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The Ailehpos of Apartment 21D

The space we hold for those who are missing

By Penny FullerPublished 7 months ago 1 min read
Second Place in the Neolomicro Challenge

We live in a home full of created ghosts. The four of us each find our own ways to manifest an ailehpo. These presences are squatters, but we cannot seem to find a way to evict them.

Sarah falls serially, hopelessly in love. At some point, she is inevitably ghosted. For months afterward, the phantasm of unfulfilled promise puts big, clumsy hands over favorite foods and hums over the refrain of any music. He imbues himself into anything that can bring joy.

Shay’s mother is not gone, but her whispers will not leave the apartment and go home with her. She stands behind every mirror, giving unwarranted advice on clothes and makeup. She also haunts the kitchen, where she suggests it’s best to choose celery over cookies.

Mine is the brother who cannot be happy for any success in my life. His voice has become faded and uncertain because it has been 15 months since he cut off all contact without explanation. The silvery shadow of his silhouette still hovers over the chasm between new opportunities and the belief that I deserve to be loved.

It was for Eloise that we named each entity. Hers is the loudest of all. It is the authentic presence of our friend before depression hid her deep inside. In grief, she has become a reflection of herself. She is our Ophelia.

Powerless, we love this mirror image of a tragic heroine and name our personal phantoms in her honor.


About the Creator

Penny Fuller

(Not my real name)- Other Labels include:

Lover of fiction writing and reading. Aspiring global nomad. Woman in science. Most at home in nature. Working my way to an unconventional life, story by story and poem by poem.

Reader insights


Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insights

  1. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

  2. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

  3. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

  1. Eye opening

    Niche topic & fresh perspectives

  2. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

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Comments (19)

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  • Abdul Qayyumabout a month ago

    he author's vivid descriptions and attention to detail really drew me in. It's great to see such in-depth reporting on unique subjects like this.

  • Lori Melton6 months ago

    Absolutely incredible- congratulations ❤️

  • Novel Allen6 months ago

    This fits into so many different scenarios, death, life and in-between. Well said and congrats.

  • Sara Frederick6 months ago

    Wonderful writing, great job! Congratulations!

  • KB6 months ago

    Congratulations, beautiful work!

  • Joe Patterson6 months ago

    Well done. Congratulations on your big win.

  • Alison McBain6 months ago

    This hits home to everyone through one ailehpo or another. A wonderful read.

  • Melissa Ingoldsby6 months ago

    I really loved this one, so dreary and ethereal. Truly a visceral experience. Congratulations on your 🏆 win

  • Teresa Renton6 months ago

    Wow! I love the whole concept of these ‘ghosts’ and the mirroring of Ophelia. Sad, but relatable. Congratulations for winning secondplace 🥳

  • Caroline Jane6 months ago

    This is wonderously clever. I love it! Congratulations on a well deserved win. 🥰

  • D.K. Shepard6 months ago

    Very poignant from start to finish! Well done!

  • Davina Zinn McKee6 months ago

    This may be a work of fiction, but the honesty of it is brutal. Very nicely done.

  • K. Kocheryan6 months ago

    Congrats :) This was a pretty read.

  • Tressa Rose6 months ago

    Wow, this was beautifully done!

  • Cathy holmes6 months ago

    Congrats on the win. Well done.

  • Babs Iverson6 months ago

    Congratulations on the 2nd place win!!!

  • I love how Ailehpo is Ophelia backwards! Fantastic word and story!

  • Babs Iverson7 months ago

    Creative & impressive!!! Love it!!!💕❤️❤️

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