Thursday, January 04, 2007

Ghost Story

It was a Victorian home. Yellow, run down. The garage had collapsed sometime, the previous owners possessions still strewn about. The porch sagged. It seemed to be pulling down the rest of the house with it.

The doors were barricaded from the inside. Out of the ordinary, but not completely unexpected, especially in this neighborhood. The first floor windows were boarded up - to keep people out, or something in, he wasn't sure. He didn't want to stay, but was here to do a job, so he went to his toolbox and pulled out a pry bar. It would be the quickest way in.

He sighed to himself. He wondered how long ago someone would have cared enough to call the police and let them know a man was breaking into a house in broad daylight. A scan of the street answered his question. More abandoned houses and burnt out shells. The people that cared moved away a long time ago.

He was in the house after a few tugs with the pry bar. He smiled to himself. A few nails and OSB were no match for him. As he stepped over he threshold he noticed nails sticking out of the window. He took extra care going over. No need to wreck a nice pair of khakis. It was dark inside. And cold. He could never figure out why it seemed so much colder inside these old homes than outside. Maybe it was angry about being left alone. Angry at being ravaged by time and thieves and vandals. He felt a chill up his spine and zipped his black fleece jacket all the way up. A glance at his watch told him it was still early afternoon. Not yet the witching hour. Something tingled at the back of his mind. He shivered, but not from the cold.

As he walked deeper it grew darker. Much darker. His flashlight struggled to push back the gloom. The inky blackness seemed to have a weight to it. Trying to push the light back out - getting rid of an intruder. He was startled to hear voices coming from somewhere. Not here. No one was here. He listened more closely. There they were. Laughing. Jolly. Not right. There was music with the voices. He was not prepared for this. It must be coming from the street. He quickly walked back to the window and peered out, looking up and down the street. The din had faded as he moved away from the interior of the house. This was indeed coming from inside.

He knew he should leave, but curiosity dug it claws in deep. He ventured into the blackness once more. He took stock of the situation, and flicked the flashlight back on. It caught on a pool of color in the darkness. He knew one thing. Orange isn't the color of anything scarier than a deftly carved pumpkin. He breathed a sigh of relief. The extension cord was plugged into the wall and ran into the foyer and up through a hole in the ceiling to the 2nd floor. He moved into the foyer and took seven steps up the stairs. The voices were louder, and still very happy. Radio personality happy. He felt silly for letting his fears get the best of him. The broker must have plugged in and turned on the radio so anyone nosing around thought someone was in the house. Clever, but lights would have been more effective.

He retreated down the steps, out of the foyer, and into the kitchen. He unplugged the extension cord and the music stopped. He laughed to himself. Too many zombie movies and an overactive imagination. He went back into the foyer and started back up the steps, but something was still nagging him. He rapped on the stairway. Bang! Bang! Bang! Anyone here?

There was a sudden crash from the second floor and heavy steps moving toward the staircase. He bolted down the steps and out the front window. Not ripping a nice pair of khakis did not enter his mind as he hurtled through the window opening. As he pulled away from the house, he saw a man materialize in the window, and thought to himself, insurance is supposed to be boring...

-Real or not. You decide.

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