About a week ago, a young man was stabbed eight times in my front yard. At the time, I was watching a movie in my living room. I heard some shouting outside, but I learned to ignore it. I don’t live in the best of neighborhoods and I’m not much for sticking my head outside just in time to be an accidental witness to a crime I don’t want to be wrapped up in. The movie ended and I saw a flashlight moving outside my window. I rushed outside with a baseball bat ready to clobber a burglar. Instead I was met with about 10 cops.
“Umm… How can I help you officers?” I said, dropping my bat.
“Did you hear any shouting out here earlier?” one of the officers closest to me asked.
I could see some of my more intimidating neighbors scowling at me from across the street.
“No sir. I haven’t heard anything. I was inside watching a movie. It was real loud in there for a while,” I quickly snapped.
The group walked around me. Curious, I sat on my porch and lit a cigarette. I eavesdropped on the officers as they searched around my house for the assailant. He was long gone. After taking pictures of the street in front of my yard and searching the brush across the street, they headed back to their cars. As one of the cops was climbing into his vehicle I heard him say something that send chills down my back.
“I know John, that house gives me the willies too.”
“I can’t believe they still rent that place. You remember those murders?” the officer named John replied.
They both exchanged looks before speeding off. I knew they were talking about my house. It explained a lot. Some strange things had happened in the past few months.
My daughter Emily is three. She spends her days playing with an app on her tablet learning her letters or watching Zig & Sharko on Netflix. Shortly after we moved into the house, she started talking to what we assumed was an imaginary friend. One day while I was sitting on the sofa in the living room, I mentioned going into her room to grab her tablet. It was then that Emily said something that I can’t forget.
“It isn’t safe Daddy. The ghost doesn’t like you.”
Puzzled, I looked down at my little goober.
“What ghost?” I asked.
With the innocence one would expect from a toddler, she said in a cheerful voice, “The ghost in my room. She’s sad.”
My wife wasn’t amused. She started nagging me about listening to CreepyPasta narration when I tried to fall asleep. She said it was convincing our daughter that there was a ghost in the house. That would have been a wonderful explanation if I didn’t sleep with headphones in. Emily continued to play with her tablet as my wife and I discussed the reasons why I needed to be more careful what I listened to or talked about around the baby.
A few months passed and we sort of got used to passing mentions of the ghost. Emily would say strange things, but there was no ominous feelings or cold spots in the house. Lights didn’t flicker and objects didn’t move on their own. In fact, aside from the odd statements Emily would make, there were no signs that there was anything wrong with the house at all. It became normal for her to talk about the ghost. After a while the only response it would elicit from my wife and I was, “That’s nice honey.”
Last month my brother Kevin got out on parole. He’d just finished a seven year sentence for manslaughter. With nowhere else to go, I let him crash on my couch for a while. My wife wasn’t happy about having a killer around Emily, but he proved to be a boon. Emily was a tad behind on potty training. Kevin, who had a daughter of his own, proved to be very helpful in getting her to use the toilet. He cleaned, cooked, and in many ways made up from the dent he made on our budget by being a phenomenal house guest.
One evening Kevin emerged from the bathroom in just a towel.
“I think the wiring is bad in the bathroom. I was taking a shower and the light just flickered out,” he said.
He stumbled into the back room to get dressed and I went into the bathroom to check the light fixture. I flipped the switch and the light came on just fine. I chalked it up to faulty wiring and put in a call to the landlord. He said he’d send the maintenance guy in about a week. I sighed and went about my evening routine of browsing the internet and listening to Spotify.
The next day I was driving Kevin to a job interview with Emily behind me in her booster seat. We stopped at a light and she piped up.
“You’re gonna die Uncle Kevin. The ghost said something about an eye in your eye.”
“Do you mean an eye for an eye?” I asked.
“Yeah! That’s it!” Emily excitedly responded.
That’s when things started getting bad.
Kevin slept in the back room on a hide-a-bed I’d picked up at Goodwill. One morning, he showed up to the breakfast table looking like he hadn’t slept a wink. I asked him if he was back on drugs and he gave me the finger. He leaned over his cup of coffee.
“I couldn’t stay asleep,” he said. “I kept having these fucked up dreams and then I’d wake up to someone knocking on the back door. I’d open it up and no one was there.”
“What kind of dreams, bro?” I asked.
“I kept dreaming of Melanie.”
I shook my head.
“It was an accident. You need to let that go.”
Melanie was Kevin’s wife. They got into an argument and in the process of their fight, he pushed her back. She tripped and fell down the stairs. Kevin was charged with manslaughter and did seven years.
Kevin sat distraught at the table and sipped his coffee in tears. His daughter had seen the whole thing. She testified at the trial and was sent to live with our parents. Kevin hadn’t seen his daughter since he got out. I didn’t blame him. He’d killed her mother in front of her. I imagine that would have been an awkward reunion.
That night I grabbed the new Terminator movie hooked my laptop up to the television. As we watched the latest installment of shitty movie with decent special effects, there a was a stabbing in my yard. After overhearing the police talking about the murders in my house. I made up my mind to head down the library and look through the newspaper archives for mentions of the murder.
I went to the library with my wife and we dove into old newspapers and microfilm before finding mention of a murder at our address in a paper from about 10 years ago. Melissa Lamb, a local prostitute and Jeremiah Jones, her pimp, had been found brutally murdered in the home. I went ahead a few days found her obituary. It said she had been survived by her sister Melanie and her brother-in-law Kevin. It all clicked in my head.
The ghost didn’t like me. The ghost wanted Kevin dead. The ghost was technically Kevin’s sister-in-law. Kevin killed Melanie. I had the librarian print off the article about the murder and the obituary. If anything, I planned to sue the hell out of my landlord for not telling me that there had been a death in the house. We wouldn’t have rented it if we had known and armed with that knowledge, I had every intention to move. Ghost or not, it didn’t feel right to live in that house.
My wife and I returned home to find all the lights off in the house. Sadie checked Emily’s room and found it empty. I walked into the backroom and saw Emily sitting in a pool of blood. She wasn’t crying. She just stared at the love seat. Congealed blood pooled under the sofa. I picked Emily up and held her close.
“What happened?” I asked.
“Uncle Kevin is in the couch. The ghost killed him,” she whispered in my ear.
She started bawling on my shoulder and I handed her off to my wife and told them to go outside. I called the police and they arrived shortly thereafter. While I stood in the kitchen giving my statement, I heard one of the officers open the hide-a-bed. He let out a loud retching noise.
“John, you don’t wanna see this. Somebody folded the poor bastard up in the bed. It’s gruesome.”
I poked my head around the corner to see my little brother bent up and contorted with a look of terror on his face. They loaded what was left of him onto a gurney and took statements from me and my wife. With my family put up in a motel, I returned to the house to grab some of our belongings.
The house reeked of blood and mold. We’d only been gone a few hours, but the whole house seemed like it had been abandoned for months. I went into Emily’s room to grab some of her clothes and stuffed animals. I bent down to grab her stuffed Pooh and when I came up I saw what looked like a woman rushing at me. I jumped back in shock and fell over a table Emily used for tea parties. I stared up from the floor as the ghastly looking woman stood over me. She reached down and grabbed my leg.
I heard a voice that didn’t seem to come from anywhere in particular.
“He took my sister and I’ll take his brother. And eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.”
Bony fingers dug into my ankle like talons as I was dragged through the bedroom and out into the living room. I tried to stand and a foot slammed into my chest and knocked me to the ground. A bookshelf next to me started to rattle and began to fall. At the last moment I shot across the floor and hit my desk. I looked up to see Kevin staring down at me with a terribly sad look on his face.
“Fuck you! He’s mine!” the ghost screamed.
“Get out of here bro,” Kevin said to me.
I ran for the door. It wouldn’t open. I pulled at the knob to no avail. I turned my head to the side and saw a black shadowy hand holding it in place. Kevin grabbed the figure by throat and screamed.
I didn’t look back. I was in my car and down the road about half a mile before I caught my breath.
I’m in the process of suing my landlord for not telling us about the deaths in the house. The police ruled Kevin’s death a freak accident. My family and I are staying in a motel. Emily is only three but I already have her scheduled to see a therapist. Sadie isn’t talking to me very much right now. I tried to tell her what happened at the house and she cut me off halfway through the story saying,
“I’m fucking done Mike. I’m tired of all this creepy shit. Just shut up.”
I drove past the house yesterday. Everything was quiet, but I couldn’t work up the courage to go inside. For a brief moment I thought I saw my brother in the window. I didn’t slow down enough to look again. I’m done with that house. I have half a mind to burn it to the ground.