Introduction: Inspired by Inktober (and my inability to draw), I have decided to spend October writing short stories. Each day I am going to grab a random prompt from the internet and attempt to put together a quick tale based on it. Will it be a success? Fuck knows, and I can’t promise literary masterpieces when they’re being banged together in a couple of hours, but as I’ve completely failed to provide a steady stream of writing for this site, I’ve decided it’s a good idea. My first prompt, as we’re entering the spooky season, was a simple one: ghost. Read on to see what I came up with.
I can’t remember when I started my lonely vigil in this old house. Presumably, I died somewhere nearby, but why did my soul stay when so many others float away? There must be a reason, I can feel it, tantalisingly close, but always just out of reach, impossible to grasp.
In that time I’ve seen families come and go. Children being born, growing up and having children of their own. Sometimes, the years blur by as I stand, staring into the distance caught in thought about something that passed across my mind. At other times, everything slows to a crawl, and I’m able to stroll along behind them, getting to know the people that share the space between the walls I cannot pass.
When that happens, I find myself getting attached. I’ll sit beside them, listening to their days, marvelling in the snippets they share of a world that is not recognisable to me. Their loves, their pains, are all on display to someone that they cannot see. I’ve sat next to them as they cried, laying my pale and ghostly hand on their shoulder, but knowing that they take no comfort from it. Yet I’ve also smiled at their triumphs. Jumped with glee at children achieving their dreams and cried happy tears at lovers coming together.
Some times I curse this card that I’ve drawn. I wonder what I did that meant I have to spend forever walking this old house, watching it change, at one point even being knocked down and built anew, giving me a glimpse of the outside that wasn’t through a window for the first time in countless years. It has been so long since I shared a word with someone, an eternity since I was able to influence the world. Even being able to bang on the walls, like the spooks in their films, would be a privilege I would give anything to receive.
On those days, my time feels like a punishment. As others move on to whatever comes next, I am stuck here, trapped.
But on the other days, and those other days are more common, I see my existence as a blessing. I spend my time as a watcher, looking over their lives and sharing in their pains and their joys. In this one house, I see the best and the worst of humanity: the fights and the loves, the accusations and the forgiveness, the big deals and the small. Whether these people are kings or peasants, I can sit beside them, the friendly spirit in the walls, and watch as they fight for tomorrow to be a better day than this one.