I don’t normally link to my short stories here, but I’m proud of a new one called “Lost Animals” that went up earlier this week. It’s about a man hired by private clients to clear houses of ghosts, not using supernatural equipment but a baseball bat.
He’s been storming into abandoned homes, haunted offices, auto-repair yards, and even millionaires’ yachts all over the country, using aggression to overcome his own fears and maintain the upper hand.
The times ghosts truly scare me aren’t from the shock of a dead face staring up from the bottom of a basement staircase; I’m usually too drunk or high for that, too hyped up on aggression. I’ll simply charge at the thing, running after it into a root cellar or climbing a wooden ladder into an unlit barn attic to chase it away. The sights that genuinely unsettle me, that keep me awake at night, are the weird, demented loops I sometimes catch them in, the bleakness of a ghost’s new existence, the never-ending isolation of the afterlife, empty versions of ourselves stuck in routines that have lost all meaning.
After nearly two decades of this—scaring dead people out of their comfort zones—he experiences a slow change of attitude that affects his ability to do the job.
It’s only loosely architectural, but I thought I’d link it here anyway, as the story explores a wide range of spatial situations amenable to hauntings. Check it out, if you’re in the mood for an autumnal read at the height of summer.
[Photo in top image courtesy of U.S. Library of Congress.]