Flash Fiction: The Haunted House at 4309 Biscayne

Updated on November 2, 2018
MizBejabbers profile image

MizBejabbers has been a professional writer/editor for all of her adult life. Before that, she was just a little girl storyteller.

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Irma couldn’t remember when she became an astral traveler. At first it was during dreams at nap time as a small child, then she discovered that while meditating, she could leave her body at will during waking hours. She didn’t realize that she was unique. By the time she was grown, she had racked up thousands of miles traveling around the world. During WWII, she even observed her fiancé in the trenches in France. Not knowing why, he often felt her presence with him. Perhaps that is why he came home unscathed.

After Steve Middleton returned home, he took advantage of new government programs for veterans. He finished his college education that had been interrupted by the war, and freshly married, he and Irma purchased a house in a new subdivision on his GI Bill. It was a small postwar bungalow, rather plain, but comfortable, and Irma had the knack to make it into a real home. She sewed curtains for the windows and planted flowers in the yard. At his job, Steve worked hard and hoped for a promotion. Things were looking good for the young couple.

Their Home Was Plain But Comfortable

One day while astral traveling, she spotted a house that fascinated her. The house at 4309 Biscayne was a lovely Queen Ann cottage built around the turn of the century. Most homes of that style were tall and stately, but this one was a much smaller house in an older neighborhood. Only one story, the well-kept home was painted a soft green. The gingerbread trim was done in cream with touches of darker avocado. It was one of the few painted ladies that had not undergone the popular, but ghastly, all white paint treatment. Irma was hopelessly in love, although she knew they would never be able to afford such an adorable cottage.

The House of Her Dreams

Each day Irma visited the house in her out-of-body travels. She took in the yard with its little rose garden in back, admiring the pink roses that climbed the trellis on the back porch. She sailed around to the romantic old fieldstone well in the back yard, and she saw that the house had been updated with a modern gas heating system.

One day she boldly ventured inside. She proceeded through the wall and roamed the rooms admiring the décor, especially the flowered wallpaper. Her favorite room was the parlor, and she especially liked the fireplace with the cherrywood mantle. No plain walls painted sandalwood or turquoise like in her own home, she longed for this house so badly, but it wasn’t for sale.

Addicted to her love of this home, she became bolder and frequently visited inside the house. Tiptoeing through the rooms, she giggled to herself. Why tiptoe, I’m not here in the physical body.

House For Sale

Then one day Irma noticed a “For Sale” sign out front. She flew back home into her body and excitedly called the agent who replied that she had just put out the sign that morning. And when she quoted the listing price, Irma couldn’t believe it. She asked why it was priced so low?”

The agent, Laura Downs, seemed hesitant to reply. “I have to disclose to your that the owner says the house is haunted. She wants a quick sale. It’s rumored that a murder occurred here back in the 20s, and the present owner wasn’t told about it. Laura was surprised when Irma seemed unbothered by the revelation.

Irma was ecstatic. Not only was the house possibly within their reach financially, it was haunted. If there was a troubled spirit still in the house, she believed she could direct that spirit into the light. If the spirit of the murder victim was still earthbound, Irma wanted to help.

She then called Steve and rattled off what she’d found, leaving out the haunted part. He wouldn’t believe it anyway. “Oh, Steve, I know we probably still can’t afford it, but could you go with me to look at it, please?”

“Darling, I have some good news for you, too,” he replied. The boss is impressed with my work and I’ve just been promoted to a division manager. I get a thirty percent raise starting next month. Get the agent to show it to you and make an offer. I know how badly you’ve been wanting that house. We may be able to go full price if we have to.”

At 3:00 pm that afternoon, Laura Downs, with Irma in tow, rang the doorbell. The owner, a widowed Mrs. Milford, came to the door. She greeted Laura with a smile and beckoned for them to come in, but when Irma stepped forward to enter, Mrs. Milford screamed and fainted, falling to the floor.

Surprised, the two women lifted up the unconscious Mrs. Milford and placed her on the couch. “Get some water, quickly,” ordered Laura.

Irma, being familiar with the house, ran straight for the kitchen and brought back a glass of water. Mrs. Milford was just regaining consciousness on the couch. Laura placed the glass to her lips, but the pale lady again spied Irma. She knocked the glass from Laura’s hand and before fainting a second time, screamed, “You! You can’t be here. You’re a ghost. You’re dead!”

The Plot Was Not Mine

This little story is pure fiction on my part, however, I can't take credit for the plot. I heard a very abbreviated version of the story, which I guess you could call a bare outline, when I was taking classes at the Little Rock Parapsychology Center (now defunct). Our instructor, the late Korra Deaver, told it to us as a true story during a class on astral travel, but it may be just an urban legend. I took her story and merely supplied the details, including the time period and the husband.

After I first published this, I remembered the song, Little Boxes, popular in the 1960s about the very type of subdivision in which this story takes place. Some of you may remember it. I'm sorry I can't find the version played on all the rock stations back then. I hope the folk version will do.

This Song Was Written in the 1960s About Subdivisions Like Theirs

Please Take My Poll

Have you ever astral traveled? If yes, please share your experience in the comments.

See results

© 2018 Doris James MizBejabbers

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    • MizBejabbers profile imageAUTHOR

      Doris James MizBejabbers 

      4 months ago from Beautiful South

      Thanks, Nell. I'm glad you read it and commented.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      4 months ago from England

      Yes I can imagine that was quite a shock, lol! what a great story! I love ghostly tales even if it wasn't exactly that.

    • MizBejabbers profile imageAUTHOR

      Doris James MizBejabbers 

      5 months ago from Beautiful South

      Ha, I love your reply, Mel. I hadn't thought of that. I have a neighbor that she could drop in on, too. Thanks for the thought.

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 

      5 months ago from San Diego California

      Irma has a lot of frequent flyer miles. How wonderful, to be able to take virtual vacations, and to haunt someone right out of their house. I wish I had Irma's number, I've got a couple unruly neighbors she could drop in on... Great story!

    • MizBejabbers profile imageAUTHOR

      Doris James MizBejabbers 

      8 months ago from Beautiful South

      Oh, yes. Poppy, my sister loved to astral travel. I really wish you could remember the book because I would love to read it. You can astral travel with a little practice. Anybody can do it. In fact, as creative a person as you are, I'll bet you astral travel at night and don't realize it. My advice is to study some of your dreams that seem within your realm of possibility, not the nutty ones. The nutty dreams are your subconscious mind casting off "trash" that you don't need, and that's why some are so ridiculous.

      I had a dream one night when I was in my 30s that I was in a European castle in the middle of WWII and the tanks were approaching. I woke up and the dream was so compelling that I made myself go back to sleep and continue the story. The next time I woke up, I couldn't return to it because it was time to get up. I think that dream was one of my astral travels. So, if you find yourself in any situation like that, you may be astral traveling. I just don't practice it in the daytime.

      I'm glad you thought the story was cool. Thank you for reading and your lovely comnent.

    • poppyr profile image

      Poppy 

      8 months ago from Tokyo, Japan

      This is cool! I had a feeling the "ghost" would be her pattering around the house. I read a novel ages ago about a man who astral traveled and when he got back to his body, found that he had been murdered so he was stuck there. I can't remember the name of the book, though.

      I would love to be able to astral travel. I don't know if people can really do it, but if it's possible, I've no doubt it would be incredible.

    • MizBejabbers profile imageAUTHOR

      Doris James MizBejabbers 

      8 months ago from Beautiful South

      Thank you, Tim. I'll have to look that up. I'm always interested in things of that nature.

    • Tim Truzy info4u profile image

      Tim Truzy 

      8 months ago from U.S.A.

      Hello,

      The story refers to the movie, "Saved by the Light." Forgive me if it was Danion Brinkley. Apparently, he had three near-death experiences, including predicting the presidency of Ronald Reagan. In the movie he mentioned the Arkansas studies (I'm pretty certain of it) as well as Duke University.

      Thank you for writing an informative, interesting, and compelling article.

      I enjoyed it immensely and will be reading more of your work.

      Much respect,

      Tim

    • MizBejabbers profile imageAUTHOR

      Doris James MizBejabbers 

      8 months ago from Beautiful South

      Tim, nice to see you here. Now you have me curious about a story concerning Daniel Brinkley and the Little Rock Paranormal studies that you referenced. I'm not familiar with him. The school disbanded somewhere around the early 1980s, but several parapsychology groups continue to exist. In fact this is an area very high in spiritual energies. I live on a hill surrounded by crystals, and an inactive crystal mine is about 5 miles from my house. I googled the information on David Brinkley and Little Rock Paranormal, but this is all I was able to find.

      http://www.arkansasparanormalexpo.com/vendors.html

      The photo at the top of that page is the McArthur Museum, which is purported to be haunted. Gen. Douglas McArthur was born there, and I'll bet he's rolling over in his grave at that.

      A lot of people do use meditation for their astral travels. I can understand why some people would not want to do it though. Thank you for commenting and sharing information with me.

    • MizBejabbers profile imageAUTHOR

      Doris James MizBejabbers 

      8 months ago from Beautiful South

      Thank you, Rajan. I appreciate your input.

    • MizBejabbers profile imageAUTHOR

      Doris James MizBejabbers 

      8 months ago from Beautiful South

      Lawrence, I hate to tell you this (no, not really) but normal human beings mistake many of their dreams for their astral travels. I don't think most of us do it consciously though, and certainly not like Irma did. Thank you for reading and commenting.

    • Tim Truzy info4u profile image

      Tim Truzy 

      8 months ago from U.S.A.

      Loved this story, Mizb. Creative and just a bit spooky. I have heard of the Little Rock Paranormal studies you mentioned, running across it in other stories, particularly, one concerning Daniel Brinkley.

      Astrotravel sounds like fun, but I can get that effect through intense meditation; I don't like to travel without a car, plane, or train, though.

      There is much to think about in this tale, and it was written with the precision of a skilled writer. Very convincing.

      Much respect and admiration,

      Tim

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      8 months ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      Captivating story.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 

      8 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      MizB

      Loved the idea of haunting the house you later buy! Sounds an interesting way of getting a bargain.

      I don't fully accept the idea of Astral travel but the story was enjoyable.

    • MizBejabbers profile imageAUTHOR

      Doris James MizBejabbers 

      9 months ago from Beautiful South

      Wow, Brian, you mean he astral traveled while conscious, unlike my sister who did all hers in her sleep? That is terrific. I understand that one can consciously travel anywhere he desires to go, including outer space. This person sounds a lot like my mentor. I would love to talk to him. Glad you enjoyed my story. Thanks for your interesting comment.

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 

      9 months ago from Bainbridge Island, Washington, USA

      I enjoyed the story, MizBejabbers.

      When I had a used book shop in the 1980s, I had a customer who'd tell me about his out of body experiences. He could travel where he wished, to the moon as easily as around his neighborhood. He'd help the confused spirits of persons who just died in a car crash or other accident.

    • MizBejabbers profile imageAUTHOR

      Doris James MizBejabbers 

      9 months ago from Beautiful South

      You took it correctly, Rinita. See my reply to Manatita. She was very much alive. I never did find out if she got to buy the home. That part is still open. I love painted ladies and own a small one. It's a rental duplex, I don't live in it. I used to think the all white ones were hideous, but due to the resurgence a few years ago, most of them have been resurrected as painted ladies. I'm so thankful for that. Thanks for your comment.

    • MizBejabbers profile imageAUTHOR

      Doris James MizBejabbers 

      9 months ago from Beautiful South

      Manatita, I sure did. It was supposed to be a lesson to us (at the school) in case we decided to astral travel consciously. Thank you. You always have interesting comments.

    • Senoritaa profile image

      Rinita Sen 

      9 months ago

      You had me hooked from the beginning with astral travel. The traveling to another home was so much fun. I would like to think the end was open. She can't really be dead, its only because she was astral traveling, the woman thought so. Well, that's my take anyway.

      It is wonderfully written, too. My favorite part was the initial description of the new house, where you say - 'It was one of the few painted ladies that had not undergone the popular, but ghastly, all white paint treatment.' Lot of depth in this.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 

      9 months ago from london

      You do end with unforeseen twists sometimes. I kind of felt that Irma would save or drive away the ghost, but you had something else in mind. Cool!

      A catching video. Have a great Sunday.

    • MizBejabbers profile imageAUTHOR

      Doris James MizBejabbers 

      9 months ago from Beautiful South

      Hi, Girlfriend, I'm glad to hear from you. Most people do astral travel at night when they are asleep and never realize that is what they are doing. My sister told me that she loved flying over the Ozark Mountains and down the White River in her "dreams". She later learned that she was astral traveling. Later when I get through with my chores, I'll tell you more privately. Thank you for reading and commenting...and for your curiosity!

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 

      9 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Ms B....I love your flash fiction....very entertaining, girlfriend! Gosh, I continually am impressed with learning new surprises about you! Astral traveling? OK, tell me more on an educational level. I'm interested!...

      Love the house! Enjoy your week-end. Paula

    • MizBejabbers profile imageAUTHOR

      Doris James MizBejabbers 

      9 months ago from Beautiful South

      Pamela, my sister was an astral traveler, but only at night during sleep. She loved it and as a small child was very easy to put to bed because she was looking forward to it. I have done some at night that I remember, but not consciously either. So I don't consider myself one. Thank you for your comment.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      9 months ago from Sunny Florida

      This is a very unique story. Out of body travel would be fun I think, and it sure makes for a different type of story. The cottage sounds so unique. I really enjoyed this story.

    • MizBejabbers profile imageAUTHOR

      Doris James MizBejabbers 

      9 months ago from Beautiful South

      I had hoped to do that, Venkatachari. It wasn't really meant as a Halloween story, but the timing was right. The bare bones I was told kept us hanging until the punch line, but it had no detail. I really miss the school and the instructors there. Thanks for your comment.

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 

      9 months ago from Hyderabad, India

      It's really much thrilling and exciting. You presented it so wonderfully from the beginning to the end. It leads to different opinions regarding Irma's existence. One can assume Irma as real as well as a ghost. There can be doubt regarding the homeowner also as to her reality.

      Very well presented.

    • MizBejabbers profile imageAUTHOR

      Doris James MizBejabbers 

      9 months ago from Beautiful South

      Shucks, Elijah, you, like Jodah, are just too smart for me. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I love writing flash fiction although this came from either a true story or an urban legend. Thank you for your comment, my friend.

    • The0NatureBoy profile image

      Elijah A Alexander Jr 

      9 months ago from Washington DC

      Very well written, Doris, but the fact that you opened with Irma astro traveling made me, except for the details of the ending, realized she was the haunter. Yet, I enjoyed every minute of it, now make another one more suspenseful for the ever-opened-minded me. Thanks for presenting it.

      Elijah

    • MizBejabbers profile imageAUTHOR

      Doris James MizBejabbers 

      9 months ago from Beautiful South

      John, sometimes you are too smart for me. I did wonder if anyone would catch the connection or if they were like me when I heard the abbreviated original, get caught flatfooted. When Korra told it, the story was as short as the average joke, less than 100 words. Thanks a bunch for reading and commenting, my friend.

    • MizBejabbers profile imageAUTHOR

      Doris James MizBejabbers 

      9 months ago from Beautiful South

      Flourish, it was my understanding that she was a total stranger to the seller. I tried to keep her that way. Thanks for your interest and your interesting comment.

    • MizBejabbers profile imageAUTHOR

      Doris James MizBejabbers 

      9 months ago from Beautiful South

      Natalie, although only the title was Halloweenish, I did want to get it out in time for Halloween. Thanks for your great comment. As for our Halloween, it was interesting. I put the details in Bill's comment. Hope yours was much nicer.

    • MizBejabbers profile imageAUTHOR

      Doris James MizBejabbers 

      9 months ago from Beautiful South

      Thanks, Zulma, like I said, I just furnished the details to a tale I heard back in the 1970s. The lesson in our teacher's story was that an astral traveler can be seen by some people, maybe everyone. I don't know. I appreciate your comment. I always enjoy your viewpoint.

    • MizBejabbers profile imageAUTHOR

      Doris James MizBejabbers 

      9 months ago from Beautiful South

      Bill, I'm glad you liked my lead line. It was about the third approach that I tried to begin this story. I really like writing flash fiction because I don't have to think up all that brilliant language to build up characters. Thanks for your very nice comment.

      Halloween not so nice either. We are having a soaking Halloween, too. Some of the town did their trick or treating last night because of the lovely weather yesterday. We knew we were gonna get it about midnight and from then on. BTW, Larry and I've had a horrible Halloween. Yesterday, he hit a pickup turning left in front of him. The driver didn't see him, and he didn't see the driver in time to stop. Good thing our truck is still drivable because he had to rescue me tonight. I was finishing up an afternoon's work at our duplex about 5 this evening, and the auxiliary battery on my Prius died without warning. We got soaked trying to get it started, and then I decided to leave it there and come on home. So I hope you and Bev had a much better, although wet, Halloween.

    • MizBejabbers profile imageAUTHOR

      Doris James MizBejabbers 

      9 months ago from Beautiful South

      Shauna, no perhaps about it. The story was told to us in class as a lesson in damage that an astral traveler can do. As with this story, I don't know the ending. The husband was just a husband. He didn't do anything except to want to make his wife happy. Many thanks for being the first to comment on my story.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      9 months ago from Queensland Australia

      A lovely tale MizB. I had an inkling what was to come, knowing Irma astral travelled and had been visiting the house, then it up for sale due to being haunted. But it was well-written and a fun story for Halloween none the less.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      9 months ago from USA

      Wickedly frightening story for Halloween. I loved this and wonder who this lady might be in relation to the homeowner.

    • Natalie Frank profile image

      Natalie Frank 

      9 months ago from Chicago, IL

      Great story, Really Interesting and just in time for Halloween! Thanks for sharing it! Have a fun Halloween!

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 

      9 months ago from United Kingdom

      This is a wonderful tale, and just in time for Halloween. I suspect Irma wasn't as transparent as she thought.

      Happy Halloween MizB.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      The first line was enough to pull in the most jaded of horror genre fans. I love how much you did in so few words, my friend. To me, flash fiction is one of the hardest things for a writer to do well. You have done it well!

      Wishing you a brilliant Halloween. Our neighborhood kids will be wearing plastic sheeting over their costumes. The rains have returned with a vengeance. :)

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      9 months ago from Central Florida

      Great story, MizB! I kinda had a feeling Irma was a spirit, but that doesn't explain the husband. Perhaps Mrs. Millford saw Irma's soul when she was "travelling" and assumed she was a ghost.

      I love the house. I'd have wanted to buy it too!

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