This is the fifth in a series of 365 Flash Fiction stories I’m writing from 2nd December 2012 until the 1st December 2013. It’s intent is to keep me writing throughout the year, and not just in November. you can find out more about the challenge here.
The House That Could Not Sell, by Jonathan L. Lawrence, 6th December 2012
Word count: 542
Theme: Supernatural, ghosts, haunted house
“Okay, whatever you do, don’t scream,” a voice said to no one in particular, the house was empty. “When are they going to move in?” the ghost sighed.
Five years later, the living room was host to a disembodied voice again, “If anyone’s there, whatever you do, don’t scream,” it said wearily. “No one? Nothing? Well I’m coming out, this is stupid.”
From the centre of the room a ghostly figured emerged. He was a youngish man, dressed in an 80’s suit, with appropriate shoulder pads, and ghostly snake skin belt.
“Well this place has seen better days,” he said screwing up his face in disgust. “It was perfectly clean when I lived here.”
Just then Susan Grimes put the key in the rusty lock, it was a struggle to get it to tun. This property had been on the agency’s books for twenty-four years, and had never been sold. She couldn’t understand, it was in a nice enough area, but no one ever moved, deals were never completed, though one of predecessors having a mental breakdown while showing people around hadn’t helped. She had set about coming to find out for herself. Since the agency itself owned the house, (the result of a bet between the then director of the agency, and the previous occupier who had only held it briefly), it would be quite the coup to sell it.
Finally the door gave way and she stepped in. The house had stood neglected for twenty four years, the only work ever done on it were the gardens, which a local handyman had been doing for the past nine years, (since someone last tried to sell it). The outside at least looked presentable, and would surely attract attention with a “For Sale” sign.
Inside though, it was filthy. She didn’t know how long since it had been cleaned, or decorated but it was appalling. she realised it would need fumigating, signs of insects were everywhere. She looked down the skirting in the hall way, no signs of mice, rats, or cats, so that was something at least. Normally they’d all be making their home in a house abandoned for so long.
She rounded the corner into the ample sized living room, and immediately dropped the keys she had in one hand, the clipboard with the buildings particulars fell from her other hand on to her foot, and the shock she felt from seeing what was in the living room was lost in a curse of pain.
The ghost screamed and turned around to see what could produce so unholy a shriek, only to be faced with a woman. Coming to his sentences he put his left index finger to his lips, “Shhhh” he told her. Then he let go of the resistance that held him against the floor and slipped out of sight.
He could hear the woman screaming from above, even below the floor the volume was much higher on her constant high pitched wail, and then her foot stops bound across the are floors, and the door slammed behind her.
“They’re always so rude,” the ghost sighed, “Being dead sucks,” as he settled in to sleep for another few years, beginning to think no one would ever take the property.
Once again no specific prompting for this, I just started and discarded several ideas, and fell on a nice little ghost story by accident, (more or less). Part of it’s because I’ve had werewolves, demon’s, zombies, and mummies, it felt like I needed complete the set. Still got vampires to go mind. Might do vampires at the weekend, I’ve got a plan for tomorrow. Tomorrow I want to write a story, in the style of an ancient myth, don’t know what the subject or characters will be, but I want a myth, something I can read to my niece – so good simple language and themes (she’s two).