The Unexpected Haunting (Short Story)

This is a #weekendfreewrite that started on steemit thanks to Marianne West. You can find her writing prompts on her steemit page here. The challenge is that you get the first writing prompt/sentence and start your story. You have five minutes to write before you get the second prompt. Again, you wirte for 5 minutes, continuing the same story with the second prompt. Then you get prompt number three and wrap up the story. It is an amazingly fun challenge (and can be very difficult!) As you might be able to tell from my other weekendfreewrites, they can go in wild directions! This turned out to be a lighthearted, fun kind of story that I would have NEVER thought of on my own!



And now, on with the story!

“This nice property has over 150 different animals, including a Malaysian tiger. And the spiders, well, they’re probably a little larger than you’re used to, but at least they’re real, solid living beings!”

“I’m sorry, what?” I asked. Surely I’d misheard the realtor. 

“Well, um, you were aware that this is a haunted property, were you not?” She patted her perfectly coiffed, hair sprayed within an inch of its life hairdo and smiled tremulously at me. “I thought that was the draw for people like you.” She paused and looked horrified as she tried to avoid looking either of us in the eye.

I smiled, knowing exactly what she meant. “People like us?” I asked. I raised an eyebrow and practically cared her to explain herself.

“Well, yes.” She composed herself much faster than I expected. No wonder she was the best realtor in the state. “YOUNG people like you.” She leaned forward with a bit of a conspiratorial whisper, “Us old folks are just cowards when it comes to ghosts and the like.” Her perfectly manicure nails brushed my sleeve. “You young folks are so brave!” She turned to the door, unlocking it. “Shall we go inside?”

I turned to my girlfriend who was barely containing her laughter. Like me, she was genuinely impressed that the realtor managed to save face. She shrugged and we followed the woman into the largest home we’d ever seen in person. The entryway was like something out of a movie.

A horror movie.

It was obvious that no one had lived here for a very long time. The cobwebs nearly had a life of their own. The place was enormous and it was kind of hard to see through the gloom with vines and spider webs covering the windows.

I felt my girlfriend squeeze my hand and squeal with excitement. I turned to her and she planted a kiss on my mouth. She always thought that her kisses were the best. Damn if she wasn’t right. I calmed my nerves and prepared to keep an open mind. I had been prepared to deal with the ghost of an old man or maybe a kid or something, but animal ghosts? That was a new one. It was going to be like living in a zoo. I thought I heard the screech of monkeys echoing down the hallway.

We were in the market for a new home and this was a ridiculous steal because, well, it was haunted. The whole town talked about the haunted house and how no one could live there for more than a day or two before they ran screaming. My girlfriend? She not only didn’t give a shit, she was excited. Now that we’d found out it wasn’t really haunted by humans, but animals? Well, I knew she’d never want to leave.

The realtor was rambling along as if it were perfectly normal to have to pull down giant spider webs whilst touring a home. “Look at this lovely fireplace,” she said with her southern drawl. As she turned away, I would have sworn that I saw some sort of giant lizard scrambling up the side of the fireplace until it disappeared through the cobwebs stretch across the wall. “And through here is the kitchen, why, you’ll be so impressed…” she opened the door to the room I assumed was the kitchen and let out a blood curdling scream that nearly made me piss my pants.

She ran back towards us, threw the clipboard and papers in my hands while yelling, “I’LL BE WAITING OUTSIDE!” and ran out the front door. We heard her screaming the entire way.

My girlfriend and I couldn’t help but race to the kitchen. We had to see. Opening the door, we saw the most amazing thing in the world. There was a slightly transparent looking tiger sitting on the kitchen island like he belonged there. He appeared to be talking to some sort of koala bear that was smoking a joint next to him on the counter as if it were a perfectly normal occurrence. Swinging from the rafters were about a half a dozen monkeys. Between them and the gorilla in a chef’s hat, they appeared to be making an actual feast with real, actual food. Who knew where it came from, but my stomach was already rumbling at the thought of food.

My girlfriend’s eyes were wide with excitement. “Charles, can you SEE them?” She asked, her voice soaked with wonder. I nodded and pulled her to me. I could tell this was going to be our new home.

We spent a good hour looking through the entire house. Meeting the various animals that inhabited the various rooms. We didn’t care much for the giant spiders, but they seemed content to be left alone in the attic. Besides, they spun the most amazing silk up there. How could we complain? The rest of the animals were nothing short of amazing. It seemed as though being on a different plane of existence made it easier for them to understand us AND for us to understand them. I was in the middle of a conversation about the feng shui of decorating with a panda before I realized how odd the situation had turned out to be.

I thought my girlfriend would blow a gasket with the excitement. She tried suggesting some changes in the living quarters of some of the animals, but it quickly became apparent that things would stay they way they were. The Gorilla (Frank) refused to stay anywhere but the master bedroom because otherwise the buzzing drove him crazy. The monkeys took over the dining room, but they all slept in the chandeliers.

By the time we met the realtor outside (she’d finally stopped screaming), we had a plan for the best haunted bed and breakfast that ever existed. I know my girlfriend was already making lists in her head and I loved her head for business.

We were going to make it work. I mean, surely we’d have the only Jumanji Style Haunted House in the world, right? Who had even heard of haunting by animals? We were going to be turning people away left and right!

I put my arms around the love of my life and saw our future. We’d always planned on rescuing a lot of animals and living on some sort of animal refuge. Who were we to argue when this one just popped into our laps? Sure, we had thought the animals would be alive, but this? This might be even better!

Welcome to the Haunted Zoo Bed & Breakfast!