Everyone was so excited when the new Breathers moved in.
The house had been empty for years, after the last lot moved out. Well, most of them moved out, and Franklin had stayed, obviously, hanging around in the upstairs room. Literally. Sorry, Franklin, couldn’t resist.
Anyway, so after Franklin had crossed the Great Divide they all left, which meant that things got pretty quiet around here. The problem with being dead is that we’re all a little set in our ways, and it gets worse as you get older. I’m pretty good with modern technology like telephones, bicycles and light switches, for instance, and only last week Franklin was explaining the Internet to me, although I’m not sure where people keep it. But old timers like Lady Greyshaw gets really upset about flushing toilets, which she seems to think will drag us down to the sewers, where the Devil lives.
The new Breathers are a family of five; parents, two older kids, and an old guy who got Franklin’s old room in the attic. They’ve also got a dog, which is always fun, and this one was no exception; we’ve a few children of our own here and they just love teasing dogs, making them bark and whine at all sorts of strange hours. Then you get the usual early responses about “it must be the traffic” and “oh, he’ll settle in a few weeks” but he won’t! He won’t!
It’s down to us older heads to do the proper welcome of course. I like the floorboard squeak; gently bending the wood in the right sequence to make it sound like someone is walking around in the dead of night. The secret is to move floorboards that don’t usually squeak, for the best and most puzzling effect. We got Franklin in on the act too, just basic groans and rattles, nothing too ambitious for a first haunting.
And then it all started to go wrong.
Usually, they start to dismiss us, and then they get scared, and then we all find some sort of equilibrium, so that we get our boredom relieved and they get to live in a Haunted House. But mostly we don’t bother each other much. But not these Breathers! Not this time! Before we knew it the kids had more of them over, trying to get us to come out. Chasing us down the halls! As if that wasn’t bad enough, they threw some sort of bacchanal in our Graveyard! And it wasn’t even Halloween.
To make matters worse they’ve now got some sort of professional Ghost Hunters in. You know the sort – all flashlights and those portable movie cameras they like to use. They’ve been everywhere – even put these strange sticks into people’s actual graves. They tingle! We now just don’t get any rest, day or night. Honestly, it’s enough to make you want to walk into the light and take your chances there.