She was born on Halloween night. Her mother gave birth alone in a derelict house, and just as the baby took her very first breath, the mother took her last.
She had never been given a name. Growing up, they referred to her as Girl. Many of them didn’t have names either; they told her they’d stopped bothering decades ago.
At first, Girl believed the entire world to be the manor. A mahogany sky with a chandelier sun, raining its tears down on them day after day. When Girl started to become a teenager she noticed many changes, beyond the sudden physical ones. Whilst her body now heaved in pain once a month and became shapelier – like that of the others that lived there – she also began to see that there was so much more waiting beyond the wallpaper. She watched children walk past the gates and take pictures on small, rectangular devices, laughing and joking and attempting to frighten each other.
“I want to go outside.” Girl finally asked on the eve of her eighteenth birthday, just as the others were lighting jack-o-lanterns to put on the front porch.
“You know you can’t.” One of them quipped. She couldn’t remember which one it was, they all looked the same. “We belong to the house.”
“But what does that mean?”
They shared a look amongst themselves – words were traded despite not a single parting lip. “He is the house. He is our home.” They said in unison. “His soul grieves in the walls.”
That night, Girl had a dream of a man bent-doubled over a woman, crying violently into her stomach. The shrill cry of a baby girl echoed his own – the two were weeping for a woman lost. As Girl peered closer, she realised with a start that the woman looked exactly like all of them.
When she woke, she was laying in the centre of the house, and to her horror saw that her stomach had swelled to hold a child. Girl heaved upon instinct, and as she took her last breath, her child inevitably took its first.