It was just after the last episode of Jeopardy that the widower Mr. Woods reached for his T.V. remote on the end table next to his oversized lazy boy. Instead his hand landed on a wet cold object. He turned to see that his hand had met a rotten hand laying upon the remote. Startled he jumped up, turning to see the decaying face of his departed wife, twisted in an angry snarl jutting from the shadowy back half of the room. Mr. Woods scrambled for his apartment door as the remote sailed through the air and crashed through his T.V. set. Avoiding a shower of sparks and broken glass Mr. Woods rushed out his apartment door.
In the twenty years Mr. Woods lived in this building he never descended the five flights of stairs as fast. Once in the lobby his frantic path only halted once he reached the pay phone on the front wall. Shaking heavily he dialed the only people he knew who could help. That's when you got the call.
The apartment was almost entirely dark when you entered. The only light inside spilled in from the hallway though the open door. A humble if not a little tacky living room was just adjacent to an opening to the kitchen. The type of place that makes you think of your grandparents condo. From the description you figure this must be a class two or three haunting. No need for backup you think, let everyone else have the night off. You got in your tan jumpsuit, grabbed a P.K.E. meter, a trap and your proton pack before driving to the apartment.
You take only a few steps in before your PKE meter starts to beep letting you know you are not alone. Quickly you snatch it up from your belt and look at the screen. The numbers don't lie, this is a class four, maybe even a class five, not an easy fight. You think to yourself “Maybe, I shouldn’t have been so concerned about others enjoying their night.”
“Ting!” a sharp note fills the air coming from the dark depths of the living room. You turn on your flashlight that's clipped to your shoulder strap. The light washes across the room, uncovering more tacky furniture, small piles of trash and clothing haphazardly thrown about. The Bachelor life has not been kind to Mr. Woods. In the far corner a dust coated upright piano sits with the cover down over the keys. “Ting!” a second note breaks the silence again, fallboard still obscuring the ivories.
Your retort is the humming sound of your Proton Pack jumping to life as you grab the particle thrower and aim it towards the piano. Slowly you see the ethereal form of an elderly woman come into sight sitting at the pianos bench. The wrinkled features of the deceased Mrs. Woods are highlighted by an dim otherworldly light blue glow. Her withered hands move effortlessly though the cover to push on the keys hidden below. A melody starts up, a song you would probably recognize if it wasn’t for the fact that the piano is sorely in need of tuning. Instead, what comes out is the musical equivalent of a funhouse mirror. Notes either stretched or squashed beyond recognition.
Good news though, the late Mrs. Woods hasn't noticed you. Slowly you make your way across the living room. Each step makes the shadows of the room sway and jump as your body makes the flashlight move. The room almost seems to dance along to her twisted song. Stopping only a few feet away from her, you cautiously pull the trap from its slot on your belt and lay it gently on the floor behind her.
You back away from the spirit, dropping the trap line as you go. If you can just get enough distance and then open the trap she may just be caught without needing to use your proton pack. Nice and clean, this could be the easiest job you have done in a while. Then you feel it, the edge of a small wooden table against the far wall you didn't see as you made your approach, suddenly stabs into your leg. You jump only a bit, just enough that you jolt the table and the precariously balanced vase atop starts its descent to the floor.
Trap line in one hand and particle thrower in the other, you simply can’t stop the vase. You watch helplessly as the vase shatters on the ground. The floor and the air around you are now coated in a heavy dusting of ash. Among the broken shards you can see a cheap paper label that had been stuck to the vase, it reads, “Muriel Woods.” You now notice quiet as warped tunes no longer fill the air. As you look up the ghostly visage of Mrs. Woods has its head turned entirely around and her eyes have grown wide, glaring at you standing in the middle of her ashes.
You utter a weak but honest, "I'm so very sorry.” as she slams her hands down on the piano keys creating a sound that makes your head pound, then leaps up in the air. So much for the easy way, you turn your thrower back at her and ready yourself for a very ruff night on the job.