What do you think when you look at this house? What do you see? Look in the windows at the top of the turret...wold you be surprised to see a ghostly face peeking out from behind the curtains?
I wouldn't. Any house that looks like this almost has to have a ghost or two lurking about, don't you think?
Which is why, of course, I had to write a story about it. Well, let's say I tried to write a story about it. Or am trying. Because I'm still working on it, here and there. I must say that when i sit down to write, I show heavy favoritism to Barnabas and Wilfred, the characters from my upcoming novel from Crooked Cat Books. Barnabas and Wilfred are currently in the middle of their sequel, which is coming along at a decent pace. Barnabas and Wilfred are fun to write; I'm always excited to see where they'll go, what they'll do, and what sort of shenanigans they'll get up to.
The story about this house, however, kinda scares me, which is why it gets left alone to languish, unfinished, in the depths of my laptop's circuits for months on end whilst Barnabas and Wilfred have adventures and misadventures and generally hog all of my attention. Because I am afraid of my own story.
The house, you see, is a real house. I was living in Hamilton, a mostly forgotten little corner of Baltimore City that was very splendid in the early 1900s but has fallen into a bit of disrepair in recent years. There were lots of big old Victorian houses (some well-kept, some in dire need of repair). Most of them had been chopped up into apartments (like the one I live in), but they still retained their charm and beauty even when they needed a bit of a refresher.
While I lived there I loved to walk around the neighborhoods. I'd look at the houses, and the gardens, and imagine myself in another time. True, I'd have to concentrate really hard to ignore the city noises (cars, sirens, people yelling for no apparent reason), but all in all it was a very pleasant walk and the neighbors were friendly and it was something I looked forward to doing whenever I got the chance.
But this house...well, this house was different. This house was creepy. No matter how sunny it was outside, it seemed like this house was always in shadows (ok, so there were lots of big trees around it, but still. There were big trees all over the neighborhood, but this house was stuck in permanent shade). It also seemed more quiet in front of that house, as though the house had somehow absorbed the city sounds. The only thing you can hear when you stand in front of that house, even though you're just a block away from the main road, is the discordant tinkling of a broken windchime.
And, of course, I haven't even mentioned the gangster yet.
In that house lived a former gangster-turned gardener, who had lived a rough life but who had reformed into the nicest (if somewhat strange) guy. He'd yell at me for not watering my kale plants enough, then shake his head and water them for me. That dude had seem some real stuff (imagine, being in a gang in Baltimore City...it certainly doesn't call to mind someone who is easily frightened, or who is scared of ghosts.)
But this gangster gardener was scared of that house. He thought it was haunted. He didn't want to go into that turret, either. Because, like I said, there is obviously a ghost living in that turret.
So, one day (not today) I'll tear myself away from my beloved Barnabas and Wilfred and get back to writing this ghost story that scares me. One day, when I feel brave.