Another short story based on a prompt from school. I’m pretty proud of how this turned out although it’s a little rushed because I was hurrying to get it done before the due date. I still thought it was sweet and charming! I hope you all enjoy it, I did enjoy writing it regardless!
I heard the music as I entered the room and turned my head to look at the grand piano. As soon as I did, the haunting melody I had heard stopped leaving nothing but an awkward silence behind. Sighing softly I put a recorder in the room and walked out shutting the door behind me. This was the trickiest ghost haunting I had ever worked on. While I did enjoy a challenge, if only I had known the ghost wouldn’t even show up after three days! I would have prepared myself for it better.
I went back downstairs and sighed looking at the owner of the house. “Sorry, I missed it again.” I sighed after saying that as I watched her face contort into one of anger. Ann was the owner of this house and the person that had hired me. “Are you really the best ghost hunter there is? You’ve been at it for days and you haven’t caught a single ghost!” She huffed and crossed her arms, raising an eyebrow at me. She clearly wasn’t pleased with me.
“It’s not my fault if the ghost won’t show up. I’m doing everything I can and I have made some progress. I’ve narrowed down the paranormal activity to the music room.” As I spoke my voice came out sounding cold and annoyed. I almost felt bad for being so testy with Ann. She had recently lost her husband and was having pretty bad financial trouble lately. It was why I had given her a discount. Despite all that, I really didn’t like the way I was being treated and her bad luck as of late was starting to become a flimsy excuse.
“I don’t see how this ghost business could possibly be in one room of this house! This is such a large house and a very old one at that. I think you should look more carefully.” I internally groaned. “Whatever you say. I have an idea that might get the ghosts to come out if there are any. I think that maybe if the owner of the house leaves, it might make the activity spike. You’ve been in here this whole time so maybe that’s why I’m having trouble. It’s a when the cats are away the mice will play sort of thing.”
Ann kept her arms crossed as she listened to me. She seemed a bit skeptical but after a few tense moments, she sighed. “Alright. We’ll try that but I expect results this time.” With that, she turned and walked out her long dress creating the illusion that she was gliding. As the door shut I sighed heavily for what was most likely the thirteenth time that day. “She really is a pretty girl, to bad she doesn’t have a personality that’s just as nice as her looks.”
The moment the front door shut I heard it again. The sound of piano music was muffled yet clear. I was a bit surprised that Ann leaving had caused that reaction so soon, not that I was complaining. I almost sprinted up the stairs the moment I heard it. I was fed up with this ghost! I didn’t even bother trying to be subtle, I just kicked open the door to the music room. This time, when I turned towards the piano, a man was sitting there. He was dressed in a pretty professional way as if he were going to a recital. His fingers danced across the keys as he played the somewhat solemn melody. It was almost as if they were dancing. Slowly I approached him, getting over my initial shock from hearing the beautiful song. I was honestly a bit angry when I realized who it was. I had expected a random ghost of some kind but I recognized the man. I had seen him in pictures with Ann. This was none other than Ann’s late husband, William.
William reached the end of the song and turned to me. He grinned a bit at me looking composed but content. It was another oddity for ghosts most of them were unaware that they were dead after all. “Thank you for getting my wife out of the house. I’ve been trying to finish this for her for days now, that’s why I was trying to practice at night.” I felt confused at first but as I looked at the sheet of music I realized what he had been doing. He had been writing a parting song for Ann! I definitely felt bad for being so callous now. I smiled and nodded. “It’s not a problem really. Your wife is the one who called I guess it didn’t occur to her it might be you.” He laughed. “Ann was always a bit of an airhead. It was one of her more charming traits, to be honest. I’m sorry if she has been hostile towards you. I know it may not look it, but she really is a sweet girl. That’s why I can’t just leave her without a proper goodbye but I don’t have a lot of time…”
As he spoke to me he became more transparent. My eyes widened as I noticed this. “Oh…is the song finished? If you want I can pass on that paper to her.” He shook his head. “No. I want to be the one to play it for her. Can you please bring that recorder closer to me?” William gestured towards the recorder I had put on the nightstand. Knowing there was no time to waste, I quickly grabbed the recorder and put it near him as he had asked. He put his hands over the keys and nodded. “Thank you…Ann, I’m sorry that I had to pass on so soon. Please just know that I’ll be with you, always and you’ll never be alone and one day, we will see each other again. I love you, Ann, with all my heart. Thank you for being such a big part of my life.”
With that simple yet sweet introduction, he began to play the song. I ignored everything else getting completely absorbed into the song. It was the first time a ghost had ever captivated me in such a way. As the song neared the end and slowed to a stop the barely visible face turned towards me and smiled. Faintly I heard him say one last thing.
Delicately, he touched the last key producing one last note. The air in the room became lighter as William’s presence disappeared. I glanced out the window and sighed softly the song still playing over and over in my head. I slowly got up and walked out of the room clutching the recording tightly to my chest. Before I left, I glanced back at the seat by the piano and smiled. “Goodbye, William.” I said softly. “I promise that I will get Ann to listen to this and I won’t charge her at all either.” What I had experienced that day was more valuable then what money could ever offer. I was glad that I had taken on this job and after this experience, I decided to myself that perhaps it would be better if I was a bit less callous.
Life is short after all.
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