Hello, all you awesome people of Internetland! I hope everyone is doing well. I thought I'd share a story I wrote for a sort of collaborative project ages ago that sort of fell through. It's my first attempt at a Horror Comedy and I hope you all enjoy it.
On a personal note, I know a lot of people out there going through a bad time of it right now but if my humble efforts have entertained I'd take it as a kindness if you'd drop a buck or two in the till through my PayPal or SubscribeStar. So far, the best I can look forward to is having my hours cut at my day job after next week and any little bit you can chip in will help. Also, if you become a paid tier member of my SubscribeStar, you'll get access to some neat stuff like some exclusive Choose Your Own Adventure stories and stuff like that.
Thank you all so much in advance.
Anyway, enough of the admin stuff! On with the show!
A Ghost's Story
I was puttering around in the garden at the back of the house when I heard what sounded like a car pull into the drive. Well...who is that at this hour? I thought as I walked around to peek at whoever it was in the drive. It was probably around three in the afternoon, quite a bit too early for my usual visitors. I think at this point some explanation is in order. You see, I've been haunting my old yellow house at the end of the street for...hmmm...how long now? I don't know exactly. Occupational hazard. It isn't like I can pop on down to the store for a paper and the electric company cut off the juice ages ago... There's an old calendar on the wall in the kitchen that says it's June, 1988 at any rate.
There's a white van in the drive with the words PLATTSBURGH GHOST HUNTERS painted on the side. I roll my eyes as I watch three people get out and unload plastic containers of equipment. “Oh not again...” I groan impatiently as I headed back around the house. Most of the time it's just some kids, middle schoolers or sometimes some teens from the local high school. We have a great old time, especially if they brought one of those silly Ouija boards. They giggle and scream and laugh and, to be honest, so do I. I always did like kids, not in that creepy 'don't go in the rectory with Father O'Grady' sort of way. Get your mind out of the gutter. I just appreciate their energy if that makes any sense. I don't really know how else to put it.
I'm waiting, sitting at the kitchen table as the 'Ghost Hunters' come in the front door without even bothering to knock. So rude. I shake my head and sigh, staring at the coffee maker on the counter. I wish I could make a cup but, like I said, the misers at the power company cut me off and whatever metaphysical rules that govern my existence won't let me leave the property. There's three of them, two young men and a pretty little brunette. Oh goddamn...now the blond surfer looking guy in a Grateful Dead tee shirt and blue jeans is setting up cameras in my living room. Again, nobody's bothering to even ask permission. So very, very rude... Also, a Grateful Dead shirt? I shake my head as I stand and go to see what the other guy and the girl are doing in my front yard.
Oh, would you look at that. It looks like they're going to be shooting a TV show or something. Great. I sigh heavily as I watch the pair filming what seems to be an opening segment or something. The guy seems alright from the look of him, looks like some farm kid or something. I can see why the girl's gotten the job in front of the camera instead of behind it, all shiny brown hair, big blue eyes and a body that could melt a cheese sandwich from across the room. I'm reasonably certain that she and the cameraman are an item...or want to be...
I tiptoe upstairs lest the guy setting up the equipment in the house hear me on the steps. The third riser always squeaked no matter how I tried to fix it. I hate these 'ghost hunters' with their cameras and monitors and electric googags. I figure I'll just leave them to it, stay out of their way and wait for them to get bored. That's what I generally do anyway... “Aw c'mon...” I mutter under my breath when I hear the characteristic groan of weight on that third riser. It would appear that the PLATTSBURGH GHOST HUNTERS are better equipped than the usual folks that just sort of show up and start milling around my house and start messing with my things... The surfer's up here on the second floor now, setting up more cameras and sensors and so forth... “Fine! I'll go in the attic!” I grumble under my breath as I walk out of my bedroom and head for the stairs, waiting for the surfer to go in the guest room before I slip through the door and head up to the attic.
I listen to them shifting around downstairs, furniture scraping on the floorboards as they rearrange things... My teeth grind when I look out the window at the van and see the girl with sleeping bags and a big backpack on her shoulders. Now they're just going to invite themselves over to spend the night!? No, no...that's fine. It's fine. Really. No bother at all. The cameraman's bringing some plastic coolers inside, staring at the girl's ass as they walk toward the front door. I run a palm over my balding pate and roll my eyes.
It's been hours. What are they doing down there? I frown and try to get a look out the windows to see if they're still in the house... “HEY! IS ANYBODY HERE!?” a voice bellows from downstairs “HEY! GHOSTS! GIVE US A SIGN GODDAMNIT!” Well if that's the way you're going to act you can forget it! I thought, crossing my arms over my chest as I sat down on a box of Christmas lights. I let the jerk shout himself hoarse down there, blood boiling so to speak, as he roared and threatened and screamed like a petulant child demanding my attention. Well, guess what. You aren't going to get it.
Finally the idiot decided to shut up and I could hear the girl's voice, quieter and more polite. Nope, not falling for it sweetie. I roll my eyes for the eightieth time as I go to the window overlooking the backyard and the garden. Can a ghost's eyes get stuck from rolling them too much? I shrug at my own question, my eyebrows creeping up my head when I saw Surfer come out into the backyard and look at my garden. Oh no. Oh no you fucking don't... I fume as the man saunters toward my hydrangeas, a hand going to the zipper of his jeans... He did. He did. He...he...peed on my hydrangeas. Oh...oh, that's it. You want to play? Fine. Let's play, meatbags.
I slip out of the window and out onto the roof of the porch then lower myself to the front lawn. It took a little time but I managed to find the dog shit the lady's mutt left on the curb this morning. One of the advantages of being incorporeal is that I don't really feel much as I pick up the rather impressive log and walk back to their van. I can feel a mischievous grin growing on my face as I ease open the door and jam the still moist dung into the springs under the driver's seat. It's mid summer so, with the van's windows shut (which I thoughtfully roll back up for them) it should get nice and hot in the vehicle... “Now how did I miss that?” I wonder aloud when my eyes discover a dead rodent of some sort in the road just a little bit over the property line. I find a stick and pull it into reach then stuff the fetid, rotting carcass under the passenger's seat.
Know what? I haven't had this much fun in ages...
I saunter back to the house and peer through the front window, biting back on an explosive curse. Not only have they made a mess of my living room but now they're sitting around drinking beer. I was willing to let things go but... I shake my head angrily and work my way back up onto the attic. Surfer had apparently set up stuff to try and catch me on tape or something on the first and second floors... First thing's first. It looked like there was a bunch of electrical equipment on the coffee table... How to get them away from it? I look over my shoulder at the van.
A fist sized rock thrown at the side of the van proved enough to send the three of them hurrying out through the front door and out onto the lawn. I slipped in behind the ghost hunters and walked quickly over to the coffee table, peering at the black plastic boxes and expensive looking recording equipment then pulled all the wires. A quick look out the window then all the wires went in just enough to make them look like they were still plugged in. Try recording now, jerks. I smirk as I wait for the three of them to come back.
Surfer was muttering under his breath about kids and their penchant for throwing rocks as they returned to the living room. I stand in the corner, smiling and then slip onto the corner of the couch just as the brunette was about to sit down. She shrieks and jumps to her feet looking like something had just bit her. “Something's there!” she shouts, waving a frantic hand in my direction “Something's sitting right there!”
The two men looked at each other then Surfer reached out to touch the cushion I had just vacated a second before. “Nothin's here, Hannah.” he muttered, his blue eyes darting between his companions. “Are you sure you didn't imagine it?”
Oh how they bickered and argued about that one for a good ten minutes or so. I was in the corner trying to not laugh my ass off, hand clasped over my mouth. I'm not sure if they could hear me or not but it wasn't worth taking chances. Once it looked like the argument was dying down I strategically withdrew back to the second floor, waiting for my next chance for a little fun. From the look of the sun outside it was getting late, maybe almost suppertime... Once it was dark things could really pick up...though should I really try to scare these putzes off or draw it out?
A grin sprang to my face when I heard the stairs groan. Cameraman's silhouette appeared at the end of the hall, his face twisted up into an uncomfortable expression. Not scared... Oh...I see... The man opened a few doors then ducked into the bathroom two rooms down. Oh, this was gonna be good... I walked down the hall and closed my eyes in concentration then stepped forward passing through the wooden door. I shook myself involuntarily as I found myself looking at the back of Cameraman's head. Three...two...one...and... He screamed when I put my hand on his shoulder, spraying urine everywhere as he just about jumped out of his skin, lost his balance and crashed into the wall. He blew past me and ran into the hall then down the stairs sounding like a herd of elephants as he burst onto the first floor. The sound of choking laughter echoed up the stairwell and I knew immediately what happened, chuckling to myself as I went down to check out the fireworks.
Cameraman's face was red as a pickled beet as he stuffed himself back into his pants and zipped up. The brunette was not exactly looking away while Surfer was giggling like a hyena on the couch in the living room. Cameraman went to one of the backpacks and got out some clean clothes. Hm...what to do now? I didn't particularly want to hurt anyone but, to be honest, I did not appreciate their behavior at all so to my mind I still had a point to prove... Sure, some ghosts might have pushed Cameraman down the stairs or something but that's not really my style. Besides...if I accidentally killed somebody I might end up with roommates. The flesh crawls...if I had any. You know what I mean.
I had gotten the girl and Cameraman...so it looked like it was Surfer's turn to take his medicine. How to get him though? I stood in the corner watching the three of them go about their 'investigation', asking questions and the like while trying to take pictures... I tiptoed out of the living room and into the kitchen, leaning against the wall just inside the room while I planned out what to do next. A startled shout snapped me out of my reverie and I looked up to see the brunette looking right through me. Oh shit...can she see me? “There's a cold spot here!” she announced, fear and triumph in her voice as she raised what looked like a little plastic gun and pointed it at me.
I ducked and stepped aside, trying for the back door as a little red dot started tracking me around the room... Shit! It's closed! I turned as Cameraman and Surfer walked in. I looked around frantically trying to avoid more contact with the humans. I tiptoed closer, sucking in my gut as I turned sideways and slipped between Surfer and the girl. Before I could stop myself I reached out and gave the brunette's heart shaped little bottom a good firm squeeze, giggling as I turned and hustled toward the stairs. That little fit of pique actually worked out in my favor as she wheeled and shouted at Surfer, furiously accusing him of what I had just done.
I let it get quiet until well after sundown. To be honest I felt a little bad about getting Surfer slapped earlier. Anyway, I went downstairs to see what they were up to now. Surfer was asleep on the floor in his sleeping bag but the other two were nowhere to be found. A quick look out the window told me the van was still there...so where did the girl and Cameraman get to? I walked to the kitchen and, finding it empty, decided to take a quick look outside. My non-existent blood ran cold when I saw the two of them going at it like rabbits in my back lawn. The gall! The unmitigated gall! Showing up uninvited, making a mess of my house and now this!? Oh, this would not stand my friends! This absolutely would not stand!
I slipped out the back door and crept up on the pair while they were too busy rutting to pay me any mind. Their clothes were on the grass nearby so I gathered them up under my arm and went back inside, making sure to lock the door behind me. A quick glance into the living room told me Surfer was still snoring away so I double checked the front door and went upstairs. Snickering at my joke, I set the clothes on the bed in the guest room and plucked the woman's tee shirt from the pile. I proceeded to neatly fold each garment and put it on the top shelf of the closet.
That done I decided to hurry back down the stairs. I could hear that the girl and Cameraman had apparently finished up and were just now discovering my bit of larceny so I had to act fast. Surfer was still dead to the world (pardon the pun) so I grabbed all the backpacks and went out through the front door, easing it open and leaving it locked. There was a small ditch choked with weeds and mud on the edge of the property and I made for it as fast as I could. Glancing toward the house, I chucked the bags as far as I could into the muddy little swamp then sauntered back to admire my handiwork feeling much pleased if I do say so myself.
I decided to head onto the back porch to watch the show and oh, Lord how I laughed! It had to be cold out judging from the state of Cameraman and the amount of gooseflesh on the girl. I couldn't really tell, myself. I guess that's one of the side effects of being a specter. Shade. Whatever. There's a loud bang in the living room and Surfer comes into the kitchen rubbing his knee then Cameraman and the girl come sprinting in like greased lightning! Oh, this is just too good! This really has been the most fun I've had in quite some time!
Now the girl and Cameraman are on the couch wrapped in their sleeping bags...and they've just discovered what I did with the backpacks. Oh...oh, dear. Maybe I've gone a little too far. The girl's sobbing, obviously humiliated. Maybe I've gotten the point across. Hopefully they'll leave now. I sigh heavily and go back upstairs, scratching the back of my head. I don't really need to sleep but I do feel like I need a bit of a rest now and again. I guess I'll leave them alone for a little while and, hopefully, when they find their clothes they'll get in their van and go.
They're talking loudly. Yelling, if I have to honest. I can hear them from my hiding spot in the attic. Not specifics but a sort of low mumble. Must really be going at it. I stare at the floor, frowning when I hear a flat hard crack. Now there's more shouting and some jostling around... Oh, dear. Sounds like they're having a fight. There's a crash of shattering glass. A scream. “Oh come on, children!” I growl through clenched teeth. They had to have broken one of my windows! Exasperated, I head downstairs to see what all the fuss is about and can really only stand there in shock at the foot of the stair.
Surfer has Cameraman on the floor in between the kitchen and living room, his hands locked around the man's throat! The girl is crumpled in the corner of the living room. Oh no... I look around the room and, mustering everything I got, grab one of those things they use to hold the cameras up and throw it as hard as I can. Surfer stiffens and crumples to the floor. I cross to the men... Oh...oh, this is bad... There's so much blood! Rivers of it pouring out of the back of Surfer's head! Cameraman sits up, coughing and sputtering as he climbs to his knees and prods Surfer's shoulder with a finger. He gets really scared, his eyes the size of saucers as he looks from the metal and plastic with bits of clotted hair to Surfer and back again. Quit gawking and do something, you idiot! He's bleeding!
For the first time in my life...or rather unlife... I am shaking with frustrated impotence as I hurry over to the girl. Oh...oh...oh what did you people do?! The girl's eyes are open, staring at her lap...there's a smear of blood on the wall and the crack in the drywall... Oh, dear. Oh my... The poor thing must have tried to stop the two men from fighting and...
Ten minutes ago I might have found the sight of Cameraman sprinting out into the yard in nothing but his birthday suit hilarious. I follow him out onto the front porch, screaming curses at him as he scrambles into the driver's seat of the van. He runs back inside and starts going through Surfer's pockets, coming out with a set of keys on a little plastic fob then rushes back outside. Maybe he's going to go get help? Deflated, my shoulders sag as I watch the van back out of the driveway, turn around then its taillights disappear into the night.
I turn and...hey! Surfer staggered out of the front door, walked right through me and crashed onto the lawn before stumbling out onto the street... He fell, struggled to his feet and kept going heading for the neighbor's house a little ways down the road. I stand on the edge of the property staring into the dark. If I could have I would have told him not to go that way. The distance plays tricks with the eyes, especially at night. It's almost three miles to the nearest house that way.
“Who are you?” I nearly jump out of my skin as I turn to see who asked me the question. It's the girl and she's standing a few feet away, a confused frown on her face as she absently rubs the back of her head staring at me. She's dressed now, wearing the same clothes I had taken from the grass out back and put away in the upstairs bedroom.
Well, I hope she likes that outfit... I force a smile. It's plain to see she's scared and confused. “I'm Martin.” I tell her as I take a tentative step toward the girl. My first instinct is to take her back inside...however that might be a little awkward under the circumstances. Eventually someone will be called, someone will find out or some relative will start poking around... It happened to me, after all. Until then... “Would you like to see the garden? It's actually quite pretty in the moonlight.” I wave a hand absently toward the nearly full moon hanging in the purple black sky overhead.
The girl nods, clearly still more than a little overwhelmed by what's happening. I look absently toward the house then at the girl as we walk around the building heading for the garden. “What's your name?” I ask after a few more moments' awkward silence. It's a strange situation for both of us. She moves closer, her arms wrapped tightly around her torso.
“Hannah.” she says, her voice barely above a whisper.
“Nice to meet you, Hannah.”
Hannah doesn't seem to show much interest in the chrysanthemums. They weren't really my favorite either. “Where's Dan and Quinn?” she asked, still in that quiet scared little girl voice.
It takes me a minute to realize she was talking about Surfer and Cameraman. “They...left...” I tell her then shrug. I lick my lips then glance toward the house. “Hannah...there's really no easy way to tell you this...”