Truce. Short Story.

Shelly yawned, somewhere inside the house there was a loud scream, Shelly rolled her eyes and turned up the TV a little more. A second scream came, even louder. “I’m trying to watch TV.” A third scream, almost in defiance, then silence.
“Thank you.” She shook her head and tried to get back into the movie she had been watching. As it was it was barely holding her attention. She picked up her drink and as it reached her mouth the sharp scent of iron hit her nose, she looked down to see her glass was filled with blood. “Oh for fuck sake. What have I told you before? Stop fucking with my food or drinks. If it happens again I’m getting someone in. I mean it.” She looked back to see her drink was back to what it was before, a glass of coke. She took a sip and put the glass down, she looked down at the bowl of popcorn before grabbing a handful, she half expected it to be full of eyeballs again. What ever, or who ever, also lived in this house was not impressed that she was staying. Shelly knew they’d get used to it eventually, the area was good, the house was huge and the rent was cheap, far far cheaper than it would have been if that thing hadn’t taken up residence. Sure it was a bit of a trade off but the savings were worth it.

The rest of the movie went by without any other interruptions. Shelly and the thing seemed to be reaching some kind of common ground. A few threats here and there seemed to work, as well as being underwhelmed by all the trickery. Shelly had seen worse when she was growing up, and the knowledge that it wasn’t real, even if it felt, tasted and smelt real, was reassuring. Leaving the TV running Shelly went into the kitchen, carrying the bowl. The popcorn was good, but she was feeling a little hungry still. As she opened the fridge a gust of freezing wind blew at her, making it hard to breath, it stopped after a second. One thing she wouldn’t get used to was that blast of cold air, but it was helpful for waking her up in the mornings. She grabbed out a few things and put them on the counter, behind her something tapped on the window, softly and repeatedly. Shelly ignored it. The last time she had investigated some grotesque thing had been standing outside, smiling at her. As she made her food the tapping continued, growing more and more insistent. Finally she turned towards the window, there was nothing there. Shelly finished making the sandwich and brought it back into the sitting room.

Shelly flicked around on the TV until she found a horror movie, she smiled, then looked around the house, “If you want you can watch this with me, might give you some ideas. I mean I’m not going to live here forever, but might help you scare off who ever is next.” There was no response, Shelly shrugged and started watching the movie.

The entirety of the movie passed in silence, no moans or yells, no blood filled glasses. “I liked it, thought it was a little cheesy though.” Somewhere there was a high pitched cackle, the same on that had played in the movie, “Yeah, that mostly. I mean who really laughs like that? And that hanging corpse looked a bit too fake.” There was the sound of creaking rope behind her, Shelly turned slightly, a young woman was hanging from the ceiling, her body was bloated, her skin pale and splotchy. “Yeah, now that’s scary. Ooh, wait till someone opens the closet or something, maybe add a blast of smell or some maggots. That’d freak them out I think. Most people wouldn’t stay after seeing something like that.”
Shelly reached out and gently touched it, “Feels real enough too.” A second later it vanished. Maybe this would be the start of an entirely new friendship, bonding over horror movies, it could work. Shelly stood and stretched, “I’m getting sleepy, if you want I can leave the TV on, on the horror channel if you’d like. I dunno, can you change the channel on the TV yourself?” The channel changed to the news. “Cool, feel free to watch whatever. Just keep the volume somewhat reasonable.” Shelly left the sitting room as the TV switched back to the horror channel. What ever it was could gorge itself on shitty made for TV horror movies while she got a good nights sleep.

In the bathroom she brushed her teeth without incident, no blood gushing from the faucet, no creepy ghost people standing behind her in the mirror. Not even the whole hair falling out while running a brush through it thing, it had been fond of that one. She got into bed and yawned again, quickly she drifted off to sleep.

She woke in the morning and there was silence. No screaming, no groaning, no clanking chains or creaking floorboards. Good. This was good. She got out of bed, half expecting her slippers to squelch when she put her feet in them but there was nothing.

Shelly made herself breakfast in the kitchen, as she ate her cereal she looked around the room, “So, I feel like I should make a peace offering, after all I am the one in your space here. If you want I can rent some movies for you? I don’t really know what to get for a spirit. Well, assuming you are one. Is that rude? I’m not sure of the etiquette here.” Silence. “Well, have a think of what you’d like and I’ll try my best. Within reason of course, no victims or anything like that.” She stood from the kitchen table and rinsed out her bowl. “I’m going to leave out a pen and paper. I’ve to go to work but same deal as last night, feel free to watch the TV or whatever.” Shelly grabbed her bag and left the kitchen, smiling as she went, she knew she’d find a way for everything to work out.

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About Alan James Keogh

I am a 24 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
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