LOCATION: Cincinnati, OH
POPULATION: 1 living occupant + 3(?) ghosts
BIO: Located on the third floor of a three story red brick building in the Northside neighborhood of Cincinnati, Dorothy’s haunted apartment is the stage for the grief-stricken breakdown young Wayne Bird suffers at the beginning of our story. Downstairs, the building’s middle level is vacant while the first is occupied by a self-styled “hive of vampires” who look up to Dorothy as their queen. With her walls adorned in lunatic paintings, Dorothy’s heavenly abode will soon become Wayne’s living Hell...

I could hear a woman calling, "What's your major?" Another says "My portfolio is smelly." There is bass guitar and the mashing of buttons. I try to speak but can't. Terry spits. The Flaming Fellow challenges Skyrat to a race, a rematch. My fingers and toes don't belong to me. My tongue is lame. If I could talk, I would scream. If I could scream, my throat would bleed.


I felt a hand on my arm and came awake instantly. Terry said, "You always did sleep funny. You still have to change your sheets every morning?"


"Only when I've been drinking.” I rolled over and went back to sleep. 


I awoke in the wee hours of the morning. My head hurt. There was confusion. I was not alone. A voice said, "Dude, wake up," and I realized Terry was in the living room with me.


"What... what's going on?" I asked.


"This place is fucked up, man! It's fucking haunted. There's someone in Dorothy's room." 


"Did you see her?" I asked, sitting up.


"No, man, but the paintings are moved around, and I could hear it, it fucking woke me up." I turned the lights on. In place of the four foot by four foot self portrait over the couch, there was the watercolor of the zombies from the guest room. One of the abstracts from the hall replaced the hippie that was on the wall to the left of the TV. Terry said, “I ain't going back in that room."


I got up to look around. Every painting in the apartment had been moved to another room and replaced. In Dorothy's room were her portraits, the one's from the bathroom, the ink drawing of her and Bruce eating together. Bruce's masterpiece hung over the bed. I said, "Let's get the Ouija Board."


Terry was not into that idea. He sat in the easy chair, clutching the Bible, praying, eyes closed, pleading, "Lord, please protect us from the evil spirits in this house. Help them to find peace so that we can... we can..."


"Sleep," I finished for him. "Amen. Let's get the Ouija Board. We'll ask if we're in any danger. Here, wait." From the kitchen, I grabbed Terry's half empty bottle of bourbon. I poured two shots and brought them back into the living room. I said, "Courage," and we drank together. I poured again and assured him, "Dorothy has lived here for a while, man. She doesn't seem scared at all."


Terry relented, and we sat with the Ouija Board on the guest room floor. On the walls, in place of the animals were landscapes and flowers. Terry's right hand quivered on the cursor, his left a death grip on salvation. My palms were moist. I asked the air, "Sally?"


The Ouija Board said, "Yes."


Terry said, "No fucking way."


I asked, "Why did you move the paintings?"


The cursor slowly glided from letter to letter, spelling "Terry."


"What about me?" The whiskey was working.


The cursor spelled, "Get out."