It was a very old house, but in a very good neighbourhood, and worth a great deal more than I’d paid for it.
It took less than a week for me to learn why.
My third night in the place, I was awoken by a ghastly moan the likes of which no human voice should ever utter. A human voice could utter it, but it should not.
As I awoke I saw, sitting at the foot of my bed, a vaporous child, pale and drawn, in clothes curiously out of date, staring at me with eyes larger than his head should fit. His head could fit them, indeed it did, but it should not.
He stared at me, curious. I stared back, gulping down a scream. That gulp was a narrow thing indeed.
“What, I mean, who, I mean, what are you doing here?” I sputtered.
“I lived here,” he replied, too solemnly for a child his apparent age, “and then, later, I died here. Father, when the bank threatened to take this house away, killed mother, and me. And then himself. Mother went to heaven, Father to hell, and here I remain. I can’t leave, I wouldn’t know where to go. This house is the only home I’d ever known.”
“I will never leave this house. Never.”
I softened toward him then. I mean, he was just a kid, he didn’t deserve such a horrible fate. Then the implied threat became clearer. This was his home. I had invaded it. And what, pray tell, does an angry ghost do in a situation like this?
“But I live here now too.” I whispered, feeling the blood drain from my face. “What do you intend to… do to me?”
He cocked his head quizzically, then smiled.
“Do to you? Nothing. I just wanted to say hello, and welcome. I’d missed having people around…”
And with that the little ghost faded slowly back into the aether, leaving me shivering in the cold of my darkened room.
I didn’t sleep well that night.
I occasionally catch glimpses of the spirit roaming the halls of my new home, and when he catches my eye he’ll sometimes wave, and it still sends those same chills down my spine.
I have, from time to time, considered selling the place.
But, as I’ve said, it’s a very good neighbourhood. One that should be well outside my price range.
And there are worse roommates in the world.