When is a haunted house not a haunted house? When you are the haunter. Then it's just the place you call home, or prison, asylum, cubicle, or whatever institution you choose, whether you think you're there to finish something you started, or trapped by bureaucrats abusing their authority. It's the place where you wander the halls, tripping over furniture you don't remember where it came from, wondering where the cat got to and why there is dust on the bannister. It's the place where you cling, night after night, in the corner of the ceiling opposite theconference room door, frightening spiders and trying to remember what you're supposed to be doing next. Or maybe you're looking for your favorite fountain pen in the study, or lying teeth chattering under the vanity because you're afraid of thunder.
You're always hot, but whenever you open a window, and then go chasing the fairies, pesky varmints, out from under the couch whether they've built their dust nests, it is closed again when you return. Snowflakes-turned-droplets still cling to the sill. You see a wispy form in the corridor and hear a door latch shut, the rustle of sheets and murmurs, voices rising and falling, or is it just the wind in the fireplace? It's then you begin to suspect. But you don't know for sure. Sometimes after you've tried again to fix a nutritious meal, to feed the gnawing hunger that never stops, you hear screams in the kitchen, and they are almost opaque, especially around what looks like the belly and throat; only a slight translucence to the eyes and fingertips betrays them as illusions.