☠ Readers beware: This story is from a writing project I did between May 24 to June 24, 2021. The goal was to write a new story every day. Although I'm happy with them, they are first drafts and many could use some work.
Becca was in the shower when she heard Karen screaming. She pulled on her bathrobe and raced downstairs.
She found her roommate standing on a chair in the kitchen, holding a frying pan.
“What’s going on? Do we have a mouse?”
She shook her head. Her brunette hair was down, and wearing the sleeveless dress with brown flowers that she wore to Saturday brunch.
“What is it, then?”
“Back stairs,” she mumbled.
The rental house they shared was in an older neighbourhood of the city. A short flight of stairs led to the backdoor.
“There’s nothing there.”
“Maybe it went into the basement.”
“I… You won’t….” She didn’t finish.
Becca couldn’t understand what was going on, but if there was an animal in the house, they needed to get it out of there.
She put on sandals and went downstairs. The basement was open brick and concrete, and Becca had to duck to avoid banging her head on the ducts.
Although light shone through the dirty basement windows, the shadows of the houses packed tightly around them made it hard to see. She pulled the string to turn on the bare bulb.
At first, she thought it was the light in her eyes, but after they adjusted, she couldn’t believe what she saw.
“Do you see it?”
“Yes,” she said in a soft tone.
In the corner was a faint outline of a figure. She couldn’t tell if it was a man or woman, but they moved back and forth between the washer and the furnace.
“What’s it doing?”
Karen crouched at the top of the stairs and peeked over.
“So, do we call a priest or what?”
Becca frowned and walked back to her. “What do you mean?”
“To get rid of it.”
Becca looked back at the spirit, flowing like cobwebs in a gentle breeze.
“It’s in our house!”
“But did they do anything? What happened exactly?”
“I was getting ready to meet Lauren and Amanda, and it was looking out the back window.”
“What do you mean? Isn’t that enough?”
“But they’re not doing anything.”
“We’ve got a ghost in our basement!” she cried out.
“And we’ve been here for nearly a year, and this is the first time we’ve ever seen them.”
“What? You just want to leave it be?”
“Why not? They’re not harming anyone.”
“Yeah, it is.”
“Me! It’s harming me!”
“By existing. I didn’t ask it to be here. I don’t want it to be here, and I want it far away.”
Karen stomped back up the stairs, and Becca could hear her going for her phone.
She didn’t feel right and didn’t quite understand Karen’s fear. The spirit hadn’t done anything. Maybe they were simply passing through. There was only one way to know.
She walked over, leaving plenty of space between her and them.
“Hey there, can you hear me?”
The spirit didn’t seem to notice her. She stepped a little closer.
The ghost’s eyes drifted towards Becca. Despite seeming strange and unworldly, she felt a strange calm, like she was talking to a friend.
“I’m not sure what brought you here, but I don’t want anything bad to happen to you. I’m okay if you stay, but you might not want to show up around the other person in the house.”
The spirit floated in front of her, and Becca wasn’t sure she understood.
Karen’s footsteps crossed overhead, and the spirit looked up. Her roommate came down the stairs, and Becca saw she was on the phone. “I’m wondering if you have a blessing or something you can do for a house…?”
Becca searched again for the ghost, but it was nowhere to be seen. She walked back to her friend.
Karen glared at her, annoyed. “What do you mean gone?”
“I asked them to leave, and they did.”
“You asked it to leave?”
Her friend chewed her lip, frustrated. “I’ll call you back,” she said absent-mindedly before hanging up. She studied her roommate, who had just spoken to a ghost. Becca was pretty sure this would be the first nail in the coffin of Karen no longer living in a house that communes with wispy spirits. She turned on her heel and stomped back upstairs.
Becca knew the spirit wasn’t gone. They were still here, slipping between the walls and the floor, sashaying through the heating ducts. She’d keep an eye open and occasionally whisper kind words, even when she thought she was alone.
Because why not? All spirit deserves a little kindness.
This one came late to me this evening, but I had a pretty good idea of what it was when I started.
My son and I discussed it a bit while I drove him to his activity. We both agreed it's on the nose too much, but figured it's not a reason to stop it. Many of these stories are not perfect, but the act of doing them is what counts.