by Karen Bovenmyer

haunted-house-1124241_640An empty house lived at the end of his street. Trees like claws stopped other kids, as if they grabbed ankles and wrists and hoods of sweatshirts. He found a way there by looking somewhere else, sidewalk-crack-sidewalk, then dead grass. Up. White oval shapes lingered behind black windows. In. A slamming back door echoed staple-guns putting up his HAVE YOU SEEN THIS CHILD posters. Three years later, after his classmates had grown into pimples and too-short jeans, he came out, hollow-eyed and shaking. He struck the trees, also, with a wet axe from the living house, his body now a man’s body, sweating hard. They took him to a hospital, depressingly white and clean and smelling like medicine, but he still saw the house by not looking. When the demolition cranes came, they were like hands that scooped shingles off the roof, the strange Victorian spires crumbled, broken plaster and creaking timbers screamed, undefined white shapes tumbled down in a cloud of dust. The house at the end of the street died. After, he went home with a face blank as a sheet of paper, something so normal and unwritten, and, in the night, his memories clutched at him, as if they grabbed ankles and wrists and hoods of sweatshirts.

This story originally appeared in Festival Writer and also appeared in Cavalcade of Terror.

Karen BovenmyerKaren Bovenmyer earned an MFA in Creative Writing: Popular Fiction from the University of Southern Maine. She teaches and mentors students at Iowa State University and is the Nonfiction Assistant Editor for Mothership Zeta Magazine.

2 thoughts on “So Normal and Unwritten

  1. […] So Normal and Unwritten, by Karen Bovenmyer in IronSoap. “An empty house lived at the end of his street.” This story of a haunted life and a haunted house is beautifully rich and evocative, and it’s the kind of story that worms its way deep inside you. Bovenmyer manages to tell the story, convey a mood, and create a place, with few words but a lot of skill. Terrific soul-piercing horror in one paragraph. […]

  2. […] October 2016 poem, “Arrow,” Songs of Eretz Poetry Review 10/21/2016 Karen Bovenmyer micro fiction, “So Normal and Unwritten,” Iron Soap’s 200 CCs October 7, 2016 panelist, “Shirley at 100: Marking the Shirley Jackson Centennial” and […]

Comments are closed.