Haunted Passages: “Ghost of Girl,” a short story by Morghen Tidd

Ghost of Girl

The house is beautiful they say

but

bathtub flows over water spilling in drops then steady stream swallowing the all of the floor around the claw feet. candle light flickers night drawing down through the open window blows crisp breeze in the room. listen carefully crowing of a bird mixes into wind a haunting howl. moon but an idea behind a cloud. water escapes creeps under uneven crack beneath door locked from the inside. white curtain blown in rippling over the room in exaggeration. cradled in porcelain lies a girl submerged and blue. wind screams leaves hit outside the house empty but for her. beautiful whispered mouths about her once how beautiful. her face a distortion now swollen water lungs a mouth shaped into a silenced scream paling lips a hardened o. oh how beautiful they would say. a leaf through the window falls in the bath. wind rattles the walls with moaning cracks candle still flickering bravely. the water of the bath swells relentless in its task.

she rises no drip from the water.

she rises all gray.

consumed by house and home the haunted human. melt into walls paper in hands glue sticky gumlike. she does it carefully with skill as if made for the task perpetual becoming she sinking into walls appearing through other sides she who stayed without choice or perhaps. her family here but she’s nothing more than refusal denying them sight of her. they who denied her first. hidden she watches them weeping in the living room heads bowed tears wiped more again watching them without pity deep distaste. their bodies distorted through her gaze shadows of faces she once knew. their mourning blacks as if her life a value as if she was more than a face. leaving this she returns to familiar solitude her former room high up in the house that weeps for her. here she weeps silence for herself. water pools around her.

 the everchanging inside but forever her home the beautiful house. newcomers fooled by the shine they enter again neverending new shadows voices and the like. bags placed in hallways blocked running up then down spiraling stairs she stares from her hidden space watching as she does unnecessary breath held in mouth. away from eyes she waits during time they settle into the house into home. how beautiful they say again and again how beautiful. her room no longer preserved by the come and go of these strangers her room becomes boarded up an extra. too drafty in there they say too many noises they say. always an excuse. the mirror her only remnant dusted over on the wall. they grow weary with days spotless new becomes dust collects settles the house down many nooks crannies difficult to clean a bother as most things. beautiful becomes dull with time they never stay a home a place to linger then leave. she who lives here first she watches just watches eyes porcelain like an old doll. she watches their love die silent.

it’s not that she minds the company thinking of such a large house alone lonely in the empty rooms what a waste of space the ways most things are. alone her creaking echoes through the house there are periods when she is alone there are always when she is lonely. entertaining herself forming dustballs between fingers blowing them across the room she passes what seem like centuries but could just be a day or a week with no matter. in her house time works differently she thinks the clocks stick but still tick. spaces of empty she passes moments alone in the dining room remembering thinking of memories here shadows of people who blur in her mind people who have left long ago. how beautiful they say as they pack belongings how beautiful but too much. here she stays her cage her home a beautiful house they all say here the dream of leaving extinguished with dreams of being more than girl. a dream to leave a sentence to stay though cruelty of the world is no surprise to girls. how beautiful they once said of her. from the window in her room framed and flaking she sees the expanse of green something she no longer yearns for.

the days moving she does slowly between walls beneath tacky flowered paper she repeats her maze in a daze of days. bare feet above dust balls a glide more than a walk but she is just as much girl as ghost. forever the phase of in between. the house looming takes what she thinks to be days to move all the way through each room her time irrelevant her time worthless. all peepholes and short cuts known to her she knows this house better than any body. how beautiful this house they say without looking far past their noses. dinners in the dining room mechanic fork to mouth bored with their mashed potatoes no butter she watches them from behind the fireplace unlit. revolting lip smacks the clinks of silverware the sounds of being alive. if they looked they might see her but they never do. a house like a second skin caught full of memories of lack of shine. knowing where to hide the presence of her while still being present a quick turn away. the ever changing they comment on noise but never sight of her. the ever changing they say how beautiful without knowing the house. a face unnoticed she is nothing more than another creak. one with the mice a beast out of sight. even mice pay no heed to her a walk through walked over thing not even in the way. in the walls she watches them a child playing with plush toy parents sipping tea. but a blink passes she watches them dying fragility forced by age. a blink she wonders if they’ll stay but they have already gone. she looks at her arms outstretched but the limbs do not fade.

maybe she’s lonely the way all girls are.

maybe she watches the current occupants from afar from around the corner. she watches the children play with little dolls with building sets. she watches a girl around her once age cry loudly alone in a room. maybe she watches a young man play a piano during nights. maybe she feels something for this man. maybe she feels less alone during these nights. she tries to sing to his tune. instead of a voice all that leaves her mouth is water. maybe her voice is but a leak. maybe she screams. more water falls from her open mouth silent in its spill. maybe she flees from the room. in flight maybe she returns that bathroom. this is the first time since the last time. maybe she is afraid. maybe she is furious. maybe she throws the glass soap bowl. it hits the window. maybe this feels good. destruction better than a piano tune. she throws the shampoo bottles. she throws the ceramic toothbrush holders. they burst pieces on the floor. she strikes the mirror. there’s the reflection of a thousand pieces of the same girl the same ghost falling. she pulls down the curtains. maybe she screams. shards and water mix onto the floor. maybe the family’s small dog comes into the room. he barks at her teeth bared and growling. maybe she grabs him. maybe her hand’s around his throat. maybe she squeezes too hard. his barks cease. maybe she drops him into the tub. maybe she screams again. or maybe she cries. maybe the family finds this mess. they can’t explain this mess. maybe they move out.

maybe she’s alone again.

in her room she rips wallpaper stripping it baring the mold beneath. pulling long strips top to bottom side to side. they never come to check on this room this sound just mice of course just mice. a roulette plays with each piece reveal herself not reveal herself reveal herself not reveal herself. perhaps she is more lonely than most stuck in the attic of herself a mad mad girl. her story a ghost within. she nothing but a haunting she nothing but a girl. how beautiful they say of the house too blind to see a haunting the ways the house screams with her. a tune hummed within her head while she plays fate each piece a flower petal littered to the floor. reveal herself she mouths with the last piece in hand. water spills from open mouth as her laugh fills the room with silence. wrapping a thin strand around herself she feels less transparent.

the house is beautiful they say a mantra lining rooms. they cannot see the happenings within walls more than beautiful the happenings disastrous their home nothing more than a grave for a once beauty. staying in the lower three floors they feel safe boarded up rooms trapping secrets of the house ones no one would tell family dinner guests no one would guess. how beautiful they say but they do not look in the walls they do not listen to the house. how beautiful they say but they do not stay. the house is beautiful. maybe they’re not wrong. she listens she watches. the house is beautiful. the house is beautiful.

she appears.

the house is haunted.

Morghen Tidd is a writer from Maine who is interested in writing narratives that mix the mundane with the grotesque through exploring the experiences of girls. She received her MA in English from the University of Maine in 2019 and was the Wicks Fellow from 2019-2020.  Now she is floating through space. Find her on instagram: @spookymorghen.

Image: theghostinmymachine.com

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