By Beau Higman
My ghost talks to me sometimes, late at night. He floats down through my ceiling, comes to a stop above my head, and we talk for a little while, until I get tired, then he goes back up to the attic where he lives.
My ghost is a good listener. He doesn’t actually talk much, but I tell him everything about my day, and what happened, and he floats there, above me, and nods or shakes his head at the appropriate times. He listens better than most actual people. He never forgets what I tell him.
I wish I were a ghost. It’d be so nice to float around and go through walls, but never to scare anyone. I want to be like my ghost. Just talking to someone who needs to talk. I hope I’m a good ghost when I die.
My brother heard me talking last night. He doesn’t know about the ghost. No one but me does. As soon as the ghost heard footsteps, he left, but I had my eyes closed, so I was talking to empty air when my brother came in. He shook me, and I pretended to be talking in my sleep. The ghost didn’t come back that night.
I wonder what the ghost does, when I’m at school and no one’s home. I imagine him floating through the house, enjoying the silence, or maybe sleeping in the attic, although I don’t know if ghosts sleep. I’d ask, but he wouldn’t answer.
The ghost is brighter than normal tonight. He used to be a nightlight, protecting me from the darkness, but now he’s a flashlight in my eyes. I asked him to leave, and he frowned and stayed still. I wish he would go away. I’m so tired. I can’t sleep. He is too bright. Why can’t he leave? I don’t want him.
I went up to the attic today. It’s cold up there. I looked for the ghost for a long time, to say sorry for what happened. I couldn’t find him. I cried and begged for him to come back. I said he could stay in my room for as long as he wants.
I wish I had not said that. The ghost lives in my room now. He won’t ever leave, so at night I have to put my head under the covers to sleep. I can feel him, hovering above me, and I’m sleeping less and less. My parents are getting worried about me. I tried to tell them about the ghost, and they think I’m having nightmares. When I told the ghost, he didn’t respond. He never will, but that’s fine. I can talk for both of us.
My brother came in to my room tonight because he was having a nightmare. The ghost didn’t notice in time, or maybe just didn’t care anymore, so my brother saw it. He stood in shock for a while, and I could see his tiny hand moving, pinching himself. The ghost drifted towards him, and he got really scared, and told our parents. They accused me of giving him ideas.
My brother doesn’t talk anymore. He wanders around the house, and doesn’t respond to anyone. My parents argue about what to do with him. Send him to a doctor, or a therapist. Keep him home, or send him to school. I think we should all leave. No one listens to me.
I was all alone today. My parents were at work, my brother at school, but I had a fever and had to stay home. The ghost followed me everywhere. I tried to hide under the covers on my parents’ bed. He didn’t find me for a while, but when I slept, he drifted down through the floor into my head, and crept into my dreams. I won’t sleep with him around anymore.
I keep waking up in the attic, with no memory of sleeping. I find it hard to believe that I have ever slept. I can’t get a second of peace. He is always there, watching me, waiting for me to let him into my head. The only solution is to not sleep, ever. I need to be strong. I am not strong. I am tired.
I walk up the steps of the attic. I must be dreaming, because I would never go up there. Not anymore. I am cold, and the cold steps feel rough on my bare feet. I reach the landing, and slowly open the oak door, pausing only briefly to examine the patterns in the wood, looking for familiar faces. Nothing looks back.
The far corner of the room, the only one completely free of boxes, is where the ghost lives. I walk to the corner opposite, move aside a broken chair, and wait for him to appear. It is dark out, the moon barely shining through the greasy glass of the rooms one window. The corner where the ghost lives is dark, and I see shapes moving in the deep ink, but not the familiar shape of the ghost. No glow, shining through the darkness to herald the ghost. No drifting phantom coming for me, or kind ghosts, wanting to talk. There are only shadows in darkness. This is a boring dream. Nothing is happening. Nothing is here. Nothing, but an empty room, a cloudy night, and a window.