Home » Short stories » Short (short) story: “Philosophy for Ghosts”

Short (short) story: “Philosophy for Ghosts”

Another story about my supernatural people, this one featuring my ghost girl Melanie and how she came to join my little ragtag bunch of monsters and gods. (I’m working on a larger plot with them that might even become a proper novel.)

—-

Melanie had never been one of those haunting ghosts. It’s true that her death had been premature and that it hadn’t been particularly pleasant, but death had a way of making certain things seem insignificant to you.

Like the way she had died. To those who asked she’s said she’d been murdered by a burglar who had broken into her house, but that wasn’t entirely true.

There had been a burglar and it had been during this event that she had met her untimely demise, but if she was to be completely honest, it had been partially her fault. She had come running down the stairs, with her phone in one hand and a baseball bat in the other (how strange, since she could not remember ever buying a baseball bat), yelling at the man plundering her home that she had already called the police.

Then she’s slipped and fallen down the stairs.

If there was anything she regretted it was that she had not remembered her mother’s warning about running down the stairs, as you could fall and break your neck. It had been a bit too late to heed that advice when she hovered in the air, looking down at her own twisted corpse while the terrified burglar ran out the back door.

A ghost was supposed to remain at her place of death because she had some unresolved issue or harbored some sort of anger or resentment about the way she had died. Melanie had neither of those things, if she overlooked how stupid she felt for dying in that manner. And hanging around because she had a need to say goodbye to her family was kind of pointless too. Her mother had passed years before her and her estranged siblings lived halfway across the country. She hadn’t even checked to see if they showed up to her funeral. Melanie had always hated funerals, so she saw no reason to show up to her own.

No, the reason why she had lingered in her own home was that she really liked it. She’d struggled so hard to afford it and then spent all that time making it just as cozy and friendly as she’d always liked. There was no way she was going to let such a tiny detail as being dead get in the way of enjoying her own home for the rest of her existence.

Only…As soon as she’d died it hadn’t legally been her home anymore. The bank had put it on the market and she’d had to endure countless strangers coming by to look at her home and property. If there had ever been a time when she could have harbored anger and resentment is was back then, when her home had been scrutinized and judged by strangers. It seemed like her taste was not shared by most others, for much time passed before anyone showed up who was willing to make a proper offer on the place. Meaning, she’d only just reached the point where she had begun to hope that she might get to keep her house when some hipster couple came over and actually bought it, because it looked so “charming” and “unique”.

Well, maybe she could get used to having house guests, she thought to herself as she endured watching them throw out her furniture and fill up her house with their own second hand, vintage furniture.

Only…It turned out that people react strangely when they discover that they aren’t alone in their own house. That they might actually be bothered when they look in the mirror and see a second face staring back at them (alright, she shouldn’t have been in the bathroom with the guy in the first place, but she hadn’t seen a naked man in too long). She tried to be friendly about the whole thing, refraining from being one of those movie monster ghosts who throw knives around or try to strangle the cat on the clothesline outside, but that didn’t seem to matter. Apparently it was enough that she was there.

Melanie decided she’d just have to compromise, so she tried to make herself as invisible as possible, which is rather easy when you’re a ghost. That still didn’t help for long, because she had to be at least somewhat visible to feel anything at all and when you’ve lost most of what you can do, you kind of want to cling to the things you can still do and enjoy. So when hipster woman came home to Melanie warming herself on the radiator on a cold winter’s day she acted rather irrationally.

Next thing she knew, there’s a new age hippie guru type who smelled of patchouli and herbs wandering around the house, waving things around and talking to her like she was some spastic child who had to be coaxed into doing something. And what they wanted her to do was to leave. They were essentially evicting her from her own home.

Whatever that hippie guru person was doing it was slowly giving her a headache. She just wouldn’t quit and no matter what Melanie tried to do, hide inside the walls or sneak into the plumbing (like that would keep the noise away), helped in the long run. The guru was also burning something that smelled quite nasty and it dawned on Melanie that it was slowly driving her insane. But maybe they wanted her to become one of those stupid Hollywood haunting ghosts.

Finally she decided she’d had enough and realized that she had two choices. She’d either remain in her beloved house and be forced to endure whatever that man was doing to it or…She’d leave her beloved home and remain herself.

It was with a heavy heart that she forced herself to leave, not only because she had to leave her house, but also because she felt she had let those assholes win. She hadn’t done anything to really bother them, but they still felt like punishing her like this.

Forced into homelessness she wandered aimlessly for quite some time. She had some dark moments when she tried to be a truly spooky ghost, but surprisingly she wasn’t always successful. In fact, there was one guy who’d even laughed and tried to scare her back! Feeling like she had truly lost everything she fell into a deep depression and wondered if it was even possible for a ghost to kill herself.

It was during one of those dark nights, which she’d spent hovering by a bridge, wondering if there was any point in throwing herself off it that she had met Stephan. She had immediately noticed that there was something odd about him, not only because of the strange masquerade costume he was wearing, but also because of the fact that he was also very dead. Dead, yet unlike her he still had a physical form. He’d stopped next to her and cocked his head at her.

“You trying to haunt this bridge or something? I don’t think it’s working out for you.”

“Why would I want to haunt anything!” she’d exclaimed. “There’s no point to it anyway.”

“Ah, I think I know what you mean”, he had responded after a brief silence. “It used to get me down too.”

“Used to?”

“Well, the humans have that saying…”When life gives you lemons, make lemonade”. I didn’t want to lay down and give up, so I had to find some way to make my very long existence fun again.”

She remembered how she’d let her gaze travel from his head to his toes, taking in the entire strange outfit he was wearing.

“And having fun for you means dressing up in a purple dinosaur costume?”

Stephan must have fed recently, for he actually flushed slightly.

“I’m still ironing out the kinks in this plan.”

After a short pause, during which he had joined her in staring down at the water gurgling by far below, his demeanor changed and he smiled at her, revealing his fangs.

“I’m Stephan… And if you’re interested I can introduce you to some like you and me who’ve been struggling like you have.”

“There are other ghosts like me?” she’d asked, feeling her non-corporeal heart leap in her chest.

“No ghosts, not yet anyway…” he’d said. “But we’re all struggling with the same problems.”

“And what’s that then?” she’d said sullenly.

“The humans don’t take notice of us like they used to. They don’t even fear us properly anymore. At best they consider us a nuisance to get rid of…Those kinds of problems.”

Wordlessly she’d followed Stephan as he guided her through narrow alleyways and past dead end streets in all the worst neighborhoods. Finally they’d arrived at a rather unimpressive looking house, more a shack than anything else.

“Maybe you can haunt this place for a while”, Stephan had said and stretched lazily.

“I don’t haunt anything”, she’d huffed.

“Well, hang around it, hover in it, whatever ghosts do… Just one word of advice. Don’t piss off the Norse God when he’s around.”

Eventually she’d found out what he’d meant by that, but by then it hadn’t mattered much. Because she’d found herself a new home and this one she wasn’t letting go off. They’d have to pry her off it…If she’d still had fingers to cling to it.

For the shack and the people inside her, she’d even consider haunting it.

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