The Haunting of Hill House – Marilyn Rea Beyer

Hello, Shirley.
We’ve been expecting you
to look inside and see how
long these thoughts have taken to brew.

Some thirty years,
isn’t that what you’d say?
That’s a long, long time for guilt
to grip you with its teeth of clay.

Enter the house,
Shirley. Look all around.
Dig with your hands in the dark
corners where old devils abound.

They will bite you.
They will pinch your fingers
if you try to jerk them out
and poison you with tail stingers.

Under the hill
that still houses your pain
lives the bleak notion that you
should feel shame and shoulder the blame

for all that you
did though under duress
when hard he grabbed at your breasts
then forced himself under your dress.

End it, Shirley.
Now re-button your blouse.
Switch on the light and say “No.
No. No more.” Get out of the house.


Marilyn Rea Beyer has read poetry in public since the 1960s and began writing poems in 2005. She holds a Master’s in Oral Interpretation of Literature from Northwestern University. Now retired, her varied career includes teaching, high tech, folk radio and working as PR Director for Perkins School for the Blind. A native Chicagoan she and her husband, author and filmmaker Rick Beyer, raised their two children in Lexington, Mass.

Christine’s Daily Writing Prompt: The Haunting of Hill House – Shirley Jackson

For October, I decided to embrace the Halloween season and use titles of short stories and books discussed in the enjoyable and informative new book Monster, She Wrote: The Women Who Pioneered Horror and Speculative Fiction as my Daily Writing Prompts.  These are designed to inspire you to write a poem, prose piece, or a piece of flash fiction in 30 minutes or less.

The only rule is that you use the book title as your piece title OR integrate all the words in the title into your piece somehow

If you would like to have your piece considered for publication on Brave and Reckless and/or Whisper and the Roar, email your prompt inspired pieces to me at her.red.pen.wordsmithing@gmail.com.

You can also participate on Facebook by tagging your writing with:

  • #the title of the daily theme
  • #MonsterSheWroteChallenge
  • #braveandreckless66

or on Instagram by tagging your writing with:

  • #the title of the daily theme
  • #MonsterSheWroteChallenge
  • @christabelle1966

You can also share your response pieces in the comments below the Daily Prompt.

The Haunting of Hill House