The Empty House
When entering the empty house of silent noises,
Creaking floorboards set your nerves on edge.
Chilled breezes brush through darkened windows
Squinted eyes peer in from an outside ledge.
Footsteps plod across the sloping rooftop,
Shuffling slowly as if dragging weight,
Cicadas shrill their endless chatter,
Telling everyone that it’s much too late.
Blackened vapors swarm and engulf the dwelling.
In the basement cobwebbed fingers
Hug the corners with their twisted touch,
As puffs of ghostly chalk dust lingers.
Shadows crawl across the planks and doors
Whispers fall from hidden places,
Scampering icy nails rip from above.
Groans, then moans drip from cracks and spaces.
Long extinguished lights sit waiting patiently,
A candle ignites, then expires.
Petrified drips suspended in space
Remains of the once flickering fires.
Spirits of those who lived here once.
Sweep though each lonely hall and room,
Seeking what was so alive to them
Before they met their doom.
The empty house will ever stand as it was found,
Memories trapped by doors long sealed.
Unknown souls here wander undisturbed,
From our world they are concealed.
(The Empty House was originally published in The Horror Express magazine/Issue #3 Winter 2004)
For over 32 years Jill Bauman has produced hundreds of book covers, many more hundreds of interior illustrations and has worked for most of the major publishers. Her work covered many genres including, horror, mystery, science fiction, fantasy, children’s books and mass media. She has received five World Fantasy Award nominations, Chesley Award nominations and many best in show ribbons. There have been shows at the Delaware Art Museum, the Moore Gallery of Art in Philadelphia, Lever House Show in New York several pieces exhibited at New York’s Illustrator’s Society and the Seattle Museum of Science Fiction.
Some of her clients include: Berkley Publishing Group, Ace Books, Viking/Penguin, Putnam/Jove, DAW Books, Doubleday Direct, Easton Press, St. Martin’s Press, Bluejay Books, Leisure books, White Wolf Publishing, Warner Books, Fedogan and Bremer, Subterranean Press, Cemetery Dance Publications, Reader’s Digest and many more. Her works have appeared on covers and interiors of many magazines such as Weird Tales magazine, Fantasy Magazine, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Fangoria Magazine, Amazing Stories magazine and others.
Jill has illustrated the written works of authors of horror, mystery, and imaginative fiction such as Stephen King, Harlan Ellison, Dan Simmons, Fritz Leiber, Richard Laymon, Jack Dann, H.P. Lovecraft, Jonathan Gash, Clive Barker, Dean Koontz, Robert R. McCammon, Peter Straub and Lilian Jackson Braun to name a few.
There were the stories of fantasy and science fiction she illustrated by authors such a Mervin Peake, Orson Scott Card, Nancy Kress, Ann McCaffrey, John Crowley, Katherine Kurtz, Michael Swanwick, Gene Wolfe, Gregory Benford, Paul Di Filippo, Pamela Sargent, Jack Williamson, David Brin, Mike Resnick and J.G. Ballard. She lives in Queens, NY.