Corwyn stared down the old man at the hotel’s front desk. He took his sweet time sizing them up, turning his disapproving squint on her, Gwen, and the clockwork driver—who held their trunk on one shoulder—in turn. Corwyn kept her mouth shut, though—Inwood, Idaho was barely more than three streets and a train station, but it did have a hotel that served meals. The Misses Teachout, bound for home with an item for the museum that was their steadiest employer, were in need of a room, as no trains were running until morning. It was doing Gwen and Corwyn no favors that the trunk, despite the clockwork man’s mechanical grip, shook and thumped loudly as the clerk pushed a key across the desk.
“Breakfast starts at eight,” he drawled, one eye on the trunk, the movement of which grew more violent by the minute.
Really, Corwyn reflected, they were lucky they’d not incurred damages on the coach’s roof where the trunk had been tied and the thumping had commenced. “Ends at ten. Supper noon until two.” The trunk shuddered and nearly came off the clockwork man’s shoulder. Gwen huffed and banged her fist on top of it. The desk clerk raised an eyebrow and continued, “Dinner at five-thirty. What you got in there, a badger?”
“Haunted doll,” Corwyn said blandly.
The desk clerk appeared skeptical. “We don’t allow pets.”
After a look of Shall I? at Corwyn, Gwen wrangled the trunk from the driver and onto the desk, licked her forefinger to work the lock, then opened the lid a crack. A small porcelain hand jammed itself in the opening, scrabbling for purchase. Corwyn reached over and shoved the hand back inside. Gwen shut the lid firmly.
“It ain’t a pet,” Gwen said, matching Corwyn’s bland tone.
The desk clerk—who, to his credit, showed no perturbation at this display beyond sucking a bit of his mustache into his mouth—said, “You keep that locked up tight, we’ll have no problems. Floors and walls’re thick. Either of you got a fighting knack?”
Gwen nodded, a grudging admission of her particular inborn gift. “No fighting indoors,” the clerk said. “You take any tussles into the street, no matter how strong the urge comes on.”
They paid the driver and dragged their luggage upstairs, each taking one handle of the trunk. The thumping continued all the way into the room, where they dropped the trunk heavily onto the floor. The thumping paused, then recommenced with a fury.
Gwen shucked her coat and hat before sitting on the bed to unlace her boots. Corwyn went to find the room’s very small heater, nestled in a corner with an instruction card next to it. She placed a finger on the pad set into its top, murmured the words on the card according to the provided phonetic spelling, and soon the brass box emitted warm air into the chilly room.
The thumping stopped. Corwyn and Gwen waited, but it didn’t start up again.
“That don’t bode well,” Gwen said.
“No doubt it’s plotting revenge,” Corwyn replied, the silence ringing in her ears.
“Of course, we’ve a great number of necrologic objects in our collection. The Dowd head alone is a jewel in our metaphoric crown, not to mention our seventeen separate religious relics—the mole from St. Anakarina’s shoulder is reported to have a great effect on failing crops.”
“How does one preserve a mole?” Gwen asked, slouched in one of the chairs in Dr. Jarvis Eggleston’s office. Corwyn occupied the other, pondering the question of who Mr. Dowd was and why the Methyl R. Crookston Museum of Classical Rarities owned his head.
“We didn’t do the preserving,” Dr. Eggleston said dismissively.
“Magic, Gwen. Or God. Don’t you remember anything the nuns taught us?”
“I endeavor every day to live by their lessons,” Gwen said with a grin that undermined the sentiment. “I just don’t recall any of them being about moles.”
Dr. Eggleston, used to them by now, ignored this. “Much to the chagrin of certain of my colleagues, our collection is missing one thing: we do not, as yet, have a haunted object. We do, however, as of earlier this week, have a proposed donation.”
“Why, Dr. Eggleston, you look as though you have swallowed a lemon,” said Gwen.
“Is this haunted object racy, Dr. Eggleston?” asked Corwyn.
“Mercy, no, Wyn, he’d never ask two young ladies to retrieve anything like that!”
“I am well aware of what the two of you get up to outside of your work here; be assured, there is nothing that I believe is outside your scope of retrieval,” said the curator. Corwyn and Gwen grinned at each other, delighted. “No, in truth, I’m merely . . . disgruntled. I don’t believe in ghosts. I think this will be a waste of our resources, and your time. But as I am your liaison within the museum, I am forced by my role and the votes of the curatorial staff to offer you the job. Feel free to refuse.”
They did not. They agreed the job would likely be aggravating as all nine hells—unlike the curator, the Misses Teachout had run into enough ghostly irritants to have an idea how it would go—and it did seem a waste of both Gwen’s fighting knack and Corwyn’s knack for finding folk, but they needed the money: their landlady had doubled their rent in an effort to make them move out. Neither of them wanted to give the old hag the satisfaction.
And so they found themselves in Idaho, in the converted one-room schoolhouse that was the Holtzkemper-Carr Memorial Library and Museum. The building housed no books, a great many shards of pottery, some arrowheads in a glass case, and a number of paintings Corwyn suspected were the work of its caretaker.
“You sure you want to give this away?” Gwen asked, hefting the shabby doll and checking it over. “Looks to be the pride of your collection.”
The caretaker, a short, elderly lady wearing three sweaters and a coat inside the museum, just nodded and watched over their shoulders as they locked the doll in their trunk.
Corwyn woke to the howling wind outside and a pitch-black room colder than their matchbox of a heater could thaw. Gwen slept on next to her, completely ignorant of the storm outside. Corwyn listened for the voices her books promised her could be heard in the winds of blizzards and, hearing none, decided to get up and read.
She fumbled round to find the clockwork lamp next to the bed and poked at it until it lit up. It dazzled her eyes; she blinked hard to clear them.
The doll sat on top of their trunk, facing her.
Corwyn startled so hard she went off the side of the mattress, landing on the floor with a thud that rattled her teeth; she heard Gwen bolt upright, then swear when she saw the doll.
The Teachouts were in disagreement as to whether it was meant to be male or female, as it was naked and bald, any paint that might have indicated hair long since worn away. Its body was stuffed cloth, stained brownish green, and half of one foot was broken off; it barely had a nose and only the suggestion of a mouth. What it still had were big black painted eyes, aimed right at Corwyn.
“Corwyn, did you take the doll out the trunk?” Gwen asked. Corwyn looked over her shoulder to where her sister, head cocked to one side, now contemplated the doll. Gwen was so rarely taken by surprise, it tended to intrigue more than aggravate her.
“No,” Corwyn said. Corwyn flat didn’t like surprises.
Gwen’s voice was thoughtful. “That lock’s set to our fingers. How’d it get out?”
“How’d it bang around inside to begin with? It’s haunted.” Corwyn leaned over to grab the doll by one arm; she spat on her fingers and fed the lock, then shoved the doll back in. It went without any fuss, which perhaps should have bothered her, but she was far past caring. She climbed back into bed before she remembered her plan to read. Well, it was too damned cold to get back out.
“You all right, Wyn?” Gwen asked.
“No,” she said. Maybe it was due to the hour, or the voiceless wind, but she went on, “I hate ghosts, it’s cold, there’s a howling storm out there, and what if we get stuck here and Mrs. Warram rents our place out from under us?” They’d had a hell of a time finding that flat. Their reputations preceded them wherever they went in San Xavier.
“We’ll figure it out,” Gwen said. “We always do.” Then she stuck her foot—which was freezing; she must have hung it off the side of the bed the whole time Corwyn talked—onto Corwyn’s leg, laughing as she shrieked.
The morning dawned gray and dim, the storm over, and when Corwyn opened her eyes it was to find the doll perched at the foot of the bed, staring at them. Or, rather, at Gwen.
She supposed she could move the doll, but the idea of Gwen’s face when she woke to find it there proved far too tempting. She was careful not to jostle the thing as she got up.
The room was cold, for all that their heater still chugged away in its corner.
The museum had given them a small clockwork transmitter that, if spat upon, would send a brief message to Dr. Eggleston. It was rickety and probably had about two more uses left in it, so she just sent have doll, snowed in before putting it back into her rucksack and turning her attention to their trunk.
The lock was still set, not scratched or dented beyond the small scorch mark left from the time someone had tried to pick it. The bed creaked as Gwen rolled over. Corwyn lifted the trunk to check the bottom.
Nothing there, either. Corwyn was displeased, but not surprised—her experience with ghosts was colored in aggravation and spite.
The sound was so slight—a gasp, then a rustle of blankets—that Corwyn turned before she realized she’d heard it.
The doll knelt on Gwen’s chest. It should not have been able to strangle anyone with its tiny, unjointed hands, but Gwen clearly could not breathe: her mouth open, eyes popped wide, scrabbling at the doll’s arms but finding no grip.
Corwyn dove across the bed, straddled Gwen’s legs, and got the doll around its soft stuffed body. She pulled back—it didn’t weigh this much; what in hell made it so damned heavy?—and put her body into trying to loosen its grip. She felt the barest give toward her; Gwen got her hands under the doll’s and yanked its arms away from her neck. She flipped it over her head to slam against the wall, and then—Corwyn ducked with a lifetime’s knowing her sister—slung it across the room. It hit the wall between the window and the dresser and its head cracked into two pieces. The whole mess slid to the floor.
“Oh, bloody hell,” Gwen said, her voice scratchy.
“I know your sister had a dog up there,” Mrs. Warram said to Corwyn.
Corwyn, having just started up the stairs to their apartment, paused and leaned against the railing to eye their landlady, who stood in the doorway to her own flat. Corwyn had been expecting this; they’d lived in the building long enough. Mrs. Warram’s business model followed a pattern from tenant harassment to rent increases to eviction, at which point she found someone new to move in and start abusing.
“Gwen did not have a dog in our apartment,” Corwyn replied. In fact, Gwen had brought home a cat she’d found out along Dunbar Road, but after a couple days of clawed furniture and an unfortunate incident involving Gwen’s arm, they’d returned the animal to the wilds of the Hill. They suspected the cat in the untimely demise of a number of pigeons and a dog.
“I’m keeping my eye on you girls,” Mrs. Warram went on. “I see you coming in here, bloody clothes and wads of money. I ain’t afraid to call the jacks on you, need be.”
Mrs. Warram, Corwyn thought, could have been described as a battleaxe had she been a little taller. Must be some kind of farm stock in her family. But it took more than a pair of livestock-delivering arms and a penchant for evicting tenants with a hammer to intimidate Corwyn Teachout—particularly on a day when her knack had out of the blue decided to drag her halfway across Cobbler’s Hill to a corpse she couldn’t identify, and therefore had no relations to charge for the finding. “You go right ahead and call the jacks, you see a need to, Mrs. Warram,” she said, voice pleasant. “You ain’t the only one with things to tell them.”
She’d turned, then, and headed up the stairs. She didn’t actually know anything she could tell an officer of the law about their landlady, but most everybody kept secrets, and it never hurt to act like you knew what they were.
The old termagant raised their rent the next week. They’d grinned at each other over the notice, pleased with themselves for their successful needling and thinking this was a game they’d easily win, until they counted their savings.
Gwen’s face was full of caution—Corwyn in a temper over money was about the only thing that scared her. “How much you think they’ll take out for damage?”
Corwyn examined the doll’s remains. “It ain’t like they got eyes on us,” she said, turning a piece of the doll’s head over in her hands. “We can tell them it was broken when we got it.” Corwyn started gathering sharp pieces of porcelain. “We’ll have to sit with it on the way back; it’s got no problem with the lock on the trunk, and I do not like the idea of it getting out on a train—”
“I don’t think it’ll be going in the trunk again,” Gwen said. Corwyn looked at her curiously, then followed Gwen’s gaze to the mirror.
In the reflection of the room, between the bed and dresser, stood a translucent figure. It turned, slowly, as if surveying its surroundings.
“In our favor, a haunted mirror’s much more dramatic than a haunted doll,” Gwen said. She’d wrapped up in two blankets, and only her face was exposed; she did her best to eat her sandwich, brought back to their room for lunch, without putting a finger outside. “You ask me, they can’t even get mad at us this time.”
Corwyn only half-listened as she ate her own sandwich, watching the mirror. She had only one blanket over her lap, but she wore both her sweater and Gwen’s, with her knit cap pulled down over her ears. She wished her gloves had fingers. “Even if we get it back to them in one piece, how do they plan to store it?”
“We’ve had this discussion before, numerous times, about many different objects,” Gwen replied around her food.
“They can’t have it grabbing folk and trying to kill them all the time,” Corwyn continued, undeterred. “Nobody’ll want to come to the museum.”
“Ain’t that many people goes to the museum as it stands,” Gwen pointed out. “And I reckon that’s their problem, once we’re paid.”
Corwyn couldn’t argue with that. The ghost walked toward the front of the mirror. It resembled the doll a bit, in that it was half-formed. Its eyes were big and black, but more pits than eyes; Corwyn couldn’t make out a nose or mouth. It seemed to be peering out at them, watching.
“I wish it’d go ahead and attack us,” Corwyn said, putting down her sandwich and rubbing the end of her nose. It was so cold it felt like rubber. “You know it’s gonna. And I hate waiting round for it to happen.”
Gwen kept her eyes on the mirror. “Maybe it can’t,” she said.
“Eternal optimist, you are,” Corwyn said, fond but accusing.
Gwen shrugged, unconcerned. “You brood enough for the both of us.”
“Yeah, well, I’d prefer to brood warm,” said Corwyn. She climbed off the bed, her feet freezing through her socks, and knelt to check the heater. It seemed to be working, sending out hot air with the slight wheezing of elderly clockwork, but the room was no less icy. “D’you think it’d work better if I bled on it?” she asked.
The room went black. Something grabbed her hair—well, it got a handful of hair under a larger handful of knitted hat—and jerked her head backward. Gwen swore and thrashed. Whatever had Corwyn pulled her back off her knees and tried to drag her across the floor.
It’s about damn time, she thought, one hand flying to her head, finding nothing but her hat bunched up taut; she groped with the other hand for the wrought iron cover of the heater. The hat slipped, gave her hair some slack; she got the heater with her fingertips, rolled onto her side, and chucked it in the general direction of the mirror.
She heard glass shatter. Her hair went limp and she hit the floor hard—Corwyn said a fast prayer to anything as might be listening that the walls and floors were as thick as the clerk said—her hat came off completely. The soft grayish daylight returned to reveal the shards of mirror laying on the dresser top and the floor. The heater and one of Corwyn’s boots lay in the midst of the detritus.
“All right, then,” Gwen said breathlessly, untangling herself from the knot her blanket cocoon had become and clambering off the foot of the bed, “where’s the thrice-damned thing now?”
It came as no surprise to Corwyn that the ghost had lodged itself in her right boot.
“Because why wouldn’t it,” she grumbled as the offending shoe rocked itself back and forth on the floor.
“Why didn’t you pack an extra pair of boots?” Gwen asked.
“Why would I pack an extra pair of boots?” The laces reached toward them in a manner that was undoubtedly meant to be menacing. “Cadogan Rentsch made me those boots—they’re woven all through with his weird alchemical metal junk and are well-nigh indestructible! What reason do I even have to own another pair?”
“Perhaps in case something otherworldly decides to take up residence in one?” Gwen asked innocently.
This was revenge for leaving the damn doll on the end of the bed. “Yes, of course, it’s all poor planning on my part,” Corwyn snapped, rubbing her forehead.
“Perhaps not as poor as the ghost’s, but . . . well, naming your faults is the first step to overcoming them.”
“Do not quote the nuns at me, Gwen Teachout. All that boot needs to kill you is some help.” Translucent fingers poked out the top of the boot, wiggling, but the rest of the hand looked to be well and truly caught inside. It seemed the extra care and eldritch materials Cadogan Rentsch used to make them—and then charged her through the nose for—had practical applications beyond making grown men cry when kicked. Corwyn watched the struggling fingers grimly, wondering whether Mr. Rentsch could be talked into making her just one rather than replacing the whole pair.
“Did you pack an extra pair of boots?” she asked Gwen.
Gwen made a scoffing noise. “Why would I pack an extra pair of boots?”
Corwyn’s foot turned to ice as soon as she put the boot on, but there was nothing for it: unless she wanted to wear a haunted boot all the way back to San Xavier, she’d have to leave it on long enough to venture up the street to the general store.
The store was open; they’d seen folks tramping there as they’d gotten dressed to fetch lunch. It was uncomfortable getting down the stairs—every time Corwyn put weight on her foot the cold washed over her—but she’d dealt with worse. What made her uneasy, as they exited the hotel onto the cleared and salted boardwalk, was the small, dark space she could now feel inside her skull.
“Gwen—” she began, and took a step. The boot twitched.
Not much. Just enough to jerk her foot in the air as she brought it down. Just enough for Corwyn to notice and take her sister’s elbow.
Her foot slid out from underneath her. Gwen, reflexes like a mongoose, threw an arm around Corwyn’s waist to keep her upright. Corwyn got both her feet underneath herself and took another two steps.
This time the boot pulled her foot backwards. Gwen barely kept her from falling on her face. Corwyn stomped her foot a couple times, which did nothing but made that spot in her head a little bigger. The boot dragged her foot sideways in retaliation.
“Oh, nine hells,” Gwen snapped; she bent, tightened her grip on Corwyn’s waist, and lifted Corwyn onto her shoulder, facing forward, hips angled so that the boot couldn’t reach to kick her.
“I believe the ghost is trying to possess me,” Corwyn remarked, keeping her voice even and tone easy as Gwen started for the store.
“Clearly it don’t know you,” Gwen replied darkly.
Corwyn’s right foot kicked viciously behind them. The dark space spread just a bit further.
“It feels like paint in my brain,” Corwyn said consideringly. “Paint that can think.” Her foot twitched down, hard enough to give her knee a good twang, but still made no contact with Gwen, who continued on, ignoring the curious faces at the windows they passed.
Corwyn bent her arms over her head for protection as Gwen kicked open the door to the general store. She put an arm back around Gwen’s waist as her feet hit the floor just inside.
Corwyn’s foot ached with cold. She glanced at the shopkeep and his few patrons, all of whom peered at them from the front of the store. She smiled wide as she could and called, with a broad wave to them all and a creeping sludge across her mind, “Hello! I am in need of a good pair of work boots!”
Corwyn kept her weight even between her feet, solid on the floor, as she worried about the slow spreading of paint through her head and her sudden inability to bend over to take the boot off.
“Wyn?” Gwen asked, keeping an iron grip on her elbow.
The shopkeep was in the back looking for a pair of boots; the folks at the front of the store returned to what they’d been doing. It looked like they were dividing up a map. “Gwen,” she said, “I need to take the boot off.”
Gwen’s hand loosened. “All right, then.”
“I can’t move,” she hissed.
Gwen blinked, then dropped to the floor and reached for Corwyn’s foot. The boot kicked at Gwen’s face.
Even when she wanted to, Corwyn was never fast enough to take on her sister. Gwen caught Corwyn’s foot easily, turning it far enough to set her off-balance, but not so far as to hurt her. She inspected the boot in a way that made Corwyn a bit nervous for her toes and made the paint pick up its pace across her head.
Then, from the front of the store, a skinny guy in a fur trapper’s cap said, “If any idiot’s gonna get caught on the prairie in a goddamned snowstorm, it was gonna be Ader Thomas,” and Corwyn’s knack woke up with an almighty pull.
She crashed to the floor, startling everyone in the place, before scrambling to her feet and lurching for the door. Gwen, long acquainted with what Corwyn leashed to her knack looked like, followed as Corwyn dragged her right foot through the entrance and onto the boardwalk outside.
She stumbled down the steps onto the packed path that marked where folk had crossed the street. Her right foot planted itself, refusing to move, even as her knack jerked at her. The world took a shadowy tinge round the edges of her eyes.
She heard Gwen swearing, bitterly and with color, then hands on her leg. “Corwyn, just hang on and I—”
Corwyn’s knack pulled her backwards, hopping, as her right foot aimed another kick at Gwen, who dodged. “I could carry you,” Gwen said, desperation edging her voice; they both knew what happened when Corwyn couldn’t follow her knack. But Corwyn’s head was filling with the ghost, a stubborn, silent oozing that unsettled her more than if it had whispered or gibbered. She didn’t know if she’d be able to give directions, or just get them lost on purpose.
Down went her foot again, solid on the ground. Her knack got frantic, hauling at her hard and wrenching; this was going to get ugly quick if she didn’t think of something very clever, or very stupid.
Stupid presented itself first, along with recollections of times she’d not been able to follow her knack: delirious prayed promises in a locked room as a name echoed in her head, a bloody forehead, shredded fingertips, the skin peeling off her calf as she pulled her stuck leg through a rock crevice. Corwyn fixated on the memories, tried to layer the pain and the frenzy of her knack overtop them, added the fear that her brain might burst and drip out her ears, hoping the ghost could see it all in her head before she snapped,
“Gwen, get me a hacksaw.”
The paint exploded across her eyes, her foot trying to kick away and knock her off-balance, but Gwen caught it and held it still against the ground.
They shared a look and had a conversation primarily with their eyebrows that ended in an agreement that yes, they were about to try to con a haunted boot before Gwen said, “We’ll do it,” her voice honey-coated steel. “I’ll cut her foot off myself. Might be the stupidest thing we’ve ever done. But.”
Corwyn tightened her jaw, tightened her brain, to bend just enough against the drag of her knack and the immobility of the ghost to hiss at the boot, “You know my knack’s got me thralled. I won’t even feel it come off ‘til tomorrow.” She tried not to imagine crossing the open, snowy plains on a fresh-cut, bleeding stump as Gwen went on.
“I’ll cut her foot off and bury you out on the prairie. We’ll get Wyn some doctoring, go back home—we got a guy can make her a nice clockwork foot—and nobody’ll find you ‘til spring. If then. But. Maybe we don’t have to.”
“Look,” Corwyn said, aiming for a milder tone, “I understand all this is unnerving—bouncing from one thing to another. And dying wasn’t likely an easy time, given you’re a haunt now.” Corwyn’s knack pulled again, hard, and she tried to ignore it. Gwen cocked her head, crouched low to get as close to the boot as she could without lying full-length in the snow.
Gwen managed mild a sight better than Corwyn. She tapped the toe of Corwyn’s boot with one finger, deliberate, one-two-three. “Lord knows I wouldn’t want to get locked up in another damn museum, were I in your place, and a haunted boot ain’t nearly as dramatic as a haunted mirror. Our curator boss don’t believe in ghosts. He’ll likely call you a clever bit of clockwork and store you somewhere.”
“Stuck in the boot as you are, I doubt you can jimmy locks anymore,” Corwyn added. “So you’re mad, sure. And you want to show it.”
“You let my sister go, maybe we can find a third ending to this nonsense,” said Gwen. “One where we’re all happy.”
“You think on it for a minute.”
“Before I go buy a saw.”
There was a pause. Corwyn’s knack pulled at her insistently.
The muscles of her leg relaxed; the paint retreated. Gwen, hair straggling out of her cap, grinned an enormous, relieved grin.
“Excuse me,” called the shopkeep from the boardwalk. “Did you ladies still want the boots?” He held up a new pair up.
“You ain’t seriously thinking to keep my haunted boot?” Corwyn asked later as they ate dinner in the hotel dining room. The room was warming, though not quickly enough that they wanted to eat dinner in it. Said boot—ghost still stuck fast inside it—was stowed in their trunk, left unlocked, as Gwen put it, in a sign of good faith.
Corwyn’s new boots were too big, but as they’d been free she couldn’t really complain. Corwyn wasn’t clear as to who Ader Thomas was visiting last night, the farmer or the farmer’s wife or both, but he’d been very happy to be found, very anxious to make sure she’d keep quiet about whomever his friend was, and thus very eager to reimburse her for her new footwear.
Gwen shrugged. “Sure I am. We can’t never keep a pet given our line of work, and it was waving its laces at me all sweet-like—”
“It tried to possess me, Gwendolyn—”
“And failed, so it knows better now. And . . . “ Gwen smiled, slow, cat got the canary, “if it’s thumping round the apartment when we’re gone, Mrs. Warram ain’t going to be able to rent it out from under us.”
The doll, carefully glued together, its provenance and legend meticulously recorded by the homunculus who did the museum’s recordkeeping, was put on display with neither fuss nor the freezing air and unexplained occurrences reported by its former curator. Dr. Jarvis Eggleston, a betting man now fifty dollars richer, remained unaware of the circumstances surrounding its retrieval and happily paid the Misses Teachout their full fee for the doll’s delivery.
Said Misses Teachout, in their apartment across town, found themselves occasionally tripping over Corwyn’s haunted boot—filled, for a nominal fee, with more of Cadogan Rentsch’s eldritch metals to prevent anyone putting it on. Gwen awoke on some mornings to find it balanced on her chest, tongue and laces reaching for her throat in a way she insisted was affectionate. If Mrs. Warram accused them of having a pet and demanded to search their premises on more than one occasion, they felt adequately compensated by the chilled air in their apartment during the summer.
Laura E. Price lives in Florida with her family in a house where nothing is haunted. At all. Nothing to see there. Her other stories about the Teachouts may be found in Beneath Ceaseless Skies, GigaNotoSaurus, and on her blog, seldnei.wordpress.com, where you can also find her complete bibliography.