Coming home from a long day, I noticed four children playing in my yard just after the school bus dropped them off.
"Children, y'all are tresspassin' and that's totally not cool." I told them.
They seemed reluctant to go home even though they were my next-door neighbors. "It's just, that our guests are active and we just don't like them." I thought I heard one of them say.
It didn't take long before their parents also returned home from work. They looked at me rather strangely and then proceeded to scold the children for wandering around.
We all walked to their house - it seemed to me that it was a former church or some other public building that had been remodeled for private use. All I could see from the outside was a vague hint of an old sign with a name on it - but the stone exterior was exquisite.
"I see you like our humble abode. It took some getting used to at first - but now, it's a very special place to live." The husband said. "Would you like to take a tour?"
"Your kids told me that your guests are a handful, are you certain you wouldn't mind one more?" I asked.
"Our guests won't mind ... they probably won't even notice; well, some of them anyway. I'd imagine some would enjoy the company." He answered, slowly emphasizing the word guests.
I went inside first. I was expecting something like a living room, perhaps a tad spacious because of the remodel. Instead, I saw dozens of people - so many that I couldn't tell you what the floor or the furniture in the room was like. Then I realized that some of them were floating ... others phasing right through apparently solid objects.
I burst outside screaming: "They're ghosts!"
The wife said, "Well of course they are. There is something about this old building that seems to draw them here. Sometimes they like to stay in the area and they'll wander over next door, too. Perhaps that's the reason why our neighbors moved out so suddenly and you got a great deal on their old place. It wouldn't be the first time. Sometimes they do scare our little ones, but they can't harm us. In fact, to the ghosts - it's the living that are truly ghosts; most of them think that they're still alive."
The husband suggested. "Why not just say hello to one of them and get to know them? Perhaps you'll see that our ghosts are our guests and aren't so bad after all."
I caught my breath and tried to calm down my nerves. This sort of thing - it's a Twilight Zone episode and something I'd never imagine myself doing in a million years.
Then I walked back inside. It seems nobody was paying me any attention. Most were going about their own business, no differently than you or me. Others were having rather typical conversations, the weather, sports, their jobs. Then this little boy came up to me and said hello. You have to hand it to children for their fearlessness ... even ghost children are unafraid. He showed me his favorite spot in the whole building, a small loft you could reach by a little ladder, from there you could see just how full of ghosts the building was. He showed me what he was working on - he had a blue piece of paper that he had colored in with a crayon. He had glued to it a green piece of paper that had been cut to resemble the grass. Now he was working with a darker green piece and a brown piece in order to make an evergreen tree. This kid had the soul of an artist. At least he would get to enjoy an eternity of doing arts and crafts to his hearts content. Oh, and his name is Tyler. He is a good kid.
After awhile, i wandered back outside and told them about the ghost that I had met.
"Do you know what happened to him?" I asked - something about him having died so young bothered me.
The wife shook her head, "No, some of these are really old ghosts, there are no records about who they are or what happened to them. How about some tea? We have a cottage in the back where we stay. It's technically the guest house, but it just seemed fitting that we take up residence there so that our ghosts aren't bothered. Some of them, I think, are afraid of us."
So all of us started walking around the building to the back. By the time we all reached the backdoor, a tall figure loomed out of the door and grabbed one of the children and pulled him back inside. We were all alarmed.
"This ... this has never happened before! We have to do something!" The wife panic.
"What do you expect us to do, call the police? They'd never believe us! They're dead!" The husband said.
Then I realized that Tyler wasn't the only ghost child, but all the kids were, too. The tenseness in the air made me think that he had just committed the worst faux pas possible. It also occurred to me that if the living could hurt the living, then surely the dead could find ways to hurt the dead and that child who had been taken was in very real danger.
"You mean to say that he's as good as dead if we don't do something, right?" I corrected. "If the ghosts thing that the living are ghosts, then the thing to do would be to scare the dead to handing him back over, right?"
"The ghosts all know my husband and I very well ... we'd never fool them. But you ... you might have a chance." The wife said.
"I fear that we don't have a lot of time; trust your gut instincts and you'll do great." The husband told me.
"You told me that some of these ghosts are old ones - so we'll draw on all the oldest legends of ghosts for inspiration. It's times like this I wouldn't mine if it if America had a singularly popular ghost story - someone I could impersonate - but I guess we'll have to aim for something close enough. Scaring ghosts to death - how hard can it be?"