David O’Mahony is an experienced editor and award-winning designer whose first love has always been writing fiction. He specialises in horror and ghost stories but has also written non-fiction about history
Currently working on a horror novel with elements of ghost stories and mysteries
(originally published at Reedsy.com)
It was a hard thing, being dead.
Watching the rise and fall of the seasons without the heat of the sun on your face or the chill of a winter storm. Seeing the world change in flashes and cutscenes but with time standing still. Growing attached to the people living in your house (he always thought of them as lodgers) only to find them suddenly grown or gone.
Most of all, Art just felt so very, very tired. Whenever he manifested, it was with a feeling of immense sadness, and with the basement door at his back. He could go anywhere in the house but not beyond the garden. He never went into the basement.
He didn’t think he’d be tired. Weren’t you supposed to sleep when you’re dead? Instead he found himself roaming at all hours, and after all these years he could still never get used to the sensation of knowing his feet were walking without being able to feel wood or carpet underneath him.
He’d love to just stub his toe. Or bang his head on a doorway. That would be amazing. Because he was dead, but didn’t feel dead.
If he concentrated hard enough, really put a lot of effort in, he could move things. More than once his frustrations had boiled into a blind rage and he had lost awareness for a few moments only to find he was standing in a room full of thrown furniture, or next to a chandelier that had been pulled from the ceiling. But he could never remember doing this, despite knowing that he had.
Those days tended to scare the lodgers. Some had walked around burning sage, or brought in priests to sprinkle holy water. That tended to sting for a long time, but he came back eventually, usually with the sense that something was incomplete. It was a very old house, though whether it was old when he was alive he couldn’t say. He could remember nothing from the Time Before.
He didn’t mean to scare people, most of the time. He felt he had been a good person when he was alive, and generally let people be themselves, but he could not abide the slightest injustice toward women.