sandstone ghost houses

Chris and I are looking out over the map toward Huron Mountain, using some newfangled GPS device. The thing transports us over the leagues. We’re aiming for the club and end up at Lake Superior just a bit west of it. We start walking east along the rock shelf. W can tell we’re not on club property because there’s graffiti on the sandstone cliff faces.

We come to some beautiful old row houses built right up over the water and are walking past when I am tempted and turn in to one of them. We can tell they’re empty, and some of them are boarded up. I’m heading for one with boards on the windows but change my mind and turn toward the one next door. The door is ajar. We go in, and the place feels and smells old. It’s creaky and none too sturdy, so I’m going cautiously. We climb up an elaborate open staircase, winding up to the third floor. I’m looking out for soft spots in the wooden boards.

We walk through a doorway at the top of the stairs and find signs of habitation. There is a row of beds down the long room, and we make our way slowly along it. There are people lying in the beds. There is a caretaker of some kind who is talking to us about the place and the people in the beds. They seem to trace back over a hundred years or more, as if they’re all the people who have lived in the house, trapped there in slow time. We’re fascinated, but I have a growing sense of unease that we should leave. I’m afraid time is passing abnormally slowly here and speeding by in the world outside and that we’re being lured in to be trapped as well. Finally, with an effort of will, we pull ourselves away and go back down the stairs and out and away. I feel saturated and haunted by the place and can’t seem to shake it.

We go back again and the place is full of people, adults and children, in the midst of a celebration with games and races, and the enchantment is broken.

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