When my parents insisted on buying this old house, I knew something like this would happen. It’s big, three stories, and I’ll bet back in the day, it was considered a mansion. I’ll bet rich people lived here. But its inhabitants today aren’t wealthy. They were only able to buy it because, as the real estate agent said, it was a bit of a fixer upper.
But now, the place has been thoroughly fixed up. It’s modern, and stylish, and looks like wealthy people live there. And I had warned my parents. I told them: you know what will happen when you make this house look like new. But they didn’t listen to me.
“Don’t worry,” my mom had said, “we have a great security system.”
“Security system?” I asked. I laughed. “A security system won’t do anything when the dead owners come back to haunt us for screwing with their house!”
Now, tonight, I’m finally proven right. I stand outside my car, home from a double shift of school and work, staring at the open front door. My parents are out of town today, an unfortunate twist of fate, but even if they can’t see the truth in person, I’ll have evidence. I open the trunk of my car and pull out the thick, black briefcase I’d hidden beneath a blanket. After detaching the padlock and undoing the latches, the case pops open.
I remove the protective layer of foam from inside and take a moment to admire my sleek equipment. Of course, I have all the tools any self-respecting ghost hunter would: EMF readers, laser grids, thermal sensors, and the like. It’s too bad I won’t have the opportunity to use all of them this time. The spirits have already made themselves known by opening the door, so I’m the one who needs to go undetected in this hunt. A night vision camera and audio recorder will do.
I close my briefcase and head toward the house, avoiding the creaky spots on the front steps. Once I pass through the doorway, I stick the recorder into my shirt pocket and turn it on, then flip open the viewfinder on my camera and begin recording. I make my way through the twists and turns of the house, using the glowing green image on the screen to guide me. I have to be careful; if I bump into something, the ghosts may hear me and disappear. Worse, they could come and attack me. It’s impossible to say whether they have malicious intent.
First floor clear, I tip-toe up the stairs and, camera first, round the corner into the hallway. My screen shows only the rug-lined hall, despite all of the cold spots that I walk through. I have to be getting close. The ceiling creaks above me, movement on the third floor. My impulse is to sprint to the staircase, to not wait another moment before I catch the spirit on camera and get my hard-earned proof, but I must remain cautious. This could be the most important moment of my life. I can’t mess it up now.
One agonizing, silent footstep after the other, I reach the third floor. Holding my breath, I crouch around corners and keep my eyes glued on the viewfinder. There’s another noise from down the hallway. The master bedroom. I slink up to the door, pressing my back against the wall, and with a deep breath, I swing around and point my camera into the room.
A man stands at the dresser, rummaging through my mother’s jewelry box. His clothes are all-black and modern, not what I expected a ghost to be wearing.
“Halt, spirit!” I yell.
“What the fuck?” he responds, jumping at the sound of my voice. He scoops up the jewelry box with gloved hands and holds it to his chest.
“What are your intentions here?”
He looks down at the box in his hands, then back up at me. His eyes lock onto the camera. “Shit.” He runs through the doorway, shoving me hard with his shoulder and knocking the camera out of my hands in the process. Corporeal. His footsteps are loud and frantic as he descends two flights of stairs and runs out the front door. Human.
I pick the camera up, brush it off, and stop recording. The video of the robber sits at the top of its list of recent files. Useless. I press the delete button.