Just two words: The Swallow.
Okay, three more words: by Charis Cotter.
If you haven’t read it, go get it–bookstore, library, friend–and enjoy. Beautiful writing. Characters that grab one’s heart and hold on from beginning to end.
Creating a new twist on ghost stories is really hard. More than a few times, as I’ve wrestled with the stories I’m writing, I’ve sighed and thought “it’s all been done! I’ll never think of anything original.” Reworking a theme isn’t bad, of course; arguably nothing new has been penned since Pliny the Younger wrote a friend about the ghost that haunted an Athens house, complete with rattling chains. So, yeah, imitation as the sincerest form of flattery, and all that. Some authors, however, don’t even attempt to disguise their borrowing; more than a few ghost stories I’ve read in the past several years are obvious variations–slight variations–on The Sixth Sense (he was already dead!), The Shining, or are just plain dumb as well as derivative.
The Swallow is something different. Does it borrow? Yup. Does it do so cleverly? Oh, yeah!
Kudos to Charis Cotter for such a great story! This one is a keeper.