Writing prompt: “A ghost in the building”

Time: 10 minutes. Click here to go to my list of prompts.

“A ghost in the building” (For Halloween!)

Anitra loved her apartment building. It sat between campus and the downtown, and was still elegant. One day a year, however, she didn’t love her apartment—Halloween. Something must have happened, once, over its ninety years standing, that imprinted into the bones of the building. And every Halloween it happened again. She didn’t know if she could bear it again.

This year she’d thought ahead. She was going to stay with the Johnstons in the suburbs. She would help hand out candy. Twilight fell, and she pulled into the Johnstons’ driveway. “Damn, how did I forget my backpack?” She reversed the car and drove back. It would be fine. The elevator man’s demise didn’t play out until later in the evening.

She retrieved the bag from her apartment. She took the stairs. Even on good days, the manual elevator doors spooked her. Some day, they might not slide open when they ought to. She went back to the Johnstons.

“Anitra, I can’t believe you’re afraid to stay in your apartment alone on Halloween,” Marci Johnston said, ladling out spiced cider. “I thought you were an independent woman.” She smiled wryly.

Anitra laughed. “I am, I am. It’s not the apartment I’m afraid of—it’s the fact that every year…” she lowered her voice and set her mug on the table. “You won’t believe me, but every year, the ghost corpse of the murdered elevator man roams the hallways.”

“No way!” Marci smiled broadly. “That’s so cool!”

Anitra shuddered. “I’d just rather avoid it this year.”

“You say he was murdered?”

“That’s the legend,” Anitra said, not liking where this was going. “Apparently it was never solved.”

“Then we have to solve it!” Marci cried, spilling her cider a little.

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