by Jacqueline Schaalje

A greenish stain of unknown origin was spreading in the bedsheets in the third and last Guestroom number 003. This was no means our first problem since we bought our abandoned church in the charming village of Schuns in Friesland, the Netherlands. There was no swimming pool, so we dug one in the choir. The villagers wouldn't talk to us, not since we declined drinking coffee with the street constructors, the package deliverers and the mailpersons, the neighbors, the antique organ researcher, the tiler, the carpenter and the gardener, though we did drink coffee with the interior designer, the length of our talk necessitated it. So what do you do before you can accept guests to your converted church again? You lock up all your doors, look for clues in front of you and behind you, and try to ignore the dark voice in your head whispering all kinds of things you didn't hear since childhood.


Jacqueline Schaalje has published short fiction and poetry in the Massachusetts Review, Talking Writing, Frontier Poetry, Grist, among others. Her stories and poems were finalists for the Epiphany Prize, in the Live Canon and New Guard Competitions. She has received scholarships at the Southampton Writers Conference and International Women's Writing Guild. She is a member of the Israel Association for Writers in English. She earned her MA in English from the University of Amsterdam.