The scent of perfume, filtering through the halls, a sister. Then cologne, an older brother. Or maybe the father wore it, too. Then there was a knock, a neighbor checking in on a sick baby brother. There was the smell of an evening meal cooking over a fire, a stove. Then a slam of a door, crying, the sister breaking up with a boyfriend. Or it could be a million things, maybe: a friend hit by a car on her way to the mall, cousin got bit by a dog with rabies, or a grandparent's death. Then there was crying, sound of crinkly paper; a baby’s diaper being changed. Then there was a phone ringing, ringing through the halls. These are the noises of a haunted house, the noises that never vanish through time. Or maybe they are just the little girl’s imagination, as she stares through the front door, waiting, wanting, to enter her new home, but not wanting to, not really. Sweat dribbling down her slender neck, fingers, forehead; blue eyes gleaming feverishly; shadows lingering on the walls of the halls, breaths slowing. Shadows streaming in from behind a new dresser, stairs creeping like a horror movie. Boxes being dragged through the door, cobwebs on their fronts and backs and sides. Men and women, grunting, pulling, with the little girl in the center of it all. Only she seems to notice the ghosts, feel their pull, feel them watching.
October 29, 2015