Dance Hall

[The name of this story is a working title and will likely be changed as soon as I think of something that's a better fit].

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2. Chapter 1, Crumbled State

I stare at the old building. It looks more run down than I remembered. It has been ten years and things from your childhood ever looks the same. We always travelled around so much and things always change. It almost comforting to find a building still standing in the same abandon state with the same ghost probably lurking. Generally, just sad.

 

 I was standing in the same place across the street when I saw its lone ghost standing its doorway. I following it was one the dumbest things I did as a child. Followed something I sense to be dead into a building just waiting to fall down on someone. I even walked up those rotten stairs. I doubt I would have the same luck; I would fall right through the wood. Twisting my ankle or impaling myself support beam.

 

I never told my mum about the ghost I followed. To her I just wander away from her in the giant antique shop, looking for haunted objects. I say shop, but it more of a warehouse. My mum uses her abilities for money in unusual way. She buys haunted objects that would be of value if people could stand to have them in their homes or stand to live in them. We were town for another house to de-ghost before selling or renting it out.

 

Better than being a shop or TV psychic that had to lie to every over person that came in. Some ghost do haunt their love ones, but they so rarely follow them around. Nor do they show up on cue.

 

We were in town to de-ghost a house that mum had heard about the last time we were here and had kept a look out for it being up for sale again at a price she could afford. We were going to see it today but were killing an hour here looking for more investments. I was bored by it, so I had came out here.

 

Back then moving town to town had been fun and adventure. Now I'm sick of not having any roots or friends. We had plenty of money now with steady income from houses and my mother was now a respected antique dealer. She didn't even need to de-ghost objects to get profit from them. However, now we went after bigger stuff. Hell, my mum was going to buy a mansion. At this rate, I don't think she'll be happy until we were millionaires.

 

I scan the building's windows. It was four feet tall, but narrow. It was thin tower compare to the thick buildings it stood between. I saw nothing from any of them. They all seem to be unoccupied now.

 

"There you are," I turned at my mother's voice. "We gonna be late to meet the agent."

 

I just nod and walked to the car. I don't know how to her that I'm sick of living like this. I'm technically older enough to live by myself and I have some money saved of my own. I could just leave, pick a town and stay there. I won't of course. It’s unlikely that I could stay hidden for long anyway. Ghost ain't the only one who tell secrets.

 

***

 

This town is hot spot for ghosts. It's ancient, there a vast supernatural underworld based here and a war or two have been fought around the area. Basically all the makings for a town full of sprits. It hard to believe we haven't back since we left four years ago. My mum ran out of houses she could afford to buy here and had no interested in the businesses so we left with a house that never sold due the rumours.

 

The manor was meant to be the most haunted building in town. Grisly family past, been used as hospital in the war and it was just creepy looking. It stood on a hill that looked over the town that had sprung around over its centuries of its being. Damb and damp looking, it had been painted white or yellow but now it was grey looking.

 

"This place will sure be a beaut when we're done renovating it." She hadn't even brought it yet. It had been sitting empty for at least a year. It had been brought by company wanting to turn it into a tourist attraction, Hotel Spook. They had started by fixing the roof but had a rough time getting the planning permission and had never gotten to the stage of actually making it hotel like before they gave up the project and decided to sell up. The only thing they had achieved was having it on one of those terrible ghost hunting shows.

 

My mother had jumped on it as soon as she found out it was back on the market for a ridicules low price. Though, looking at it, I don't think it was the ghosts that made it so cheap. It needed a ton of work just from the outside alone. I hadn't humoured my mother enough to look at the photos on the website. I had half heartily watched it “investigation” but the building had clearly gone downhill since then.

 

"It good you have vision," the agent said. She was a small, blonde woman who couldn't have been selling houses for long by the look of her. She couldn’t have been that far out of school. "The last owner spent a lot of money fixing the major problems, but as you can see there are a few things that need doing."

 

Like everything but the roof. Though, some of the tiles looked ready to slam to the ground. It was three feet so that would certainly kill someone.

 

"I've always loved this building."

 

I trail behind the two of them as they gush over the ruining. It was not in a liveable state meaning we would have to start working on it before we could get a real feel of the ghosts based in it. It was cold, the doors water damaged and the some of the floorboards were warp from water damage. Black mould scaled a lot of the walls. The wiring would need to be done going off how old the lighting fixtures looked. I paused at a window in a lounge.

 

"The kitchen is currently in the basement," the agent as they voiced fade. I taped on the glass. It was only single planed and the frame was rotten. I could probably pull the glass out. To heat this place without the spending it's value every month, the windows would need to be all tripped glassed and tightly sealed. I sighed, my breath causing the window to steam up.

 

I wrote ‘HELP” backwards on the window. I had mastered the act of writing backwards spending so much time in the car bored. A little hand print slowly appeared under my letters. I sighed again.  Yay, it was actually haunted or invisible children were in its garden. This house was too cold to pick up on any spooks. Very rarely do they make the air hot.

 

I walked after my mum to hint at my discovery.

 

“What do you need help with?” A child said from behind me. I continue walking, toying with ignoring it before finally replying. “Fixing this house.”

 

The agent and my mother were still in the basement gushing about character and potential. I carefully creeped down its narrow stairs. I wonder if one of its stories involves something breaking their neck going down here.

 

"I'll have to talk to my lawyer, but I think this is the building for us."

What could she have seen to decide that? I turned around and went back up to wait in the car without saying anything.

 

I thought I was old enough for at least the fakey of discussion about things. I guess we’re being staying here then. 

 

***

 

They're in the building for a while. I sit in the front seat, turning the engine on and off. I know how to drive, despite not having a licence. My mum only boyfriend taught me the basics when I was twelve and I had access to lot of country lanes and parking lots. I could drive away, but wait for my mother.

 

I move to the passenger seat when I see her coming. She waves goodbye to the agent, getting into the car.

 

“What do you think?” She asks finally.

 

“Ghost children.” Children usually come in pairs of some sort.

 

“Ghost cooks.”

 

“Hoping they’ll bake for you.”

 

“It would make running a hotel cheaper.”

 

“Hotel?” My mother has always blasted haunted hotels. Though, she has a client that runs one and only buys haunted objects to put in it.

 

“I think it’s time to settle down.” Has she turned into the other psychic? “I know we haven’t discussed it much, but next year’s exams are really important and I never got that far to help you.” She could have if she hadn’t run off to a circus for 18 months before Christmas. Enough to fall in love, get pregnant, have me and then fall out of love with the circus but not moving around.

 

“I was thinking of following in your footsteps,” I joke. She huffs out.

 

“It wasn’t fun,” she starts. “We had a lot of good times, honey but I’ve done things that I’m not proud of.”

 

She doesn’t need to explain. I’ve been witness to her more dodgy medium dealings, when you only income comes from your only talent, you don’t always use it the best way. After the circus and before first house, mum had banished a few ghosts that didn’t deserve it instead of helping them for the quick clash. It was worse than the lying to grieving families

 

“I was thinking more about the antiques, steal your clients,” I joked in effect to lighten the mood.

 

“Good luck with that,” she smiles. “We’re staying the night here while I sort some stuff out.”

 

“In the car?” I know this won’t be the answer as we in a tiny sports car with only two seats. I didn’t much appreciate its slick design because the business man that had committed suicide in it before it was repoed. There wasn’t really a market for ex-haunted cars due for safety but people don’t junk porsche. Maybe I’ll find my own spooky junker once I’m legal for the roads.

 

“No…” she hesitates. “A client found out I was in town.” Oh, no. He lives here. She doesn’t have to say who as she already pulling up to “The World’s Most Haunted Hotel”.

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