ghost stories for october, pt. 7

There's been a strange flickering light on in front of a house down the street for a while now. It's not flickering in the traditional horror movie sense, where the flickers are fast and faint. It's flickering like someone toggling the switch, on and off, trying to send messages in Morse code. As far as I can tell, no one lives in that house. It's not abandoned, as such, but it's vacant.

I'm okay with abandoned houses, but vacant houses terrify me. There's life to an abandon. A vacant house is a soulless icon of our weird society. So for the longest time I've avoided walking down that street. But then the light started to flicker. I couldn't make out any pattern or code, but I became convinced that it was calling to me. People told me it's probably just the electric going weird. These things happen. But not in a vacant house like that. They keep them pristine.

So tonight I finally went over. The light flickered intensely as I arrived, then went quiet. So I sat on the front porch and said "all right, I'm here." The front door opened, so I walked inside. It was still furnished--or perhaps the furnishings had been provided by the property owners, to make this lifeless space appear lived in. There was about a week's worth of dust on everything, and all trace of the previous residents had been scrubbed clean. Not even a leftover box of crackers in the pantry.

I sat on the pristine couch for a while, not sure what to say. The light started flickering again so I started talking. Just telling stories, mostly. Things that had happened that day, the sort of stories that I would have forgotten by morning had I not told them. The light stayed calm as I talked, only flickering if I would pause or ask a question.

Eventually a silence fell and the flickering did not continue. I let myself out and returned home. It flickered once, as I left, in what I guess must be a gesture of farewell. I'm not sure what I'll do if the flickering comes back.

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