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Rated: ASR · Short Story · Action/Adventure · #2259457
Writer's Cramp Entry: Word count 999

         The stairs creak as she mounts the stairs to the old house. Clare unlocks the door pushing it open dust and webs cover everything in sight. Discouraged, she drops her suitcase inside the door. It shouldn’t have been so dirty the realtor had said the owners had only just left. From somewhere inside a door squeaks. Writing it off as the wind Clare flips the lightswitch. The light flickers and dies. How much worse could it get, she wonders. Something brushes across her sleeve. Brushing her shoulder she reaches for her suitcase. She glances down when her hand meets empty air. Hadn’t she set the bag inside? Shaking her head she grabs her bag and looks back into the home but the door is shut tight. Taking a deep breath she unlocks the door again and slips into the unlit, chilly house. She slips into the first room in the hall and yanks open the curtains and opens the beautiful windows letting in the sunlight and fresh air. She looks around and realizes she had found the drawing room.

         I had tried to discourage the human; Clare, but she seemed persistent. Maybe she doesn’t scare easily like all the other people. Ghosts never touch humans, it’s unheard of. We ghosts must scare humans in other ways. The girl grabs a broom and starts knocking down the webs. I rush to the window and slam it. Clare jumps with a squeak and spins around. Mumbling about heavy windows she opens it and props something in each window. I grab her suitcase and drop it on the front porch. I watch her flinch at the sound. She turns around slowly scanning the room. She stops and stares straight at me. Spooked, I move and look behind me. A picture of an ugly dog hangs on the wall. She strides over and pulls it off the wall lying it backwards against the wall.

         Clare looks around the now gleaming room. Talking aloud to herself she scans the room again
         “I can sit and write a bit before I find something to eat. Where did my luggage go?” As if in answer there’s a knock at the front door. Clare hurries to the front door and opens it but no one is there. Her suitcase lies there outside the door. “I was sure I brought you inside already.” Leaning out to grab it she stumbles out the door as it slams shut behind her. Sighing, she digs through her pocket for her key.

         Of course I had taken the key when Clare set it down on the table inside. I guess she assumed it was still on the table because she strides around the house and climbs in the window. I hover over her as she struggles through the window. Well for one thing she was a persistent and pretty girl, just maybe a bit airheaded.

         She pulls her suitcase through the window and laughs. “What story fits with an old house but a ghost haunting it.” Something gets on her face as she turns around. Screaming, she back peddles falling onto her backside. She begins to laugh, whipping her face. “This house is making me jumpy. Those webs sure felt like a ghost.” She giggles.

         I stare down, surprised at the laughing girl. Stupid stupid ghost. Why did you leave the window open. You know better than that Duster. Never leave an opening. It’s a common rule. Every ghost knows this.

         Clare climbs to her feet and sits on the couch and grabs her pen jotting down her story. Duster stares over her shoulder watching her write.
         “What if it were a kind ghost who only wanted a friend?” She asks herself, chewing on her pencil. Duster stands behind her reading as she writes.

         Her handwriting was very pretty. She smiles making me smile. She was very thoughtful of ghosts, wasn’t she? She was writing a story of how a kind lonely ghost only wanted attention. I kneel beside her. Could I live with this human forever? Leaning down I take her hand in mine.

         She smiles to herself.

         If a ghost touched a human they turned into a ghost.

                                                 *                              *                              *

         Clare wakes to a sound at the door and hurries to answer it.
         “Clare Bends,” The officer at the door says. “We have to search the house.”
         “Of course,” Clare says, moving aside. The officers pass her and walk towards the room Clare had struggled so hard to clean.
         “We have reason to believe there are ghosts of past owners in this house.”
         “Surely not. Ghosts aren’t……”
         “Do we have any proof?” The partner interrupts. That was rude of him, she thinks. The officer stops and turns to his partner and Clare.
         “No proof but we found writings from the last owner. The last owner was a girl of about nineteen years old.” But the last owner was a couple, Clare thinks. The officer hands the papers over. Clare looks over the man's arm at the papers wondering why the writing looked so familiar. She glances down reading the last sentence.

         I have been touched by a ghost, now I may die and become one. I’ll haunt this house forever with the ghost whom fell in love with me.

         The officers enter the room Clare had so carefully cleaned and Clare stumbles back. The room is dusty and the couch she had only just been sitting on is crumbling in. The drapes are gone and the windows are shattered.
         “Officer, how did this happen?” she asks. Ignoring her, the officer turns to his partner.
         “The girl who wrote that was Clare Bends. She never woke up.” Clare clutches her chest and snatches the papers. The officer and his partner cry out in surprise. Clare stares at the writing in horror. It was her writing, her story.

         “Clare, don’t be frightened. Let us haunt our home together like the ghosts in your story.” Duster says. Clare smiles.

         “I will forever haunt with you.”
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