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Bad House Spirit

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Carrie used to clean houses for a living. Mostly it was hard work but it was all right. But there was one house that was bad. Not the cleaning, although it was. But the house itself, from the creepy pictures to the barred and tinfoil-covered windows to the KEEP OUT signs all over the doors to the thing breathing down the back of Carrie’s neck…

This is a short horror story originally published in Three-Lobed Burning Eye. It also appears in the Fantasy in the City bundle, which collects twenty different urban fantasy stories together, featuring a bunch of different authors, if you’re interested in that kind of thing.

This story was inspired by the period in my life when I was cleaning houses in Iowa City. We cleaned a number of houses that were haunted or at least lived in by some less-than-sane people. The houses felt funny. Oppressive. (Others were a joy to clean.) Some were McMansions (huge, ugly cheaply-built, copycat houses that were sold by the dozen to the doctors at the University of Iowa), a couple were perfectly normal except for one room that the owners didn’t want cleaned (like the filthy, reeking, dirt-floored room under the deck that was walled in just for the dogs and had a big plate-glass window facing inward, like a tank at an aquarium), or the place where the owner screamed at us because we had a duty to move the fridge without a hand-truck on her linoleum tile floor (and which wasn’t in the contract).

And then there was this one, scary from the word go. We only did that place once.