The house was growing. Eight-year-old Abby MacNeil heard it at night -- the low groan of the walls, the floorboards creaking, the radiator pipes letting out long and shuddering sighs. Abby would lie still in the dark and listen as the old house complained about its aching wooden bones. It was their first house -- she and her father had lived in apartments ever since her mother left, and before that, a trailer -- and so she accepted its growing pains as something old houses did in the night.
When they'd first moved to this house a month ago, in the dead of summer, her father had argued that this third-floor room would be...