It started in the boiler room. Two a.m. The clanking crawled up walls, waking the E line. Melissa reported it, then others: disturbed sleep, frustration, a desire to sue. Once a 1920’s speakeasy-brothel, the building held secret staircases zigzagging behind apartments—a dim maze of unused space. Melissa confided her ghost fears to Ben, the super. Vaporous flappers, lost to jazz and melancholy, banging for freedom. Ben never confessed his nightly jaunts through the building’s hollows, wrench and kitchen spatulas in hand. In darkness, heat, and steam, his symphonies swirled, growing louder. Apartments went up for sale. Melissa started packing.

—Sharon Rousseau

100 Word Writing Contest
 #7 Fiction—
Gotham Writer’s Workshop
—2nd Place Winner