The Spirits of Children
The howling wind was the only thing keeping Alan's thoughts away from the way the house seemed to creak as if people were walking up and down the halls. When he'd purchased the decrepit house, he'd known it would require some tender loving care and a patient handyman. What he didn't know was that he would have to deal with children stealing his tools.
Specifically dead children.
He'd caught sight of one the second night he was settling in, the master bedroom the best kept of all the rooms in the house of rotting wood and musty floorboards. Lying in his king sized bed, he'd been reading a book on how to replace plumbing when he'd felt the bed shift. Setting his book down and turning on the light, he didn't see anything out of the ordinary. And then he heard it.
A giggle. However slight and airy, a girls giggle.
"Hello?" He'd said.
The bed had shifted again, and then he'd seen it: footprints in the blanket, stepping closer to him in his seated position.
"Hello?" He'd tried again, waving a hand in front of him, only to feel a patch of cold air.
The giggling grew louder, as if a little girl was being tickled. The footprints had retreated from the bed; a creak coming from the center of the room as if a sudden weight had been dropped, followed by the pitter-patter of footsteps running from the room.
Now he had to deal with things moving around the house on him, along with a constant game of "find-the-cold-spot" when he heard movement around him. It would seem the ghosts weren't too keen on personal interaction and preferred to just play; most of the time he was content to allow them such frivolities, even going so far as to go to a local Goodwill store and purchase a heaping mound of used toys. He'd placed them in the far corner of the house on a Monday morning, and by Tuesday night they were scattered to every room.
Now, as he laid down layers of Sheetrock in the walls, he took his time in placing his tools. The children were much more active now that he'd been interacting with them, and they loved to pull him into games where he had to find his tools. What he didn't understand was why they continued to take his tools from him when he worked in this room, a soon-to-be office. The little girl, who he'd taken to calling Daisy, would only signal the theft of his tools with a giggle, forcing him to look around the house for the missing items. Finding a hammer in your microwave was hardly something he ever expected to do!
The other ghost, as he was certain there were two, was decidedly male. It was petulant and quite vindictive. It was also aggressive and would often knock things over for the sheer joy of knocking things over. This was quite the headache when Alan had been painting the halls, off-white paint sloshing over his carpet in great gouts as the ladder holding the can of paint had been literally thrown to the ground.
Now he had tile instead of carpet for that section of the house.
Far more durable, and much easier to clean.
But as he contemplated this, pulling down a pockmarked section of crumbling sheetrock, Alan had to fight back the urge to scream at what he found behind his wall. Two bodies, wrapped in sheets tied off at the waist, neck and ankles, hanging from the bare boards by nooses looped around their covered throats. Pulling them down, he tore them open, revealing the putrefying stench of age-old rot, as well as the gray-skinned face and greasy blond hair tied off in pigtails. Moving to the other body, he found that the body was in an even worse state of decay than the first. Getting up, he went to the telephone to call the police.
The haunting of his home continued on after finding the bodies. The previous owners of the house were all checked over and checked over again; nothing could lead the police to determine who had killed the two children. The forensics team had determined both were missing persons, one from twelve years ago, the other from fifteen. They described that the bodies had been cut at with something sharp, probably a handsaw or hatchet. The boy had been dismembered in a sloppy fashion, while the younger girl had been done in a cleaner manner, both having been stitched back together with baling wire before being placed within the walls, the only item on their persons an iron chain with a crucifix at the end.
Alan stopped remodeling the house, finishing his projects as quickly as he could and learned to live with the spirits. He set aside a room with toys, which he heard being played with when nobody was watching. For the boy, he left on the radio to a twenty-four-hour sports channel, which seemed to calm his restless spirit some. From the missing person report, the boy had been a football player in middle school.
As Alan sat at his table, drinking his coffee, listening to the pitter-patter of feet above his head, he smiled slightly. He may never be able to give these children peace, but he could at least give them a home.