Breanna Hopkins QueenBee
I grew up in the Toronto area in Ontario, Canada and my family moved often due to financial issues. Some of the places I’ve lived are just blurs of memory; the window seat in one place, or the yard of another. But one house I can never forget. 

My family moved into a house that had been built during the Second World War or shortly before and as such it was a small, red brick structure with one of those little cabinets at the front door for milk deliveries. It was a charming little place to look at from the road, but there are many things that happened in the short six months we lived there that turned this dream home into a nightmare. 

1. The day we moved in was the first time my brothers and I had stepped foot into the house and as soon as we did, we knew something wasn’t right. You see, my papa was First Nations and had the Sight like his grandmother before him, and as it skips a generation we all had it too. 

When we walked in we could feel it right away; the building was cold, as if the AC was on (though it had no such unit) and it was mid June. Also, the air felt like it was heavy and charged, like a storm was brewing though it was clear skies outside. The whole house felt like this until the day we moved out, and likely to this day I’m sure. 

Things began to happen that night as I slept in my new room for the first and only time. As I lay in my bed, trying to doze off in the unfamiliar place, I started to smell smoke. The strong, putrid smell of burning wire or plastic... and flesh... as I started to get out of my bed, my closet door began to rattle like someone was on the other side and trying desperately to get out; clawing and banging at it. After what felt like an eternity, I talked myself out of the safety of my bed and turn on the bedside lamp. The closet was visibly rattling as I reached for the knob and threw the door open to find... nothing. There was nothing inside and smell of smoke and flesh was gone. I slept in my older brothers’ shared room for the rest of our time there.

2. By August we had all smelled the smoke and flesh smell, even my parents could smell it but claimed it must be the tenant downstairs burning something. My brothers and I didn’t buy it though and we began to notice something that would follow the smell; a shadow would pass by our bedroom door. The door didn’t quite fit the frame correctly, leaving a large gap under the door that the light from the bathroom would spill through. One night, we were up late, playing video games on mute so our parents wouldn’t hear us and saw the shadow pass by; not even making a sound on the old, creaking floorboards that would sound even when our cat stepped on them. It passed a few times more before stoping and the smell passed. 

After several nights of this, my eldest brother and I decided to leave the door open (at the protest of our middle brother) to see if we could see it. Brilliant idea I know, but we were kids and fearless. But after what we saw that night, we couldn’t say that anymore. What walked past our door was a woman in a 1940s style nurses outfit: white dress, stockings, shoes, apron, and cap. What remained of her hair was in victory curls and was a dark colour. But the most striking thing about her appearance was her burns. Most of her body was one big burn, even showing charred bones in some places. She paced to our door without making a sound, stoped, and look inside. She made eye contact with me (though she either had no eyeballs or they were all black) and we stared for a while into each other’s souls. I could feel her pain, her fear, and her sorrow. She then turned away and continued what I assumed to be her rounds. My oldest brother bolted up and slammed the door closed and we agreed to never sleep with it open again. But who was she? Why did she dwell here? And wouldn’t hell be a kinder torment than the purgatory she was trapped in? 
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Reba Petro
I'm happy your safe
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