Now We Haunt This Home Together
Madeline Anthes's Now We Haunt This Home Together is a collection of short stories and flash exploring different facets of womanhood and girlhood. These stories are about the ways women can disappear, and the ways they find themselves again. Each story, whether realistic or more fantastical, will haunt you long after you read it.
Years later, children will tell your story around campfires. They’ll sit shoulder-to-shoulder, clutching their elbows, whispering about you.
Of course, you can’t know that now.
You just know he’s late.
You’ve worn a white silk dress that grazes your knees. You want him to see you as a bride. You’re wearing soft flat shoes and your feet are sinking into the wet earth. The trees are dense here, and it’s dusk dark though it’s only noon.
You always meet him here, but today is different. Today is a beginning. Finally.
You’re so used to sharing him that you’ve gotten used to the stings. The sickly smell of her in his clothes, her name appearing on his phone. But last week he took your hands in his and kissed your palms. He said he was ready.
So you’ve let yourself wonder what it could be like. No time limits. No hiding behind closed shades and locked doors.
You’ve never loved him in the daylight. You’ve never felt the freedom of a long glance, a hand on your arm when anyone might see. Now is your chance. He promised you. It feels like exhaling after holding your breath for too long. It feels like inhaling after drowning.
-from Girls in the Woods
Praise for Now We Haunt This Home Together
Memories are ghosts herein. Pain leaves poltergeist marks. Love is a specter an arm’s length away, moments from dissipating into the mist. Madeline Anthes has mastered the art of using her words to give us a peek behind the veil. Not to frighten, not to unsettle, but to show that the good, bad, and painful parts of being alive are rife with beauty and pulsing with sorrow. Now We Haunt This Home Together is an achievement. And Anthes is a massive talent.
-Nick Gregorio, author of With a Difference and Good Grief
Missing girls. Bad men. Houses haunted by memories an loss and sometimes actual ghosts. In Now We Haunt This Home Together, Madline Anthes writes what it is to be a woman in this world. How it feels to have pieces of you lost or taken. How comfort is found in the quietest moments. I know the women in these stories, can see myself in these beautiful broken girls. Reading Anthes is like coming home.
-Meghan Phillips, author of Abstinence Only and 2020 NEA Literature Fellow
The phantom-limbed lives in Now We Haunt This Home Together glow like campfire embers, an echo of light too tangible to be only a memory. These voices folded into the “hidden creases of town,” exist somewhere between rustbelt summers and flyover states. We know them—as if their longing to be heard has always been with us. Madeline Anthes’s collection does what the best writing should always do, reveal truth in those moments eager to divulge but with the patience to reward the observant.
-Jim Warner, Author of Actual Miles