I do not have a name, but I’ve been called many things. I have been called a demon, a ghost, a poltergeist, a spirit and even the boogeyman. However, I have no memory from before this incorporeal existence to confirm or deny any such names. I have no eyes yet I can see, I have no ears yet I can hear. I do not have a body, I have no shape. If I strain my will I can mimic a human’s. If I will it I can move objects with my thoughts. However, both take a great toll on me and grow more and more difficult as the number of witnesses increases. I do not know what I am, but I know am very old.
I can not escape the property of the house I was born in. An old 1937 American Foursquare. A very square looking home sitting in a rather average American suburb. My cage reaches as far as the sidewalk where I can watch people pass by but never follow. I do not believe I was born with the house as my memories only reach as far back as near the end of World War II. I lived with the Stockley family at the time. William Stockley was the master of the house and was married to his wife Ann. They had three children, two boys and a young girl named Ashley. Both boys joined the war and never returned. Like any young thing I craved attention and tortured the family with mischief. If the Stockleys could not find something, it was because I hid it. If they heard sounds at night, it was me banging on the walls.
My youthful antics never scared the Stockleys away. Time, however, made much faster work. Ashley had grown up, married and moved away. William and Ann stubbornly stayed in the home till they both grow old. One night, not long after the 70’s had started, William sat in his study reading while Ann slept. William suffered a heart attack and died on the floor. He did not join me as a spirit of any kind, he just simply ceased being alive and I could do nothing to aid him. It was the first time I truly realized how helpless my existence was. Ann moved in with her daughter and I never saw any of the Stockleys again.
I was left abandoned for a while after that. I felt loneliness for the first time. However, soon a new family moved into the home. I remember it was around the time a nuclear scare happened not far from the home. Protests were a topic of conversation as the Grahams had moved in. Donald and Maria Graham and their two children Mark and Robert. I was much more reclusive with the Grahams. I was much more brooding and withdrawn. Always watching, but no longer trying to be heard. I had long since stopped trying to test my limits.
The Grahams lived a rather uneventful life. I watched them for years go about their dull lives. I kept my distance, stayed unattached. They grow older and eventually left. They moved out west for a better job. This lead to the Youngs moving in. A modern family for a more modern age. Jane and Hank were the parents, both worked for a living. Elizabeth was their daughter, the kind of girl that would put posters of then-popular boy bands on her room walls. James was the youngest and most fascinating in the family.
James was broken and everyone else in the family ignored it. He was thirteen when I first met him. As I observed him, he observed others much the same way. He would spend hours alone and the rest of his family seemed happy to be away from him. His room was his sanctuary; a place he could be his true self. He changed when he left his room, he faked normalcy. Any breach of his sanctuary caused him to turn violent. The first time I saw this was when he nearly broke his older sister’s arm slamming it in the door. So his family avoided trying to break into his world.
As he grew older, James grew worse. He had a terrible fascination with death. What started with books and pictures grew into him sneaking corpses of small animals into his room. When he was fourteen he started to sneak out of the house at night. Going where I could not follow and coming back hours later. He had a habit of writing when he was upset. Often words or phrases in repeat like a mantra. Most often he would call his family and anyone else around him a liar. He seemed to think that everyone around him lied to him when they spoke of things like love and wanting the best of him. He hated them for it. He then started to collect knives.
It all came to a conclusion when he was fifteen. After one of his night trips out he came home with a handgun wrapped in a towel. The kind with a clip and sliding barrel, I had never seen one outside of what books and newspapers I could read around the house. He calmly grabbed a nasty looking knife with at least a 7-inch blade, out of a table drawer. He stuck the handgun in the back of his pants and calmly and carefully snuck into his sister’s room. He looked at her sleeping in her bed for a moment before grabbing a pillow and violently holding it over her face with one hand. He took his knife with the other hand and started stabbing the knife into the blankets his sister occupied. She screamed for a moment into the pillow but repeated stabs to her chest and lungs prevented her from giving much resistance.
When Elizabeth stopped moving James looked down at his work. After he was content he slowly started walking to his parents’ room. No longer comfortable just observing I tried to warn them. After a bit of effort, I managed to knock a lamp by their bedside off a table causing it to smash on the floor. They both awoke, but were completely unaware of the danger heading towards them. James walked into their room and saw that they were no longer sleeping. In a single motion, he dropped his bloody knife and pulled out his gun. It was still dark and his parents did not have time to figure out what their son was holding before he pulled back the slide on the pistol and fired several shots into each of them.
James looked at each of what used to be his parents and simply walked away. He went back to his room, pulled out another clip for his gun, collected his knife and started walking towards the front door. I realized he was not going to stop. He was going to keep killing till the police killed him. I was horrified and furious as he walked toward the end of my cage. I focused all of my will power on him, trying to stop him from moving. In a flash, my point of view had changed. I was now holding a gun and stopped several feet from the door. I had possessed him. I was in control of his body, but I did not know for how long. I pulled the slide back on the gun like James had done not long before and put the gun to his head and pulled the trigger. With a thud, I was once again watching a boy bleeding on the floor, lifeless.
The police arrived not long after. The house was closed off, the bodies collected. It all seemed to go by in a blur. It was not long till I was alone again. I could hear people talk as they passed the house. Another version of what happened emerged from the murder-suicide the police had reported. They said that this house is haunted. That a spirit had possessed the boy to kill his family and then himself. Perhaps it was because they could not comprehend anyone doing what James had done. However, I never felt more alone.