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A Haunting

by Lauren Triola 7 months ago in Fantasy
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Daily Flash Fiction Challenge: Story #23

A Haunting
Photo by Erik Müller on Unsplash

The flower vase had moved again. It was supposed to go on the dining room table, to bring a pop of color to the room. But instead I found it once more in the foyer by the front door.

It didn’t belong there. It always wobbled when the door opened.

I moved it back to the dining room.

The next day it was back in the foyer.

This had been going on for weeks. And it wasn’t just the vase.

I would tuck the chairs in around the table only for them to be pulled out, scattered, hours later. The kitchen towel should have been draped over the handle of the oven, but half the time it was hanging off the refrigerator handle instead. The car keys went in the dish by the door, but they always ended up splayed on the credenza. Nothing stayed where I put it.

They kept moving it. They moved everything. The towels, the furniture, the food in the cupboards. I have always been meticulous, I have always preferred things to be placed in a certain way, but these things? They thrived on chaos. They infested my home, haunted it, and menaced me daily.

They have no respect for order, no respect for their elders. This is my home. But one day they appeared. I started stumbling across them suddenly in the hall or in the basement.

I was terrified.

So far they have proven harmless, non-violent, but they are little pests. I tried scaring them off, but they called in a priest to spray water at me.

It didn’t work, obviously. I’m still here. And unfortunately so are they.

So I’ve just been going about my days as if they weren’t there. And I organize my house the way it should be organized. I don’t care that they moved in all their own stuff and mine has disappeared—off to estate sales and Goodwill, I suppose. But that doesn’t mean I can’t have a say in where things go. This is still my house.

It will always be my house.

They are the intruders. They are the ones who don’t belong.

They bought it, their names are on the lease, but that doesn’t make this any less my home. I lived here for fifty years. I built a life here. I raised a family here.

I died here.

Surely, that must mean something to these people. But they are as frustrated as I am with our tug-of-war over the vase and everything else. I can’t say I’ll be disappointed if they give up and move.

Of course, if they move then another family will move in. And then another after them. There will be more things out of place, and perhaps the new families will be less indulgent. There will be more priests, more white men claiming to be shamans burning sage in my face, more people holding out crystals as if they were powerful weapons rather than hunks of silica.

One day, there will be no more families. I will be alone. But my house will not be here. Once it outlives its usefulness, it will be torn down, replaced with something new—luxury condos, a shopping center, a bigger house with a much smaller yard. This will never be just my home again. It will always be someone else’s, until it is gone.

I suppose this family could be worse. They have gotten used to me. They are no longer startled when I walk down the hallways, when I appear behind them in the mirror. They merely sigh when they find I have moved the vase yet again.

Yes, I suppose it could be worse…

But that vase does not go there.

I’ll move it when they fall asleep. And every night after that.


About the author

Lauren Triola

I'm mostly a fiction author who loves Sci-Fi and Fantasy, but I also love history and archaeology. I'm especially obsessed with the Franklin Expedition. Occasionally I write poetry too. You can find me at my blog or on Twitter.

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