Sarah and her brother Johnny return to their childhood home, scene of bad experiences and memories. They hope to dispel these spectres and personal hauntings once and for all and move on. Little do they know there may be something else haunting the building...
In such a short amount of space and what at first appears to be just another 'return to the family house that was haunted' type of story, Lily Childs quickly makes it apparent that this is no mere pastiche or treading of old ground. Such is the assuredness of the writing, that we are immediately drawn into the world that these two characters inhabit.
Just when I felt I was able to predict the story, each turn takes it off in a subtly different direction. In fact, there is one paragraph in the story for which I was completely unprepared for. It sketches the fact that Sarah and Johnny were separated while young and only recently reunited due to Johnny's efforts. In just a couple of swift lines, Lily was able to pierce my heart with emotion and brought a pricking of tears to my eyes.
It's all handled in a deft manner and unfolds clearly and concisely, with the action in the present allowing the past to reassert itself, so we are given a deeper and clearer picture of just what happened to these two children even as they are in turn, given answers to long hidden mysteries.
It ends on a poignant and tragic note, but one which feels wholly necessary in light of what has gone before. This is a very well written short story, which manages to both chill and move, something all too rare inn the field of horror. Can't wait until the next story from this author.to edit.
PAUL M FEENEY