This Old House (Excerpt)

A house has a spirit—or, rather, a myriad of spirits merged into one giant soul. A house was a living thing, just like humans, animals, plants and rocks. They all had spirits. What made houses unique was that they absorbed the spirits of its components into one conglomerate.

Every wood beam, metal pipe, termite—everything and everyone that lived or died in the house—gave a portion of its spirit to the house. Some, like fixtures such as a fireplace, gave the entirety of their spirit to the house’s collective. Others, like a dinner guest, added a piece of their spirit to the whole.

A spirit isn’t one thing. It is formed from all the emotions within the vessel. It is a conglomerate of one’s perceptions of one’s experiences, one’s memories. Pieces can be left behind in places with a heavy concentration of spirits, like a house.

For instance, a sense of pleasure can linger for years after a dinner guest who enjoyed her meal had left. A burglar could leave behind fear, apprehension and desperation.

Ms. Jackson sought out this spirit of the house with her aura. It wasn’t difficult to find. She weaved her chi strands into a blanket that swathed the house in great sweeping strides. She felt the house’s spirit everywhere her blanket touched. If it could be described, the spirit of the house had a cold, clammy feel.

It was dying.

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