PLEASE, REST IN PEACE • by Tim Catania

“Come on! I can’t believe we’re having this discussion again. You mind keeping it down?”

A very nice vase is thrown against the wall.

“Seriously? I’m trying to catch up on Game of Thrones and you’re throwing stuff now? That was Mom’s favorite, too.”

A cross on the fridge turns upside down.

“My kid made that from Popsicle sticks. It’s not even religious imagery. I’m legitimately not sure why you did that. Listen, we’ve had this talk before. I let you stay with me and do your weird echoing footsteps in the middle of the night thing and the ‘spooky’ creaking floorboards deal and I get to live in your old rent-controlled, now slightly haunted apartment.”

The walls start dripping an oozing red ichor. A window shutter opens and the wind begins to wail.

“Look, I know why you’re upset. Yes, I did get a little drunk and google how to exorcise an evil spirit but—”

The coffee pot shatters, spraying the kitchen counter with its contents.

“—I’m not even a priest. It’s a requirement. Did you know that? And breaking that coffee pot was a little immature. I have a Keurig now. You’re just making a mess.”

The aforementioned Keurig starts spewing smoke, makes a mechanical popping noise, and begins to spark.

“All right, enough! I — You — Just stop for a second!”

The walls stop spewing blood. The Keurig stops sparking.

“Thank you. I’m sorry I looked up how to get rid of you but I’d been drinking and, well, in my defense, you have been acting up lately. You did—”

The walls begin oozing. Again.

“Hold on, hold on. Ever since mom passed away you’ve been acting strange. We both know that. That’s no excuse for how I acted, though.”

The walls stop bleeding. Mostly.

“Thank you. I want to make a home for my kids. I want their designated Thursday and alternating weekend to be a good time. I worry they’ll get scared and not want to stay with me. The sinks overflowing with spiders the other night was a little much.”

The Popsicle cross turns back over. It sits a little crooked and then is evened out.

“I know; you’re expressing yourself. Maybe you could try to tone it down some? I know it’s difficult with her gone but, maybe you could focus on something else? Maybe haunt the neighbors a little or find a hobby?”

The TV buzzes with static and flips over to Casablanca, Mom’s favorite movie.

“I know you miss her. I do too. I realize it upset you when I accidentally stumbled upon that site about exorcism. I know it looked bad, but trust me, I want you here. I was really looking for a method to connect with mom. To get some answers. For you.”

The shutters close and the wind dies down as if sighing in relief.

“I’m not sure why she didn’t stay with us. But I’m here. I’m not going anywhere, Dad. We’ll figure this out together.”

The walls stop dripping blood, and the vase and coffee pot are swept up into a neat pile. Game of Thrones flips back on. The smell of dad’s cologne floods the room, igniting the happy memory of a family trip long since forgotten. Soon after, floorboards begin to creak as if someone is walking down the hall to mom and dad’s old bedroom.

“…but the Keurig, really?”

Tim Catania has a sincere desire to entertain and encourage others. He writes in Montgomery, Alabama.

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