ghost story

Some people only have their memories for company…

“Mother Bot”
Don’t read this if you have mother issues.

A man is on a journey. But why?

Not sure I'd want this power...

A relationship ends

“Impulse buy”
A man shows off his purchase to his less than enthusiastic wife

Very short stories (stories told in exactly 50 words)

“Another Crime Involving Rhyme”
Someone is killing words. Inspector Poet is on the case

“When Rhyme Is A Crime”
Theft, murder, bad rhymes...

An ill man at a dinner party. What could go wrong?

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Must. Have. More. Oh, you totally grabbed my attention. Now the 3rd part makes sense. :-)

Thank you for reading, and your enthusiasm: it really helps! :) there are more parts planned. I'll be sure to leave a link in a reply to one of your comments so you don't miss it! :)

Cool, I like that thank you. I also need to work on my novel. Am having too much fun with the freewrites, and find my book going to the back-burner unintentionally.

Yes, it is difficult to find the time. I usually try to write my longer stories first thing in the morning and do freewrites and comments in evening. I do get a chance to read other peoples stuff when dog walking if it isn't raining!

Good idea. I was doing that at first, but was afraid of missing stuff. Sometimes I don't catch responses to my comments until way later. Too bad there isn't some sort of prompt, besides running through my comments section. I had one that I won a book contest and didn't notice till over a month later. I got lucky and was still able to get it. :-)

Yay! Now we are talking!

Thought you might like it! :)

Okay. Okay. I get it. Read on...