Excuse me, folks. If I could just have a moment of your time.
I know this is probably alarming for you, what with my pale, translucent visage and the grating screech of my voice. I have tried to alert you to my presence in subtle ways. I have moved your possessions ever so slightly. I have brought a chill through your home. But I didn’t want to worry you, and you ended up chalking my restless paranormal anxiety to a gentle breeze, which was fine.
I have a frightening tale to relate, a story with horrors that will chill your bones’ marrow and whittle moments from your life with every passing sentence. So maybe you want to sit down and grab a glass of water because it gets kind of gross. It’s okay. I’ll wait.
My grandfather, Thaddeus Perkins, a man of great import, operated his shipping company out of this very town of Wilmington. His twin sons Jeremiah, my father, and Josiah, my uncle, worked under his strict but fair instruction for three decades. Well, nearly three decades. Twenty-seven years, to be totally honest. I’m sorry. I’m getting bogged down in the details when I have a story of indescribable terror to share.
Thaddeus, on his deathbed, announced my father as his successor at Perkins Exports. My Uncle Josiah flew into a rage. He bellowed and cursed. He stomped his feet and furrowed his teeth. Finally, he threatened bloody vengeance against my father.
Poor grandpa, upon seeing this display, passed from this mortal coil. He was lying in the very spot where you’re sitting right now. I probably should have said something when you picked that chair.
Uncle Josiah fled into the night. For weeks we heard nothing of him. My father carried on with the family business, convinced for some reason that his brother had been eaten by birds. But I knew better.
Surely enough, four fortnights later—ugh, I’m sorry, that’s pretentious—two months later, Josiah returned in the night.
While my father worked in his study, my uncle crept inside and bludgeoned him repeatedly, with implements of the shipping business. Graphs, charts, invoices. What began as a bludgeoning actually turned into a smothering, for even an entire ream of paper proved an ineffective melee weapon.
The study, in case you had not drawn this conclusion yourselves, is now your rumpus room. I hope this information does not interfere with your ability to enjoy the several episodes of Friday Night Lights that are saved to your DVR. Yes, I have been saving Friday Night Lights to your DVR. I thought you might enjoy it.
Sorry. I’ll cut to the chase. I know you have piano lessons and the like to which your dear children Madison and C.J. require ferrying.
Long story short, I saw the whole thing. My uncle knew I had witnessed the killing, and since my mother had died in childbirth, as it seemed everyone did back then, Josiah became my legal guardian.
Because I had witnessed his crime, he made my life hell on earth with taunts and jeers and physical poking and invoices. He eventually took my life as well with what he described as “an ingenious poison of [his] own creation,” but was actually just kerosene mixed with orange juice. Since then, my soul has haunted this house, my family’s home.
My uncle passed it down to his son who frittered away the family fortune on an internet startup. The house was foreclosed upon in the housing crisis of 2008, and that is where you come in. As the current custodians of this manor, you bear the responsibility of helping my soul to rest.
Though my cousin is nearly bankrupt, I wish to take one more measure of revenge, and I need your help.
Listen carefully. My cousin’s Facebook account is privacy protected. I implore you to friend request him. Show me his wedding album. I need to see if his wife is fat. God, I hope she is fat. That knowledge would put my world-weary soul at ease.
But if you’re busy, I totally get that, too.