I squeezed my already closed eyes even tighter, doing my best impersonation of a sleeping human being. I knew it wouldn’t work, but I at least had to try.
“Hey. Are you awake?” He asked, his whisper nearly a hiss.
I felt his cold, clammy hand on the back of my neck and unsuccessfully tried to suppress a shudder. It wasn’t that I was afraid. I just knew how hard the residue left by his touch would be to clean off.
He wasn’t a bad sort, for a ghost. In fact, other than a little moaning in the night and the occasional rattling of chains, he was a nearly perfect room-mate. Sure, the noises in the night took some getting used to and I had to clean up the occasional ectoplasm stain, but I never had to worry about my house being broken into when I was away and he never ate my food. Or any, for that matter. Besides, I’d known the house was haunted when I signed the lease. How else was someone supposed to get a place in the heart of the city on my salary?
Still, I’d thought we’d gotten past the whole waking me in the middle of the night thing.
“Mortal. Please wake up.”
“I told you, my name is Jason, and I have to work in the morning.” I said into the pillow.
“But you have to do something.”
“All I have to do is get old and die. Then I can stay up all night with you and we can have a chain rattling party, or whatever you guys like to do, but as long as I need money to eat and pay rent, I need my job. So let me sleep.”
“Can… can I at least sleep with you?”
“What? No! You’d get your slime all over my sheets and I’d never get it out.”
“But I’m scared!”
This gave me pause. I’d heard him moan before, but never with this particular pleading tone. I rolled over and sat up.
“What could you, a ghost who has been dead for years, possibly have to be afraid of?” I asked, looking him in the sockets where his eyes should have been.
He lifted a slightly glowing hand and pointed to my bedroom door.
“Him.” Was all he said.
I looked toward the door and saw, in the deep darkness beyond the jamb, a pair of glowing red eyes staring back at me.