“Ghosts in the Walls” by Jenna DeVillier

by E.V. Jacob on October 20, 2013

 Our next terrifying tale is brought to us by the lovely (and loony!) Jenna Deviller!  Follow her on Twitter @asimovtoausten!


There were ghosts in the walls. Andrea had always thought so, but now she was sure of it. Every night she came home from work and dropped her keys into the little ceramic bowl by the door and the voices would start. It was little things at first: conversations, soft singing, and whispers. She had thought it was the next-door neighbors or something, so she had gone over there on several occasions to ask them to keep it down a little bit. It was an old apartment complex and the walls weren’t very thick to begin with.

“It wasn’t us,” old Mrs. Bryant had said the first week Andrea had moved in, when she knocked on her door to ask her about the music she was playing. The old lady had looked at her with concern, which really should have clued her in then. “Are you all right, dear?”

“Of course,” Andrea had smiled. “Maybe it was my neighbors on the other side. Sorry for bothering you.”

“Oh, yes, maybe so,” Mrs. Bryant murmured, still looking concerned. “Well, good luck, dear.” The door had closed a bit too quickly in Andrea’s face to be considered good manners, but she had thought nothing of it at the time.

After that first week, things had started moving in the apartment. Andrea couldn’t find her keys anywhere one morning, even though she was a very organized person and always remembered to put them in the bowl every day after work. She never had a reason to move them. Still, move they did, and she found them in the oddest places. Once they were under her bed.

Now, as Andrea moved around the apartment, putting her groceries away, she could hear them. They moved about in the walls, murmuring to each other. There were too many voices for Andrea to pretend it was the neighbors anymore and besides, none of her neighbors could hear them.

“Andrea,” came a distinct whisper near her left ear. Andrea dropped the bag of flour she was holding, causing it to burst open all over the floor. She was not a superstitious person. She repeated that to herself, over and over again like a mantra, but it was no use. She was trembling as she walked towards the hall closet to get the broom and dustpan to clean up the flour.

She glanced down the dark hallway leading to her room. There was nothing there but she could feel a presence nonetheless, as if something was breathing in the shadows, waiting for her. She dropped the dustpan on the floor with all the trembling she was doing. Andrea bent to retrieve it and, when she straightened up, a human form rushed at her. It was a girl about her age, screaming. The moment she seemed as if she would crash into Andrea, she vanished.

Andrea shrieked, herself, abandoning the broom and dustpan and ran to the living room. She flung herself behind the couch, crying and shaking. She hugged her knees to her chest and closed her eyes, as if that would make everything disappear.

All was quiet for a moment, too quiet, as if the world was holding its breath. Then the singing started again. It was quiet at first, as it always had been, then louder as more and more voices joined the chorus. They were joined by a laughing child, who laughed over and over again as the singing grew ever louder…

Andrea squeezed her eyes shut and firmly planted her hands over her ears, trying to shut out the sound. But it was in her mind, too, drilling holes into every part of her nightmares, carving out new places where they now stayed.

“Stop it, please!” she screamed over the noise, curling up into a ball. Suddenly, there was complete silence. She cracked one eye open, scarcely daring to hope. After a moment, when it seemed as if the noise was truly gone, she sat up, peering around the side of the couch. What she saw made her heart drop.

The ghosts were everywhere. They roamed freely throughout the apartment, without any particular direction and apparently insensible to her. She saw people of all ages, from young children to elderly people, in a wide variety of clothing. Andrea knew she should probably still be frightened, but there was something compelling and deeply sad about the gathering.

She stood up, taking a deep breath to steady herself before immersing herself in the crowd. Ghosts passed through her on all sides, feeling no different than the normal flow of air in the apartment. If it weren’t for the fact that she could see them, she would never have known they were there. Andrea reached out to one of them, hardly knowing why.

As soon as she did, every ghost in the room turned its head towards her. A terrible noise started, louder than before. It could only be described as the sounds of the dying, probably the last sounds they themselves made before they died. In the small part of her brain that was still aware, Andrea realized that this, this was why the old woman was concerned for her. No one made it out of this apartment alive. This was the legacy: a legacy of insanity, of death, of ghosts.

So when she looked up again, for the last time, one of the ghostly women was holding out a knife to her, like an offering. Andrea snatched at it like a lifeline, only of course it was just the opposite.

There are ghosts in the walls, she thought, examining the knife. And now I am going to be one of them.

Previous post:

Next post: