“Looks like we are in for a heavy one this time” said Fred to his wife Mabel.
She looked up from her knitting. Although it was summer, “you could never be too early” she thought and was busy with the needles creating a wonderful warm pullover for Fred. Unfortunately it was one of those pullovers with the wool that scratches, being bought in a local Summer sale, and the pattern was not exactly to Fred’s taste, one of those pullovers with a polo neck that prevents circulation of fresh air around the body.
“Yes, it definitely looks like a storm is brewing Fred, do you think we will be all right. Some parts were flooded the last time.”
“No problem Mabel, we are safe here. Our apartment is high above the river. What could possibly go wrong?” so Fred switched on the television to watch the match. It was an international football match for the European cup qualifications and Fred really did not want to miss that one.
It was then that it happened. The apartment, the complete house, was plunged into darkness. Fred had a new job, he was the caretaker for his house, and he was responsible for descending to the cellar room and redeeming the electric power for the house inhabitants. Fred was a handyman, had worked as an electrician for many years, and knew what was to do. He lost no time. He realised that a fuse must have been blown in the cellar, causing darkness to reign. Swearing under his breath he left his apartment for the cellar. This was not funny. The soccer future of his country was at stake. The football match was about to begin and he knew that all male members of the house depended on his prompt action.
He took a torch with him, and approached the room where all the central fuses and electric switches were.
“Strange” he thought. “There seems to be a glow in the room seeping through the door frame. Wonder where that comes from, we have no power. Perhaps a friendly neighbour lit a candle for me in the room, but no-one has the key to the room.”
Fred opened the door and his attention was drawn immediately to a corner which was illuminated by the aura surrounding the figure of a man. The man was almost transparent. Fred realised for the first time in his realistic life, he was looking at a ghost. He was fixed to the spot.
Fred was speechless. He had never seen a ghost and this one was actually speaking to him, knew his name.
“W-w-who are you” asked Fred.
“I am your house ghost, Geoffrey, pleased to meet you.”
Fred was now sure one of the kids from the neighbours was playing a trick and lunged for the apparition, but soon noticed that he was grasping a handful of ice cold air.
“I am a ghost, Fred, you cannot get me.”
“Aaah, I see” said Fred with a feeling of doubt. Fred was still wondering what it was that he saw
“You are a house ghost? I thought that was only in those Harry Potter books.”
“No Fred” answered Geoffrey “I am the real thing. Most of the apartment blocks here have their own house ghosts. We usually stay tucked away beneath the surface, but now and again a few bolts of lightning call us into action.”
“What action?” was the only answer Fred knew.
“Like showing ourselves for a change: since my untimely death, I have just been drifting around. I always wanted to meet you in person.”
“Why was your death untimely?”
“Oh just one of those things. I was having fun with the mistress and her husband came home early from the hunt. Silly man had fallen off his horse. Anyhow he shot me in a duel a week later, so here I am. Actually her husband is quite a nice man, died of alcohol poisoning a year later. We often go haunting together. By the way Fred, don’t forget to renew the fuse. Your football match has started and we don’t want to miss anything.”
In the meanwhile Fred had dropped the box of fuses on the floor, and they were scattered all over the room.
“I would help Fred, but you know how it is. Ghosts have lost their sense of touch. I am sure you wouldn’t want us meddling in your real world. So hurry up, the match has started and I have invited a few ghostly friends to watch.”
“We don’t want to miss anything? You watch my television?”
“Of course Fred, we just sneak through the walls and floors. Don’t worry you cannot see us. It only happens when lightning strikes and they we disappear again. So put the fuse in.”
Fred was slightly disturbed by the plural “we” that Geoffrey was using. Fred’s hands were trembling, but he found a fuse and screwed it into the right place and there was again light. Everything was working. Fred wanted to say something to Geoffrey, but he was no longer there.
“Probably gone to watch the match” Fred thought. “No I am not stupid. That was a figment of my imagination. He returned to the apartment.
“You were a long while Fred. Everything OK.” asked Mabel.
“No problem love: you just go back to you knitting and I will watch the match.” Fred sat in his comfortable armchair with a glass of beer on the table and enjoyed the rest of the evening.
Geoffrey told his friends to make theirselves comfortable as always. They did not disturb Fred’s view of the television, after all they were transparent.