A Guilty past, haunting present, and halted future
The man came running around the corner at an alarming speed. Sirens wailing and screeching a block away. Bright blue and red lights getting closer and closer. He quickly looked around him; whipping his head around in all directions, looking for something. Soon he found what he was looking for, sprinting up to an abandoned looking house. He ran up the cracked stone walkway, leading up to the house. It was about two stories high. A worn down gray building with stone tile roofing: surprisingly small in size. Relieved, he hurriedly opened the unlocked door. Leaning against the now closed entryway, the man listened as the sound of sirens got quieter as the police cars made their way down the road. With a sigh he turned around, looking at the room he was in. It was completely empty, the floor looking new and clean compared to the outside. On the far side of the room was a staircase leading up to a second floor. Figuring it’d be safer to be on the second floor than in the first room if the cops came back; he made his way up the steps.
The upstairs room was completely dark besides some light coming from a nearby window. A doorway to his right lead on to another, smaller, bedroom. The man made his way through the entryway into the next room. This room was painted a light pink. It had a small bed with a butterfly print blanket on it, and nothing else. There was a little white and purple rocking horse in the corner, and an abandoned dirty teddy bear lay next to it. With a strangled noise, the man left the room with his head down. Thoughts of a past, hoped to be forgotten, reappearing in his head. Exiting the small bedroom he walked back into the room he was in previously. Across it was another doorway. He decided that there would be better. This room had a single chair and a fireplace. Four other chairs lay upside down in the corner farthest from the fireplace. The man moved the one upright chair closer to the hearth taking out a lighter from his pocket. He started a fire from a few logs and ash that were already in the fireplace. Sitting back into the chair, the man stared at the flames with a far away look. A shadow of guilt across his face. After a few minutes, he looked down at his watch to see the little hand just move to the nine.
The fire immediately turned a bright blue, the flames growing larger in an instant. The man let out a startled cry and fell out of the chair and onto the wood flooring. A bright little orb of light came floating from the fire. Hovering a few feet away from the man’s face. The orb started to smoke and disperse. It began to take the shape of a young man. The smell of iron filled the air, nearly suffocating the terrified man on the floor. The ghostly figure floating a few inches off the floor, he was a little shorter than the man. His sandy brown hair was swept to one side. The boy’s skin an unsettling gray color. He was wearing a Fall Out Boy t-shirt with a blue sweatshirt over top unzipped. His ripped blue jeans were faded and dirty. Blue converse adorned his feet; in his hand he held a single bag of potato chips. A thin chain necklace fell across his glowing chest, what looked like a wedding ring was looped through the chain and lay over his heart. He seemed a normal kid, if you ignored his face. And that was the exact place the man was staring, trembling. The boy’s eyes were all white, no iris or pupils to be seen. He stared blankly at the man, eyebrows furrowed downwards. His nose was crooked, as if it had been broken several times. His mouth hung open in a lopsided frown, a slow flow of blood dripped from the corner of his mouth. The metallic red liquid almost reaching the floor before disappearing in a small burst of light. The most shocking part about the glowing boy however, was his forehead. A little to the left of his head, right above his left eyebrow, was a deep hole. It oozed dark red blood, the skull and skin blown apart from the impact of a small pointed object. Small drops of blood splattered across his forehead and in his hair. A raspy, shaky voice suddenly filled the air. The voice, one belonging to a scared teenage boy.
“Hey man back off. Don’t point that thing at me! Stop! I said stop! Get away from me!! Please, NO!----” The voice is cut off by the sound of a gunshot, and a thud noise. A woman’s voice screams in the background “What have you done?!”
The body of the young man floated closer to the man. The same raspy voice, like a yelled whisper in a tunnel started to speak. The boys lips didn’t move, but the disembodied voice still spoke.
“I was getting some snacks in the gas station for me and my mom. She was in the car in the parking lot. I told her I’d run in, grab some stuff then come back so we could get going. We had been heading home after visiting my grandfather. The last thing I said was “See you soon Grandpa!”. We were hoping to visit him on his birthday in a week. The last thing I said to my mother was “I’ll be right back.” I wasn’t. I never made it back to the parking lot. Do you know why?” The boy floated closer, getting eye level to the man who had now stood up and backed up against the wall.
“I never made it back because someone in the gas station decided he was going to rob the place. I told him to leave the cashier alone. He rounded on me, and next thing I knew. BAM, I was dead. I never got to say goodbye to my mother. The last time she saw me I had a hole in my head. And iT’S YOUR FAULT!” The fire suddenly went back to orange and the young man disappeared. The man shakily went back over to the chair and sat down. His head was throbbing very painfully, as if a nail was being hit into his forehead over and over.
An hour later, the watch on the man’s wrist beeped. The clock struck 10 and the fire burned bright blue once again. This time two glowing orbs made their way out of the fire. One orb stayed floating over the fire, the other made its way over to the man. It smoked as the other one did before, and started to take the shape of a person. This time the form was one of an old man. He had on a green button up shirt, with a turquoise sweater over top and a matching bow tie. However, each clothing items was tattered and/or stained with a crimson red substance. He also wore a small top hat, of similar colors, atop his thin gray hair. The old man was dressed as if heading somewhere important. But it didn’t seem he would get there judging by the shape he was in. His legs were mangled and twisted: he would not be standing upright if not for the fact that his body was floating. The mans upper body was in a similar state. His left arm twisted in a way you knew that both his elbow and shoulder had to be dislocated. His right arm looked crushed and completely black and purple. Ribs jutted against the floating man’s skin, making it look like his ribs were trying to escape his body. The old man’s face was purple and sorrow filled eyes bloodshot. A slow trickle of blood coming from one nostril, the corner of his mouth and his left ear. There was, what looked to be tire marks on the right side of his face and on his shirt. The ghost-like figure crept closer to the man cowering in the arm chair. His mouth opened, lopsided but still functioning, and spoke.
“I don’t think we’ve properly met young man. My name is Richard P. Smith. If you don’t remember, I am the man you hit with your car while running away from the police. A hit and run, and if I remember correctly, at 70 miles per hour. It was quite a nasty sight, my suit was completely ruined.” He gazed up at the ceiling, a look of wistfulness and sorrow plastered on his face. “I was on a way to my high school reunion you know.” He chuckled, “70 years, can you believe it? After my wife died I never thought I’d go to see my old classmates. But there I was. All dressed and ready to go. If only Ariel could have gone.” A look of horror and fear flashed across the man in the chairs face.
“Ariel?” He looked about ready to throw up now.
“Yes that was my wife’s name. Someone that you know named Ariel? You look very shocked and afraid young man.” The glowing old man’s gaze grew stern.
“My wife’s name was Ariel as well.” The man swallowed a lump in his throat.
“Was?” The man lowered his head to look at the ground, not making a sound. The glowing figure of Richard scowled at the man, clearly disgusted. His body started to turn back to smoke and reform into a glowing orb, disappearing into the hearth.
Once, again the fire calmed down to a glowing orange. The man debated whether or not to leave, But when he looked out the window: a police car drove by. They were still searching for him. The man walked to the room with the stairs, deciding to get away from the fireplace. For the next hour he tried to keep himself occupied by picking up and sorting nails he found on the floor. His face contorted with guilt and cast downward; a sick feeling in his stomach. His wrist watch ticked softly until the little hand landed on eleven. The watch beeped, and an old grandfather clock from downstairs chimed. He presumed he was able to hear the downstairs clock due to being close to the staircase opening. The man hoped that no other blue ghost thing would appear; but he had no such luck. The disturbing shade of blue light from the fire, shone through the doorway. And a glowing blue orb made its way over to him from the other room, the scent of blood following it. Two other orbs stayed by the doorway. Instead of taking form immediately, the orb hovered in front of the man’s face for a bit. As if challenging him to guess who would appear next. The man’s face scrunched in a pained look, about to cry. A soft whisper escaped his pursed lips.
“I’m sorry Ariel. Please, please forgive me.” The man begged the blue orb, voice wavering. Slowly, the orb started to smoke like the two before it did. The smell of iron consuming the room once again: the sickening smell of blood. At a sloths pace, the orb started to take the shape of a young woman. She was an average height woman, with dirty blonde hair. She was wearing no shoes, black jeans and a purple long sleeve shirt. Around her neck she wore a thin, silver chained necklace that had a blue/purple gem on it, one that once had matched the color of her eyes. If you ignored everything else about her, she was a very beautiful woman. But her shirt was stained red and ripped, her eyes a foggy gray. A trickle of blood fell from her eyes like red tears. The crimson substance dripped from her mouth and onto her shirt, where it disappeared in a burst of light. It was as if nothing could change on her, from how she looked when she had died. Every rip in her shirt had blood flowing from a wound underneath, the skin a sickly green color. There was a single cut under her left eye, which was staring directly at the man. If glares could kill, the man would be long dead. She stared at him with a gaze full of hatred and disbelief. Suddenly, the room got even hotter as the fire grew in the next room. A scratchy menacing voice spoke in a whisper. It was quiet, but could give anyone the chills and nightmares from just hearing it once.
“How could you.” She stared at the man, cold eyes unmoving. She didn’t blink once. “Do you know what you’ve done? I should of took Isabelle and ran when I had the chance. And now look. What do you have to say for yourself?” Her eyes bore into him. The man on the floor let out a quiet shaky sob, but no tears fell.
“Ariel, I’m sorry I-” Her eyes widened even more and the room grew even hotter. The man could see the blue flames reach the ceiling and devour the hearth in the other room.
“Sorry? SORRY?!! SORRY DOESN’T FIX WHAT YOU’VE DONE. SORRY DOESN’T GIVE ME MY DAUGHTER BACK!!!!” The flames had travelled into the room they were in now, circling them both. “YOU WILL PAY!!!” Tears began to form in her eyes. “I trusted you. You said, you said you wouldn’t. You promised.”
“I couldn’t control it.” He said sternly. He sounded as if he was trying to convince himself of the same thing. Her eyes narrowed as she glared at him. He glared back.
“That. Is no excuse. And just because you feel guilty about it, doesn’t change what happened. It doesn’t change the fact that you are a horrible human being who did horrible things.” The man looked down in response, scowling.
“I know.” With that, she disappeared, along with all the flames.
The man shakingly stood up from the floor; his eyes never moving from staring at the spot the woman had been only a moment ago.
The man whispered pitifully to the empty room. “I’m sorry. I wish. I wish I had gotten help when you asked me to go. I never should have let things get this far.” He looked down and clenched his fists. “But I did, and now I’m paying for it.” The man slowly made his way across the room, heading in the opposite direction of the fireplace; to the bedroom right of the stairs. He reached up and hesitantly turned the silver knob and pushed the door open. It opened with a small creak from the rusty hinges, floating over the floorboards as it went. Upon walking into the room he shut the door behind him. It slammed shut and locked with a ‘click’. The man went over and sat down on the pink butterfly decorated blanket that lay across the small bed. He then put his head in his hands and hunched over, staring at the floor.
Time passed as the man just sat there, staring into nothingness. As if the floor was projecting past memories he was playing in his head over, and over again. Downstairs the forgotten grandfather clock chimed loudly. The wristwatch on the man’s arm beeped, and a small music box in the corner of the room started playing. The man looked up, mentally preparing himself for what was to come next. The room grew hotter by the second, as it had the past three time a ghost had appeared. A disturbingly pure color of blue light shined through the space under the door. The man watched in horrified anticipation as the handle turned slowly. ‘Hadn’t that door been locked?’ he wondered fearfully to himself. He wasn’t ready to face what was behind that door, not at all. The sickly sweet tune of the music box continued to play in the background as the door slowly, but surely creaked open.
The glowing figure slowly pushed the door all the way open and stood there so the man could see them. It was a little girl, she couldn’t have been any older than six. She was wearing a small pink nightgown and held a little white stuffed bunny close to her chest. She was a cute little girl, with her blonde hair tied up in pigtails with fluffy pink scrunchies. But as with the others before her, something was terribly wrong. The little girl was soaked from head to toe. Her skin was very pale, almost white, with a blue tinge. Her eyes were completely blank, and the little girl looked as if she was crying and struggling to make herself breath. The horrified man let out one shaky heartbreaking sob before whispering.
“Daddy? I can’t see you. What did you do to mommy?” The girl started shaking as well. “I went to get help, but-but I fell in the lake. I was so scared. Why did yo-” Tears streamed down the little girls freezing cheeks. She softly whispered “I wish it had been you.” Each word burned itself into the man’s head.
“Suicide huh?” An officer stood outside the house, next to the crumpled body of the man.
“Yup.” Said another. “The murders must of finally gotten to him.” He scoffed and sneered at the man’s dead body. “What kind of person does that?”
“A horrible one. Four accounts of murder. One was even his own daughter. Bet the guilt from that one’s the thing that finally made him do it.”
From inside the house, four figures stood by the window, watching as the man’s body was carted away. They knew they wouldn’t ever see him ever again. They all disappeared in blinks of blue. Finally being able to rest in peace.
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