The House of Dead Maids Clare B. Dunkle
The dead hold no terrors for me. I have watched by the beds of those who have passed on, comforted by their sorrowless repose. But this little maid was a ghastly thing, all the more horrible because she stood before me. It wasn't the palid hue of her grimy face that shocked me, or her little gray hands and feet. It was the holes where her eyes should have been, great round sockets of shadow.
The dead girl opened her lips as if she meant to speak. Her mouth was another black pit like the black pits of her eyes. She was nothing but a hollowed-out skin plumped up with shadow. I had the horrible idea that if I were to scratch her, she would split open, and the darkness within her would come pouring out. p. 24
This is a prequel to Wuthering Heights-- the story of where Heathcliff was before.
But, you really don't need to know anything about Wuthering Heights to love this book. I don't even like Wuthering Heights, but I love this book.
The story does little to explain why Heathcliff is the way he is-- he is already that way before this tale begins. But, we have a manor that is not passed down through generations. Seldom House requires a family that is related by death instead of birth. Tabitha is brought from the orphanage to be the maid for the new master. Once there, she is haunted by the ghosts of the maids that have gone before, cold figures with no eyes that slip into her bed at night.
After meeting the new young master, more ghosts appear and haunt them. Tabitha knows something is very not right with the house and the village, but doesn't know how to fix it or what to do.
It's spooky and tense and terrifying in all the right ways. The entire story is filled with an atmosphere for foreboding and doom, and its length (146 pages) give it a sparseness that heightens the mystery and mood.
If it were a movie, it'd be the kind where you throw your hands over your eyes because you can't bear to watch, but you're still peeking through your fingers, because you can't look away.
Book Provided by... my local library
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