1:00 pm - Sunday June 24, 2018

Ghosts and Empties – Novel and Ebooks

Novel Name: Ghosts and Empties

Series: Fates and Furies

Written by: Lauren Groff

Category: LiteratureFictionShort StoriesMystery

Page 1

I have somehow become a woman who yells, and, because I do not want to be a woman who yells, whose little children walk around with frozen, watchful faces, I have taken to lacing on my running shoes after dinner and going out into the twilit streets for a walk, leaving the undressing and sluicing and reading and singing and tucking in of the boys to my husband, a man who does not yell.

The neighborhood goes dark as I walk, and a second neighborhood unrolls atop the daytime one. We have few street lights, and those I pass under make my shadow frolic; it lags behind me, gallops to my feet, gambols on ahead.

The only other illumination is from the windows in the houses I pass and the moon that orders me to look up, look up! Feral cats dart underfoot, bird-of-paradise flowers poke out of the shadows, smells are exhaled into the air: oak dust, slime mold, camphor.

Northern Florida is cold in January and I walk fast for warmth but also because, although the neighborhood is antique—huge Victorian houses radiating outward into nineteen-twenties bungalows, then mid-century modern ranches at the edges—it’s imperfectly safe.

There was a rape a month ago, a jogger in her fifties pulled into the azaleas; and, a week ago, a pack of loose pit bulls ran down a mother with a baby in her stroller and mauled both, though not to death. It’s not the dogs’ fault, it’s the owners’ fault! dog-lovers shouted on the neighborhood e-mail list, and it’s true, it was the owners’ fault, but also those dogs were sociopaths.

When the suburbs were built, in the seventies, the historic houses in the center of the town were abandoned to graduate students who heated beans over Bunsen burners on the heart-pine floors and sliced apartments out of ballrooms.

When neglect and humidity caused the houses to rot and droop and develop rusty scales, there was a second abandonment, to poor people, squatters. We moved here ten years ago because our house was cheap and had virgin-lumber bones, and because I decided that if I had to live in the South, with its boiled peanuts and its Spanish moss dangling like armpit hair, at least I wouldn’t barricade myself with my whiteness in a gated community. Isn’t it . . . dicey? people our parents’ age would say, grimacing, when we told them where we lived, and it took all my will power not to say, Do you mean black, or just poor? Because it was both.

Filed in: Fiction, Lauren Groff, Literature, Mystery, Short Novel, Short Stories

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