by Amanda M. Olson
For two weeks after she moved into our house, no one could convince me that Aunt Victoria was not a ghost. With soundless steps, she drifted from room to room in a dress the same blue-gray color as the pendant around her neck. When she cried, I heard nothing. Once, as Mother tried to calm her, Aunt Victoria opened her mouth as if screaming and broke a plate against the wall. There was no sound from the glass until it hit the floor.
It was ten days past her coming-of-age ceremony when she came to live with us, after a week of urgent telegrams and hushed dining room conversations between Mother and Aunt Lily. This was a boarding house, Aunt Lily pointed out, and Victoria would take up one of the rooms without paying rent.
Aunt Victoria was bad for business. In the early days, more than once, we would find her in a room with a knife, hacking desperately at the ribbon around her throat. It never took the slightest damage, though Aunt Victoria managed to cut her fingers more than once. Other times, she would stand at her window and stare out, causing more than one potential boarder to start at the eerie sight and promptly take themselves over to the less-respectable Mrs. Harper’s. I hid behind Mother’s skirts when Aunt Victoria came into the room. I remember wishing that I, too, could move in with Mrs. Harper.
About the Author
Amanda M. Olson is a St. Olaf College graduate who has recently taken up residence in Wisconsin. She is a former student of Alpha Writer’s Workshop.
About the Narrator
A.J. Fitzwater is a dragon wearing a human meat suit from Christchurch, New Zealand. A graduate of Clarion 2014, she’s had short fiction published in Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Crossed Genres Magazine, and other venues of repute. Look out for upcoming stories in Shimmer Magazine and The Future Fire. She has done narrations across all Escape Artist podcasts, as well as Redstone SF, Interzone, and Wily Writers.