By Megan Finsel
She was screaming again. I could hear her even though the door muffled the sound. I tried not to listen as she shrieked and hollered about muddy work boots and nonsense. I didn’t envy her husband; the poor old man took the worst of it.
A slice of light fell in a golden sheen between the curtains, making a wedge on the floor. I watched as the dust drifted lazily, not a care in the world. I wish I were dust, I thought. Pounding footsteps came up the stairs. When the bedroom door blew open, I jumped from my seat. She swept in with the strength of a tempest, carrying a whirlwind of noise. Nothing about this woman was silent.
“…and that cat!” she screamed. “You’re always letting it inside the house! Told you, I’m allergic!” She blew past me without even looking.
“Would you shut up?” I asked. She was rushing about, yanking papers off the desk, pushing books onto the floor. A can hit the floorboards, scattering pencils at my feet. I looked at them, longing to pick one up again, to hold it in my hands and write with it. I miss creating things.
“If you can leave the house a mess, then so can I!” she declared, yanking the quilt off the mattress.
I wish they had never moved in, I thought, the other tenants had been so nice and quiet.
“Please, shut up.” I said, but she didn’t even look at me. I missed the days when people could hear me. Not that they listened, but it was better than being invisible. Now, nothing I could do would get anyone’s attention.
“And your underwear!” She held up a pair of red boxers and shook them at the doorway. “You’re always leaving them about. Would it kill you to pick them up once in a while?” She went to the closet and began pulling out clothes. “You’re always telling me to tidy up, how ridiculous!”
“Shut up!” I shouted. She spun around and looked at me, past me, through me. Her eyes couldn’t focus on where my face was; they stared out the window and into the woods. See me! I thought. I’m right here. I’ve always been right here. Why don’t you ever see me? She whirled away and proceeded to yank boxes from the top of the closet.
“Shut up!” I screamed, louder than she had ever been. The walls shook, the floor shook; the entire house quivered with the force of my voice. She stopped and stared at me as if she could actually see me this time. Her eyes met mine and steadily grew larger and larger.
“Can you see me?” I asked. I was both scared of, and desperate for, the answer.
“G…” she whispered, and as she stared at me, she progressively grew paler. “Gh…!”
“Can you hear me?”
Her response was a scream, the shrillest scream I had ever heard from her. She flung herself at the doorway, tripping over the quilt that snared her feet. I ran towards her, but she crawled into the hallway. I was stopped at the door, unable to go any farther; unable to follow her downstairs, outside, or anywhere. I looked about my prison and moaned. If I weren’t already dead…
Downstairs I could hear her yelling at her husband again, telling him about me, the ghost in the bedroom. The stories were all true, this house was really haunted, and they had to move. I sat myself down at the window again and wondered who would move in next, as the dust continued swirling in motes.