Rented Ghosts, Part 1

Me
We’ll have to get some help in to clean this place. Looks like my sorority house after we all went through our monthly allowances!
Chuck
We rented this place with service. I mean, according to what’s-his-name, Old Jeff Hawkins, the real estate guy! I have a receipt for the next two months.
Me
Yeah, I know.
Chuck
Well, the news is, you have a caretaker!
Me
Yes?
Chuck
As I was saying, this is a real palace.
Me
Hah!
Chuck
Well it is! Except that real estate guy said there hadn’t been anyone living here regularly for 13 years, and those people all died. So I figured that’s what frightened off all the buyers.
Me
Oh, yes, the Reynolds family. But how did they die? . . . Wait a minute, what was that? Oh man, oh man! 
Chuck
Imagine that! Creaking noises from an old house. That’s just settling. We did get a bargain, a house with entertainment built in!
Me
A haunting and 23 rooms, all for only $650 a month!
Chuck
Why was Hawkins so angry?
Me
Don’t ask me; I’m no psychiatrist! But let’s pop up to your crackpot salesman tomorrow, put a few bucks in his hand, and I’m sure he’ll be all right with letting us out of the deal, provided we trade up for another house.
Chuck
Well . . .
Me
Now let’s wake up that snoozing son of ours and..
Chuck
Look! Why you little faker! How long have you been sitting there watching?
Me
You all right, Billy?
Chuck
We’re in a great big house. You and dad are going to have a good time for the next two months, isn’t that good news?
Me
Why don’t you answer?
Chuck
Billy, aren’t you glad we’re gonna be staying here in the country?
Billy
Dad?
Chuck
Yes?
Billy
Please, let’s get out of here!
Chuck
I wonder —
Me
Keep your voice down.
Chuck
Billy is picking up on your vibes, Judy! I don’t want to have him grow up into a lily that falls over at the sight of his own shadow.
Chuck
Oh no, Mrs. Cook, he sleeps in that room across the hall and likes it.
Me
That didn’t sound like your voice! Anyway he’s not been asleep, so that could be a problem. He may not feel relaxed enough to sleep.
Chuck
I’ve locked all the doors and windows, so we’re safe.
Me
Yeah I’m sure, but —
Chuck
Please tell me if that crazy old ghost decides to come back to continue his talk.
Me
But Chuck, I want to know why the ghostly noises? That sounded like a voice just now!
Chuck
You shouldn’t get so excited. What’s been worrying you?
Me
Nothing. Are you sure it’s OK? Is it just because the house is so big and old?
Chuck
Forget it! Go to sleep.
Me
It gives me the jitters.
Chuck
Save the ghost talk until tomorrow morning when the sun is shining.
Me
Oh Chuck, I’m scared. I knew something was wrong the minute I walked in!
Chuck
You mean you’ve been having a funny dream.
Me
Would you say? — What’s that? It’s Billy’s voice!
Me
Billy listen to me. What are you talking about?
Chuck
Son, answer your mother!
Me
I’m coming to see you. Now, who were you talking about?
Me
Let me get this around your shoulders! Kind of a strong wind blowing in from upstairs.
Me
We should have stayed upstairs.
Billy
No, not there!
Me
No. You may be right!
Chuck
Now don’t get upset again. Here we three are, and here we stay until daylight.
Me
What was that thumping noise in the wall? See Part 2 for the story’s exciting conclusion!

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