The House on Fourth Street

Updated on March 4, 2019
Lora Hollings profile image

Lora loves sharing her insights and life experience through the medium of writing whether it is a poem, story, or essay.

The Visit

I go back now and then to the house on fourth street. A house that I used to live in... a long time ago. I don’t even have to think about the route. I could get there with my eyes closed. It has been vacant for quite awhile. No one is living here now. My parents were the last ones to live in the house and they are gone. The house has been in my family for generations and the first occupants were my great grandparents.

The attic still has many boxes filled with old photos of family members spanning generations and dolls that were played with by my mother when she was a child and dolls belonging to my myself and passed on to my daughter. There is something sacred about this place as I reflect on old memories of days spent here and the joy of holidays and family reunions when we would all get together again- baking cookies, singing carols, and opening presents. Taking my daughter’s small hand in mine, I would often follow my parents as they would stroll through the garden and walk along the path that led to the river in back. How long ago, it seems now!

The Apparition

I always go to the bedroom that I used to stay in whenever I’m there and look at all the objects in my room, still there, as if no one had ever left. Nothing is amiss and the furniture unchanged with the same dresser cloths that were all embroidered by my grandmother...and still scented with the lilac perfume that takes me back to the days of my childhood. Then it all begins again. I sit in the old chair in front of my dresser and look into the mirror…and then I see it or her... rather… a shadowy figure of a little girl. It peeks at me from around a corner- there for only moments before it vanishes. I feel a cold chill as I hear an echo of a child’s laughter which fades into nothingness.

I then go outside searching for this child. I wander into the garden and down the path to the river and then I see a faded note written in crayon with the words, “I love you.” I can almost feel her little body in my arms and her little hands touching my face as I rush to the river’s edge. I look down to see a reflection of a beautiful little face with limpid eyes, framed by golden locks wearing a little white dress with a pink heart and ribbon. Then this vision disappears in an instant and I see only a little bouquet floating where she once was. I turn to go once more…but soon will return. I have an odd sense of familiarity about this child…as if she were connected to me in some way. Every time, I leave with a sense of loss yet a sense of warmth from just being in her presence. I feel love for her and hope for the day when I can communicate my feelings to her.

A Poem Dedicated to this Ghost Child
A Poem Dedicated to this Ghost Child

Flickering Shadow

I see a flickering shadow,

like a lambent flame

it darts and dances amidst my thoughts,

twinkling eyes, little hands...

but it is gone in the next instant.

I always chase this shadow,

trying to catch up with it,

wondering where does it go...

a vision of a mother

embracing a child,

a little tea set painted with hearts

and an echo of a child's

laughter fades...

into nothingness.

I look in a mirror now;

a shadow appears peeking around a corner...

there but for only an instant.

I return to a place,

little hands eagerly touching a face,

a little bouquet of dandelions

gently blown

across a note written in crayon...

"I love you," it says.

A tender face with limpid eyes

is framed by golden locks...

she wears a little white dress

embroidered with the stitches

of angel's handiwork.

On a lily pad she rides

to a place somewhere...

far off...

but I cannot follow.

I see a bouquet of dandelions

floating on top of a crest of waves...

I can only pray

for this little shadow

to return...

more substance

than this world

that I haunt now.

-Lora Hollings


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    • Lora Hollings profile imageAUTHOR

      Lora Hollings 

      5 months ago

      Thanks Rosina for reading my article and leaving a comment. I’m complimented that you loved my poem. The spirit of a beautiful child haunts this house and whenever I’m there, she makes her presence known. I feel that she has a connection to the history of this house or to me. Have an awesome day!

    • surovi99 profile image

      Rosina S Khan 

      5 months ago

      A beautiful piece of poetry where you go to your original grandparents' home and the spirit of a child tries to communicate with you and it haunts you pleasantly and curiously. Loved it, Lora! Truly Appreciated.

    • Lora Hollings profile imageAUTHOR

      Lora Hollings 

      9 months ago

      Thanks for reading and for your lovely comment, Denise. I’m glad you found the story and the poem compelling. I believe that the supernatural does interact with our lives at times. Have a wonderful weekend.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image

      Denise McGill 

      9 months ago from Fresno CA

      Fascinating story. I loved it. Perfect time of year for it. It sent a shiver down my back.



    • Lora Hollings profile imageAUTHOR

      Lora Hollings 

      10 months ago

      Thank you Mary for dropping by and I appreciate your gracious comment. They say that in old houses reside the ghosts of people who once lived there but have passed on. The spirits or even a type of energy from the people who continue to haunt the house. Maybe this is what we pick up on. And perhaps the spirits of these people would like to communicate something significant to us about their lives and something that was left unfinished. I hope that one day I will know more about this beautiful spirit of a child who seems to make her presence known whenever I’m there.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      10 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      What a beautiful story and poem. The child wants to be with you. Maybe, one day, she will reveal her story.

    • Lora Hollings profile imageAUTHOR

      Lora Hollings 

      16 months ago

      Thank you Pamela for stopping by and leaving your generous comment. Similar to your feelings for your grandmother’s home, I also loved this old house that was such an important part of my life. Even though so many years have passed, I cherish the memories of the experiences I had there as if they happened yesterday. Our lives are short and the world is constantly changing. It will be a very different one when I pass on. But the love that we have for our families and friends that are dear to us lasts not only for a lifetime but throughout eternity.

    • Lora Hollings profile imageAUTHOR

      Lora Hollings 

      16 months ago

      Thank you Jodah for stopping by and leaving your insightful comment. I’m happy that you found this essay/poem engaging and I found your comment to be right on with some of the homes that I lived in and then returned only to find that the owners had neglected them and were in a state of disrepair. But, then it seems as if with one or more that unexplained forces are drawing us back to them. What is the source of this? Is it memories that we want to hold on to and never want to completely give up because they are intertwined with our identities or is it energy from those that have passed on that still continue to haunt these places that we are picking up on? Maybe a phenomenon that we will never completely understand but somehow compels us to return.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      16 months ago from Sunny Florida

      This story/poem sparked my imagination as it was so beautifully worded. I was attached to the home of my grandmother even though I didn't actually live there. I spent a lot of time with them and had my own room. Thanks for an enjoyable experience.

    • Lora Hollings profile imageAUTHOR

      Lora Hollings 

      16 months ago

      Thanks Kevin for stopping by and for your generous comment. I'm glad that you found the experience of reading my article worthwhile. Have a wonderful day!

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      16 months ago from Queensland Australia

      This was a very engaging story/essay and poem, Lora. I have experienced special attachments to a few homes I have lived in but usually regret returning to see them as new owners have often let them run-down or made changes that are far from improvements. There almost seem to be unexplained forces drawing us back, however.

    • Lora Hollings profile imageAUTHOR

      Lora Hollings 

      16 months ago

      Thank you Flourish for stopping by and leaving your lovely comment. I’m glad that you found my essay intriguing and it made you think about what was the source of this supernatural encounter. Have a great day!

    • Kevin-Moore profile image

      Kevin Moore 

      16 months ago

      As I read this poem it painted such a vivid picture in my mind that I almost felt like I was there, witnessing the experience. Truly a masterful work of poetry and storytelling. Thank you Lora, for sharing.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      16 months ago from USA

      Very intriguing as to the source. This was beautifully worded and had my mind hopping with possibilities.

    • Lora Hollings profile imageAUTHOR

      Lora Hollings 

      16 months ago

      Thank you so much Tim for your very kind comment so beautifully put. It goes right to the heart of my essay and poem about love which endures and outlasts everything else- even our lives. The shadows of the times of the different stages of our children as they grow, and the shadows of the joyful and even sad times that linger long after our loved ones pass on... continue to persist in our consciousness at any given moment just as a beautiful song or melody which continues to be played long after the music has ended and they become an integral part of us.

    • Tim Truzy info4u profile image

      Tim Truzy 

      16 months ago from U.S.A.

      Beautiful poem, Lora. Wonderful story.

      We do "haunt" this world while the "shadows" of some reality, gone, present or futuristic - dance with, and retreats from us - with nods, winks, and notes, written on paper and scored musically in our hearts to the tune of lasting love.

      Fabulous work. Thank you.

      Much respect and admiration,


    • Lora Hollings profile imageAUTHOR

      Lora Hollings 

      16 months ago

      Thank you Shawindi for stopping by and leaving a comment. I'm glad that my article aroused deep feelings within you. There are several ways to interpret this essay and poem. But, the inherent theme in each is about lasting love.

    • Shawindi Silva profile image

      Shawindi Silva 

      16 months ago from Sri lanka

      Heart touching!!!


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