Login   Sign Up 


She is at the Door

by PaulaBlake 

Posted: 11 January 2005
Word Count: 468
Summary: Lou visits the house she grew up in once again.

Font Size

Printable Version
Print Double spaced

She is at the door; the brushed steel frame holding the cheap frosted glass in place looks cold and uninviting. She remembers how it used to be…exactly that, cold and uninviting; at least it always was when he was there.

It was the type of door the local Council installed when they felt they need to tidy up a housing estate, succeeding only in making the houses look like a carbon copy of each other. Louisa liked it, all her friends had one the same, it was silly really, but being new wasn’t fun, having a council house meant she was the same as the other kids and not picked on like the posh ones were, the ones whose parents owned their own homes. It was a happy place to be, unless he was there.

Inside, the smell of home cooking is comforting, stew and dumplings – always was her favourite, leftover Sunday roast made into stew which lasted a couple of days then those leftovers were made into a pie with mash, soggy cabbage and thick gravy made from the roast’s juices. Of her mothers cooking, she dared only to dislike the sausage meat lattice pie, her mother was furious
“Food is NOT thrown away in my house when there are children dying of starvation in Ethiopia.”
Lou had sat there until it was dark, the lattice was stone cold, and she was forced to eat it for breakfast after going to bed hungry. Bedtime was when he came.

The telephone rings and Louisa jumps back to the present, it’s someone else’s phone now but she has a giggle at the memory of her mother’s genius idea of putting a lock on it that summer to stop over-use while she was out at work. Louisa found a way of bypassing the lock completely. The bill that summer was extortionate and a long ‘discussion’ ensued with BT about how it couldn’t possibly have been run up due to the lock. BT ended up crediting the whole bill, probably for a quiet life, Louisa thought.

Things have gone full circle now; Louisa lives here again and has learned to live with him. She has returned to where she was happiest and he is still here, trapped like he always was. He makes the same aggravated heavy walk across the landing and through the bedrooms every night, rattling coat hangers in frustration, then he occupies the stairwell for the evening laughing heartily at each person he can make shiver and climb the stairs with their backs against the wall, giving them the feeling that someone is chasing and snapping at their heels! Just like he did with them.

He tells Louisa he is looking for his horse, she doesn’t know why. She isn’t scared anymore, she is like him now.

Favourite this work Favourite This Author

Comments by other Members

Jubbly at 09:44 on 12 January 2005  Report this post
Hello Paula, there's a very nice dark tension creeping through this piece. I'm not really sure what's going on and who 'he' is butI'm very intrigued and would like to find out. Are the both ghosts? Is he evil? You've given us such a moorish taster that I feel it's incomplete. There are some lovely images, especially the references to food, one can practically smell the congealed meat cooking and re cooking. This sentence niggled a bit - when they felt they need to tidy up a housing estate. I felt the word 'they' should be 'the' or 'need' - 'needed'.

All the best


DerekH at 12:47 on 12 January 2005  Report this post
Hi Paula, I love a spooky story. I think this one would be more effective if expanded though... So we have a chance to experience her fear, and maybe something about her death (I'm presuming she is also a ghost at the end, is that right?)

At the first mention, I was wondering if 'he' was going to be a spook or her father (or similar male figure), did you intend that? In such a short peice it doesn't take long to find out he's a ghost, but even so it threw me and set me wondering, which was a bit of a distraction on the first read.

I hope my comments don't seem negative. You've got a great atmosphere set up. I enjoyed it enough to want you to tell me more. I think it's a great idea, well worth developing, and if you do I'd like to read again.

All the best,


Bav Dav at 12:50 on 12 January 2005  Report this post
Hi Paula,

I like this. I think you do a good job of leading the reader up the garden path before delivering your twist.



PaulaBlake at 09:48 on 13 January 2005  Report this post
thanks for commenting,

I was debating whether or not to extend this piece and I think i will, theres much more i can add without being too much of a giveaway!
thanks again

Colin-M at 19:02 on 13 January 2005  Report this post
There is a good sense of mood and darkness here, but I found the piece a little higgledy piggledy on first read. It needs a little cleaning, but I think the main problem is how it jumps from this time frame, to that, then back again, all in the space of just a few hundred words.

I've looked back over and I'm not sure if this was intentional; it could be that the piece was meant to read as a flashback, but I got a little lost in the part about her being a little girl and having to go to bed without supper. When I read the next line it came as a bit of a hiccup and I had to go back a line or two. It might read smoother if we know from the word go that she is reminiscing, and then cut back at the end.

Overall, I liked it, but it brought up a lot of questions: how did she manage to get back to the same council house, being the main one. Unless her mother never left and had just died - I dunno, feels a little complicated and gives the piece a smack of coincidence. Perhaps you could lose the fact that it was a council house without losing anything from the story. People in posh houses have to scrape by too - council tenants don't get stung for repairs, mortgage payments; all the things that drag you under when you own a house. So long as we think the house is need of a few repairs and money is tight, it might work.

This could sit well in the Young Adult Group.

Colin M

PaulaBlake at 09:33 on 14 January 2005  Report this post
Hi Colin

Thanks for your comments

The reason she is back in the house is that she is now a ghost and has 'returned to the place she was happiest' she reminisces about the times when she lived there.


Colin-M at 09:42 on 14 January 2005  Report this post
[colin visibly slaps his own forehead and leaves the room]

scoops at 16:38 on 14 January 2005  Report this post
Hello Paula, I've read this piece before on this site, but I can't tell whether or not you've reworked it. There's some confusion with past and present tenses, but the idea that fuels the story is terrific. It needs tidying up, and I think would benefit from shorter clearer sentences. I love the ending:-) Shyama

Kara at 09:40 on 15 January 2005  Report this post
I enjoyed it, and agree that the references to food gave it atmosphere. Please develop it into something bigger. best wishes

Becca at 07:33 on 20 January 2005  Report this post
Hi Paula,
I agree with the comments above, particularly about the thought that you could develop it. My take on it is that the real story is about the man, (I took it to be her father, because it so aptly describes my own), and that you didn't quite want to go there, so wrote about a couple of incidents involving the mother, so then the story seemed to be about the relationship with her mother. I think it's only a question of deciding for sure what you are really wanting to write about, - and why would be the second question. Worth developing, there are some good images in it.

To post comments you need to become a member. If you are already a member, please log in .