Mind Invader

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Booksie Classic
haunted houses, the supernatural, possesed homes... this story follows the happenings in an ordinary student house, which by many would be viewed as possesed... the question is, are the phantoms real or imaginary? read on to make up your own mind.

Submitted: June 15, 2015

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Submitted: June 15, 2015

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MIND INVADER

PROLOGUE

Many people today believe in ghosts. Apparitions, poltergeists, paranormal activity. Many places are claimed to be haunted. Many pseudo scientific investigations have taken place and none have proved anything. There are many rational explanations for ghosts, but there will always be those who don’t understand and cannot relate to these explanations. For them the returned dead are a far more satisfactory explanation for “things that go bump in the night”. This account explores one of the most interesting cases of a haunting this century. The following account does not try to prove or disprove the existence of ghosts. It simply tells the story of four young people who together shared a house which many would view as possessed. Whether or not is was, and is, depends on what you define as a ghost. I personally view the mind as potentially the most horrific haunted house in existence. Let’s see what you, dear reader, think about that last statement after you read this intriguing account.

 

We begin our tale with four young men who studied at Fotherham University in Sussex. The eldest, Ben, was 24. He was a psychology student, and the smartest of the group. He had short dark hair, a sharp nose and small deep blue eyes. He was thin and slightly built. Rational in mentality and a voracious reader, his mind was a vast library of information on many subjects. He was generally a very calm and relaxed person, who enjoyed films and walking holidays in Scotland. James was 23. He was viewed as the “stoner” of the group. He enjoyed smoking marihuana now and again, and had a cheerful and slightly nervous personality. He believed in the universe and its many “wavelengths” and in “the love”. With his colourful T-shirts and gelled mid length blond hair he liked to stand out. He had brown eyes and a small dark mole on his cheek. He was also very emotional, especially when drunk. He studied philosophy. Jake was also 23. He was a law student, and his parents had recently gone through a messy divorce. He was often grumpy, and was known for his short temper. He wasn’t unfriendly, but at times he would stay in his room all day and only come out for meals. He had spiky brown hair and tired looking eyes. He enjoyed listening to music and playing Call of duty on his ps3. Erik was the youngest, he was 21. He was slightly overweight, and had curly red hair and stubble. He was quite artistic, and enjoyed painting and drawing. He was often viewed as gullible, and was a firm believer in magic. He studied cultural anthropology.

It was Erik who had moved into number 23, Thrush road, and was looking for flatmates. The house was part of a recently developed urbanisation 10 minutes away from the university. It was relatively small and not particularly luxurious which also meant that it was cheap. Erik already knew Jake, and he agreed to share the house with him. They still needed to fill the remaining two bedrooms so that the landlord would agree to let them stay there for the duration of their courses. Together they put up flyers in the university and it wasn’t long before Ben and James came to look at the house. They arrived on a Thursday afternoon and knocked on the door. It was opened by Erik.

-“afternoon, I´m Erik, pleased to meet you. Come in, your gonna like this place” he said with a smile.

Ben walked through the door after introducing himself, followed by James. After showing them the kitchen and the living room, Erik showed them upstairs.

-“these are the two rooms available” said Erik showing Ben and James two doors facing each other on each side of the corridor. The room on the left side of the corridor was quite small, with pale blue wallpaper and a window looking out onto the street. The curtains were pale green, and the carpet was a dark brown colour. There was a large bookcase which occupied most of the wall to the left of the window.

“I like this room” said Ben, thinking of his large collection of books. The other room was larger with a big double bed with a stripy red and white bedcover. The window was large and looked out over a small alleyway behind the house. There was a large wardrobe with one of its doors slightly ajar. It featured the same blue wallpaper that the other room did.

-“This room will do me fine” said James nodding.

“Plus the double bed is handy for when you bring birds round” said Erik, winking at James. He shifted slightly, and smiled looking at the floor.

-“My room is down the end of the corridor” said Erik. “And Jakes is over there” he said, pointing to the door to the left of the room Ben liked. “I’ll go and introduce you” they knocked on Jakes door. He opened it, and smiled politely at the newcomers.

“This is Ben and James; they are interested in sharing the house with us” said Erik

-“hi I´m Jake” he said, shaking James´ hand.

-“Oh, hi” said James smiling

-“and I’m Ben” said Ben, also shaking his hand.

-“Well, I have come to the decision that I would like to stay here, I’ll move my things in on Saturday, if that’s acceptable” said Ben.

-“Yeah, I like the house, I’ll move in too” said James

-“Cool, do you guys want to have a beer before you go?” asked Erik

“Sure, thanks” said James and Ben.

They four of them went downstairs and drank their beers while chatting. Ben moved his stuff in that Saturday, and James moved in on the Monday. The four flatmates got on well, with few arguments. They went to class during the week and at weekends had long drinking sessions and watched movies. They all enjoyed clubbing, and some weekends if they managed to save up enough money they did that as well. They lived the life that most university students lead, and for the first few weeks everything was fine. But as the first exams loomed, the first strange occurrences began to take place...

Erik had been studying for hours in his room, and decided to have a break. He went downstairs and turned on the TV. His favourite program, little Britain, was on. He went to the fridge to get a beer and settled down to watch it. He chuckled at the chavvy Vicky Pollard and her ridiculous “yeah but, no but, yeah but, no but” explanations to her various stupid actions. He loved Little Britain. He grinned at the hideously fat Bubbles, the grumpy and unhelpful Carol Beer, and laughed hard at the racist and homophobic Maggie as she threw up over everyone after eating Jam made by a lesbian. Once the program was over he went back upstairs into his room and closed the door. He reached for the book he was studying from but found it wasn’t where he had left it. It had moved from his bed to the floor under the window. Puzzled he picked it up and continued studying. The strange happenings continued. The next day James came back from his lecture and found Jake in a state of rage.

-“What’s the matter man?” asked James

-“It’s my fucking shoes! I left them by the back door and now they’re gone. I’ve been looking for them for 15 minutes now, and if I don’t find them soon I’m gonna go absolutely fucking mental!” he said, hotly.

-“are you sure you left them by the door?” asked James

-“yes I’m fucking sure. God I’m angry. Jesus, this is the third time this has happened for fucks sake”

-“don’t worry mate, I’ll help you look for them” said James

-“thanks. You know, I’m bloody sick of this. There’s nothing I hate more than things magically disappearing”

James eventually found the shoes under one of the sofa cushions

-“I found them!” he shouted to Jake who was angrily stomping up and down the stairs looking everywhere

-“Thank god, cheers mate, I bet the other two think it’s funny to hide my shoes” he said to James

-“You’re welcome” he said. “By the way, do you wanna go down the pub tonight? I need to forget my worries about the exams for a bit”

-“Oh, well I would but I’ve got an essay I need to finish” said Jake. “I’ll catch you later; I’ve got to go to the shops before the close”

-“oh, ok” said James. Eventually he went to the pub on his own.

The following night Ben was studying in his room. Finally at nine o’clock he had had enough. He was reading and excellent book about the spice race during the post medieval period so he made a cup of tea and brought it into the living room with his book. He settled down and started to read. After a while he lifted up his cup and took a sip. He was surprised to find that while not completely cold; the tea was now lukewarm. He was sure tea would not get that cold within 5 minutes so he decided to do an experiment. He put down his book and proceeded to make three more cups of tea. He brought them into the living room and placed them down onto the coffee table. Using a thermometer he measured the temperature of the first cup. Then he measured the temperature of the cups he had just made, and noted the difference. He then set a timer on his mobile phone for 5 minutes, the amount of time he estimated it had taken for the first cup of tea to become lukewarm. He then proceeded to observe the three mugs. When the timer rang he tested the temperatures of each mug of tea. The temperatures of the three cups remained practically identical to each other, and they had all gone down slightly in temperature. Intriguingly however, they were nowhere near the temperature that the first cup had been. Ben came to the conclusion that in fact much more than five minutes had passed since he had started reading and taken his first sip. He waited another five minutes and tested the mugs of tea again. Still, the temperatures weren’t low enough. After another 8 and half minutes, the temperatures were consistent with the reading of the first cup of tea. Ben was very intrigued by this. His conclusion was that because of his enjoyment of his book, his perception of time had been altered. It showed him that his own senses and measurements were not always to be trusted. At that moment Erik walked into the room to find Ben staring at four mugs of tea.

-“You must be thirsty then” said Erik with a grin

-“Hmm? No, not thirsty, intrigued” he replied

-“intrigued by tea?” said Erik

Ben proceeded to explain his experience, his experiment and its result.

-“It all sounds very thorough, but the question is, what are we going to do with all this tea, it would be a shame to waste it” said Erik.

-“We can reheat them and have a nice little tea party with the others” said Ben with a grin

At that moment James came into the room

-“Guys, why don’t you open the door? There’s someone there” he said

-“I don’t think so” said Erik

-“didn’t you hear the knocking?” said James

-“no I didn’t. I had my headphones on in my room, I was watching a movie” said Erik

-“I may not have heard since I was too busy concentrating on my experiment. Which reminds me, do you want a cuppa? Said Ben

-“In a minute, I’m going to answer the door” said James. He walked to the front door and opened it. There was no one there, and he returned looking puzzled.

-“that’s weird... there was no one there” said James.

-“More likely there was someone there, aged 9 to 16 who thinks it’s funny to knock on the door then run away” said Ben

-“I guess... still a bit weird though...”

-“Anyway I’m going to heat these cups of tea up, gimme a hand someone” said Ben, walking into the kitchen with two of the mugs, followed by James with the other two.

It was a few days before the first exam and Jake was feeling the pressure. His shoes had kept on disappearing when he needed them most, and he was very angry indeed. They hadn’t appeared under the sofa cushions again, but they always turned up where he hadn’t left them, like by the back door instead of the front door, in the hall instead of in his room etc. It had just happened again. He went into the kitchen to get his shoes to go out, and they weren’t where he had left them. He was utterly fed up and started to angrily look for them. It was then that he heard the back door open. Furious, Jake stomped down the hall towards the back door.

-“Do you think it’s funny to keep messing with my shoes?” he said. However when he got to the back door he found it closed and there was no way anyone could have got anywhere once inside without him seeing them. Puzzled, he searched the house and found all the rooms empty. He was sure he had heard the back door open and someone step inside. He sat down on the sofa after a fruitless search and held his head in his hands. He was angry and confused at the same time. He heard the back door open again. He ran towards it and saw Ben coming inside.

-“Ben! Did you open the door a few minutes ago?” he asked

-“No. I just arrived home”

-“are you sure?”

-“yes. What’s the matter? You seem uneasy”

-“I just heard the back door go and there was no one there”

-“Nonsense. That’s impossible”

-“It is possible! I heard it!” shouted Jake

-“hmm... I reckon if you aren’t imagining it then we may have a burglar or something”

-“maybe” said Jake. “Also do you know who it is who keeps fucking with my shoes? It isn’t you is it?”

-“no. It isn’t me. And I don’t think anyone here would fuck with your shoes”

-“well someone is! They keep disappearing and turning up in unexpected places”

-“I’m sure you are just misremembering due to the stress you are suffering because of exams”

-“No way. My memory isn’t that shit! You know loads of weird things keep happening... my shoes keep disappearing, James told me he answered the door and no one was there, and Erik says things in his room keep changing places...I’m beginning to think this place might be haunted or something”

-“don’t be ridiculous. There are no such things as ghosts”

-“There are” said Erik, coming into the house, followed by James, who went up to his room to charge his phone. “I saw one once”

-“bollocks” said Ben. “All hauntings are either hoaxes or people misinterpreting natural phenomena”

“Well all I know is that things keep changing place in my room. Once my book wasn’t where I left it, and I walked into my room to find the curtains closed when I had left them open”

-“well I haven’t experienced anything unusual” said Ben

-“Yes you have! Remember that incident with the tea? I don’t believe for one moment that your sense of time was so wrong... I reckon a ghost chilled your tea”

-“nonsense. There is an explanation for everything” said Ben

-“An explanation for what?” said James, coming down the stairs.

-“these guys think the house is haunted because things they don’t understand keep happening” said Ben

-“oh, I agree with them actually... that incident with the knocking on the door freaked me out” said James

-“well I don’t believe in any of it. Now if you will excuse me, I’m going to study” said Ben, going upstairs.

Things continued much the same way. The exams finally arrived and everyone was working harder than ever. It was Tuesday night and everyone was in bed. James however couldn’t sleep. He kept tossing and turning. Finally he just lay there staring at the ceiling. It was then that he heard the back door open. Frightened he sat up and listened as footsteps resonated downstairs, and made their way slowly up the stairs. James knew that all his flatmates were upstairs, so he was very much on edge. He heard the footsteps continue past his room, then stop. He dared not breathe. He waited for a few minutes, but everything was silent. His eyes were drawn to his wardrobe. It was open ajar. He had closed it before he got into bed, but now a thin sliver or darkest shadow could be seen through the crack. It was as if all his being was drawn towards that long narrow stretch of dark. He heard the wardrobe creak, and he cried out with fear, switching on the light. He heard Jakes door open, then three knocks on his door.

-“Come in” said James, in a hollow voice. Jake came in wearing a dressing gown, looking tired

-“What’s with all the screaming?” he said grumpily

-“Oh Jake, I’m so glad you’re here” said James resting his hand on his chest. “Did you hear the door open and the footsteps?” he asked

-“Yeah, I think so... I was half asleep so I can’t remember very clearly”

-“God I was so scared... the wardrobe was also really creeping me out...”

-“yeah... this house is kinda creepy at night...”

-“I think it’s haunted for sure” said James. Jake shifted uneasily. Silence followed.

-“Umm... maybe you should sleep in here in case anything happens” said James

-“What? But there’s only one bed in here” said Jake

-“well yeah, but it’s a double, there’s room for you as well” said James

-“Don’t you think sleeping in the same bed is a bit weird? Were not married for god’s sake” said Jake

-“well yeah I guess...” said James looking at the floor.

-“I’ll take my chances in my own room I think...” said Jake

-“sure... night night...” said James. Jake went back to his own room. He got into bed and turned off the light. Haunted... James thought the house was haunted... and the footsteps had been pretty creepy... Jake was now feeling uneasy. He had an exam early the next morning, and he needed his sleep. But he couldn’t stop thinking about ghosts and haunted houses. He heard a creak on the stairs and sat up filled with fear... no more sounds followed. He lay back down, feeling suddenly hot. Try as he might he couldn’t sleep and an increasing sense of dread was filling his body. He heard the creak again and suddenly felt as if he was being watched... he felt something was standing outside the door and quickly turned on the light. Meanwhile Erik woke up in a sweat. He had just experienced a terrible nightmare, he had been chased up the stairs in the house and at the top a terrible cloaked figure with a rotting face had whipped out a knife and stabbed him in the heart. That was when he had woken up. He allowed himself to calm down, and tried again to sleep. But now he had images from his dream banging about in his head and imagined the dark stairs at the end of the corridor. He felt increasingly uneasy, and felt as if someone was watching him. He heard a creak on the stairs and felt the hot sensation of panic flush through his body. He decided to stay awake and read a book. Meanwhile Ben woke up needing to go to the toilet. This he did, and going back to his room heard several creaks on the stairs. He turned to look but saw nothing. He concluded that it was the house shifting at night as houses often do. All that talk of ghosts had made him slightly jumpy as he heard the creaks, and he acknowledged that he now felt uneasy.  Meanwhile Jake was becoming more and more uncomfortable. He felt as if he was being watched, and he was sure there was someone standing outside his room. It was then that the painting hanging on the wall fell to the floor with a crash. He screamed and jumped out of bed. Everyone else opened their doors and ran into Jakes room.

-“are you alright?” asked Ben

-“No I’m not alright! I’m in no way fucking alright!” he sobbed

-“What happened?” asked Erik

-“First there were footsteps, then funny noises, then I felt like there was someone watching me... and just now that fucking painting flew off the wall!” said Jake pointing to the painting on the floor with a shaking hand.

-“I’m sure there is a rational explanation” said Ben calmly

-“No there fucking isn’t! This place is fucking haunted! Shouted Jake

-“I heard the footsteps too” said James. “And I felt like I was being watched, and then something made a weird noise in my wardrobe”

-“And I had the scariest dream” said Erik. “I dreamed I was stabbed by a phantom on the stairs, and then when I woke up, I heard weird noises on the stairs, and I also felt I was being watched”

-“I think we all agree this place is haunted, this house scares the hell out of me” said James

-“I reckon we should call a ghost hunter in, I can’t live like this” said Erik

-“now let’s be reasonable” said Ben. “We are all just a bit worked up and we are misinterpreting things”

-“Are we fuck! I agree with Erik, let’s get a ghost hunter or a psychic or something to come and get rid of whatever’s here” said Jake

-“I actually saw an advert for one in a magazine” said Erik. “I’ll give her a call”

And that was what Erik did. The advert in his magazine read “Maya Dayton, expert psychic. Covers all areas of the paranormal, from possessions, hauntings, presences and all things that go bump in the night. Call Maya now to rid your home of any unwanted nasties, prices can be negotiated after she assesses your home, and once payment is provided she will solve all your ghostly problems”. Erik phoned the number provided, and a few days later the psychic arrived. She was a middle aged woman with shoulder length blond hair. She was thickly set, and spoke with a London accent. She walked through the door and after discussing the experiences suffered by the inhabitants of the house, proceeded to explore it, and pick up on any paranormal disturbances. This done, she met with the lads in the living room to discuss her findings.

-“right, so the first thing to answer is have you actually got a ghost” she said. “And the answer is yes. Oh my god yes. This is a very heavy house you live in. The first impression I got was one of unbalance. This house feels as if it’s resting on a pivot and it always wanting to tip one way or another. The atmosphere is very heavy... very oppressive. The kitchen feels very dark... as if it’s dark even when the lights are on. Also the back door feels very unstable... as if it’s always being messed with. And then there’s the stairs, I think they are the centre of it all. I sensed a figure on the stairs, cloaked and definitely male.  Also there was a bedroom that had a very ominous wardrobe in it... I sensed a feeling of unease about it; someone has been scared while looking at it. Also I felt that someone has had their bed shaken... which of course scared the life out of them. And also the window in one of the upstairs bedrooms, either something has been seen by the window, or someone outside has seen something there. Whatever is here isn’t evil, but it is angry. It wants you all out... it feels like this is its house not yours, and is trying to wear you down and make you leave”

-“It’s funny you should say that stuff about the wardrobe, one night I sensed a presence in there, and something inside it made a noise that scared the hell out of me” said James

-“I thought it was your room” replied Maya.

-“I will point out that no one has suffered any bed shaking or anything window related” said Ben, who greatly disapproved of psychics, and was as ever, sceptical. 

-“I was very frightened while in my bed” said Jake

-“You see, something bed related” said Maya.

-“But being frightened is not the same as bed shaking” said Ben

-“And I thought I saw my curtain move” said James

-“again, a curtain is window related” said Maya. Ben decided not to start trouble and remain quiet. Then he changed his mind and said “I find it surprising that you didn’t pick up on the fact that a picture in Jakes room allegedly flew off the wall”

-“I did sweetie. I just forgot to mention it” replied Maya.

-“Right...” said Ben

-“The question is what we are going to do about it. I will get rid of the spirit that dwells in this house. No one should have to live like you poor boys have. Tonight I will perform a clearing ceremony, during which my spirit guide Eustace will open a portal to the other side, and I’ll send the spirit over”

That night they all gathered in the living room. Maya had set up candles in a line along a large table, and they all sat round it. All the lights were switched off, and the eerie glow of the candles was the only light source.

-“Are we all ready?” asked Maya

-“Yes” everyone except Ben replied. “Ready for what?” he thought. Sometimes he felt so lonely being the only one with any sense.

-“Right” said Maya closing her eyes. “I have now left my body. I’m going to find the spirit and draw it in. I’m going into the kitchen... nothing. Going into the hall... he’s not there. Ah wait... he’s coming down the stairs. He’s following me in here now... he seems very angry. I´m asking him who he is... he says his names Richard... he’s trying to tell me his surname... Smith or Smythe... not sure which it is. He said he visited Erik in a dream... he says he didn’t want to hurt you, just attract your attention... he was murdered near here... and he is using this house as a hiding place to wait for the man who murdered him... and he thinks he has a right to it... that’s why he doesn’t want you here... Right, I’m going to sent him over” Maya breathed deeply. “sarter omnibus dominum vincere, ad hoc dominus, ad hoc spiritam et spiritii vincere et profundis meae, apud meae armus spiritum portuus transcendis, dominum meae spiritam ludere, spiritam portuus transcendis est” she opened her eyes, tears rolling down her cheeks.

“Gone”. “He’s gone” she said.

-“was that real Latin?” asked Ben

-“Thank you so much!” said Erik

-“you’re welcome darling. You can live in your house peacefully now. He shouldn’t bother you ever again”

The house had allegedly been cleared. The first set of exams was over, and the inhabitants of the house could relax. The question was, had the ghost gone? Erik seemed to think so. He claimed he felt a lot happier and more chilled. He no longer felt as if he was being watched, and the things in his room stayed in their correct position. He had even found himself a girlfriend, and was generally cheery and happy. Things weren’t quite the same for the others. They claimed to still hear noises, and feelings of dread. Even Ben claimed that he often felt uneasy. One day something truly odd happened, a small earthquake shook the house. Earthquakes are uncommon in Britain. The painting in Jakes room would often fall off the wall, terrifying Jake immensely. Eventually he gave up trying to hang it up without it falling down. It was a series of interpersonal events that made things worse.

Jake was going through a difficult time. His mother, a controlling woman, was constantly putting pressure on him. She would phone him up and nag him endlessly about his studies, and harass him about his living conditions. He was already quite an angry person, but gradually he became even more irritable and short tempered. His flatmates were picking up on his change of mood. One day Jake was making a cup of tea, and as he placed the cup on the table, it slid off and smashed on the floor.

-“For fucks sake!” he shouted, kicking the cupboard door.

-“what’s the matter Jake?” asked James, walking into the room.

-“These fucking ghosts think it’s funny to smash my cup of tea” he replied

-“I know, they are awful... last night my bedroom door mysteriously opened, even though I had it closed. And I keep hearing something inside my wardrobe... it really freaks me out”

-“I can’t fucking stand it here... that fucking psychic changed nothing”

-“Erik seems to think she has”

-“Erik’s an idiot” said Jake. “And Ben thinks he’s so fucking clever...”

-“At least you have me” said James looking at the floor.

-“What do you mean?” asked Jake

-“I mean you can count on me... for anything” said James

-“Right... thanks” said Jake. James sighed. "You know there’s been something I’ve wanted to say to you for a long time”

-“What?” asked Jake, suspiciously

-“Well... you are a very good friend to me... I really like you... and I was wondering if you wanted to... you know, be more than friends” said James, shyly.

-“Wait what? You’re not telling me you have a fucking crush on me?” said Jake, clenching his fists

-“well... yeah... I do... I mean... I think you’re a really nice guy... I think we could do well together, maybe you could give it a go” said James

-“Oh my fucking god! You’re fucking gay! I should have fucking known... you always did look at me with and odd look in your eye... I thought it was just cause you were clingy or weird...but no, you’re a fucking gay...”

-“You seem angry...” said James

-“YOU BET IM FUCKING ANGRY! WHAT THE FUCK? DO YOU THINK IM A FUCKING SHIT LIFTER LIKE YOU? THAT’S FUCKING DISGUSTING! WELL LISTEN HERE YOUR CREEP, YOU CAN FUCK OFF AND STICK YOUR COCK IN SOMEONE WHO IS AS REVOLTING AS YOU! AND LEAVE US NORMAL PEOPLE ALONE YOU SICK FREAK!” screamed Jake. The shutters rattled and the door banged as Jake punched James in the face, sending him crashing to the floor. Ben and Erik ran downstairs from their rooms.

-“What’s all the shouting?” asked Erik

-“IT’S THIS LITTLE FUCK HERE, HES FUCKING GAY! AND HE TRIED TO HIT ON ME!” yelled Jake

-“calm down man, he’s gay is he? So what? Don’t be so homophobic” said Ben

-“are you alright James?” asked Erik, noticing he was on the floor and helping him up.

-“My nose fucking hurts!” he sobbed. “I fucking wish I was straight! It would save me so much misery”

-“You hit him?” said Ben, looking coldly at Jake

-“OF COURSE I DID!” HES GAY AND HE TRIED TO HIT ON ME!” shouted Jake

-“Now that is very unpleasant behaviour. I suggest you apologize right now” said Ben

-“APOLOGIZE FOR WHAT?” shouted Jake

-“for being a dick” said Erik

-“YOU KNOW WHAT? YOU CAN ALL FUCK OFF!” said Jake, as he stormed up to his room

James sat down on the sofa, holding his head in his hands.

-“It’s all right mate, Jake will apologize after he’s calmed down” said Erik

-“he seems to have been very angry lately” said Ben

-“I know you don’t believe in ghosts Ben, but I reckon the house is getting to him” said James

-“I think your right. As rational as I try to be, I have to admit that this house “feels” odd and menacing at times. And I think it may be affecting Jake” said Ben

-“It’s weird... cause I don’t feel any darkness in this house now, ever since Maya did the clearing ceremony for me everything has been fine” said Erik

-“either way this house for me is very frightening...and god, I feel so miserable now” said James

-“Come on; let’s go out down the pub. That will cheer you up” said Ben.

They all went down to the pub and had a few pints, which cheered James up. Jake was left alone in the house. He was feeling awful. So angry, so miserable, so desperate. He hated this house. He remembered how as he had punched James, the windows had shaken and the doors had banged. It made him shudder. But he knew that he couldn’t leave. The house was cheap to rent, and if he told his parents that he wanted to move, they would refuse to let him. He hated his parents as well. They were so fucking tight. In fact now that he thought about it, he hated everyone. Fucking gay James. As far as Jake was concerned, gay people were unnatural and wrong. Then there was that idiot Erik who had become so cheerful after the clearance. He had gotten himself a girlfriend, and everything for him was great. And then there was Ben. Stuck up, know it all, clever clots Ben. He thought he was so smart. If there was one thing that Jake hated it was people who were smarter than him. Well he had had enough. It was then that he heard a voice in his head.

-“kill them. Get rid of them” said the voice. “Why not? What have you got to lose?” it whispered. Jake was shocked at first. This was really weird... he had never thought anything like that before.

-“do it” Jake considered. And he snapped.

Jake smiled to himself. If Ben thought he was so clever, he would be shocked to see how he would be outsmarted by Jake. He would pretend to be sorry and apologise to that gay boy James. He would make an effort and pretend to be cheery and nice. And then one night he would murder them as they slept. And he would have the last laugh.

-“good boy, you will relish their blood, and make them dead” whispered the voice

-“yes I will” Jake said aloud. He grinned to himself. He went to the bathroom and looked into the mirror. A grinning face with dark eyes and yellow mouldy teeth smiled back.

James had been very fortunate at the pub. There had been a young man who had been eyeing him up at the bar. Ben and Erik decided to “go and get some fresh air” and went outside. A little while later James came outside, joy in his eyes. He had met a lad called Oscar who was also gay, and they had gotten on rather well. They had agreed to meet up soon. When Ben, James and Erik returned from the pub they found Jake waiting for them. He was smiling, and had made some tea.

-“Now then, I owe you an apology” he said smiling at James. “I really am very sorry for me behaviour earlier today. I am just very stressed at the moment, so I reacted unfairly when you said you liked me and I realised you were gay”

-“It’s ok. It’s not the first time this has happened” he replied. Jake continued to smile.

-“well, it’s great that we are all friends again!” said Erik.

-“are you sure you’re ok Jake? Said Ben. “You are smiling a lot”

-“yes, I’m fine, just happy” said Jake.

That night James could not sleep. He was used to not being able to sleep, and gradually had become accustomed to the eerie noises of the house. He heard the footsteps again, walking up the stairs. But he was aware of a terrible presence, coming from the end of the corridor where Jakes room was. It was dark, and it was menacing. He was aware of someone standing outside his door. He heard a scraping sound against it, and sat up petrified.

-“Hello?” he whispered. No reply. He felt suddenly cold, and realised that the early stages of needing a wee were coming on. He dared not leave his room to go to the bathroom. He waited for half an hour, smoking some weed to calm him down until he could bear it no more. He needed to go to the bathroom. It was then that he remembered. He had a date with Oscar. Why should he fear going to the bathroom? Fortune had smiled upon him. He had found a potential boyfriend. It looked as if luck was on his side, and he was filled with hope at remembering his meeting with Oscar at the pub. He was still very much afraid, but he opened his bedroom door. He was greeted by the pitch black corridor and a terrible smell of rotting. He felt as if he was being watched. He entered the bathroom and relieved himself. He turned to go, and as he switched off the light, felt as if there was somebody behind him. Fighting for control, he breathed.

-“No” he said. “I’m not afraid of you anymore. I have hope. And I have love. And I will offer you some. Why do you wish to terrify me? I mean you no harm. I know how you feel, the want to talk to someone, to let them know your feelings, and they reject you. It makes you angry; it makes you frustrated and miserable. All you want is someone to care. So, I am showing you that I care. I will always be here for you” with that, James turned around, and faced the darkness. He spread his arms, and offered the darkness a hug. He felt as if his hair was filled with chilled air. He closed his eyes and smiled. “There, doesn’t that feel better? Now come with me, come with me into my room, and Ill offer you a joint, and we can talk about the universe and all things beautiful” he walked slowly to his bedroom, and stepped inside.

-“come in my friend, I have some deliciously fresh grass”. He heard footsteps. They were going down the stairs this time. James smiled, and closed the door.

The next day, James was in an excellent mood.

-“You seem very happy” said Ben

-“I am. For I no longer fear the ghost”

-“Really? Tell me what has happened to change your emotions”

-“I met the ghost last night outside the bathroom. And suddenly it hit me, if I showed the ghost I was no longer afraid of it, it would go away. I gave it a hug, and offered it some weed, and away it went. It has no power over me anymore, as it realises I am not scared of it”

-“it sounds like you were smoking the weed to me” replied Ben. “However your technique is very interesting from a psychological point of view. Basically, by reprogramming your brain to associate unknown phenomena with love you have eliminated the old processes which associate fear with certain natural stimulus. Very interesting really”

-“yeah well, I showed it the love, and it realises its wasting its time with me” said James

-“culture is a fascinating thing...” said Ben

-“what about you? You never really were very afraid of ghosts were you?” said James

-“Well, initially I wasn’t. However, I will admit that this house does create fear and oppression especially at night... and many possibly unexplained phenomena occur. I cannot explain the footsteps for example... I have heard them a few times, and still they puzzle me. And naturally, as a human I experience fear when faced with the unknown, especially when the idea of “ghosts” and the danger associated with them has been introduced into my head” said Ben

-“good morning my friends” said Jake, walking into the room. He stood there, grinning.

-“Good morning Jake. I was just explaining to Ben how the ghosts no longer affect me. I showed them I wasn’t scared of them, and they have left me alone” said James

Jake´s eyes flashed momentarily, and he then took a breath in and out.

-“well that’s lovely. I´m not afraid anymore either” he said.

-“You seem very different lately, are you sure you’re alright? Asked Ben

-“yes, I’m dandy” he said, grinning

-“It just seems strange that you, who were perhaps the most affected by the strange goings on, have suddenly become so happy” said Ben

Jake´s eyes flashed again.

-“Well, I assure you I have just come to terms with what inhabits this house. I understand it now, I know what it wants, and everything is great” he said

-“Right...” said Ben.

That night Ben was alone in the house. Eric was visiting his girlfriend, and James had gone to see Oscar. He didn’t know where Jake was, but he certainly wasn’t in the house. Ben was watching his favourite TV show, Bones. He liked it because of its scientific approach, and because of this could put up with the various cheesy bits in between the hardcore science parts. It was then that he heard the footsteps upstairs. He had been trying to figure out for a while now what was causing them. He thought of the architecture of the house. It had wooden floors, and was attached to another house next door... Suddenly there was a creek, and the window opened slowly. It then banged shut. Ben began to feel uneasy. The footsteps continued, and suddenly the TV lost its signal, and then switched itself to another channel, which was showing a particularly gruesome horror film. He heard a banging noise coming from upstairs. Ben was feeling very nervous now. Suddenly the lights went off, and the house was plunged into pitch darkness. He didn’t mind admitting to himself that now he was feeling truly frightened. He heard the footsteps again, and suddenly he felt hot. He was about to cry out when he stopped himself. He was letting his emotions control him. He was Ben for god’s sake, usually the only person with any sense in any given group of people. Right, no more emotions. The house had wooden floors and was connected to the house next door, where people lived. Therefore any vibrations could potentially carry and be amplified in their house, and since the proposition of a haunting had been inserted into his mind, any unknown noises could possibly be interpreted as footsteps, and therefore supernatural bangs and other phenomena were probably entirely natural in origin. Bingo, there were the footsteps and any other strange noise explained. Now then, opening window, the window frame was made of wood. As night fell, the temperature slowly dropped and moisture began to condense, therefore the wood was expanding, and had the window been incorrectly shut, the expanding wood might theoretically apply pressure in the right place, causing the window to spring open. This doubled by the fact that it was a windy night, would create air currents and vacuums that could cause the window to swing open, and then shut again. Bingo, there was the window explained. Right, the TV. Since it was a windy night, it was entirely possible that the TV antenna could be altered in position by the wind, and therefore cause the signal to be lost, or fluctuate. Right, but how had it changed channel on its own? Surely that must be supernatural. Again, no it wasn’t. He noticed that he had placed the remote beside him on the sofa, and when the TV had lost its signal, he had jumped, causing the remote to fall onto the floor, button side down, where the pressure from the fall had been sufficient to press one of the buttons and change the channel. The horror film being shown was purely coincidental, but had fuelled the chemical reactions going on in his body that occur when an individual feels threatened, in this case by unexplained events that were rapidly becoming explained. Right, the banging noise from upstairs. He remembered he had left his window open, and again due to the air currents in the house, the shutters were colliding with the window frame causing a resonant banging sound. And finally, the light going out. There were many causes for this, a power cut being the most likely. The grid had become over run, and therefore the lights had gone out. That would also explain while the TV was also now off. Suddenly, a light flashed in the dark room, shimmering off the walls. A few seconds ago this would have terrified Ben, however, as he had proved, there was an explanation for everything. A car drove past outside; its headlights on full beam which had shone through the window onto the far wall, which was coated with tiles, and had reflected the light back into the room, causing a lightshow that could be understood by the ignorant or the emotionally strong as paranormal. Had Ben let his emotions have their way, he would not have been able to think objectively about the happenings that had just taken place and the only other alternative would be to assume that they had no rational explanation. However, Ben had proved that they did indeed have a logical explanation. And of course it was understandable that faced with initially unknown happenings that could be viewed as dangerous, the body responds with certain chemicals that boost reaction time and shut down the cognitive process in favour of instinctual behaviour. These chemicals can viewed as unpleasant, and an individual under their influence can trigger their release in other individuals, therefore creating a domino effect that allows a whole group to work each other up into a state of hysteria. The lights flashed back on, and Ben smiled to himself. There were those who said intelligence was linked to unhappiness, however these people perhaps failed to take into account the immense advantages it had, the same advantages that he had just used. Ben also admitted that there were some things that science still did not understand. But that did not mean it never would. He remembered how James had said that the windows had all shaken and the door had banged when Jake had hit him. It was possible that extreme anger or emotions could affect people’s surroundings. Experiments had been done here, with suggestive results. Ben felt doubly reassured by this notion, even if there were things he didn’t understand now; it didn’t mean he never would. Science held the key. The events that had just unfolded got Ben thinking about emotions. Could emotions be dangerous? Could emotions drive people mad? Theoretically a constant state or terror could indeed cause a mental break down. Prolonged irrational interpretation of stimulus coupled with the right personality type could provoke insanity. It was in this way that Ben, through rationality, was free of the phantoms and of the evil.

He explained his experience the following day to his flatmates, except Jake, who hadn’t come out of his room all day.

-“well it looks like none of us have anything to fear anymore” said Erik cheerfully. “I lost my fear after Maya did the clearing ceremony, James lost it after showing the ghosts “the love” and you lost it by using that rational mind of yours”

-“yes, it would appear so. It just goes to show that fear is very much an internal thing, and therefore can be controlled, in different ways by our own psychologies” said Ben.

-“Do you guys wanna go clubbing tonight? It is Saturday after all, and I have some cash saved up. Plus Oscar has been wanting to go for a while” said James

-“Sure, shall we go to the usual place?” said Erik

-“sounds good” said Ben.

-“shall we go and tell Jake?” said Erik

-“I personally think we should leave him be. He has been in an odd mood recently, and I think we should give him some time alone to sort his stuff out” said Ben.

That night they went out clubbing, leaving Jake alone in the house. He had sat in his room all day, staring at the door.

-“Tonight is the night. Tonight we kill” said the voice in his head. Jakes eyes were bloodshot, and he was filled with hatred.

-“yes, tonight we will stab them, stab them tonight we will”

-“that’s right, tonight we will make them dead, tonight we will paint with their blood our lips red”. The painting which Jake had left on the floor floated into the air and hurled itself at the door with a crash.

-“They will pay. The gay one will pay. We will slit his throat, and we will play with his blood”

-“the others we will kill after, Ben must expire last”

-“are you sure?”

-“Yes I am sure. I have always been sure”

The bed shook violently, but Jake didn’t seem to notice. He sat there until 3 o’clock in the morning without moving. He reached under his bed and pulled out the knife. It glinted gently. Jake smiled

-“better test how sharp it is hadn’t we?

-“yes, I think yes that would be nice” orbs danced in the room as Jake drew the knife across his chest. Blood seeped onto the bed covers, and dripped onto the floor

-“We think it is sharp enough, don’t we?

-“yes. It’s very precious” the door banged and the windows rattled.

-“we are hungry. We are hungry and that mole on our leg looks delicious”

-“Yes. Shall we taste it? Jake sliced off the mole. He felt no pain. He brought it to his lips and chewed slowly

-“after tonight, everything will be alright. After tonight, there will be no fright” a shadow swept across the room, and the bed covers floated up, and then slowly draped onto the floor, leaving a large lump where they were covering something. Jake lifted the cover and picked up a grisly half clean skull. He smiled, and kissed it passionately. He placed it on the floor, and walked towards the door. It opened slowly, and Jake stepped out into the corridor. He stopped outside James´ room, like he had done so many times before. Only this time it would be different. Clutching the knife he slowly opened the door. James rolled over in bed. Jake loomed over the bed, and raised the knife above his head.

-“YOU BETTER NOT GAY DEAD, BUT NEITHER PLAY DEAD!” he screamed as he brought the knife down, stabbing and slashing. Grinning, his hands coated in blood, he moved on to Erik’s room. He smiled down at the bed, and raised the knife. Erik turned over in his sleep.

-“YOUR HAPPYNESS IS DECEASED!” he shrieked as he stabbed down. Finally he moved on to Bens´ room, and opened the door, the books flying off the shelf in the room. He raised the knife once again. Ben slowly opened his eyes.

-“YOU NEVER SAW IT COMING DID YOU MY HIGHER COMPANION!” he struck down, slashing and jabbing. He walked out into the corridor, and slumped down by the wall, breathing heavily.

-“you did wrong” said a graceful and shimmering shape hovering in front of him

-“I did right. I killed them, and they enjoyed it” he replied

-“No. you didn’t kill them. And if you had you were wrong to do so”

-“I savoured it”

-“it’s not too late. You can still recover. You can still have a happy ending”

-“I hate happy endings”

-“you can be free of your fear”

-“I love my fear. I have no control over it. You should know that”

-“the others managed it, you can too”

-“FUCK OFF!” Jake slashed at the apparition, which vanished. It was then that he heard footsteps coming slowly up the stairs. Stomp. Stomp. Stomp.

-“No...No please... I only did what you asked me” Stomp. Stomp. Stomp. A thin and grizzled hand appeared on the banister.

-“Please...I don’t want this anymore” Stomp. Stomp. Stomp. A figure appeared at the top of the stairs. It was tall, and utterly black. It floated along the corridor, its footsteps echoing, and reached out for Jake. He screamed and ran into the bathroom, locking the door. He sat in the shower, crouched, his heart beating. It is impossible to describe the silence within the bathroom. He sat there in the shower, shivering and sobbing. His mind was filled with both misery and hate. Silence. He looked up as the black figure reached down towards him.

 

Ben, James and Eric had decided not to go home after they had finished clubbing. Instead they had stayed up all night, and eventually went home to Oscar’s house. Ben slept on the sofa, Erik in the spare bedroom, and James in Oscars room. There they slept for most of the day. James rolled over in bed, Erik turned in his sleep and Ben slowly opened his eyes, and was the first to get up.

The three of them later that day decided to go home.

-“last night was brilliant” said Erik

-“sure was” said James

-“My feet are so sore from dancing” said Ben.

-“I can’t wait to get home and tell Jake all about it, next time we have to bring him along” said Erik.

-“getting him out of the house will do him good” said Ben. Eric replied with

-“he always was a homey sort of guy I suppose...”

 

 

EPILOGUE

Jakes body was found crouched in the shower, staring up into space. The post mortem determined that Jake had died from a heart attack. They found that he hadn’t eaten for days, and that he had been self harming. The knife he had been holding when he died was covered with his own blood, and in his bedroom they found more of his blood. Ben, James and Erik decided to find a new house to stay in. They did not fear that their flat mate would haunt them, and they weren’t afraid of the house, however they felt they would always be reminded of Jakes death as long as they stayed there. The three of them remained firm friends for the rest of their days. Ben obtained a doctorate in psychology. In his doctoral thesis he presented the effects of long term paranoia and misinterpretation of natural stimulus and their effects on mental health, and later wrote a book about the subject, named “Jake of the phantoms” in honour of his dead flatmate. James became a journalist for the philosophy weekly magazine. Erik as a qualified anthropologist got work studying African cultures.

And so ends our tale. There have been long debates about the circumstances surrounding the death of Jake, and the general conclusion was that his difficult personal background aided by his temperamental and often irrational personality caused him to spiral into mental illness, and ultimately death by extreme paranoia. Ben during a lecture on mental illness stated that

-“in extreme cases, the human imagination can create false images to satisfy the cause of an emotional reaction, and in my view all genuine cases of hauntings are down to this cause”

It would appear then that the ghosts who tormented Jake were never really there. They existed only in his mind, and he was not able to control them. The natural stimulus that he misinterpreted fuelled his fears so much that eventually he suffered a heart attack and died. There are those who would disagree, however one thing is certain. It was a fear of ghosts that claimed the life of Jake. That fear was very real, and the ghosts in his mind were certainly very real indeed. It would appear that the mind can be either a friend, or the world’s most horrific of creatures. If we were to accept this idea, then it was indeed the phantoms that came for Jake, and took him from this world into theirs, which is precisely, the mind, as Jake was remembered in the minds of his friends.


© Copyright 2017 SkorobyNightfall. All rights reserved.

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