James Holden: House Hunting

I walk out, unhappy. The first place I looked at had a cat which is never good, and this place didn’t meet my needs either. The living room was cramped, and there were only two bedrooms – we’d really be on top of each other. I couldn’t see myself being there at all.

I don’t really want to be doing this but I got kicked out of my last place so I’m house hunting again. The next one on my list is much more promising – a semi at the end of a cul-de-sac. As I walk in I get a nice feel about the place. There are fresh flowers on the hearth and it looks clean. It’s homely but tastefully furnished, with a big comfy looking sofa. I check out the DVDs next to the television – Mulholland Drive, The League of Gentlemen, Vertigo – I approve. When you’re ‘living’ with someone else, it’s important that your tastes align a bit.

I wander through the downstairs rooms, checking out the dining room which has French windows that open onto a large garden. The kitchen is well-equipped, although there’s a mug tree next to the kettle. I don’t much care for them, but I can always move the cups around later, see if I can get away with it. I walk up the stairs, and it is in the bedroom that I see her, lying on the bed, long hair fanned out across a pillow like a peacock’s feathers. She seems to be staring at the ceiling. I cough discreetly and she sits up suddenly.

“Sorry – I didn’t realise there was someone already here,” I say.

She smiles sympathetically. “It’s hard to find somewhere, isn’t it. Are you new to this house-sharing?”

“No. I was ejected from my last place after ten years. I was hardly in your face. They were always leaving the dishes on side to dry, but it really upset them when I put them away. How long have you been here?”

“Only a couple of weeks. So what happened?”

“Exorcism. They got a priest in and went the whole hog.”

“That’s tough. I spent a couple of years in a pub but left after they got Most Haunted in to drum up business. I couldn’t stand how busy it became.”

I look down at her white shimmering form on the bed. “It’s nice here. Shame I’ll have to look for somewhere else.”

“There’s a house two doors down that doesn’t have a ghost. They’ve got a collection of gnomes in the garden. Imagine the possibilities for haunting them. Come on – I’ll show you.”

She grabs me by the hand, and we leave together to check it out.


(The starting point for this story came from Writing Exercises’ Story Generator – it’s a cracking tool if you’re struggling for an idea.)


About James Holden

Brought up in Yorkshire, James has washed up on the shores of London. He spends his days working as a political geek. His short stories have previously been read by the Liars League.
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