We all have our haunted places. They’re the speakeasies dwelling inside us, built to house our twisted acts – the voodoo dolls, the Judas we loved, the body parts we’ve trashed; the birds we’ve caged, the dine-and-dash, the smoking ants under the magnifying glass. Some items we house there are broken, while some are still intact. Some memories shame us so bad that we hang them, deep inside the closets of our crooked little shacks.
But this woman knows her haunt. When she visits, she stays as long as she wants – unperturbed by the dusty photographs, the skeletons of her past. Hundreds of clocks lay out on the floors, all of them broken or smashed. She prefers the time of candles, watching the wick rise out of the wax. When the wax drips down and her reading light grows dim, that is when she knows she must go back.
Between her fingers the paper crinkles, as she flips to the next page. She hears whispering around her, and she looks up to respond, so they know she’s not afraid. She begins to tell them the stories of her day – of the fig jam she ate and the vinyl records she played. And the whispers hush because they realize she will let them stay, that she’s at peace – with the bones, the creaks, the ghosts – with all the memories, good and bad, that she’s made.
She will not be shamed.
She is Caitlin, the ninth of The Great Danes.