Here they come again, the brave ones. Another Halloween night, and the kids are back, here to prove their fearlessness. The old house’s floorboards creak beneath their sneakers.
Only half an hour until midnight, so I have to work fast. I start with their flashlight, blowing lightly against it, so that it flickers, but this inspires little more than a nervous giggle.
Fifteen minutes until midnight. Time to take things up a notch. I hover up to the ceiling, and will my body into flesh. My every nerve is on fire, but they’ve given me no choice. I force drops of blood to trickle out my nose, but the boys below don’t notice. I knock against the ceiling, but they won’t even look up.
“I thought this place was supposed to be haunted,” says the leader. “What a joke.”
Five minutes until midnight. I’m running out of time. With the last of my strength, I scream—so loud that they finally turn to look up at me. I like to think I put on a good show: I sway on an invisible noose, and the blood flows freely from my nostrils now. A couple of drops hit a skinny one with a crew cut. The boys scream and run into the night, just in time.
Below me, I hear the Thing turn, its disappointment palpable. For now, it sleeps. But one day, I will fail. The boys will be too brave, and I won’t scare them out in time. One day they will wake it.