By Lady Euphoria Deathwatch
9-12-08 re-write 1-18-09
Benny had a problem. Not a common problem and certainly not the kind of problem he was going to try to get much help with. He had learned when he was small that no one believed him about this conundrum. Benny had a Ghoul in his closet.
When Benny was small there was no Ghoul. The family lived in a house with no yard to speak of down the street from the cemetery and when Benny went outside playing he would run very fast around the grave stones in a kind of race with himself to see how fast he could run.
One day when Benny was about eight he tripped and skinned his knee on a low stone in the cemetery and bled all the way home. He didn’t run for a few days because his knee hurt, but by the time he was ready to run again something smelly had moved into his closet.
At first he thought it might just have been a ghost from the cemetery that had followed him home and that it liked to frighten him. It looked rather nasty but Benny called him a ghoul because this ghoul told him that he ate the rotting flesh of the dead. And then there was the foul odor of something rotting that always seemed to be coming from the thing. He found the definition in the large old dictionary in the bookcase by the stairs when he was ten. Benny’s mother thought the smell was Benny’s old shoes because his father had a foot odor problem.
Once, when Benny was feeling a bit brave, round about the age of eleven, he asked the ghoul what it’s name was? The ghoul didn’t seem to understand the question and Benny wasn’t feeling brave enough to take the time to explain. So Benny never did have a name to call him, he just called him Ghoul.
At thirteen Benny poured a bottle of his mothers best perfume into the closet to try to stink the ghoul out but the Ghoul stayed. Benny had to stay in his room for a month and the kids at school teased him something fierce for smelling like a very stinky girl.
Benny had hoped that when he was old enough to move out of his parent’s house he would leave the ghoul behind. But soon after he had his own apartment, the ghoul was in the new closet again. Since no one else seemed to be able to see the ghoul or rather the ghoul didn’t show itself when any one else was there, Benny had himself checked out for being nuts.
Dr. Navorski was an older gentleman with glasses and a mustache. Benny went to him for a few weeks before bringing up the ghoul. It was hard to admit that you thought you had something following you that most children stop worrying about ‘round about the age of fourteen if not before. Benny was now nineteen and had long since graduated high school by then.
The session when something like this.
Benny: “I’ve been having trouble sleeping lately. I need to have music on or I hear noises coming from my closet and they wake me up.”
Dr. Navorski: “And what do you think these noises are from?”
Benny: “Well a Ghoul that has been following me since I was a kid.”
Dr. Navorski: “When did you start hearing this ghoul?”
Benny: “When I was eight and I used to run around the headstones in the cemetery for fun.”
Dr. Navorski: “Did you feel guilty about running and playing in a place of grief and mourning? Disturbing the dead so to speak?”
Benny: “Well no, I was a kid and didn’t care as long as I was having fun and using up that extra kid energy. You know?”
Dr. Navorski: “Well there you have it. You were feeling guilty underneath your happy exterior and this is the way you have dealt with it all these years. Give yourself the permission to have once been a thoughtless child and your ghoul will go away. You are as sane as anyone walking the streets. You are just having a little trouble letting go of a childhood fantasy. But now that you know where it is coming from you won’t be needing it any longer and it will go away.”
Benny told the shrink that fantasies were nice things and the ghoul was definitely not nice. He didn’t go back for any follow up sessions.
The Ghoul was not a good house guest. It made his closet smell offal. He couldn’t keep his clothing in there. As a kid he had a free standing wardrobe and a dresser for his clothing and a shelf for his books and games. There was also a toy box for his toys. Nothing but broken, unused and outgrown items ever went into the closet. The ghoul made noises at times and also left things in the closet himself, the smelliest of these Benny buried in the small back yard at night.
The ghoul complained a lot about being so far from the cemetery, any cemetery, once Benny moved from home. Benny did tell the Ghoul he could always move out, but the Ghoul chose to stay.
Finally Benny couldn’t stand it any longer and he moved to an apartment house just across the street from the largest cemetery he could find in the area, only to find out that it was also one of the oldest so there was rarely any new meat. The ghoul was not happy about that at all. Benny started to collect road kill and bring it home for the ghoul.
He would stop at the side of the road whenever he saw a dead animal there. Benny kept some rubber gloves, a shovel, some plastic bags and a great big plastic storage box in the trunk of his car. His friends thought he was a bit goofy but liked the fact that he was so civic minded and felt that if someone had to do clean up of that kind of thing it should be someone with a iron nose like Benny with his foot problem.
The Ghoul didn’t exactly like the road kill and was picky about the condition of the carcass’. If they were too fresh he would throw them back out into Benny’s bed room and make a mess of the carpet. The meat had to have an odor of rot to it for the ghoul to even consider eating it.
All this time Benny wasn’t worried that the ghoul would want to eat him because Benny wasn’t dead. But despite it all, Benny had a fairly normal life. He dated, had friends, and liked to go hunting and camping. Mostly he liked camping because the ghoul generally stayed at home. Benny was moving on with his life.
And then there was Julia. Julia liked everything Benny thought a good girlfriend should like. She could drink beer with the best of them. She had four older brothers and they had taught her everything from burping the alphabet to car maintenance. They had met at one of the hunting trips he went on with his friends to get more meat to leave to rot for his closet guest and it was love at first sight. And what a sight. Julia was one good looking woman.
One night Benny opened the closet after knocking on the door and had a talk with the ghoul. Benny wanted to marry his girlfriend Julia and he needed some answers. Would the ghoul stay hidden when his new wife was in the room? No, came the answer. At first Benny was dismayed. He didn’t want her to be frightened by the ghoul. Then it turned into elation. Someone else would know about the ghoul and it wouldn’t be his secret to carry all by himself any longer.
When he told Julia about the ghoul she got all soft and smiled like his mother had so long ago when he told her about the ghoul. Julia thought it was something from Benny’s imagination like his mother and the psychiatrist. That or a strange excuse for the smell of his old shoes in the closet and she thought she could live with foot fungus. The store isles were full of no end of deodorizers and medications for just such things.
But the ghoul was real and since she had already agreed to marry him anyway, Benny was sure she would soon find out that fact for herself. He only hoped she would still want to stay married to him once she met the ghoul.
On the night they came home from their honeymoon Julia thanked Benny for having the closet in the bedroom cleared out for her and she proceeded to fill it with her belongings. He tried to talk to her about the ghoul but she just pushed him out of the room telling him to let her take care of a few things in peace.
Benny was nervous by the time he heard Julia call his name in that way he knew meant she was ready for some fun. And for the first time in the week since they were married he didn’t feel like answering her call. Benny got up and walked to the bedroom wondering just how long it would be before the ghoul showed up.
Things went better then Benny had expected. The ghoul hadn’t bothered them thou the smell in the closet made Julia move her clothing to the new larger freestanding wardrobe he had gotten for her. Every morning she would spray a new product into the ghoul’s closet just before she left for work and Benny would leave a half an hour later with the ghoul cursing loud and long from behind it’s door.
After a few weeks of trying to get rid of the smell herself she called in a professional cleaning team. One whiff of the smell coming from the ghoul’s closet had them calling in the authorities. After a thorough search including tearing open the walls of the closet itself, nothing was found. But they were keeping an eye on Benny in case he was involved in something they didn’t know about.
Julia was sure that if they just moved they could leave the smell behind. Benny tried to explain again but the closest he came was in having her believe that he had a smelly cheese loving ghost following him around. They moved and the smell moved with them. She wanted to try an exorcism. Benny finally relented, but after the priest left and the smell didn’t Julia was so upset she was ready to leave Benny and the foul smell that followed him. She begged him to stop bringing home the road kill because she thought it just might be adding to the odor in the closet.
Benny showered her with gifts and told her they would buy a house so large that she would never have to go near or smell the ghoul again. All she needed to do was wait until the right house could be found and they would start the search right away. He went to the computer and started looking for a large house close to a fairly new cemetery and Benny found that another newer cemetery had opened up close to a large old Victorian house on a hill in an older section of town. This new cemetery had once been the side gardens of the house.
Benny had been storing all the gold jewelry the ghoul had been leaving behind in the closet. He had just enough to buy the place outright. The price had been lowered because of the amount of repair the old house needed.
It was a longer commute to work, but worth it. Julia was happier in the new house as they fixed it up together by themselves and a baby was coming along in the spring. The ghoul happily resided in an attic room of it’s own. It didn’t like the smell of sweet soft baby products coming from the small bedroom off the master suite anyway.
One night Benny found the Ghoul in their bedroom and sniffing around Julia’s side of the bed. Benny told the Ghoul to go back to it’s own room. The next day that Julia had a doctor appointment they found out she had lost the baby. Benny should have guess.
A month after Julia came home from the hospital Benny had gone up to the ghouls attic room to see how the ghoul was doing. He kind of missed the Ghoul after always being there after so many years. The Ghoul was telling Benny what he had been up to since the baby died and they had last spoke. That was when Benny learned that the ghoul had feasted on his own son in the cemetery.
Benny couldn’t believe it. The ghoul he had come to think of as almost a brother had eaten his child. Benny only saw red and just lost it attacking the Ghoul with his bare hands. Being one of the undead the Ghoul didn’t die but he did killed Benny by pushing him out the fourth floor window and Julia too because she had tried to come to Benny’s aid after hearing the noise up in the attic were Benny had gone.
The police never did find the killer of the new couple living in the big old house up by cemetery hill but they never stopped trying because they could never get the picture or smell out of their heads of the two half eaten bodies found in the house a few weeks after they went missing. And no one could ever live in the house again because of the smell. But the Ghoul didn’t seem to mind. He now had the house to himself.