PodCastle 253: Virtue’s Ghosts

by Amanda M. Olson

Read by Amanda Fitzwater

Originally published in Beneath Ceaseless Skies. Read it here!

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.

Rated PG.