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Trysts and Turns: Ghost Story Flash Fiction by cam
Trysts and Turns
I’m not a brave man. When the sounds begin in my apartment in the middle of the night, I bury my head under the pillow and sleep, or pray and wait for the light of day.
The elevator opened once on its way to the the fifth floor where I lived in a one bedroom, one bath apartment with an L-shaped configuration for the rest. The lift emptied, and I noticed Elizabeth Crepps outside her door. I crossed to where the frail, old woman was sorting through a ring of keys. When she saw me, the keyring shot behind her back. She stared with no expression, no color, and no teeth.
“Ms. Crepps, I’m Greg, a fairly new tenant, and I’ve been hearing noises in my apartment at night. You’ve been here longer than anyone. Do you know if others have noticed anything like this?” Her grin was followed by cackling that went on, even after she found the key, let herself in and slammed the door. Ms. Creeps if you ask me.
I lay in bed that night staring at the ceiling till 1:00 am. A key slid into the lock on my apartment door, followed by the squeak of floorboards. I looked around for my cell, but I’d left it in the living room.
At 4:30 am, I heard footsteps and the door opening and closing. I was alone again. It was my apartment, my privacy, yet I hadn’t had the courage to open the door.
A few nights later, I again heard the sound of metal on metal as a key slipped into place. Someone was crossing the living room, but I waited a few seconds, then opened the door. Light from the street filtered in through the unshaded windows. I looked along the wall to where the kitchen and dining room were to the left. Old, frail Ms. Creeps was turning the corner.
I stepped out and moved along the wall. I had my shaving mirror and held it up. Ms. Creeps was with a man. They were caught up in a passionate kiss, and there was a bed in the center of the room onto which they fell and continued their lovemaking.
Ms. Creeps sat up and turned. I nearly dropped the mirror. The old hag had transformed into the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen, hair the shiny black of onyx, teeth the white of oriental pearl. She was young, healthy and looking directly into my mirror. Before I pulled back, she raised a hand and gestured to me to come to her. I fled to the safety of my bedroom.
What I had seen was real. But Ms. Creeps couldn’t have snuck a bed into my apartment. And the man hadn’t come with her as far as I could tell but was already here. How?
Two nights later, she returned, but this time she opened my bedroom door and came to stand beside my bed. She was even more beautiful than I remembered.
“Roger was my lover years ago when he lived in this apartment, and I would come to him often. He died of a heart attack at a very young age.
“What I saw the other night…..?”
"Roger has the ability to return to his physical body whenever he wants, but only here in the apartment."
“What happens if he leaves the apartment?”
“He loses the freedom to enter the world of the living forever.”
“And tonight is one of your trysts?”
Elizabeth seemed embarrassed, her eyes dropping to look at her hands. “No, it’s not.” Then she slid under the sheet next to me.
“I saw your key ring. How many ghosts do you rendezvous with?”
“Don’t ask,” she said as our lips touched, but I had one more.
“How do you do this?” I said, my hand gesturing to the condition of her body.
“A gift from Roger.”
The following morning I woke next to Ms. Creeps. I took a shower and brushed my teeth, then showered and brushed again. When I went back to my bedroom, the old woman was gone.
I didn’t have money for two months rent plus a security deposit, so I had to stay, but I had no intention of sharing my apartment with Roger. I developed a simple plan that required bravery.
One night I heard the key in the lock and the creaking of floorboards. I waited for ten minutes, then slipped out.
I walked to the middle of the dining room and stopped. Roger and Elizabeth stopped as well. She raised her hand, as I’d hoped, and motioned to me with one finger to come to her, to them. So I did.
I didn’t want this to go too far before I had my opportunity, and I was fortunate in that regard. Roger rose to his knees, maneuvering into a new position. He had a lot of those, but this one placed him with the open window at his back.
I struck with all the force I could manage, hitting him in the chest. The force was enough to send Roger out into the night.
While Elizabeth was screaming, I looked outside. No corpse. He was a ghost, after all, prohibited from going anywhere in this world except my apartment. I gambled that it wouldn’t matter whether he left willingly or unwillingly. When I turned around, Elizabeth was still there. I had expected Ms. Creeps.
Elizabeth avoided me for a while, but one night she returned, and our trysts became regular. I seemed to have been granted my own time slot that fits in with the ghosts.
Elizabeth and I lay in bed talking about my recent heart attack and how healthy I had seemed before. A man stepped into the dining room, mouth open, face pale. Elizabeth raised her hand, motioning with a single finger for him to come to her, to us.