Michael cleaned up the pear splatter on the wall and turned off his iPod, putting it back in his pocket. He didn’t know how he felt about his recent discovery. His grandfather wasn’t crazy? He did have a ghost? And said ghost hated pears?
He decided it was time to pay the ghost a visit.
‘Is there really a ghost in here? What if he’s in here now? What if he’s watching me?’ Michael asked himself. He swallowed and looked around, knowing he wouldn’t see anything there. He climbed the steps to his room and sat down on his bed, staring at the stain on the wall and floor.
‘I wonder if that has something to do with the ghost?’ He asked himself. He looked around the room, the Casement window was open as usual.
“Are you here, now?” Michael asked out loud, feeling stupid. Of course there was no answer. The curtains blew softly with the breeze and Michael felt the hairs on his neck stand up.
“I just want to talk to you.” He said. “Get to know you...” Michael mumbled. “I’m sorry about the pears... I know you don’t like them, I just had to be sure that you were real...” He felt like an idiot. Michael sighed and laid down. He kicked his shoes off and climbed under the covers. He rested his head on the pillow and didn’t feel the lonely eyes staring at him as he drifted off to sleep.
The next two weeks passed and nothing of interest happened. Michael tried talking to his Geist more than once, but he never received an answer, and the activity stopped. Most of it anyways. There was always the unusual things he couldn’t quite explained, so he chalked it up to the ghost. Footsteps at night, things moving. It seemed his spirit liked to play with him. It would often move things away from where he placed it. Sometimes even across the mansion. Michael found it annoying but still funny.
He was doing laundry and was bringing his clothes upstairs when he stopped. There, standing at the window, was a man. His hair was gray and resembled Orlando Blooms hair. He stood with his back to Michael and stared outside. His clothes were simple, a pair of jeans and a t shirt. It took Michael a moment to realize he was transparent. His left hand was shoved in his pocket and his right sat between his head and the window frame. Michael dropped the basket and the man turned around. He gasped silently, and then he was gone.
Michael stood there for a moment.
Was that the ghost? Who else could it have been? He looked so sad. Why did he run? Is he here now? The questions ran through Michael’s head faster than he could process them. He blinked before looking around the room.
“Are you here?” His voice cracked. “I didn’t mean to startle you...I just needed to bring the clothes in here...” Michael felt stupid again. “I’ll leave, you can have the room.” Michael set the basket down and left the room, shutting the door behind him.
‘Did I just give up my room to a ghost?’ He stopped in the middle of the hallway.
Michael didn’t know how long the ghost wanted to sit in the window. But it was well past midnight now and he wanted to go to bed. He thought about sleeping in the study, but decided against it. he didn’t want to seem as crazy as his grandfather, though he doubted he was actually crazy now. Eventually, he got up the nerve to walk down the dimly lit hallway. He stopped at the door and hesitated, before knocking.
“Uh, I don’t know if you’re still in there...but uh... I’m really tired. I just need to get some sleep...if I could just have my room back for a few hours...” Michael mumbled. He didn’t know what he was waiting for but suddenly the door opened slowly. Michael was surprised and it took him a second to step in. He looked around the room but saw no one. “Thank you...” He said anyways. He thought about stripping but decided against it. Something about the ghost watching freaked him out. He took off his shoes and climbed into bed.
He sat there, awake. The room was freezing. The Casement window was open as usual and the breeze rolled in gently. He curled up in the blankets tighter but it did nothing to keep out the cold. With a sigh he stood up and walked down the hall. He grabbed two more blankets and walked back to bed, covering up. He still shivered. Snow was on the ground outside and it had to be below zero outside. He could do nothing to keep the cold out. He thought about moving to the study after all. He was about to move when he heard a strange scraping sound. He looked up and saw the Casement window slowly closing. It shut and the room was almost instantly warmer. He stared at the window and the space in front of it.
“Thank you.” He said. The room was silent.
He turned back around and rested his head on the pillow. He fell asleep almost instantly.
After that night, the house was booming with activity. The ghost was doing SOMETHING 24/7. Michael would be eating and his bowl would start sliding across the table. He would play the ghosts game and chase after his food. Or he would be in the shower and magically the hot water would be turned off. That one wasn’t so funny. That wasn’t to say the ghost was cruel to him. Just a prankster. Every night, when Michael would head to bed, the window would be closed before he got there. Even if it had been open all day.
He also helped around the house surprisingly. Michael had, more than one time, walked away from the laundry for a second, only to come back and find it all folded. He always made sure to thank the haunting spirit and let him have their room to himself all day, as long as he got it at night. He hadn’t seen him again though. Not once.
Michael had ordered a pizza and he finally heard the doorbell ring. He jogged to the door and saw the same kid as usual.
“Hey, Tevon.” He greeted the pizza guy.
“Hey, Mr.Night.” The kid smiled. He had come by a few times after the accident with the ghost, but hadn’t come in.
“How much do I owe you, and just call me Michael.” Michael began unfolding the cash from his wallet.
“Ten fifteen.” Tevon said.
“Here you go.” Michael handed him the cash, giving him a decent tip as usual.
“Thanks Mr.Night!” Tevon waved and headed back to his car. Michael shut the door. He set the pizza down in the kitchen and was pulling down a plate when there was a knock on the door. He frowned. He walked back and opened the door to see Tevon standing there.
“Hey, my car wont start. Can I use your phone to call my boss and a tow?” Tevon asked.
“Sure, come on in.” Michael said. He felt the room go cold for a second. He walked ahead of Tevon and grabbed the phone. “Be nice.” He whispered so Tevon couldn’t hear him, but hopefully the ghost would. There was the sound of a door slamming upstairs. They both looked up the stairs.
“What was that?” Tevon asked.
“Wind, the window upstairs is open and it always slams that door shut if I don’t close it.” Michael laughed. “Here you go.” He handed him the phone. Tevon began dialing and pulled the phone away from his ear after a second.
“What the hell? It was fine then it got all staticy.” Tevon said.
“Oh, right. You have to be outside for the phone to work.” Michael said.
“I don’t know, it just never works in the house.” Michael lied.
“Oh, okay.” Tevon shrugged. He took a step towards the front door and it flew open, hitting the wall hard. “What the hell?” Tevon jumped.
“Wind! Damn that wind...” Michael chuckled awkwardly, trying to rush Tevon out the door. “If it doesn’t get closed all the way, the wind pushes it open.” He lied again.
“This house is creepy.” Tevon said.
“Yeah, you wouldn’t even believe how weird it gets around here when I’m alone.” Michael didn’t lie that time. Tevon made the call and handed the phone back to Michael. Michael put it back in it’s place and thought for a second. “He’s not going to stay forever, he’s just waiting for a ride. Just be nice for him until the tow truck gets here, please?” He whispered, while walking over to Tevon.
“Come on in. You can wait for your tow truck inside.” Michael said.
“Thanks!” Tevon smiled and stepped inside again. Michael grabbed the pizza.
“Want some? I never eat it all myself, anyways.” Michael set the pizza down and took a slice for himself, and Tevon grabbed one, thanking him again.
“So where did you get this huge house?” Tevon asked.
“My grandfather left it in my care. Thomas Night.” Michael said.
“Cool name. My last name is Evans. It’s so boring compared to Night.” Tevon laughed. Michael looked around and noticed the house was oddly quiet. Maybe the ghost had listened to him?
“So what-” The sound of a crash came from the kitchen. Michael spoke to soon.
“Just a second.” Michael smiled and stepped inside the kitchen. He stepped inside and a knife was thrown, landing in the wall only a few inches away.
“Watch it! You could have killed me! And I, for one, don’t plan to stick around this house like a certain squatter.” Michael bent and began picking up the pieces of the broken plate the ghost had thrown. “Would you stop throwing things? He’s not doing anything to you!” Michael spoke to the ghost as he cleaned. “He’s just waiting for the tow truck and then he’ll be on his own damn way.” Michael said, as he threw away the shards of broken ceramic.
“Who are you talking to?” Tevon stepped into the room.
“Myself! It was just me. I talk when I....clean.” Michael knew the lie was dumb as soon as it left his mouth.
“What happened?” Tevon said, looking at some pieces Michael missed.
“Wind!” Michael said, quickly.
“The windows closed.” Tevon pointed at the window in the kitchen.
“Wind, it was wind...This house has lots of wind it comes from the...wood...SO! Where’s that tow truck, they take forever, don’t they?” Michael laughed nervously, then he noticed the knife still in the wall behind Tevon. “Here, throw this away, would you?” He asked, giving Tevon the pieces of ceramic. As soon as he bent over the trash can he grabbed the knife and yanked it out of the wall, throwing it down on the counter. They heard a truck pull up and Michael looked out the window to see the tow truck sitting outside.
“There it is! You should go talk to him.” Michael pointed outside. “Thanks for the pizza!” He said, as he shut the door and sighed. The door upstairs slammed. Michael rolled his eyes.
The next day, Michael didn't see or hear any ghost activity. He was forced to eat his food in peace and fold the laundry himself. He was about to step into his room to grab a towel when he heard a feint crying sound. He paused. It was definitely crying. He pressed his ear up against the door and listened. It was man, he was sobbing heavily and tried to keep it quiet. Michael paused. Was it the ghost? It had to be. He didn’t know what to do, so he decided to knock on the door.
“Hey, are you okay?” He asked. The crying stopped. There was a moment of silence and the door opened. Michael stepped in and looked around. As usual, he saw no one. He sighed and sat on the bed. “I know you don’t know me, and I don’t know you. But we kind of live together and I want you to know that I’m you’re friend. At least I consider us friends. I don’t know a whole lot about ghosts...But I know a lot about people, and I think I could help.” Michael was blushing, he no longer felt as stupid talking to himself, or at least it seemed like he was talking to himself. The room was silent and then the bed squeaked as an unseen weight sat down next to Michael. Michael’s heart beat quickly. He swallowed.
“Could you make it so I can see you? Honestly I feel a little weird talking to an empty space.” Michael laughed. Slowly the view of a man came in. He sat on the bed next to Michael, his face streaked with tears. Michael drew in a breath. He looked young, no older than Michael. But he had the eyes of an old man. “Wow, I didn’t think you would actually do it.” Michael blurted out. The ghost looked up at him and started to fade out. “Wait, no! Stick around, please?” Michael said. The ghost became as solid as he could again. “Whats...Whats your name?” Michael asked.
“Avory.” The ghost spoke for the very first time. His voice had a hollow echo to it, but it was still enchanting.
“Avory. Good to put a name to a face. Well...honestly it’s good to put a face to a person.” Michael laughed at his own dumb joke. Avory smiled.
“Why were you crying?” Michael asked.
“You would be crying if you were dead, too.” Avory looked down.
“How long have you been...”
“Dead?” Avory asked, he looked back down. “I don’t know. You lose track of time so easily here.” Avory looked around the room.
“How did you die?” Michael asked. The room got colder. Tears began dripping from his cheeks again, by the time they landed on the bed, they had vanished.
“I was murdered.” Avory said, voice echoing around the room. Michael’s heart ached for the ghost.
“By who?” Michael asked. Avory sobbed, and vanished.
Avory continued to help around the house, but didn’t show himself again. Michael would talk to him when he knew he was in the room, and still allowed him to have their room for himself during the day. Michael heard him crying more than once, but never disturbed the ghost. He was obviously haunted, no pun intended, about his death.
“Hey, Avory, can I ask you a question?” Michael mumbled, while eating a bowl of cereal. There was no answer but he knew Avory was in the room, he was drying the dishes. “Why do you hate Wednesdays?” Michael asked.
“I was killed on a Wednesday.” Avory said. He didn’t make himself visible, but his voice echoed through the kitchen.
“Really? That sucks....” Michael frowned. Then something struck him. “Oh god... Please don’t tell me that stain in our room is...”
“Where I was murdered? Yes.” Avory said, turning off the water. Michael felt sick.
“That’s so creepy there aren’t even words. I give up, you can have the room.” Michael laughed bitterly and pushed his bowl of cereal away. Avory took it and put it in the sink. “Thanks.” He mumbled. He was surprised at how fast he had adjusted to having a ghost as a roommate.
“Can I ask you something else?”
“Why are you so nice to me? From what I’ve heard you had a reputation of being malicious to the previous owner.” Michael joked.
“You’re kind to me. You call it our room, and our house. I miss being treated like a person.” Avory said.
“But you are a person. Kind of...I mean, you’re still here, and you have thoughts and feelings... That makes you human, doesn’t it?” Michael asked.
“I guess...” Avory said, voice still echoing around the room.
“Why were you so mean before? What did he ever do to you?” Michael asked, there was no answer. “Avory?” Michael looked around. He heard the door shut upstairs. He sighed. Whenever he didn’t want to talk about something, he vanished.
“Avory, I’m ordering a pizza. Are you going to be nice?” Michael called out, as he dialed the number.
“Yes.” A soft voice said right behind him. Michael jumped and spun around to face the ghost who had made himself visible.
“Jesus Christ. Give a guy a warning, yeah?” Michael put a hand over his beating heart. He ordered the pizza and decided he wanted to watch a movie. “I’m going to watch something, do you want to watch with me?” Michael began searching through the movies.
“Really?” Avory suddenly poked his head out of the ceiling.
“Okay, that’s new.” Michael stared up at him for a good three seconds before going back to searching through the movies. Avory pulled his head back and suddenly dropped down through the ceiling. “Okay, again, if we’re going to pretend this is normal. You’re gonna have to stop that right now.” Michael pointed. Avory smiled and giggled. He floated down to the couch, sitting down on the middle cushion. Michael smiled, he hadn’t ever heard the ghost laugh before, it was a beautiful sound. Michael put the movie in and the previews were rolling when the doorbell rang. Avory vanished, though Michael knew he was still sitting where he was.
“Be nice.” Michael said again. He opened the door to see Tevon there.
“Michael, I think you have a pizza problem.” Tevon said, handing him his pizza. Michael laughed and began taking out his cash.
“Watching a movie?”
“Yep, was to lazy to make lunch, so I ordered in.” Michael smiled.
“At this rate, you’re going to be customer of the year.” Tevon laughed. He waved goodbye and Michael shut the door.
“Nice job, you didn’t throw something at him.” Michael walked back to the living room to see Avory sitting on the couch.
“It was hard to hold myself back.” Avory smiled. There was always a sadness lingering in his eyes, even though he smiled. Micheal sat down and opened the box. He paused.
“I would offer you a slice...but do you even eat?” Michael asked. Avory shook his head.
“I haven’t had food since I died. I don’t even know if I can. I’m not exactly solid.” Avory looked sad.
“Here, try it. You can pick stuff up, so...” Michael handed him a slice. Avory missed a little and one of his fingers landed through Michaels hand. It made him shiver. Avory took the slice and hesitated. “Come on...” Michael smiled. Avory seemed to blush. He opened his mouth and took a bite of the pizza. He wrinkled his nose. “Well?”
“It tastes like sand.” Avory frowned. Michael looked sympathetic.
“Wonder what would happen if you ate sand.” Michael smiled. Avory laughed, temporarily turning invisible and the pizza fell through onto the couch. They both started laughing. Michael picked up the fallen piece of pizza and threw it away.
“This is the most fun I’ve had since I died.” Avory said.
“It’s just pizza.” Michael smiled.
“Not the pizza. It tastes like sand. It’s fun being with another person. I always feel so alone...” Avory mumbled.
“Well you’re not anymore. We both live in this damn house and I plan to keep it that way.” Michael smiled. Avory gave another small smile. “Avory...” Michael hesitated.
“Why do you think you’re here?”
“Excuse me?” Avory wrinkled his brow.
“I mean, it’s supposed to be that ghosts have some unfinished business. Something they need to tie up before they...I don’t know, move on or go into the light or whatever.” Michael said. “Do you have any idea what that is?”
“I don’t know... I haven’t really thought about it honestly.” Avory said.
“Maybe, if we figure it out, I can help you. Then you wont be stuck here.” Michael said. Avory seemed to blush through his transparent body.
“You can, if you want. But I really don’t remember much about what happened that day.” Avory said.
“We’ll figure it out.” Michael smiled. He moved to place his hand on Avorys’. His hand passed through the transparent form and his hand fell through to the couch. He smiled up at Avory anyways. Avory blushed deeper, but it still didn’t effect his transparent flesh.
Michael stepped into the old library and sighed. It had been awhile since he had gotten to just spend time in a library. He used to do it all the time. But he had been working hard to make his last relationship work, and hadn’t had a chance to just sit amongst the old books.
He spent the next two hours trying to find anything and everything he could on his towns history. He came up with six cases of murder.
“Six.” He mumbled to himself. “And that’s only in the last ten years. For all I know, Avory could have been hanging around for centuries. That house is old enough, anyways.” Michael rubbed his eyes. He grabbed the pages and newspaper articles he had made copies of, and began walking for the old building. He opened the cheap paper folder he bought at the dollar store and shoved the papers inside. Six cases, six victims, and not a single name. The police had never found out who the people were. After putting all the papers inside, he pulled out the first one his fingers touched.
“Age 26, sex male, cause of death...” Michael swallowed. “His throat was slit.” He set down the papers and looked out at the park he had taken a seat in. He hadn’t really thought about it this way. He knew Avory was dead, and that he was murdered, but it never really registered in his head that he was MURDERED. Someone had done something horrible to him, and it had ended his life. He could have been Michael’s age. It could have been Michael. Michael shook his head.
“They didn’t say the location...” Michael mumbled, flipping through the copied pages of newspaper.He supposed Avory looked about 26, though it was hard to tell. He made a note to try and build up the courage to ask Avory how he died, before putting the paper back in the folder, and heading home.
He closed the door behind him and noticed the house was unusually still. Usually there was some sort of indication that the ghost was in the house, water running, the laundry going, even vacuuming sometimes. Now that Avory was out of the closet, so to speak, he was open about where he was in the house. Unless he was playing a prank on Michael. Then he could be unnervingly sneaky.
“Avory?” Michael called out. He looked around the house. The dishes were done in the sink and the laundry was folded in the laundry room. He jogged up the steps and looked down the hall at the shut door. He had grown close to the spirit, but there was still so much he didn’t know. He was afraid to ask Avory all that much, because when he tried, the ghost would get sad and vanish for a few days, before coming back without a word. Michael knocked on the door.
“Avory? Are you okay?” He asked. There was no answer. “I’m going to come in unless you tell me not to.” Michael said. He turned the handle and waited. When nothing happened, he pushed the door open. Avory sat on the window sill, looking out over the yard and onto the street. He was more transparent than usual and had a sad longing look in his dead eyes.
“Avory?” Michael whispered. The ghost didn’t turn to face him. He acted as if he hadn’t heard him at all. His form flickered a bit and began fading slightly. “Avory!” Michael shouted, not wanting the ghost to vanish. Avory seemed to snap out of his trance and turned towards Michael. The door slammed and the curtains blew. Avory looked shocked.
“Sorry, I didn’t see you.” Avory mumbled.
“Where did you go?” Michael asked.
“I don’t know, it just happens sometimes. I just space out a little.”
“You were flickering, are you okay?”
“Was I? Sorry.” Avory mumbled again, turning back to the window.
“Why are you always looking out that window?” Michael asked. Avory turned back to face him as Michael sat down on the bed.
“I don’t know. I just spent a lot of time here when I was alive.” Avory said.
“How old were you?” Michael blurted out.
“Honestly, I don’t really remember.” Avory gave a small smile. “I don’t remember a whole lot about my old life.” He said, thoughtfully.
“Were you happy?” Michael asked. Avory hesitated.
“I don’t think so.” He said quietly.
“Why not?” Michael felt bad that Avory had died, and he hadn’t even liked his life before that.
“I don’t remember. I think was in love.” Avory said.
“Isn’t that a good thing? Something to be happy about?”
“It should be...but it wasn’t.” Avory whispered.
Michael sat at his desk getting all the work he’d been slacking on, done.
“What are you doing?” Avory appeared behind him, making him jump.
“God damn it, Avory.” He mumbled. “You know I hate it when you do that.”
“Sorry. I just got bored up there and thought I would see what you were doing.” He gently floated down to the couch cushion.
“It’s okay, just don’t scare me like that. I’m looking through this articles I found at the library.” Michael said, returning to his work.
“On murders that happened in this house. There’s a lot you know. I just picked the ones that happened in the past few years.”
“For me? But how do you know I didn’t die farther back?” Avory asked.
“Well...I don’t know. Now that I think about it, you hate technology.” Michael swung his chair around to face Avory. “Maybe you are older than you look. Afterall, we don’t know shit about how all of this ghost business works.” Michael sighed.
“What if we go off of memories? We know you hate technology. So that probably means you were born before all of this fancy crap.” He gestured to his laptop. “What else do you remember?”
“I told you, I don’t remember much.”
“I know, but don’t try to remember specific things that were in your life. What about things around you. Presidents? Wars? Uh...what your favorite show on T.V. was.”
“Favorite show...” Avory seemed to think. “I....I’m sorry I cant remember.” He put a hand to his transparent head.
“Don’t worry about it. We’ll figure it-”
“Ford!” Avory shouted.
“What?” Michael furrowed his brow.
“Gerald Ford was president.”
“When you died?”
“I...I don’t know. I just remember him. I don’t remember if he was president when I died.” Avory said sadly.
“Jesus...” Michael put a hand to his forehead.
“I’m sorry...” Avory said sadly.
“No, not that. He was president in the seventies. Assuming you didn’t die before his presidency, but after, you could have been murdered anywhere in the last...forty years.” He sighed. “Do you remember how old you were?”
“No...I remember....I remember sneaking into a bar.”
“So you were under twenty one...But able to pass for twenty one. So you couldn’t have been any younger than eighteen.”
“Yes, I suppose so.” He mumbled.
“So you were, lets say nineteen, when Ford was elected. Which means you would be fifty six now.” Michael said.
“Fifty six? I don’t feel fifty six.” He said, almost angry.
“You’re dead, I’m pretty sure you don’t feel much of any age right now.” Michael smiled, making Avory smile back. “So you could have been murdered anywhere in the last 38 years.” Michael said, typing the numbers into a calculator. He sighed.
“My grandfather started complaining about ghosts a few years ago....Do you remember how long you’ve been haunting him?”
“No...Time just kind of fades away. My memory gets worse and worse.” Avory frowned.
“This is going to be impossible.” Michael moaned in frustration.
“You’ll be able to figure it out. I know it.” Avory smiled. He floated over to Michael and paused before putting a hand on his shoulder. Believe it or not, the hand felt solid. Michael smiled and Avory blushed, losing his focus and the hand fell through Michaels shoulder, making him shiver. They shared a gaze for a moment before Avory vanished.
Michael made his next move and as soon as he pulled his hand off the piece, he knew he had made a mistake. His grandfather immediately grabbed his own piece and jumped over three of Michaels.
“God damn it.” He grumbled. He only had one piece left now.
“So you say you’ve been talking to the demon?”
“His names Avory, and he’s not a demon.” Michael laughed.
“Oh yes he is. Nothing dead should still be hangin’ around us living.” His grandfather scowled.
“I’m trying to help him find the light or whatever other bullshit.” Michael made his next move after thinking long and hard about it.
“You cant help him. He’s evil, Michael. He’ll just kill you and everyone you care about.” His grandfather said, as he made his move and took Michael’s last piece.