Horror and Thriller Fiction posted October 29, 2020

This work has reached the exceptional level
Flash fiction 500 words or less

Haunted House for Rent

by CrystieCookie999

My best friend, Sophia, rents houses as her livelihood. She's what you call a fine citizen of Clarenton. After all, young folks will always need a place to live, and Sophia owns plenty of them.
But I keep telling her, "You can't rent that old Ellerby place. It's been haunted for eighty years. I don't even know why you bought it."
Sophia nodded, then returned to creating a sign that said: "House for Rent. Cheap, clean, charming older home. Fully furnished. Two bedrooms, one and a half bathrooms."
"Humph," I humphed. "You ought to say: Haunted house available for anyone who's down on their luck, who doesn't mind squeaks, creaks, and shrieks in the night. Two bedrooms so you can be twice as frightened, and one and a half bathrooms to scare you from both ends."
"Gee whiz, Angela. You are cynical. It's been cleaned up and renovated. No ghost in their right mind would dare harass tenants!" Sophia berated me.
"Yeah?" I muttered. "But when were ghosts ever in their right mind? Remember what happened to us, when we were young, and Laura Lipscott dared us to spend just five minutes on Halloween night in the backyard of that Ellerby house? Remember that ghost who shrieked right in our ears, while we hid under the lilac bushes. He even told us his name—Joachim."
"Well, you have a better memory than I do," admitted Sophia.
The "For Rent" sign worked, though. A young couple in their twenties rented the Ellerby place. They seemed to settle in just fine for an entire week. Then one morning I heard a ruckus outside, and when I looked out the window, I could see the young man and his wife arguing on the doorstep of Sophia's home. I raised the window to hear what was going on.
"We didn't sleep last night! I swear, there is some dark being or sinister ghost that annoyed us from midnight on! Chains rattling, the sound of wolves howling, and wooden chairs and other furniture kept falling over at odd intervals! Jenny and I wanna clear out!"
"I'm so sorry," Sophia murmured, nodding pleasantly. "But as per your rental agreement, I can only refund ten percent of your first month's rent and security deposit, since you are leaving before the first month is up."
"Fine, just so long as we can get as far away from that death trap as we can." The wife nodded and folded her arms.
I watched as Sophia handed the two young folks a check, and they literally ran down the stairs and got into their car, speeding away.
Sophia argued with someone behind her, with the door still open and only the screen door in place. I could not see anyone, yet Sophia was engaged in an argument.
"Darn it, Joachim!" Sophia declared, definitely irritated. "One of these days, you ought to let new tenants make it an entire month in your old house!"

Halloween Flash Fiction contest entry


Image from royalty free internet search
My Microsoft word count says 493 words, but this one here says 492. Either way, it should comply with the word limit. Something about adding spaces makes it go over the limit, so I took out the spaces between lines.

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