The Family Friend


The house was luxurious and big, the kind in which most spoiled brats would live in. Secluded among trees and located in one of the most exclusive neighborhoods.  

“I love it! Where do I sign?” Clara asked.

A few weeks ago, Clara was with her economics professor who advised her on starting a project for her own good. He gave her some ideas, but the one that stood out to her the most was the one of buying a house and renting it out. Sort of like an investment project.

Once the contract was signed, she was given the keys to her brand-new house. 

It took her a while to adjust everything in the house and put up walls to make separate apartments, but as soon as she finished, Clara started taking in tenants.

A while later, Clara received a phone call. It was one of her tenants, but on the other end of the line, the voice was shaky and unclear. 

Then it turned into an angry and demanding voice that said “I’m not going to pay full price. This house is haunted. There are noises coming from every corner!”

Clara grew concerned because this wasn’t the first time someone told her something like this. For the past few days, she had been getting complaints of loud sounds at odd hours of the day. Many tenants left before the agreed contract date without paying full price. 

Seeing that this was an ongoing issue, Clara set some time aside to go and find out why so many people have the sudden urge to leave. 

Logan was Clara’s brother who had just come out of prison a few months ago and now worked as a handyman. She gave him a call, hoping that he would be free to go with her if any repairs were needed. She thought that maybe the pipes were broken and that was causing all this fuss.

They went ahead and looked around the house, although they found nothing. They decided to stay the day to see if by any chance anything happened during the afternoon hours. Without much to do, they both sat on the couch and watched some episodes of It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia. Logan had been exhausted and fell asleep before the show even finished. 

Through the corner of her eye, Clara noticed that something had moved but there was no sound at all. It was a shadow. 

“Maybe it was just the shadow of an animal outside that reflected through the window,” she thought to herself. 

She didn’t want to believe that the house was haunted. She tensed and all of a sudden, her hands started trembling. 

 The shadow appeared once more. Except this time, she didn’t feel the need to be scared. A wave of relief washed over her. She saw the silhouette and found it to resemble a young boy that seemed harmless. Her body relaxed, and she felt relieved that this wasn’t anything else.

She went about the rest of the day running errands and noticed that the boy followed her around. Though, he never attempted to do anything that could possibly injure her. He could have easily made the stove turn on and let the house burn down but he didn’t. The next morning, she told Logan about this hoping to get a reaction. All she got was a weird stare.  

Then he said, “Ghosts aren’t real Clara. Maybe you were dreaming.” 

She rolled her eyes at this comment but left it at that to not argue with her brother. 

At around three in the morning, when Logan woke up to get a glass of water, everything was silent and all of a sudden, a cup slipped and when it hit the ground, it shattered. Logan felt a surge of fear run through his body, remembering his sister’s comment.

His thoughts were interrupted when he felt his feet start to soak up and when he looked down, there was a puddle of water on the floor. But he didn’t remember that glass being filled up. It had been empty before it managed to slip from the counter. 

Doors opened and closed, water ran, and toilets flushed. All in the span of seconds and then the house grew silent again. 

He rushed back to his room, locked the door, and stayed in there until the sun rose and he heard Clara’s footsteps meaning she’d awakened. 

Logan approached Clara in the kitchen and all he said to her was, “that wasn’t funny and who is the kid you brought over last night? I heard him running around in the other room the whole night.”

Clara laughed. “Oh, so you saw the shadow?”  

“What shadow?” Logan said in utter confusion.

“The little kid shadow. I’m sure it’s not a big deal. Maybe he just needs a place to stay and I’m fine with him here because his presence doesn’t feel threatening.” Clara said with no trace of fear.  

“Shadows can’t make noises,” he responded bluntly. 

“Who was the one dreaming now? Anyways, I got to head back to school and if I don’t leave now, I won’t make it on time. I’ll be back in a few hours,” Clara said in a taunting tone.

“I’m also leaving in a few. I got a job offer and I can’t let that go to waste.” Logan said, now with a frown on his face 

“Alright then, make sure to lock up and call me when you get home,” Clara stated.

Clara left and Logan walked back inside the quiet and empty house. With the time he had left in that house, he just wanted to enjoy a little silence without his wife and his child. 

He starts to see things are different than how they were a second ago. When he walked into the kitchen, he noticed a message written on the counter. Not your typical permanent marker type but whoever did this took their sweet time to do it with grapes. 

“Open wounds never heal,” read the message

 “Very funny Clara,” he mumbled to himself. 

Logan had no other choice than to clean the mess but was stopped abruptly when he felt a sharp pain on his left ankle. When his eyes moved down to the floor, he noticed a pool of blood covering the ceramic tile floor. That wasn’t all. Right beside the blood were little footprints that could either belong to a child or an animal. 

“Who are you and what do you want?” Logan blurted out

He waited for someone to say something or for something to happen, standing still for about ten minutes, but there was nothing. No sounds or movements.  

The little boy’s shadow reappeared. Only this time, it was even bigger. 

He no longer seemed like an innocent little boy, he looked and felt like an intimidating grown man. 


Logan heard those words but didn’t know where they were coming from. Then he heard them again. 

“You are the reason my father is dead. You killed him and then ran away.” 

It kept going but the voice was now accompanied by sobs, “You could have called the ambulance. He still had a pulse but you ran away and left him bleeding out knowing he would probably die before someone found him.”

A knife was thrown violently and hit the other side of the wall.

Logan froze. 

“I don’t know what you are talking about. Who are you? Who was your father?” Logan frantically responded.

“Don’t act like you’re innocent. Your time in prison didn’t bring back my father. So, why should you get to go on with your life all free and happy acting like nothing ever happened.”

“No, I didn’t kill your father. I pleaded guilty because-” Before Logan was able to get another word out, the boy turned on all four stoves, and with all the force he had within him, he pushed Logan against it. Making sure Logan can’t retaliate, he smacked a pan over Logan’s head.  

He then stood there proudly, watching Logan slowly burn to ashes, unconsciously.

“I did it, Dad. You got the justice you deserved.”   

A few hours passed and Clara was starting to worry because she didn’t get a call from her brother yet. Seconds later her phone rang but it was an unknown number.

“Hello?” Clara said, bringing the phone to her ear. 

“Good afternoon Ms. Whitlock. We received a report of smoke odor coming from your house and there seems to be a dead body inside. We need you to be present to identify the body.” The stranger’s voice said.

Shaking, Clara got into her car and drove as fast as she could fearing the worst. As she parked, she saw a handful of police officers gathered around her door, and immediately, a lump formed in her throat. 

Up ahead, she thinks she sees him. Clara pushed through them but struggled to free herself from the current of officers blocking her way. Crying, she fell to the ground and held what was left of her brother in her arms for as long as she could remember. An officer approached her and handed her a pink Post-it note. 

“We found this in his hand,” the policeman said.

The Post-it note read, “I’m sorry. You seemed nice but your brother was no angel. He stripped me from the only two people I adored.”

The following day, the house was back on the market. Clara drove far from this town. Away from a shadow, no one would have believed would be capable of something like this. Realization hits her. Her brother’s killer was a little kid. A ghost with no face or body. How could he possibly have done that? 

Never would she have imagined something this atrocious would happen in her house.  

She ran up to her parent’s house and although she knew her parents weren’t at fault, she was too angry to think thoroughly about what she was about to do. She burst open the door and all of a sudden, was presented with the image of her father. She saw that it wasn’t a good time. The father was in bed, but he was connected to an oxygen tank and it’s like you could see the inside of his body where he wasn’t able to breathe properly. But she still felt the urge to tell her father what had happened. 

“Dad, I know you’re sick and all, but your bad choices just ended with my brother’s life and you shouldn’t be able to live with that. He was your son and loved you so much that he took the blame so that you weren’t the one stuck in a jail cell for nearly ten years.” Clara said with no remorse. 

Once she finished talking to him, she walked closer and that’s when she realized that her father hadn’t been sleeping. Her foot had been pressed against the cannula that brought air to her father’s lungs. It was too late though. He had no pulse. 

Clara sobbed all day until she had no more tears left. In that moment, she reflected and thought that not everyone is given a second chance in life and so why should she be granted another chance to explain herself if she had just killed her own father. 

The next morning, the mother was dropping flowers into Logan’s gravestone, her husband’s gravestone, and Clara’s gravestone. 

It turned dark and pleasantly hazy in the Whitlock house a few weeks later.  

The mother lit some more candles and dimmed the lights further. She couldn’t take it anymore and granted herself her ultimate wish- to be reunited with her family. 

And with that, the Whitlock family came to an end.