YOU • by S.E. Gilbey

At first, she didn’t know it was you. When all the food in the house disappeared overnight and she had to go to work on an empty stomach, she didn’t think of you. When all the fuses blew, so that she came home to a house that was dark and cold, you were never on her mind.

She didn’t think of all the times she’d left you hungry and alone in the dark. She figured she was just becoming forgetful, or maybe unlucky. She never thought she could be haunted, let alone by someone so insignificant as you.

But then you started breaking dishes in the middle of the night, throwing them against the walls.

When all the china was broken, you started on the glassware and then you set fire to the sofa that she never let you sit on. You wrote your name on the walls, over and over, using her expensive red lipstick until it was all gone.

Then she knew it was you.

She brought in an exorcist, who tried his best, but he couldn’t get rid of you. She brought in another and another, each more expensive than the last — but each one of them failed.

“They’re very persistent,” the fifth one said. “Are you sure you have no idea who they were?”

She only shrugged and denied all knowledge of you. No one knew of your existence — she was never going to tell anyone of your bones, that lay in the dirt floor of the cellar — and as the exorcists didn’t know about you, their spells and prayers could never work.

She bankrupted herself, trying to get rid of you. Brought in exorcists and doctors, scientists and priests, experts and con artists. When all her money was gone and her bills went unpaid, the authorities came to take her away. They found her half-starved and half-mad, alone in a dark and cold house.

When they strapped her into a gurney and took her away, screaming unheeded protests that she would not be driven out of her house by you, you were unable to follow her. You stayed alone in the house, until it was eventually sold and new people moved in. People who knew nothing of you. But when the new owners renovated the house, they found your bones in the cellar. Then everyone knew what she had done and to whom she had done it.


S.E. Gilbey is a Manxwoman, now living in Massachusetts, where she writes stories about ghosts, magic and dragons. More of her work can be found at:

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