Alone in this strange house, and I didn’t know what to do. Escape, was my first thought so I spent a long time carefully examining every inch of the floors, walls, and ceilings in the main room. I avoided the bathroom and bedroom. I did hear him get a shower at some point and was pretty sure he was now asleep in his bed… but I couldn’t be positive. So I stayed in the main room and found zero places where I could go through. I could go through the furniture just fine but not the walls, ceilings, floors, door, or window.
When it started getting light out–which didn’t take too long–I tried going into the bathroom and was able to float through. Then I finally floated into the bedroom and saw he was curled up in a big bed, sound asleep. I sat on the floor, waiting amongst the piles of books that were scattered everywhere. I had no idea what his schedule was like though… and after half an hour I grew bored, so I figured I might as well go to sleep.
I had nightmares… or daymares… whatever they were called, I had them. I hadn’t in a long time (and certainly none this bad) so when I was finally dragged out of my sleep I was screaming and crying. The hunter was standing over me.
He had been yelling at me to wake up but was now looking concerned. “What’s–why were you screaming?” he asked.
“N–nightmares,” I panted. “Bad dreams.”
“You’re a ghost. You don’t sleep, you don’t have–” He stopped and rubbed his forehead. “What the hell were you doing sleeping in here anyway? This is my room, my private room, you’re not allowed in here!”
“You–n-n-never said,” I muttered, getting carefully to my feet. “You sure have a lot of books. Do you like to read?”
“No. I sacrifice them to the great Tome God.”
“Oh….. I’ve never heard of–“
“Yes, I read, you idiot. Now–get out of my room! Go on!” He opened the door and snapped his fingers. “Go!”
I floated out of the room and the hunter slammed the door shut behind me. Sighing–very bored now–I started to go to the window but stopped. I didn’t want to risk anyone seeing me… so I just sat down on the floor, hugging my knees, and remained bored until the hunter emerged from his bedroom wearing a very strange getup. A dark suit with a black overcoat… trench coat… thingie. I wondered if he was going to a costume dance or something but didn’t want to get him mad. So instead I asked, “What’s your name?”
He narrowed his eyes, stroked his beard, and finally said, “Specter.”
“Oh!” I smiled. “That’s a cool name. Very… iconic.”
“Yeah, like, your name is Specter and you hunt ghosts.”
“Ironic, you mean?”
“Oh… yes, that.” I ducked my head, feeling embarrassed. “I–I think I said before I’m not too smart… I’m Chance!” I looked up but he wasn’t smiling. “Um. Yeah.”
“You like to talk,” he said rather flatly, “don’t you?”
“Um–well, I haven’t had anyone really to talk to in months. See, I used to live with my family in–ummm…” I squinted at him, trying to remember. “Ummmm… something… Valley… and um, then I lived in the graveyard a while and then I moved to–uhhhh…” Oh crap, what was the place? “Plains… Apple Plains…”
“Appaloosa Plains?” he offered.
“Yes! There. And then, well, I traveled and then wound up at the house you found me in.” Here I bit my bottom lip and made my eyes go all big and wide again. “Sir–um, Specter–look, I know you obviously… um, well the thing is–I really don’t want to be experimented on. And I really don’t want to die. So can’t you just–um–let me go…? Please? Just a little bit?”
“How can I let you go ‘just a little’?” he inquired with a snort.
“Um… well… I–I don’t know… I just… want to go home.”
“Well, if you don’t wind up being examined by my boss… you will get to go home,” he said and my face lit up until he added, “Back to the Netherworld. A ghost’s real home. Yeah? Got it? Good. Now shut up.” He spun around, his coat whooshing around his legs as he went to the kitchen area. I sank down on the floor, arms around my legs, head in my arms, trying not to cry.
After Specter ate, he left without another word. I peeked out the window and saw him down near the van, talking to some old lady who was holding a cat. The cat turned its head and stared straight at the window I was glimpsing out of. I stared at it, it stared back and then it hopped out of the lady’s arm, going off somewhere I couldn’t see. Specter got into the van so I backed away from the window, listening and waiting for the van to go away. Once it did I went to find a phone. What will I do if I find one? I couldn’t remember any emergency numbers… I suppose I could call a random number and tell them–what? HI! I’m a ghost! I’ve been caught by a ghost hunter!! Yeah that would go over so well. Even if I did convince someone to come help me once they found out I was a ghost they would probably just call… well, the place where Specter worked.
Sighing, I stared at the blank TV. I wondered if I could somehow turn it on without touching it. But if I covered my hands that meant touching whatever I covered my hands with. But maybe if it was a dishrag or something Specter wouldn’t get too angry about it. I searched for one just laying about because the thought of sitting here all night with nothing to do was just horrifying. But there was no dishrag.
Frowning, I floating around, once again searching for a way out. Like earlier, there was nothing. Nothing at all. I finally tried sticking my finger through the window glass and while it went through the glass just fine… I felt that sickening, horrible, terrible, awful feeling zap through my body. I was thrown back onto the floor, unable to move at all except for some whimpers and moans of pain. After several seconds went by I was able to move once more. I got up and stared blankly at the window.
Maybe if I throw myself through, completely invisible, and just land outside or something… I considered it. I really considered it but as I backed up to dive through the window I found my feet stuck to the floor. Not literally. Just cause I was too scared to go through that zappy feeling again. But it’s either that or experimented on, or–the Nether. I had to do this. I sucked in air and then zoomed forward, my hands out in front of me like a dive I had seen on TV before. My hands started to go through the glass and I thought Yes! but then the zap happened and instead of continuing forward outside I was thrown backwards onto the floor.
It hurt worse this time, and I was paralyzed for even longer. No, I thought once the parallelization stopped. I pushed myself up and glared at the window. My enemy now. That zappy feeling was my enemy. But I couldn’t defeat it. I was stuck inside… truly stuck. The only way out was if Specter decided to let me go, and I really doubted he’d do that. He didn’t seem the type to just be all ‘oh yes go on you’re free now’.
Maybe… There had been a couple times were I almost saw something in his eyes. Maybe–maybe I could convince him. Maybe if I was super nice and stuff he’d realize I wasn’t so bad and let me go. Maybe if I complimented his beard again, he seemed to like that (and his beard was very nice). And maybe if pigs could fly. I sat cross-legged on the floor, kinda depressed. I went back to staring at the blank TV. I wanted to just turn it on but if I was gonna try being all… nice and stuff to get myself free, touching his stuff wasn’t exactly a good way to start.
No, I couldn’t be bored. I had to focus. Focus on not touching anything. Focus on a plan to get Specter to my side. Focus on TVitsbeensolongsinceIsawany NO!! No TV. I couldn’t turn it on anyway without TVTVTVTVTVTVTVTVTVTV! “AUGH!” I threw myself through the couch and turned the TV on. Bright colors and sounds filled the room and I just stood there, mesmerized by the prettiness. I located the TV remote and sat on the couch, flicking through the channels as best I could. There was actually some ghost stuff on! ‘Most Haunted Places In Simnation’. I turned to that, interested to see what was going on there. I carefully set the remote down where I found it, then settled back to watch TV.
After all… what he didn’t know wouldn’t hurt him… right?
How am I supposed to explain him? Specter stared at the road, his brow furrowed, his lips twisting a bit. He was trying to figure out how to bring up the subject of an abnormal ghost. He didn’t want to get yelled at for not doing his job… he was already skating on thin ice for his ‘unusual’ methods and dress. How many times now had he been yelled at for not wearing the traditional uniform the other hunters at EGHB wore? Countless times. Plus the whole blow up about–well, that shouldn’t have any bearing on his job but he knew perfectly well it did.
Specter’s plan was simple. He had checked the Miller house and found there was a benevolent, intelligent ghost there in the upper floors. He suspected it was the little girl. However, there was no other types of haunting there… no John Miller. And then… Chance? Yeah, that was his name. Chance showed up and sent his radars flying. He wasn’t a residual ghost… he wasn’t a regular intelligent ghost (which made Specter laugh, for Chance had been right–he certainly didn’t seem intelligent at all). What was he? I need to find out, Specter thought. But if he walked in and stated he had a ghost–his boss would flip. It would probably mean getting fired.
Just another one of Specter’s strange things, he thought grimly. That’s how everyone would view it. And not doing my job… again… His stomach flip-flopped as he remembered that little girl… It had been when he first started out properly hunting ghosts on his own. He was supposed to send her to the Netherworld but she looked up at him with big eyes… he couldn’t do a thing to her. Like… well… no, he could easily blast Chance into the Netherworld. He blasted every other ghost he came across. He hated ghosts. That little girl was a fluke. Besides, he had been sent to the hospital the next day for pneumonia so that proved he had just been sick with a fever or something.
Ghosts do not deserve to remain in this world. Specter pulled the van into the parking lot of EGHB and got out. Other than that girl, he had a perfect record. A really good record. An amazing record, even! He was the employee with the most passion about this sort of work. Just because he had a few quirks… Like not wearing that ugly, damn jumpsuit, he thought as he glowered at another employee who was wearing the ugly uniform. He’d find out from his boss… eventually… it might take a few days. A few days of living with that… smiling idiot… ugh.
As soon as he stepped into the building he was greeted by the guard with a ribald joke. Specter shot the guard a glare then swiped his card through the security system. He pushed through the turnstile and then through the archway–the only way actually into the rest of the building. It was built with the anti-ghost matter he had put in his own home, preventing free-roaming ghosts from coming through. There was another guard on the other side, and this one matched Specter’s angry glare.
He wasn’t really on good terms with the security in the building.
Actually, he wasn’t on good terms with pretty much anyone in the building. People tended to avoid him. He heard plenty of gossip about himself, from people just around the corner or beyond a door. He was too ‘scary’, he had a ‘wall’ put up, he was–well, it was all pretty nasty and annoying and he didn’t care. He was here to kill ghosts, not to make friends. And that’s how his life was. Killing ghosts. Not making friends.
He got into an elevator and hit the top floor button. It stopped at the second floor and the doors opened, revealing a fairly new ghost hunter who, seeing Specter in the elevator, turned around and took off. Specter ground his teeth and smashed his finger into the top floor button again. Third floor, it was stopped but this time someone did get on. He hit the 4th floor button then gave Specter a smirk. “Hey, FH,” he said. Specter just grunted in response. “How’s the hunting going?” The other hunter’s eyes gave him a quick once-over. “Not in uniform again, I see.”
“Still as obnoxious as ever, I see,” Specter replied, fixing a particularly angry glower on the guy, who gulped and backed up a bit. “If you need a uniform to be a good ghost hunter, that’s your business. Not mine. Your stop?” he added as the doors opened to the fourth floor. The other guy stepped off, mumbling something about jerks. Specter just jammed the ‘close doors’ button and then moved up to the fifth floor.
He stepped out onto the carpeted hallway and looked over at the boss’s door with trepidation. He felt kinda sick now. Very… stupid. He not only let a ghost go, but he took the ghost home. He had the feeling he was going to get yelled at or worse for such a thing. In fact he rather wanted to just turn and run. But he couldn’t. He needed to be a man.
When this phrase popped into his head, he immediately stroked his beard, feeling comforted at once. He wasn’t a hundred percent sure why his beard made him feel so… safe. But it did. He had grown it ages ago and would never shave it off. It had been noted on by someone before, another ghost hunter who had quit EGHB a couple years ago. In fact… that particular hunter had joked about it and brought in a razor one day, saying he was gonna shave Specter’s beard off.
In retrospect, it wasn’t exactly the best idea to punch him. Especially since Specter worked out a lot and was strong… and the other guy was a bit puny… and wound up with a broken jaw… and it took a lot of money for guy not to have the police get involved. That was one of the times Specter was very close to losing his job at EGHB. The first time was letting the little girl go, of course. The second time was the punching thing. The third time… well, it wasn’t his fault that group of people tried to protest the place. Insisting ghosts had rights. And it wasn’t his fault one of them decided to stand in his parking space… and… well… he had been having a bad day and… well… wasn’t exactly in the best of moods. The girl was fine. Perfectly fine. No sprains or broken bones, just a few bruises and it was HER fault not his. He had simply gotten out of his truck, slammed the door shut, and went forward. She had gotten scared and backed away, tripping and falling (though insisted he had pushed her, but the security cameras proved otherwise). Specter’s boss had paid the bills, given Specter a good talking-to and he barely got by with his job.
The fourth time–now that wasn’t fair. At all. Not fair one bit. But because of everything his boss had done for him he couldn’t exactly complain. Nor could he complain about how he was treated in this place because he had the feeling his boss would side with him and fire the people who treated him poorly, which would cause him even MORE trouble. Everyone would just insist he got special treatment… of course, they already did. He knew he got special treatment… or, figured he did. After all nobody else had ever tried not wearing the uniform so he couldn’t tell by that. And it was because he was such a good hunter and so passionate about ridding the world of ghosts why his boss kept him around…
Was there a fifth time? Specter looked at the door, curling his hands into fists. Not that he could remember. So this would probably make number five… if his boss found out everything. He wasn’t going to say a word about Chance quite yet. He would say he got rid of the male ghost presence (which technically he did), and that all that was left was a ‘nice’ ghost. Course if he coulda gotten her and zapped her into the Nether he would’ve. He kinda wished the John Miller guy had really been there. Zapping him woulda been great.
Then… in a few days… I’ll bring up the subject of abnormal ghosts, Specter decided as he walked to the door. Go from there. He knocked and heard his boss say, “Come in.”
Swallowing, he opened the door and went in. The office was large and expensive-looking. Plush carpets, rich furniture, a great view of the nearby town of Moonlight Falls. His boss was at the window, looking out, hands clasped behind them. Specter shut the door and ventured in a bit farther. He always felt so big and hulking in this room, like he might break something if he made any quick movements. “Ah.” He looked up and saw his boss had turned around.
Specter forced a smile on his face, trying to hide his nerves. “Hello, Dad,” he said.
Everett, of Everett’s Ghost Hunting Business, gave a smile in return. “Hello… Tell me. How did the Miller house go, Jareth?”