Madelene glued her back to the wall, behind the open door, shaking like a leaf. The only light in the room came from a flickering lamp outside the window. As cars passed by, their shadows traversed the room, crossing over the white walls like black clouds in a hurry.
Madelene’s heart pounded and she held her wrinkled hands together over her chest, her silver hair flowing tangled over her shoulders. Thick sweat drops rolled along the wrinkles in her face and shivered as her body trembled.
She leaned closer to the door and listened. She was certain she heard her again. Just like every other day, strolling through her house, like she owned it.
Madelene swallowed a knot and squeezed her nightgown closer around her body.
She peered through the door crack, along the dark corridor. She couldn’t see her, but she could feel her there, somewhere. Probably in the living room again, roaming from cupboard to cupboard, purposeless.
“Go away,” Madelene yelled, and her rusty voice cracked as tears burst out of her eyes.
She covered her mouth with her hand and tried to control the movements of her chest, ready to explode.
“Leave me alone,” she whispered.
She heard steps approaching through the corridor and she started to slide along the wall, closer to the closet. If anything, she’ll go in and hide, it wouldn’t be the first time.
As the steps stopped, she froze next to the closet door, listening, trying hear some movement, or a breath, or anything.
About an hour later, Daniel Schulte rang the bell. The door open and an old lady stood there, her eyes wide open and lower lip trembling. Daniel gave her a quick nod.
“Daniel Schulte, you are Ms. Thompson, right? You called our office for a cleaning—”
“Yes,” the old lady answered and motioned him in. “Come in, come in, it’s unbearable.”
Daniel stepped inside and Ms. Thompson closed the door behind him. The house smelled like a church, incense burning in every single corner.
“So, what seems to be the problem, m’am?”
“Well,” Ms. Thompson said holding her hands in prayer, “this house is haunted, it’s haunted, I tell you!”
Daniel lifted his hand and smiled. “Relax, m’am, that’s why I am here.” He showed Ms. Thompson his name tag. “At ‘Holy Endeavors’ we’ve seen it all. I am sure I can help.”
“Well, she’s up there somewhere, in one of the guest bedrooms. She roams through the room in her white nightgown and keeps yelling at me to go away—”
“M’am,” Daniel interrupted her, “say no more.”
He took out a gun, connected through a cable to his backpack, and grinned.
“I know exactly what I am doing.”
The old lady nodded and bowed her head. Daniel didn’t wait to hear her thank yous. He pulled the trigger and the old lady got sucked inside his weapon.
Daniel then turned around and took a step toward the living room door. “Ms. Thompson,” he yelled.
A head covered in silver hair appeared around the corner. “Is she gone?” she asked in her rugged voice.
“Yes, m’am,” Daniel said. “As I promised you, as long as your trust continues to pay our monthly fees, you are going to be the only ghost haunting this house.”
Ms. Madelene Thompson floated above the carpet and approached Daniel. Her translucent body was surrounded by a foamy aura. She stopped one step away from Daniel.
“Thank you, Dani,” she said and smiled. “The nerve this one had.”
“Pff, ghosts, am I right?” Daniel said and laughed.