Greetings, short story lovers, and welcome to this week’s mystery prompt.
Here we have one of those prompts that is easily summed up. The title of this post probably told you everything you need to know: we’ll be dealing with haunted houses. But, as always, if you scratch the surface of this prompt you’ll find it runs deeper than a few novelty masks in a dark room. After all, the codified, prepackaged notion of a house full of ghosts didn’t just drop into the horror genre out of nowhere in the 1970s.
Ghosts and specters have inhabited our domiciles all through the history of storytelling. Something about the afterlife mixing with our very homes always gives us a chill. Pliny the Elder complained of one in his letters, Hamlet faced the ghost of his father in his own castle, and The House of Seven Gables questioned what sorts of ghosts our ancestors leave us. Plus there’s The Overlook Hotel, The Amityville Horror, Poe, Lovecraft, Paranormal Activity, and…well…the list goes on.
Our authors’ task this week was to give us a story about a haunted house. There were no restrictions on genre; they were free to interpret the notion of a haunted house however they chose.
Who will make themselves at home and who will pack up and run?
Let’s find out!
The Haunted House Hostility has begun!
We have two judges that will render their decision next Monday. The third vote comes from you, the readers. We ask that you read both stories objectively, and then leave a comment below or on the story itself. Authors are not allowed to comment on their own stories, but we’re sure they’ll be checking in here. We’ll tally up the totals and announce our champion on Monday.
And remember, if you like one of this week’s stories, vote it up in the new all-time best of list (new stories appear at the bottom).