“Okay, guys. Let’s start this haunted lockdown!”
The excited man’s voice echoed throughout the dark house. The murmurs of agreement and shared excitement from the rest of the paranormal investigation crew followed after.
I sighed heavily from where I was sitting in the little rocking chair up in the attic. “Here we go again,” I whispered to myself.
From the corner of the attic, the large mass of black mist shifted from where it was standing by the attic window. The voice that emitted from it was low, deep, and angry. “Why do the Living always come to bother us?”
"Don’t hurt any of them too bad, Ross," I told him off sternly. "I don't want them to be so afraid that they stop coming. It's the only thing we have to relieve all the boredom."
It was bad enough, being stuck like I was. Especially since I was stuck with my killer. We’d sort of...created an uneasy treaty amongst ourselves. As long as he didn’t go too far with his games, I didn’t step in to ruin his fun. In return, he left me alone. But all of the ghosts in this house tended to gravitate toward one another when ghost hunters came. Sort of like an instinctive alliance to stand firm against invaders.
The old, ragged, white teddy bear three feet away from my chair on the floor rocked silently. “I want to play with them." Walter, the oldest of the two children spirits that resided here muttered in impatience.
"Do you think they want to play too? Do they know fun games?” Alice, the younger sister of Watler, was a little ball of light on the floor next to the teddy bear.
I was pretty sure they did, on all accounts. The ghost hunters tended to try every angle to get rises out of us in order to gather their evidence of “life after death”. But I didn’t really see what was so...lifelike about this.
Sure, we could talk to, see, and hear each other. We could even interact physically—if that was one way of putting it—with one another. But...we weren’t alive. We couldn’t leave this place. We were stuck. Even worse, sometimes we were forced into a loop of the events of our lives that had taken place in this house. I hated when that happened.
You’d think the fear and pain of being murdered would begin to dull after so long...But it never did.
Nellie drifted closer to the children, before passing them by to stand to the left of my chair in a white mist form. “You can play if you wish," she granted her permission quietly. "But remember, we must treat the Living carefully.” Nellie had been the nanny of the two children and ended up dying alongside them.
Ross let out a low growl of irritation. “You brats just stay out of my way.” The black mist shot away from the window, heading down the stairs.
By this point, the ghost hunters had quieted down and began their investigation in earnest. Ross ended up causing some ruckus as the hunters heard the sound of him heading downstairs. I couldn’t make out their words, but considering how many times I’d seen this sort of thing happen, I knew exactly how they’d be reacting. I fought another sigh. When I shifted in the rocking chair, it creaked quietly. Alice moved closer to me, climbing into the seat of the chair with me.
Ghosts didn’t exactly have bodies in the same manner as living people. When our energies fluctuate enough or we gained enough strength, we could manifest in different ways. Most of the time, it was purely accidental. Sometimes, ghosts didn’t even cause the noises humans heard, but unless actively “debunked”—exposing the falseness or hollowness of a myth, idea, or belief—or heard by an unbeliever, people let their imagination run wild.
Even so, I always found it interesting that I still thought of things in a living human way at times. It had been three years, yet even so—
I wasn’t allowed to let go of the past. It had been too horrible for my soul to move on from and my luck had been too bad after dying.
From what I understood, I was different than most ghosts. I was strong. Nellie called me an Energy Well sometimes. According to her, I was a soul that had gained immense power after being released from my mortal body. As a result of being close to me, I let off excess waves of energy and it gave the other spirits in the house more power as well.
This would be all well and good if it was just the children, Nellie, and I. The problem was Ross. As the two of us were so intricately connected, he could affect me similar to how I could affect him. Hence our shaky treaty.
As my mind turned toward him, Ross came shooting back up the attic stairs, cackling gleefully. “THERE’S PRETTY WOMEN!”
I felt some of the fear of my own memories shoot through, but I kept my silence. As long as he didn’t do anything extreme, I had to leave him alone or suffer the consequences myself.
The black mist appeared to shiver with anticipation. “So many men usually...but WOMEN today!”
Nellie's voice was filled with disapproval. “You are a despicable creature!” she hissed.
Ross smiled, the black mist undulating in faint pulses. “Why, thank you.”
Walter grumbled in impatience. “I want to play!” he stomped his foot. The ball of light he currently was glowed brightly for a second before returning to its normal state.
Alice shifted in my arms, tugging at the side of my dress. “Please, Addy? Can you come so we can play better?”
Closing my eyes, I leaned back in the chair a little while I debated. When hunters came, I tried to stay up in the attic. This way it caused the others to be weaker than when they were around me. Sort of like how reception on a walkie gets harder to make out the further you are from each other.
“Alright,” I gave in, “but only for a little while."
"I was beginning to wonder if we'd ever see anyone else," Nellie commented.
“Ross wasn’t mean to them, so we played instead.” Alice smiled happily as she returned to her feet from my lap.
Rising as well, I held my hands out for the children to hold. Glancing over my shoulder, I saw the white mist of Nellie. “Coming?”
She nodded silently, shooting daggers at Ross as we passed him by to go down the stairs. In turn, I felt him fade through the north wall of the attic, taking the spirit portal to the parlor downstairs. My guess was the “pretty women” he’d spoken of earlier were down there.