I Found Out The Truth Behind ‘Ghosts For Hire’ And I Regret Ever Using It

I used to always kind of internally scoff when people would preface talking shit about someone they hate by saying “I don’t wish them any harm,” but I think I was starting to feel what those people were talking about when they said that. I may have spent every waking (and probably) sleeping second of each day cursing Stephanie, but I in no way wished that she would ever kill herself and felt like I had just been shot up with a syringe of dark guilt.

For a little while it seemed like that guilt might overcome the stinging fear that was also coursing through my veins, but upon nightfall, it was not the case. The continued fear had me tucked under a blanket with a seat belt connection digging into my side as coaxed myself into a half-sleep at the end of an industrial road. I was reduced to sleeping in my car.

A jarring knock on the safety glass of the window just above my head shook me from a nightmare whose details I could not remember. I let out a tight scream when I saw what had woken me was scarier than any nightmare my wrecked brain could produce – Stephanie’s older sister Hannah shining a MagLite into my face while calling out my name.

Hannah was the kind of older sister who smoked cigarettes when she was 13 who would try to get Stephanie and I to take swigs of her peach schnapps when we were only 10, Stephanie was one of those people from your childhood that you admired yet feared at the same time. I was grateful to have her on my side whenever I walked the halls of my high school, but I was also terrified to party with her, fearing that she could drunkenly turn on me at any point for no real reason and pummel me with her 5’11″, basketball player frame the way I had seen her do to some of her friends. She was probably the last person on Earth I wanted to have knocking on the window of my car in the middle of the rainy night.

I let Hannah into my musty sanctuary and confirmed that it wasn’t just the rain in her eyes, she was crying in front of me for the first time in my life. I had never even seen the woman smile and now she was crying on my shoulder, unable to even say more than the “hi” she barely got out before breaking down.

It took a while, but Hannah eventually got herself together and started venting with an upper lip full covered with snot, a sweater covered with what appeared to be fresh chunks of vomit and an empty bottle of pills clasped in her hand.

“I know everyone says they don’t see it coming with stuff like this, but I really, really didn’t see it coming. It’s never the good looking blonde girl with the good job and great family that kills themselves. It just doesn’t make any fucking sense,” Hannah whimpered. “I’m supposed to be the fuck up, not her.”

Hannah leaned across the backseat and threw herself onto me in a sideways bear hug. I felt her hot, wet tears upon my cheek as our faces rubbed together.

“I couldn’t believe it when Adam told me you were living here,” Hannah went on. “What the hell happened?”

“Uh… it’s a long story,” I groaned and regretted sending a desperate text to Adam telling him I was sleeping in my car.

“Well I have time. I came to see you at three in the morning Jennifer because I care and have the time.”

I bit my lip and winced, not even knowing where to start, but thankfully Hannah cut me off.

“Don’t worry. I think I might know what you are scared of. I found a video on Stephanie’s computer this morning.”


Hannah pulled up a familiar image on her phone, the darkened setting of my bedroom at night, with me lying fast asleep in my bed. She hit play on her phone and I relived that first terrifying night where I got up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night and that hideously dark figure appeared in my bed.

Hannah and I watched the video in shocked silence until it came to an end.

“What the hell was that?” Hannah asked sounding out of breath.

“You’re probably not going to believe me.”

“After what I just saw, and what happened to my sister, I’ll believe just about fuckin anything.”

“His name is Rick. He runs a company called Ghosts For Hire. You pay him and he will create very convincing ghosts, like the one you just saw, they are CGI like in the movies or something, to haunt whoever you want. I worked with him, but I don’t trust him, because I think he eventually started terrorizing me without anyone asking.”

“How the hell did you get connected to this guy?”

I gulped and looked out the window where the droplets of rain were trickling down the glass.

“I hired him to haunt Stephanie,” I barely go the words out and then covered my face. “Please don’t kill me. It was a prank. It was a prank,” I shrieked the lie twice. “I just heard about his company and thought it would be funny, but it was a horrible idea.”

I closed my eyes tight and held my hands out in a defensive posture towards Hannah for a few silent seconds before I heard her give a quick, dismissive laugh.

“Put your fucking hands down. Where is this guy?


Hannah and I crept up onto the planked wood of Rick’s porch in the deepest of night just before sunrise with the remnants of a rainstorm pitter pattering on the little roof above us. I should have felt terrified, but Hannah’s stout presence next to me seemed to serve as a warm security blanket to my nerves.

I watched Hannah ring the door bell and tried to match her hostile posture as we waited for an answer that would never come. We waited for nearly a minute with no answer before Hannah rang again and we waited for another minute with no answer.

“Fuck this,” Hannah fumed and grabbed hold of the door handle.

The door opened with Hannah’s push and we looked at the cold foyer of Rick’s house. I followed her into the house with soft steps.

“Hey,” the house seemed to shake when Hannah yelled.

“I don’t know if I would do that,” I mumbled.

“Hey, Rick,” Hannah screamed again and the house clearly shuddered this time.

A door slammed down a dark corridor in front of us and a stiff gust of cold wind that shot down the hallway like an avalanched almost knocked both of us off our feet.

Hannah found her balance and tore down the hall and out my sight. I first heard her yelling threats, but my heart stopped when her intimidations were interrupted by a high-pitched scream I couldn’t believe was produced by her.

I took baby steps down the dark hallway Hannah had disappeared into and quickly saw her backpedaling towards me with her hand over her mouth. I heard her whimpering when we almost ran into each other and I let out some pathetic whines myself when I saw what she was walking away from.

“What the hell are you staring at?”

The question came out of the smoking mouth of a crusty old woman in a nightgown who was sitting in a filthy, smoke-stained beige easy chair at the end of the hallway with her pale blue skin shining in the darkness. The ashen woman was covered almost head to toe with swelling tumors so large and ripe that they seemed to pulsate with every breath.

“Don’t leave me again Han,” the old woman whispered with ashy breath and Hannah yelped a cry. “Nana’s sick.”

Hannah tried to run away, but I grabbed hold of her the best that I could.

“It’s not really her,” I whispered in her ear. “It’s a trick.”

A cackling laugh erupted from the old woman in the chair that lasted for a good five seconds.

“Oh I wish it was a trick honey. He’s not going to let us go,” the old woman’s voice cracked at the end of the second sentence.

I looked back to the end of the hallway with Hannah in my hands and there was nothing there again except for a lingering trail of smoke that drifted up towards the ceiling.

“It’s just a trick,” I cried.

Hannah locked her teary eyes with mine.

“How the fuck does he know what my grandma looked like when she died and that she called me Han?”

Hannah was off before she even finished her statement, slipping through a wooden door to our right. I followed her and couldn’t see a single thing once I slipped through the door myself and into complete blackness.

“Hannah?” I called out into the frigid darkness while feeling my way around like a blind person, unable to touch a single thing, I almost lost my balance several times until I bumped into the steady presence of Hannah.

I held onto her steady frame for balance as the floor below me began to feel icy slick, like an ice skating rink. Even with my weight resting on Hannah, I was sliding around and on the verge of falling on my ass at any moment.

“Hannah,” I cried as I started to lose my balance and fell to my knees onto the freezing ground.

The lights came on. Hannah was a popsicle.

I was clinging to her frozen stiff body that stuck straight up out of the floor with her face permanently laminated in ice in a scream of horror.

I screamed and pushed myself away from Hannah’s frozen body and slid across a floor of icy metal. I was in a meat locker and bodies frozen just like Hannah’s was surrounded me like sides of beef in a butcher’s warehouse.

I slid around on the ice until I slipped towards one of the walls and crashed into another frozen body whose stiff stance stopped my motion. I forced myself to look up at the motionless corpse of a young man and was startled when I saw his eyes move like a dolls and drop down in my direction while the rest of his face remained prone.

“It’s not a trick,” the words gasped out of the man’s closed mouth like he was a ventriloquist. “The ghosts are real. We become the ghosts.”

I stared up at the freezing man who shivered with every word, my mouth open, unable to produce any shocked words.

“He terrorizes you with his ghosts until you lose your mind or kill yourself and then he takes control of your weakened soul to add to his arsenal of ghosts for his business,” the man said and then turned around to show the back of his head which was a blown out mess. “I took care of myself a few months ago, shotgun in the bathroom. This is where he keeps us until he needs us to go out and work.

I jumped when a big, wet drop of water fell off the man’s nose and hit me on the ear.

“And judging by the fact that I am thawing. I have to work tonight,” the man said before he started to wiggle a bit in his stance.

“But why the fuck am I here?” I screamed up at the man’s face.

The man shook is almost completely thawed head.

“You must be a new recruit,” he said flatly.

“What?” I screamed out once as the man started to walk away.

But I could answer my own question now, even though I didn’t want to.

Some images started to flash in my brain…

The thick splash of dried barf upon Hannah’s sweater when she came to my car.

The empty bottle of pills that fell out of Hannah’s sweater.

The humming of the engine of my car as I laid down in the backseat.

The dirty rag stuffed up into my tailpipe suffocating the exhaust of my engine.

I wasn’t sleeping in my car. I went there to kill myself after the guilt of finding out about Stephanie and after the endless horror of Rick’s hauntings. Or, did Hannah shove the rag into my tailpipe as I was sleeping with the heat on and then killed herself with the bottle of pills? I wasn’t sure. All I was sure of was that our lost souls had found our way up to Rick’s ghost freezer and now were being turned into frozen bricks in his army.

I started to cry, but my tears halted at the top of my cheek and froze right there. I tried to run, but my body had become stiff. I squirmed, but couldn’t move an inch as I watched the man who had just told me everything walk away and disappear into a black door at the far end of the room. I wanted to scream, but my mouth could no longer open, my lips sealed together with the tightness of cold.

It seems strange, but I had heard it before, the final steps of freezing to death produce a dreamy and euphoric high and I believe it because I was starting to feel much better. Besides, I needed to get some sleep, I was probably going to have to work pretty soon. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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Jack has written professionally as a journalist, fiction writer, and ghost writer. For more information, visit his website.

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