The House on Ophelia Street


Each week, we pick a short fiction piece from our Fairlight Shorts archives to feature as our story of the week. This week, we’ve chosen a story about restoration by Karissa Venne.

Karissa Venne is a writer who lives in Western Massachusetts with her wife and their epileptic kitten. She received her MFA from The New School and works as a Digital Resource Development Editor at Oxford University Press.

Karissa’s work has appeared in Okay DonkeyBridge House: ResolutionsSonder Magazine, F(r)iction’s Dually Noted, and Pure Slush: Growing Up.

‘The House on Ophelia Street’ focuses on a group of women overcoming their pasts..



There weren’t many people in town who noticed 5 Ophelia Street. Two oak trees stood in front − like cupped hands shielding a crying face − blocking the house from view. The neighbours, while walking their dogs or waiting for their kids’ buses, spotted the corner where the house stood, noted it as old and eerie, and returned to their lives, where the house’s existence slid from their memories.

Mia was one of the only people, besides the house’s occupants and owner, who intended to find it. Was desperate to find it, in fact. That didn’t stop the house from cowering under the approaching attention, slouching behind its oaks and urging the vines on its skin to grow, grow, grow!

Mia’s car squeaked to a halt behind a crowd of vehicles in the driveway. She’d suffered through a morning of touring one-room boxes of misery she could barely afford, and 5 Ophelia Street was her last stop of the day. She’d spent the tours in quiet resignation: resigned to her single studio-ed fate, resigned to the loss of her two-bedroom loft with her ex, resigned to it all.

The landlord hadn’t posted any pictures with this Craigslist ad, but the three-story house impressed Mia, its patio garden bursting with gardenias and tomato plants, the wildness of it, how very different it looked from the lifeless apartment complexes she’d spent the morning touring. This house exuded style, it had witnessed history; Mia could feel it.

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