The sound starts off quietly, and I barely even hear it, a gentle swish swish. David stirs next to me, and I slap his arm, mumbling at him to shut up. He continues to steal the covers and swats at me halfheartedly, barely awake.
Another swish swish a few minutes later, followed by a sound similar to nails against a wall.
“David shut up…” I say again, burying my head in my pillow. “For God’s sake.”
“I’m not making any noise,” he whines.
“Your nails are clacking against the headboard,” I say.
He mumbles something under his breath, but buries his hands under the covers nevertheless.
Okay, that definitely wasn’t David.
Eeeeeeek. Swish swish.
“Nat, you’re doing it now,” David says, shaking my shoulder.
“No, I’m not.” I turn the lamp on. “There’s something else making that noise.”
David moves to lean on his elbow, eyes looking still blurry from sleep, but he takes my hand. “It’s probably just the house. It’s old.”
Eeeeeeeeeek. Swish swish swish swish.
I look over at him, eyes wide. “Houses do not make that noise.”
He starts to look a little worried. “Uhh, maybe it was wind.”
“David this is how every single cheesy horror story starts out. ‘Oh it was just the wind.’ Next thing we know, we’re dead,” I say.
“Well, what do you think it is?” he asks, skeptically.
Swish swish swish. Eeeeeeeeeeeek.
I pull the covers up over my face. “Oh no. It’s a ghost.”
“It’s a ghost!” I stage whisper. “What else swishes into the night?”
David rolls his eyes. “Ghosts don’t make noise.”
“How do you know that? You ever seen a ghost before?” I glare at him.
“That doesn’t even matter because they’re not real,” he says.
I freeze. “Not real? Not real? You have got to be kidding me…”
“Ghosts do not exist. And to prove it to you, I’m gonna go downstairs right now.”
David moves to get out of the bed, but I pounce on him before he has a chance. “You are not going anywhere!”
“Yes I am!”
“No you’re not! How are you going to survive all by yourself?”
He stops struggling from me for a moment. “What?”
“We don’t know how many of them are down there. And even if there is only one… you’re not exactly the most likely to get out unscathed.”
“I hope you know that if I wasn’t here right now, you’d be dead.”
“Natasha, I swear to God—”
“Please please please don’t go down there. I’ll never forgive you.”
He sighs. “Fine. Fine, I won’t. But know I’m not doing this for you, I’m doing this for me.”
“How are you doing this for you?”
“I really don’t feel like getting up anymore.”
Swish swish swish. Eeeeeeeeeeeeeek. Swish.
“Is the door locked? Oh no, we’re gonna die,” I say.
I’m still clutching to him, and he rolls his eyes, but pats my back reassuringly. “There, there.”
“Shut up. You think this is a joke.”
David squints at me, suspiciously. “Is it a joke?”
“No,” I say.
“Why are you even afraid of ghosts?” David asks. “I mean, if they’re invisible, how can they even hurt you?”
I swallow hard. “They can move things without touching them. They can pass through walls. They can create wind and set things on fire.”
“Because ghosts are vengeful, that’s why.”
“Do you know anyone who’s dead who’d want to kill you?” he asks, thoughtfully.
“Not that I can remember,” I say. “What about you?”
David shrugs. “No one dead, anyway.”
“Perhaps this ghost just simply forgot to bring something with him into the afterlife and is asking if he can have it back in the nicest way possible,” he says.
Swish swish. Eeeeeeeeeeeeek.
I scoff. “Yeah right. I bet they’ve got everything in the afterlife.”
“Maybe they forgot their diary. That’s something you would do,” David suggests.
“This is your fault anyway,” I say.
“Yes. I told you this land might be haunted.”
“Are you actually joking right now?”
Swish swish. Eeeeeeeeeeeek. Swish.
“No, I’m not,” I say. “We’re going to die and it’s all because you wanted this house.”
“You wanted this house too!”
“Yeah, but I would’ve been fine in another one. You were pretty set on this, weren’t you?”
“Just because the people who lived here before us died, doesn’t mean that it’s haunted ground.”
“Just listen to yourself! They died here!”
“That’s generally what people do, Nat!”
I groan. “This is ridiculous.”
“You’re the one who thinks there’s a ghost in the house,” he says.
“I’m being reasonable…”
“Generally, I don’t think reasonable people believe in ghosts.”
“You’re just saying that because you only hang out with reasonable people.”
“We have the same friends.”
“That’s beside the point.”
“Don’t you think that if there was a vengeful ghost, then we would’ve already been dead?”
I listen for the noise, but it doesn’t come back. David, looking very pleased with himself, tells me to please turn the lamp off so he can get at least a few hours of sleep, and promptly turns around, burying his body back underneath of the covers. I don’t fall asleep, and I don’t go downstairs the next morning until David wakes up. It’s not the last time we hear the noise, but David buys me earplugs, so it works out okay in the end. For a ghost haunting, anyway.
Rachel Husk is twenty years old, and goes to Bowling Green State University. She is majoring in Creative Writing and minoring in Women’s Studies.