It’s pub day for Stories We Tell After Midnight 2! You can find my story, “Primary Manifestations” in this anthology of creepy, spooky stories.
“Primary Manifestations” is a haunted house story. I love haunted houses. You can probably tell, as I’ve written, what, three stories now that involve them (four if you count the sentient generation ship in “Four Cassandras”). We lived in our old house for 14 years; we built it, so no ghosts. It saw the start of a marriage, a miscarriage, a birth, soooo many arguments, soooo many jokes, parties, video game nights, illness, grief, good days and bad days. I wondered how much of those things would absorb into the walls for the next person who lived there.
Our new house is also newly-built. No ghosts here, and not much in the walls yet. But give it time.
When we watched “The Haunting of Hill House” on Netflix, I posted on Tumblr:
Haunted house stories, particularly with kids, have gotten a lot scarier to me since I had a kid.
You’re a parent, and you make one poor judgement call—and not even an obviously poor judgement call! The house is a great bargain! You want your kids to grow up somewhere with a yard, and this is the only way to afford it! Or you’re getting out of a bad situation! Or, hell, you just … buy a house.
And it ends up with your kids being haunted for the rest of their lives because you did the best you could for them, and you still made the wrong choice.
It’s like a parent’s worst nightmare.
“Primary Manifestations” grew out of
(the muck) that, combined with wanting to touch on some of the haunted house tropes that drive me up the ( bloodstained) wall ( JUST TALK TO EACH OTHER ABOUT THE SEXY 103 YEAR OLD HOUSEKEEPER, FOR GOD’S SAKE). And I wanted to set a haunted house story in Florida. I grew up here; it’s as haunted and creepy as anything in New England or the actual deep south, with bonus alligators. (There are no gators in this story, though.)