The living room was a mishmash of figurines and bric-a-brac. Ornaments of cute little animals all watched the brightly-lit television screen as a GI Joe-looking character opened fire on a slug-monster. Green gunk oozed and splattered everywhere.
“What have I told you about letting the kids play these violent games, Kevin? I left the room for one minute and—”
“But gran, it’s the best one!” shouted Billy, a dark-haired youngster sitting way too close to the television; engrossed entirely in the act of destroying the alien scourge. Jimmy, Billy’s blond-haired, blue-eyed 3 year old brother sat on the over-stuffed sofa chair. He stared in wonder as the alien blood and guts sprayed the screen.
“Put the other one back on please,” insisted Mirah, standing by the arm of the sofa where her husband sat. Kevin Sandford was a big man. His red polo shirt and cargo shorts were speckled with moisture from a quick trip into the backyard to check on his award-winning flowers. He always checked the condition of his garden in heavier rainstorms.
“You heard your grandmother. There is to be no fun had in this house,” teased Kevin as Billy grumpily stood and switched the discs.
“Honey, these are the investigators we contacted,” Mirah said as Kevin heaved himself up from the couch. Scott extended a hand as he introduced himself and his assistant.
“Glad you boys could come,” said Kevin, “we’re getting real sick of what’s going on around here.”
Scott smiled as he spoke: “Well, Mr Sandford, I can promise you we’ll do our best to put an end to it, or at the very least, provide you with an explanation.”
Jimmy stood up on the sofa chair to get a better look at the visitors. Intrigued, he stared at Preston, the thin man’s bow tie and suspenders piquing his curiosity. Preston found it hard to ignore the attention, and solemnly shook the small boys hand. “It’s ghosts!” shouted Jimmy.
Preston was unimpressed. “No. It’s not.”
“Are you going to zap them with your laser guns?” asked Billy, as he joined Jimmy by the sofa chair.
“That technology does not exist … little boys.”
Scott diplomatically took over: “And even if it did, I’ve been doing this three years, and I’ve not seen a single case of genuine paranormal activity. With ageing houses like this, the mind plays tricks. A draft from a—”
Kevin interrupted. “Now hold on. Are you saying we’re making all of this up?”
Scott raised his hands, taking a step back. “Nothing like that at all, Mr Sandford. Even the most level-headed can feel that events are unexplainable. It’s common for hauntings to simply be wind or a harmless prank. Or moving things and forgetting. I’m just talking from my own experiences.”
Kevin stared at Scott, his bald, round head growing a subtle shade of crimson. Scott continued. “If we could sit down and talk through the incidents, I think we could get a better understanding of what exactly it is that’s going on here.”
Mirah once again motioned for the guests to follow her. “You’d better come through.” She shooed her husband into the dining room under the watchful eyes of Billy, who, upon his grandparents disappearing, promptly switched back the discs and resumed.