The Spirit's Dire Warning of Impending Peril
By: Walter G. Esselman

The ghost hunter panned his camera across a decrepit three story house and said in a pompous voice.

"Here—in this little corner of Michigan—lies a place that is reputed to be the most evil location in the world. A nest of disturbed spirits that we, at 'Spooky House Hunters', intend to go into today, and…"

"Wait?" asked a bewildered voice. "I thought were going to call the show 'Spirit Tracking'?"

The ghost hunter, Craig, stopped recording and glared at his sound-man, Steve.

"'Spooky House Hunters' sounds better," insisted Craig.

Steve scrunched up his face. "It sounds like a kids show. A cheesy one."

"If you're supposed to be recording sound," sniffed Craig. "Wouldn't it be best not to talk."

"I'm recording just fine," retorted Steve. "But look, we decided…"

"I know what we decided," interrupted Craig. "Look, I'll do it again without the name of the show. Okay?"

Once that was done, the two moved from Steve's old Ford towards a steep hill. The house had been built right into the hill, and the back half of the basement was actually underground. Railroad ties—overgrown with weeds—served as crude stairs, which led up to the front door.

Switching off his camera, Craig concentrated on climbing without sounding too out of breath.

"You need to get out more," said Steve in concern. "These steps shouldn't tire you out."

"There're not tiring me out," snapped Craig. "I'm planning the next bit of narration."

Steve just rolled his eyes and followed.

"Imagine living here, and trying to bring in your groceries every week," commented Steve.

Craig just grunted in annoyance.

Reaching the front door, Craig got his breath back and began to record once again.

"And now, we enter this house of doom," intoned Craig.

"That's laying it on a bit thick, isn't it?" muttered Steve.

Baring his teeth, Craig turned off the camera. "Don't say another word until we leave this place." He turned the camera back on. "Now—at great personal risk—we will enter this cursed hovel."

Reaching out, Craig opened the front door and stepped into the house. The floor had been constructed of wooden planks, some which were missing in south east corner of the room. Through that hole, they saw the stone walls of the basement.

"At great peril to ourselves, we will begin our investigation in the basement where dark shapes have been spotted," narrated Craig.

Stepping further into the house, Craig began to pan about.

A ghostly apparition suddenly swept in front of them.

"Step no further into this house!" cried the ghost.

Craig squeaked, but did manage to keep his shot steady. With his naked eye, he could see the ghost of an old man—clear as day—but through his camera, there was only a fuzzy, white orb.

"Who were you in life?" asked Craig while his heart pounded.

The ghost made a dismissive wave. "That's not important right now. You can't go any further."

"You won't keep us from the truth," announced Craig.

"Truth? What truth?" asked the ghost in confusion.

"The ancient evil that lies at the heart of this house," said Craig.

"Ancient…what? Evil?" asked the ghost. "Never seen any evil around here."

"That's just what I'd expect you to say!" declared Craig triumphantly.

Steve was urgently tugging on the back of Craig's shirt, but the ghost hunter just ignored him.

"You can not stop the…," started Craig, and he took another step forward.

The floor gave out. Steve watched his idiot friend drop out of sight. There was a crash from the basement. He looked at the Craig-sized hole in the floor, and then up at the ghost.

The spirit shrugged. "I was just going to tell him that the floor was rotted through. Couldn't have held up a small child."

The ghost had begun to fade away when he suddenly rematerialized. The spirit looked anxiously down through the Craig-size hole, but then he let out a sigh of relief.

"Oh, thank God he's not dead," grinned the ghost. "It's bad enough being dead, without that flapdoodle around."

And the spirit faded away.

Steve looked from where the ghost had been to the hole in the floor.

"Son of a…," he muttered.



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