32 Cherry Street has come up for sale, deceased estate; and Sarah is happy to be able to purchase what once was her childhood home. However, is she prepared for the memories it will bring back, or the spirits that may be released? The House of Three is a stand-alone short story from Lily Childs. It is a ghost story in the traditional sense, yet in a modern, suburban setting.
Sarah and her brother Johnny go to view the Victorian terraced property, which they had not seen for twenty years. As they explore the dilapidated house, they realise that absolutely nothing has changed in all that time; and the familiar smell of roses forces their minds back all those years. Once the house belongs to her, she persuades Johnny to return, and they explore it together... and that's when the voices start. "They seemed to want to sooth her, as they did for the year before she was forced from her childhood home – a ten-year-old, an orphan."
Once they discover from the local paper how the house's most recent occupant died, their doubts begin, both about the house, and also about their own childhood memories. Their differing fortunes since adoption force them to reassess their lives. Once they have made a grim discovery, in a bedroom which was strictly off-limits to them as children, they understand that nothing will ever be quite the same again. Are their fears imaginary, or are they forming something more tangible – something with the power to threaten their very existence?
Childs has created an intriguing scenario here, with authentically flawed characters who are unable to escape the power of their shared past. The House of Three is a short but satisfying read with a powerful ending. Perfect late night reading for lovers of a good ghost story!