Phantom Houses

A story from this book led me to a place in which two houses […] exist but aren’t there.

They have clean windows and curtains, and truly look inhabited. But you can’t go in there. I bet the doors won’t open.

If you know where to look, you can see their backsides. They’re just empty shells, about 5 feet of lifeless concrete façade. The neighbouring houses reach steel girders across that void to support each other.
The story behind that? When the first tube was built, they still had to dig trenches along the whole length of the line. Those two houses were in the way and had to be demolished, but the posh residents didn’t want their street to be left so maimed – and got those mock houses put in place for the sake of appearance. The gap was never filled, since it served as a point where the steam-powered trains could vent coal exhaust. So, very white as seen from the street, very black from the back alley.