There’s A House On Coffey Hill Where People Disappear And Now I Know The Chilling Truth About Where They Go

Forsaken Fotos
Forsaken Fotos

The House is not beautiful.

It is far from being a paragon of architectural mastery. There is nothing special hidden in its curves and latticework. It is, if anything, derivative and boring, a faux Victorian pustule sitting on the top of Coffey’s Hill.

And it is ours.


My mother is obsessed with our family history.

She’s always delighted in genealogy, and her skills far surpass anyone else’s that I’ve ever known. I’m not sure how far back she’s traced our family history, but based on the stacks of files she keeps in her office, I would guess she’s made it back at least a few centuries. And that’s being conservative. For all I know, she’s followed our lineage back to the invention of paper. I wouldn’t be at all surprised.

As a child, I often sat at my mother’s feet as she worked in her home office, playing secretary for her. She’d give me “memos” to run and give to my dad, or my brother, or my sister… or even the dog, if we were the only two home. Sometimes, she would tell me about her work if I pestered her enough. She most enjoyed telling me about our family history.

“Did you know, your great great Uncle Alexander had a twin?” she would say.

“What happened to him?” I’d ask, knowing through her tone of voice that the “had” was integral to the statement.

“Oh, he disappeared when he was fifteen. They think he probably ran away, he didn’t get along very well with the family.” As I looked at her in fascination, she’d ask me, “What do you think happened to him?”

I’d think and think and think. I wouldn’t move from my spot at her feet for hours as I considered all the possibilities. I tried to feel his past resonating in my blood, as though it were enough to connect our minds and our storylines.

Finally, I’d hazard a guess: “I bet he moved to China and became a billionaire. And one day we’ll get a letter from his grandkids telling us that we’ve inherited all his money!” My mom would chuckle and tell me that, well, if I thought so, then it must be true. She’d give me a piece of paper and a pen and I’d spend my afternoon writing our allegedly-filthy-rich relatives a letter pleading for a new pony and maybe that new Barbie doll I saw on TV, you know, the one will all the adjustable joints.

Such afternoons were repeated so often throughout my childhood that I eventually accumulated quite an array of knowledge surrounding our family history. There was great Aunt Mae, who eloped with her boyfriend in 1948 and was found dead three years later in a drughouse in Chicago. There was a distant cousin of my grandfather named Andrew, who was disowned for being gay. And let’s not forget Michael, my great great great great grandfather who was rumored to have died of fright one night in that house of Coffey’s Hill… not that they ever found the body, of course.

You may find it strange that she shared these stories with me. After all, a number of them were overtly gruesome, the kind of things adults fashion into urban legends to persuade kids to behave. But my mother and I both share the same sense of morbid fascination with the past, so she felt no compunction in sharing the stories with me, and I felt no dread or disgust. She was telling me the stories that wove together to result in my own life, my own story. Tell me: could you help being fascinated by that?


We do not live in The House.

It is ours – it belongs to all of us. Everyone who’s sprung from our family tree. Our last name carries with it generation upon generation of tragedy. All of it collects in The House. When I was a child, I used to think it must slither in through the rain gutters. Now I know better, of course.

Until recently, the woman living in that house was my great Aunt Gladys. She grew up in The House and I thought she’d probably die in The House – she’d always been quite the recluse.

My mother was reticent to tell me about Aunt Gladys. Even as a child, I knew about The House – the way it sat on the hill, the way it looked down on us like we were squirmy little insects beneath it, the way it belonged to us and yet made us feel that we really belonged to it.

So I’d ask. And she’d shake her head and say, “when you’re older, when you’re older.” But older never came.

Eventually, I did my own research. I asked my father for what little he knew of my mother’s family. I looked a little online. I searched through courthouse records like my mom used to do when she hit a dead end. I managed to glean enough information to understand why we stayed away from her.

Aunt Gladys had grown up in The House, just like my grandmother, the difference being that grandma left the house when she turned eighteen to marry my grandfather… and she never went back. She never spoke to Gladys again, nor did the other brothers and sisters. I wasn’t exactly sure why, and none of us were willing to risk grandma’s rage to ask her and find out – grandma had a horrible temper.

Now, I couldn’t say for sure why Gladys never left The House. But I found a clue that I thought had something to do with it. There was a little girl, another one of my great aunts, named Ethel, who disappeared when she was twelve, in that very same house.

What did I think? I’m sure you know. I thought that Aunt Gladys had something to do with it.

Mostly, I felt bad for her when I was younger. Nobody ever went to see her, so she must have been all on her own after her mother and father had died. With nobody to love her and nobody to care about her… well. It just seemed so pitiful, is all.

That was all I knew about Aunt Gladys.

Until I met her for myself.


Oh, yes. I was curious.

Wouldn’t you be? The proverbial black sheep of the family lives less than a quarter of a mile away from you and you’ve never met them. Tell me that wouldn’t intrigue you, even if just a little?

I found myself standing in the foyer of The House the summer I turned twenty-three. I was in-between jobs and was presented with an opportunity to make a little money when great Aunt Gladys fell down her stairs. She’d broken her back and it was clear that there was no way she could stay on her own after that.

Now, when my mother found out that Aunt Gladys was in the hospital, her irritating sense of right and wrong spoke up and offered its own valiant advice that we go pay her a visit, even though we’d never even seen her before. “We’re family, and this is what family does,” she told me when she drove me to see her. My father was at work and my older brother and sister had long since moved away, so it was only my mother and I who were making that fateful trip. I didn’t protest much, as it were. Like I said, I was dreadfully curious.

My curiosity was only further intrigued at the sight of Aunt Gladys lying in that hospital bed. She was so small and frail, with wrinkled skin draped loose over twig-sized bones. She couldn’t have been more than five feet tall. She had thick, long, white hair that flowed down past her waist. Unlike most old women’s hair, hers looked soft and strong. Even in her old age, she was beautiful. Her eyes looked like large gemstones resting in her skull, her nose was small and delicate, her mouth was full and tender. She captured my interest the moment I saw her… particularly because, for all her beauty, there was something pitiful in her appearance. Somehow, she looked like a lost child to me, seeking refuge in a place she’d never find it. I wondered what that meant.

When she spoke, it was with a remarkable clarity that didn’t match that pathetic gaze she turned towards me. She smiled at my mother’s introduction, responded in kind, and gave us both a winning smile. She laughed easily in our presence. She invited us to see her any time she wanted. But that tension was still thrumming just beneath her surface. I don’t think my mother could sense it. But I could. And Aunt Gladys knew.

“Ah, Sami, wasn’t it?” Aunt Gladys directed her attention more fully to me during a lull in the conversation.“I’ve often seen your name in the paper, but this is my first time seeing you. You’re much prettier than your picture could ever show.”

I blushed a little at that – my mom was always getting me into the paper for something or another. Aunt Gladys surprised me by making a somewhat abrupt offer: “I was wondering if you’d like a job.”

My mother looked a little confused, and I think it’s because she wasn’t a part of the little subconscious repartee between Gladys and I. I looked at Gladys with an openness that granted her permission to continue.

“It seems that, for a few weeks, I won’t be able to stay up in that old house by myself. I suppose I could submit to being thrust into a nursing home, but I’d much rather remain at home. As you and your mother may know, I have a sizable amount of money. I could pay you well to come stay with me. I’d need you to do the cooking and cleaning, maybe run a few errands for me. And make sure I don’t fall again, of course. Mostly, it would be nice to have someone close by, just in case. Of course, you don’t have to accept if you don’t want to – just a thought I had.”

That last sentence was included as a mere formality, more for form’s sake than authenticity’s. The look in her eyes told me that she wasn’t making a request, but issuing a challenge – whether a friendly challenge or not, well, that remained to be seen.

I could feel my lips curving infinitesimally as I accepted her challenge, adding for the sake of my mother, “That sounds like a wonderful opportunity. I’d like that very much.”

My mother, of course, was a bit surprised by my declaration, but she didn’t seem to mind. I think that she always secretly wanted to mend the rift that had been created in the family all those years ago and welcome Gladys into our home. Her interests worked well for me.

Curiosity, curiosity, curiosity.

And so it was that I found myself in The House’s foyer, staring up at the cheap lamp fixtures with their flaking black paint, wondering what stories their flickering would tell me.

Taking care of Gladys was surprisingly easy.

She had a nurse that came once a day to check on her. She was mostly confined to her bed, so all I had to do was bring her meals three times a day and help out with the cleaning. Contrary to the lip service she’d paid my mom, she didn’t seem to want my company – hardly a word passed between us, other than when I first arrived.

“You may enter any room in this house, explore as much of it as you please,” she’d told me with none of the false joviality that she had affected in the hospital. “I know that’s why you’ve come here. At least, part of the reason. But I find myself compelled to inform you that this place isn’t safe…”

She wasn’t lying, but her words weren’t meant to discourage me. They were supposed to entice me. See, she and I already understood each other. She knew my real reason for being here and accepted it.

However… I still wasn’t sure why she wanted me here. That would take a little more investigation… and I was more than willing to do the groundwork.

As soon as I’d gotten settled in, I began my exploration.

The house had two stories and an attic, although that was blocked off. When I asked Gladys about it, she shrugged and told me that it was old, dirty, empty, and unstable. She didn’t seem to be hiding anything, so I took her words at face value. I had the feeling that there was something that she wanted me to find here – apparently it wasn’t in the attic, so I wouldn’t bother trying to pry the boards off the door to look.

I started on the first floor, spending an inordinate amount of time winding through the rooms, looking for clues as to how Gladys had lived her secluded life all these years. They were slow in coming. There was a parlor, a living room, a kitchen, and a dining room, all with the basic accouterments. The décor isn’t really worth mentioning, aside from the fact that Gladys seemed to have an inordinate fondness for kittens. She had a host of kitten figurines, paintings, and pictures that seemed to stare out at me from the shadows whenever I turned off the lights.

After spending a day on the first floor, I moved to explore the second. Although Gladys’ room was originally on the second floor, she’d been moved to the first floor’s guest bedroom for the time being, so I had the second floor all to myself. I made the most of it.

There were six rooms on the second floor, five bedrooms and one sitting room. I had been set up in the first bedroom, the one facing Gladys’ usual room. Two of the other rooms were obviously guest bedrooms, or at least they were now – I spent an inordinate amount of time trying to guess which one might have belonged to my grandmother.

It’s the fifth room that was different.

I could feel it as soon as I opened the door – it was an awkward, uncomfortable feeling, like something was amiss. As I looked around, it became obvious that the room belonged to a child. The bed was a small cot that wouldn’t fit anyone above the age of fifteen. The bedding was once pink, although the color had faded into almost white with age and repeated washings. There was a little teddy bear sitting on the bed, affixed with a bright red ribbon. It looked as though the ribbon had been added recently, the color and fabric still fresh and clean. Various toys were scattered around the room. I looked in the closet and discovered a few dresses, small and covered with frills. My feeling of unease burst into sudden understanding as my stomach sank into the ground.

This was surely Ethel’s room.


A few days later, I decided to go looking through the basement.

Gladys could sense that I was going there next, I’m certain of it. That day, she watched me with a sharp eye, not as though to warn me from my journey, but so as to survey my intent. She was keen on guessing how I might react to whatever I found. I could sense it.

The basement itself was bare and unfurnished. Cracked cement floors and brick walls left it much cooler than the rest of the house. One naked bulb hung from the ceiling and illuminated very little of the dark expanse.

There were a few boxes piled around the basement, and I quickly divined that Gladys had been using this as a storage room rather than the attic. Probably easier to shuttle things to and from the basement. None of the boxes interested me except for the one that was conspicuously left in the center of the room.

While the others were cardboard and sagged with age and mold and moisture, this one was a wooden crate, and it had been tended to with precise care. It drew me, the way that it sat there with its top already removed, as though it had been waiting for the day I would stumble across it. I know now that it was intentional. Just like Gladys’ fall.

I sat down by the crate and peered inside, using my phone as a flashlight. I began to pull out its contents with a careful hand, as though afraid that they would shatter into dust and leave me more confused than before.

The first item was a doll. It wasn’t anything special, just a little ragdoll with yarn for hair and a stitched mouth. Immediately, I knew it had belonged to Ethel. So this was a box of her belongings, was it?

I continued to sift through the items. Next was a journal, the writing too faded to read. There were baby clothes and shoes, as well. A little collection of rocks. A sewing sample with crooked stitches.

And then, at the bottom, a picture. It was Aunt Gladys, obvious from the sharp in her smile and the glint in her eyes. But she was young, only about sixteen or seventeen in the picture. Next to her was a little girl, maybe ten or eleven. She had curly brown hair and wide, staring eyes. She was thin inside her frilled dress. The dress, actually, I recognized from the upstairs closet.

The pieces of the puzzle were beginning to come together. This box, it wasn’t just Ethel’s belongings. It was full of things that Ethel and Gladys had shared with each other. I could feel it. I don’t know how, but I could.

Gladys wanted me to learn where Ethel had gone. She was leaving me clues. But now the question rose to my mind: did I really want to know?


I never had a chance to answer that question.

Once I had made my little basement discovery, Gladys put the next part of her plan into action.

All this time, she hadn’t really interacted with me much. It wasn’t that she didn’t like me or had decided to ignore me, no, she was waiting. For something. Whatever it was, it had happened, and she opened up.

She didn’t mention Ethel. But she did tell me how the family had disowned her, had left her to rot in that old house, even though their parents had never blamed her. I wasn’t sure how true that was, I sensed that there was something of a lie underneath her talk, but I accepted it. I felt that I had to, to know where this was going. She reproached my grandmother and her siblings. She waited until it was cemented in my mind, that even if I knew there was more to the story the small seeds of resentment had begun to grow.

Then she reproached my mother.

It was subtle, at first, oh, she wasn’t blaming my mother, not at all, who would? But her anger and bitterness came frothing to the surface as she continued, mentioning all the years that my mother had lived just down the road and never once had she come to see her. That my mother must hold a grudge, and as such had never given Gladys a chance to explain. How my mother was bought in by lies and even kept us children from her.

I knew what she was doing, even then. She wanted to drive a wedge between my mother and I. I could sense her intentions, as though they were my own creation. But my own resentment grew all the same.

It was exactly what she wanted.


A few days later, my mom and I had a fight.

It happened over the phone, although it shouldn’t have happened at all, to be honest. My mother had called to see how I was feeling, since I hadn’t been home since I went to live with Gladys. I could hear the annoyance in her voice. It fanned the flames of my anger, the grudge that Gladys had passed down to me, and I made some sort of passive aggressive comment about being the only one in the family who cared about Aunt Gladys. My mother took offense (rightly so) and within a few minutes we were ensnared in a full-blown screaming match.

Eventually, I hung up on her, throwing the phone onto my bed and leaving it there, ringing as she tried to call me back. To be honest, I was more angry than she was. If anything, she sounded bewildered by my sudden rage. As for me, I felt out of control, as though I wanted to tear apart my room and scream for hours until all my anger finally dissipated.

Instead, I felt something.

All of my anger seemed to zero in on the center of my chest. I felt myself being pulled forward, as though my rage had become a string tied around my chest, yanking me down the hall…

And towards Ethel’s room.

My anger had given me some kind of purpose, and its purpose was in that room down the hall, the one I’d been avoiding since I realized who it belonged to. I suppose I could have stopped myself if I’d really wanted to, but I didn’t. It was soothing, almost. It was as though I’d found my destiny, and it was calling to me and I was going towards it.

I entered her room.

The difference was immediately obvious. Ethel’s room only had two doors, the door leading into it and the door to the closet.

The third door looked identical to the other two, and if I hadn’t been in her room before I wouldn’t have noticed anything strange about it. But here I was, gaping at it and wondering why it wanted me.

Because that’s what that feeling was. The door was inviting me inside.

The pull was so strong that I should have walked right into the door, without pausing to think about what might happen. Instead, a small part of me, one that was unaffected by whatever strange spell had cast its enchantment, paused. And it whispered to me. I nodded and walked towards Ethel’s bed, snagging the frayed teddy bear with the new red ribbon.

Satisfied, I opened the door and walked inside.

As soon as I closed the door behind me, I was greeted by a long hallway.

It was dark in spite of the overhead lights, as though the darkness was a part of the environment that could be avoided in the short-term but could never be dispelled permanently. Its wallpaper was black, giving the illusion that I was in a dark tunnel. The kind of tunnel you expect to be haunted by witches and ghosts and all the other shit that adults lie about. I followed the hallway aimlessly, not really caring where I went or why. Whatever was waiting for me, I would find it. That thought gave me pause and a shiver of fear crawled up my back. I hugged the teddy bear tight for support and continued on my way. After all, I didn’t know what might be waiting for me. Or what it wanted.

There were various offshoots, hallways upon hallways upon hallways, and I gradually came to realize that I was in some sort of labyrinth. There were no windows and I began to feel as though I was underground. Except that I knew I wasn’t. I wasn’t even in the same earth that I’d been before. I was somewhere entirely separate from everything I’d ever known, and my sense of unease grew.

I wandered for hours, never tiring, never growing hungry. I had a distinct fear that I’d go on wandering forever when I happened upon a door.

I didn’t hesitate when I opened this one. Anything was better than wandering my life away.

It was Ethel’s room, although this version was darker and had no windows. It was, however, undoubtedly hers, as evidenced by the tiny cot and the faded bedclothes. She sat on the bed and rocked back and forth, humming to herself, her eyes unfocused as though she was lost in thought.

She didn’t look at me until I asked: “Are you Ethel?”

Stupid question. The curly hair and the giant eyes said as much. She looked up at me and smiled.

“Are you one of us now?”

I hesitated, unsure as to how to answer her. But I didn’t feel like I was one of them. So I said, “no, I’m just a visitor.”

She nodded as she stared at me. I’d unconsciously moved my hands behind my back, squeezing the teddy bear as hard as I could. She said, “Did Gladys send you here?”

She did, I realized, now understanding what – who – Gladys wanted me to find, but I chose not to answer Ethel’s question. Instead, I asked one of my own. “Why are you here?”

“Don’t you know the answer to that?” She asked, as though she was surprised by my ignorance.“After all, you’re one of us. We share the same blood, that should be enough.”

I shook my head. “It isn’t. Tell me. What is this place?”

She looked exasperated, but she went on anyway, explaining it to me as though I were the child in this scenario. I guess I was.“This place, this house, its connected to us. It exists because of our blood. We made it. We are bound to it.”

She certainly wasn’t talking like a twelve-year-old. I wondered what exactly she had become with all the time spent here. She continued.

“Where you are now, it was born of grudges, designed by hatred, and it houses all the anger that our kind is accustomed to. We are here because we hate.”

I was beginning to understand. “So this place… it appears when you’re angry? That’s why you’ve come here?”

She shook her head. “Not when we’re angry, when we’re hateful. That’s why you’re here, too. Towards someone of your own blood, you feel a great hatred. Isn’t that true?”

I tried not to examine that point too much, pushing all thoughts of my mother and the guilt that accompanied them out of my mind. “And you… you’re angry – ah – hateful towards Gladys?”

She nodded and her eyes flashed in the dim light. “She hurt me. Did she tell you? She was supposed to protect me, but she hurt me.”

“How did she hurt you?”

Ethel gave no answer.

“Are there others?”

She smiled at that. “Of course. It’s the curse of our blood. In every generation, there is someone. Someone capable of the hatred that manifests in this place.”

I thought back to all the disappearances in my family tree, those barren branches that no one ever looked at too closely… no one but my mother and I. “If I keep wandering… will I find them, too?”

She nodded. “And they can tell you their own stories.”

But that wasn’t what had attracted my attention. A tiny frisson of fear grew as I asked her, “So you’re… trapped here? Is that it?”

She looked at me in shock a moment before laughing and answering, “You haven’t been listening at all. We are free to come and go as we please.” My face must have shown my confusion because she sighed before continuing, “I stay here not because I have to, but because I want to.” She leaned forward and her eyes flashed in hatred.

“I want Gladys to suffer.”

Understanding flooded my system and expressed itself in a tiny gasp as I looked at Ethel. All these years, all this time that she’d hidden herself away in this… place… had been to punish her sister. For what? The answer wasn’t clear. But I understood now that hatred had built this place, and hatred kept it alive.

I felt the sudden urge to run. Ethel must have sensed it, because she laughed at me as I stepped back towards the door. I wanted to flee this place, and now that I knew I could, I wasn’t sure what was keeping me.

It was the little voice inside me, the one that had whispered to me to grab the bear. It whispered to me again, so I told her what it said.

“Gladys…” I began, taking a deep breath as she cocked her head at me, “Is very, very sorry. She’s… been waiting for you. For a long time. She’s kept your room just as you left it, even after all these years.”

“Years?” asked Ethel, as though I’d spoken in a foreign tongue.“But… I haven’t been here for more than a few days…” her voice trailed off as she looked at me in sudden fear, and my heart ached. Oh, God… she didn’t know. That was the real trick of this place, the real evil.

I pulled the bear from behind my back and held it out towards her. She reached for it, her trembling hands pulling it into her arms. She could see how old it had become. Her eyes welled with tears.

“She puts a new ribbon on it whenever it fades and loses its color,” I said. “She’s been waiting for you. Won’t you come back with me?”

She looked at the bear in her hand and I saw her eyes soften. I could see the moment her hatred burned away and all that was left was sorrow and regret.

She took my hand. “I want to see Gladys,” she said.


It was easy to find the door.

I understood now how to leave this place. It was simple for me, in a way that it wasn’t for Ethel. Or for anyone else trapped in that place. Because, yes, they are trapped. By their own hatred and anger. They can only leave once they find it in themselves to forgive their transgressors. I could forgive my mother. It had taken Ethel all this time to forgive Gladys.

I was a little worried that we’d been there for much longer than I had thought. After all, Ethel had proved to me that there was no time in this place – it simply was. However, once we opened the door and entered her room – her REAL room – I knew that no time had passed, simply because I had immediately decided not to stay. The place… it couldn’t trap what it couldn’t keep.

Ethel looked up at me, her small hand trembling in mine, her other hand squeezing tight to her bear.

We descended the steps together in silence, making our way towards Gladys’ room.

Gladys sensed my approach, but not Ethel’s. She asked me from behind her door, “You’ve come back?” She knew I’d gone. She was afraid I wouldn’t return. I heard raw, anguished hope in her voice, the hope that spoke of what she had wanted from me all this time – Ethel. That was why she left these clues, why she threw herself down her stairs. She’d placed all her hope in me, and now I’d finally come through.

I opened the door.

Gladys’ eyes flew wide as she stared at Ethel. Ethel trembled with the force of her realization that she’d been gone for so long, Gladys was now an old woman. Not only that, but the rest of her family… I wondered if she realized that they were all gone.

I almost couldn’t watch as Ethel walked towards Gladys. But I had to. Gladys extended her arms as Ethel approached her bed.

“Ethel,” she breathed, the pain in her voice so sharp it pierced me.


“I’m sorry,” Gladys’ eyes were awash with tears and a fierceness entered her voice. “I didn’t mean it, I’m sorry, I’m so sorry.”

Ethel smiled and climbed into Gladys’ arms. Gladys enveloped her and for one short moment, I thought that everything might turn out okay, that we could defy logic and time and everything else and these two could be happy.

And then:

“I forgive you,” said Ethel.

Because I was watching so closely, I got to watch the transformation up close. The way that Ethel’s face sagged and her body shook. The way her skin fell away from her bones and her flesh disintegrated into black rot. The way her breath left the remains of her body and she lay there, over half a century dead, in Gladys’ arms.

The way that Gladys began to scream, the anguish and pain in her voice shaking reality with its unbearable intensity…

My body moved on its own, and I’m glad that it did.

I ran from The House and I never looked back.


The first thing I did when I got home was apologize to my mother.

That seems a little funny, doesn’t it? You’d think I’d be too afraid, after… well. It was suddenly of the utmost importance to me that she understand how much I loved her. That I didn’t hate her, no matter what Ethel had said. She held me in her arms, shocked, as I devolved into tears, begging her not to hate me.

She knew something was wrong. Bless her heart, she understood.

She called the police as I cried. She convinced them to go to The House – Gladys was in trouble, she said. But I think she knew that this was far from the truth.

Gladys was already dead.

When the police got there, they confirmed what I knew in my heart to be true. Gladys was lying in bed, her heartbeat having already fluttered away into the dark. They decided she’d had a heart attack, brought on by nothing more than old age. I knew that wasn’t true.

To my great surprise, however, they found Ethel, too.

She was still lying in Gladys’ arms, the rot of her flesh staining the bedclothes black. They questioned me about it, but I could give no answers. They attributed my confusion to shock – I must have seen her holding the body and had been so terrified that my mind completely blanked out.

Well… they weren’t exactly wrong.

They told us that Gladys must have killed her and hidden her body in the attic. That’s why it was blocked off, after all. Most of my family bought this story, and I never uttered a word in Gladys’ defense, even though nobody could explain how she’d climbed up to the attic to retriever the body before conveniently dying in the ground floor’s guest bedroom.

I knew the truth. Most importantly, my mom did, too. I didn’t even have to tell her, not at first. She simply looked at me and knew that something was missing, something about the story wasn’t right. I wasn’t able to tell her what had happened until a few weeks after the two had been buried – Ethel next to her mother and father, Gladys in a nondescript grave at the edge of the cemetery, reserved for murderers and monsters.

Lately, there’s been talk among the various members of our family about tearing down The House. It’s a disease, they say, a monument to bad memories.

My mother and I have been fighting to keep it standing, much to the bewilderment of our family members. Even my father is growing suspicious, and he doesn’t even LIKE my mother’s family.

But we know. There are still souls trapped in that house, victims of their own hatred and lost time. They deserve to leave, to be saved. Even if coming back into the world is more painful than staying in the prison they’ve constructed from their own hatred.

So now you see that I can’t leave them there. Because now I have a name for the place they’ve created.

It’s hell. I’ve seen it… and it belongs to us. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Rona Vaselaar is a graduate from the University of Notre Dame and currently attending Johns Hopkins as a graduate student.

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