Night Work

Posted: August 1, 2013 by writingsprint in Fantasy
Tags: , , , , ,

ghost“I never thought I would be ghost hunting my own house,” Arthur said.

“Shh,” Lance said. “Spirits don’t like conversation above a whisper.”

“I know that.” All the lights were out and all the power was out, to make the ghost feel more comfortable. His wife, that is. Gwen had passed on a few months ago. The house had been haunted ever since. Arthur had also put out some of his old things: her glasses, a china doll, and her favorite blanket.

Arthur and Lance had done this before. They and Gwen had been the three musketeers, until Lance had stopped joining them. He’d gotten more into fishing. Arthur hadn’t seen Lance in years. Getting him to help had taken weeks of badgering.

Softly, Lance said, “Gwen…if you can make your presence known, please do so.” Nothing. “Can you tell us why you’re here? What can we do to help you pass on?”

A door slammed upstairs. “Hello!” Arthur said.

“Why don’t ghosts ever pick a door close by? Gwen, you know I’ve got old bones,” Arthur said. He got to his feet slowly. “Arthritis. Rheumatism. Getting old sucks.”

“We all grow old, but we don’t have to grow up. That’s my motto,” Lance said.

They made their way upstairs. In whispers, Arthur asked, “Are you channeling her?”

“I’m not feeling anything…. what?”

“You usually get something. Are you not telling me something?”

“Like what?”

They reached the second floor. Arthur and Lance walked extra slowly on the hardwood to keep from scaring Gwen off. “You know. Unfinished business. Unresolved problems. You usually start getting feelings now.”

“Sorry. It’s all quiet.”

Arthur looked at Lance. His friend was a good buddy and a crappy poker player. He couldn’t lie to save his life. “All right.”

They reached the door to the bedroom. All the doors in the house had been open, but this one was closed. “Well, that’s no surprise,” Arthur said.

“Why’s that?”

“Because the only other rooms on this floor are the bathroom and a guest bedroom that we only used to store old furniture we were too lazy to get rid of. Not much emotional contact there.” Arthur held up a gadget that measured electromagnetic field strength. It was jumping from red to yellow to green like a ping pong ball. “I’d say that’s abnormal.”

Lance sighed. “Let’s see what happens.” He gestured to the door.

Arthur opened it. The bedroom looked the way it always did, only with no lights on. Queen-sized bed, old furniture, old mirror over the dresser. Gwen’s closet and one of the dressers were empty now. Arthur hadn’t had the heart to use them for storage, yet. The room felt colder than the hall.

“Gwen, are you here?” Arthur asked. The gadget settled over to green.

Lance’s eyes rolled back into his head. He fell back into the wall. Arthur would have been shocked if he hadn’t seen it before. Lance was a medium. He was susceptible to channeling ghosts.

Lance stood up with the same body language Gwen used when she stumbled with her gimpy knee. “Hi honey,” Gwen said. She worked her way over to her favorite chair.

“Hello, dear,” Arthur said. His eyes watered. “I’d kiss you, but, eh…”

“Don’t worry. It wouldn’t feel the same.”

“There isn’t much time. Why are you here?”

“I had to tell you. Lance had a crush on me, years ago.”

Arthur turned cold. “What?”

“Nothing happened. I told him no, but I could never tell you. You two were such good friends.”

“Nothing happened?”

“Ghosts don’t lie, Arthur. You know that.”

He did. Arthur laughed. What did it matter now? But he was still relieved. “What… why now?”

“You’ve been all alone since I left. Lance was your best friend. You need a friend. Lance didn’t have the stomach to tell you, so I’m telling you.”

He’d been awfully lonely since she’d gone. “This is weird. I’m used to the secrets being bigger.”

“We’re not the Tudors, hon.”

Arthur laughed. That sounded just like Gwen, only through Lance’s voice. “All right, then. I’ll… talk to Lance. After.”

“Good. I love you.”

“Love you too.” A few tears fell.

Lance slumped back in the chair. The gadget wavered to a low, background level of radiation. Arthur sighed. He turned on a light, and sat down on the edge of the bed. Lance was starting to regain his senses. He was crying, too.

Arthur said, “Well, I’m too old to hold a grudge, but you do owe me an apology.”

This post was based on the phrase “Night Work Begins,” which I originally saw on a road construction sign. I loved how provocative it sounded.

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