top of page
  • Arthur Mills

Nostalgia and Nightmares in The Empty Lot Next Door

Nostalgia and Nightmares in The Empty Lot Next Door

SPOILER ALERT: This article contains themes and insights from The Empty Lot Next Door. If you’re trying to avoid spoilers, it’s advisable not to read further until you’ve finished the book. Reading this article may reveal important plot details you’d rather discover alone.


Did the treehouse sketch in the book The Empty Lot Next Door resemble the real treehouse in the empty lot? No, the treehouse didn’t resemble the sketch crafted by the Indian artist to whom I tried to explain. His rendition was idealistic and spooky, somehow fitting the mood of my memory even though it didn’t mirror reality. It was good, so I accepted it.

Our treehouse was a stage, sturdy and flat on the ground, bordered by the towering bark of the old oak tree. It wasn’t a sanctuary amidst leaves and branches but rather a grounded platform. Only a single 4x4 board, weathered yet firm, bridged between two limbs above. From it, a rope dangled, swinging freely in the idle breeze. We used it to swing, to imagine. Ricky used it for his stories and his illusions.

Neighborhood children, eyes wide with wonder, sat at the base, enveloped in Ricky’s stories of magical adventures with his unseen companion, Griffin. His words, a mixture of ghastly stories and fanciful journeys, stirred visions in youthful hearts and minds that rivaled the stories of Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn.

That tree and the treehouse, seated in the empty lot, was a canvas for memories, some warm and cherished, others like a biting wind that warned of darker times. My childhood navigated through its branches, the echoes of laughter and shrieks of fright entwining permanently within its ancient branches, both beautiful and haunting simultaneously.


Key To Understanding

To ensure readers grasp the full context and significance of this article, it’s crucial to be familiar with Arthur Mills’ award-winning memoir The Empty Lot Next Door, inspired by actual ghostly events in Austin, TX. The book provides essential background information, and without it, the nuances and depth of this article might not be fully appreciated. Therefore, reading The Empty Lot Next Door is highly recommended for a more enriched and coherent understanding of this article’s content and implications.

To purchase The Empty Lot Next Door, please visit Amazon


bottom of page