They crouched to peer beneath the stairs, their eyes reflecting the light like stars in the darkness. Not that anyone noticed. Not that anyone cared...

No one had while they lived, why should they care now? Now that they were as insubstantial as the breeze that leaked through the wooden boards that made up the house. No one knew where the breeze came from, only that it chilled them at odd times of the day and night. When it was especially windy outside, the skeletal trees would scrap against the house with gnarled limbs that stretched out like fingers. It was the perfect time for ghost stories, the perfect atmosphere, but no one ever did. Not in that house.

The stories would seem too real.

The couple had discounted the ghost stories when they had moved in all those years ago, when they had been young and hopeful, looking to start their family. How quaint the house had seemed then, with its real wooden floors, antique fixtures, and elegant molding. But though they discounted the ghosts, the ghosts did not discount them. They took umbrage at the couple's ignorance, their unwillingness to see them for what they were. And they took their revenge.

All the house had needed was a little love and care. But with the loss of their child and their hopes, the man and woman had separated. Now the woman alone lived in the decrepit house with no one but her sorrow and the unheard ghosts.

But then, sometimes, she thought she heard her daughter's laughter in the halls, behind closet doors, just around corners. She had loved hide and seek while she lived, and in her grief she imagined her playing still.

Little did they know that now she had found a new playmate. They lurked beneath the stairs together, waiting for her mother to join them.


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ganymeder (joined almost 14 years ago)
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Author Catherine Russell shares her life with her high school sweetheart, their son, and two ferocious puppies in the Wilds of Ohio while writing short stories, editing her novel, and learning more about the craft every day. Her work has been published in Flash Me magazine, Metro Fiction, Beyond Centauri, and the ‘Best of Friday Flash – Volume One‘ and the ‘Best of Friday Flash – Volume Two‘ anthologies.

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They crouched to peer beneath the stairs.
Prompt suggested by Galen


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