Genre: YA Horror
Word Count: 70,000
Fifteen-year-old Piper Crenshaw knows her house is strange. It’s never needed repairs since it was built in the 1800’s, and the lights flicker in response to things she says. As if that's not creepy enough, it’s also the place where her mother committed murder.
To prove she’s not afraid of where she lives, Piper opens a forbidden door, which hides a staircase that leads to the ceiling. That’s when the flashbacks of the original residents from 1875 start, including a love affair between two young servants. Each vision pulls Piper deeper into not only their story, but also her house. Piper confides in her best friend, Todd, whom she's gradually falling for, but even he doesn't believe her. At least, not until her house gets axed during a prank, and the act injures Piper instead, cutting a gash the size of Texas into her stomach.
Piper realizes her house isn’t haunted—it’s alive. To sever her link to it, she must unravel the clues in the flashbacks and uncover the truth about her mother’s crime, before she becomes part of her house for good.
When I was six years old I found the man my mother murdered stuffed under a trap door in our kitchen. The smell gave him away.
Police swarmed the house, which—uncharacteristically—made no creaking groans of protest at having that many outsiders in it. It was almost like the house knew Mom’s secret and wanted her to get caught.
The roof above me rasps now, like it’s being racked by a fleeting storm, but I grip the clarinet in my hands and glance at the stationary leaves and blue sky outside. Another moaning rasp resounds, nearly overriding the chime from the vintage clock with its swinging pendulum. That chime tells me I have thirty minutes before school starts. Time to get going. Except no matter how creeped out I am in my house, school is the last place I want to be.
Holding my clarinet so I don’t bend its silver keys, I separate the wooden pieces, place them in the case, and snap the clasps shut. Silence clouds my parents’ room in place of the sultry tones I’d been pushing out minutes before, and I stiffen, more aware of the walls around me. They’re like people I have to make my way through, a pulsing crowd of wood that inverts depending on my movements, tilting and nosing in. When I stop to notice them, they look away; motionless, as if they didn’t know I was there. Just walls, I tell myself, feeling a presence on my back like my every move is being calculated.