By 1880, the house had fallen into the possession of my direct ancestor, Lewis’s son, also named George. From him comes my great grandfather John, my grandfather, George, my father, Lewis, and me, also George after my grandfather. The house did not come down to me, obviously, but lies now in the hands of the Fitzgeralds, a lovely couple also descended from my great grandfather John.
They, like the Allens have since 1880, either rent or attempt to rent the place. For as fine a house as it was, it has never attracted upscale tenants. And the ones it did attract all have either died in the place or left it quickly. And the poor Fitzgeralds have, for as long as I’ve been alive, been unsuccessful at getting anyone in there even to look at it. At least until they heard my story. They have now decided to let it stand, refurbish it, and rent it. At least three families from Nashville, looking for better schools, have inquired about it. The horror is gone.
I really love this story, a lot, as you all know. And this week is some of my favorite stuff about it. It also features stuff I’m not quite sure about. I can’t decide if stating clearly that the house is still standing but the evil in it is gone and that the uncle is dead is a good strategy or not. We’re only a third of the way into the story.
And, obviously, I kept reading. But I have to tell you, I’m really not sure. I think knowing the uncle died works. I think. Though it also might work to not state that so clearly.
But I feel like telling you this early that everything’s resolved is kind of a cheat. It’s like saying “Don’t worry! We are going to fall off a cliff up ahead, but everyone except my uncle will make it. Even the house will be fine!” Okay, then, how, exactly does that build up suspense?
I don’t know. It didn’t bother me when I was reading the story. I didn’t think anything of it. But when I was rewriting it? Those two things–revealing the death of the uncle and revealing that the horror has been dealt with–just rang false to me. If I were revising my own story, I would have considered cutting the knowledge of the uncle’s death and would for sure have cut the last half of the last paragraph here, I think.
And yet, I guess the reason I bring it up at all is that I’m not sure I’m right. Maybe it really does work. Maybe there’s a feeling that you’re not going into that basement if you don’t know you can come back out.
So far, for me anyway, it works. I came away from this part of the story thinking, “Sure, you SAY the horror is gone, and maybe it is. Or maybe it’s tricked you and you only think it’s gone…”
Besides, saying that the horror is gone says nothing about how it was dealt with, or what further havoc it managed to wreak before it was taken down. It could be gone, and everything hunky-dory, and still leave a lot of ground to cover in the getting there.
Hard to say definitively without knowing the rest of the story. I’ll keep reading and try to remember to revisit this bit after the end. (And, yes, I’ll definitely keep reading!)