Sunday, November 28, 2010

A nod to Roosts

Illustration of a hoot owl.

Here in the US, the NPR station has a three minute fiction contest and the winner piece for this month is named Roosts by Zach Brockhouse.  It is a beautifully written story, very original, please do read it.  The picture above goes with his story.  For this competition, writers are asked to submit a short fiction that began with the line, "Some people swore that the house was haunted," and ended with the line, "nothing was ever the same again after that."

For fun, I thought I'd give it a try tonight.  I think I will name it Midnight.  So here it goes:  

Some people swore that the house was haunted.  Mother says differently, and she was the one with the facts.  You see, it is easier for others to blame the house because it is worse to let us believe my baby sister was possessed.  They told us we could leave the house and there, problems solved.

Mother wouldn't have it though.  She'd say it wasn't the house and she was sure of it.  She would repeat to them the story of the hospital visit, when Grandpa had a cholecystectomy and she brought my baby sister along to see him.  My sister was only a toddler she said, and before she was inside she was happy as a bee, cute as a button.  But after, Mother exclaimed, after my sister was brought into the hospital she went crazy. 

"My baby cried so hard she went upside down in her carriage, I thought she'd choke.  Something awful happened to her there."

Yes but that was also around the time when you moved into the house isn't it, people would counter.  But I knew there was no convincing Mother, she wanted to be right so bad.

It comes and goes her crying, the same ghastly tone in her wail every time.  It always happened at midnight, and stops within a minute.  I had heard it of course; I slept next to my sister in the same bed all those years.  Grandma came to witness once, and the next day she came back with some Buddhist charms and amulets and she asked my sister questions.  It won't work Mother would say.

Mother preferred the bible; she placed one between our pillows.  The Lord Jesus Christ will protect you, Mother told my sister.

Protect her from what I wondered, the ghost was rather courteous.  My sister grew tall, she learned to ride a bike, she did her homework okay, what's a little crying in the middle of the night?  

But Mother had to be right, the bible had to work.  The crying is less she assured everyone.

She didn't know I had made deals with the ghost.  On some nights I told him to hush it because I had a test the next day.  He was rather obliging; he must have cared about us.

Except nothing is so simple, in death or in life, change is inevitable.  When my family moved to a new country, the ghost had to decide.  He chose to stay in the house and not board a plane with my sister.  In the airport we were nervous but my sister, she didn't look any different.  We said goodbye to many and crossed an ocean, and as it were nothing was ever the same again after that. 



  1. Hi Jackie! This is a great story! I also read you little history about your life and your beautiful cat and thought they were absolutely charming. Really. I'm happy to have found you, and I think we should be blogging friends.:)
    Whaddaya say? I'm a US student currently living in Lima Peru, and I just recently started blogging too. I would love it if you would come visit my blog!

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  3. Hello Dani,

    Thanks for your comment. I visited your site and left a comment there. Would love to know more about Peru, never been there but always wanted to.