Greg stared at the back wall of his basement with trepidation. Somewhere behind the rotting paneling and tacky tile was a room. A room that showed up on blueprints but had no doors. He glanced behind him where had arranged nearly a ton of wood, steel, drywall, and home improvement tools. A couple thousand dollars on a credit card that he couldn’t afford, but he needed to do something.
Hefting his crowbar, he stepped forward and slammed the tip hard into the wall. It punched through the paneling and crunched as it pierced the cinder blocks. He grunted and pulled back, straining muscles. Yanking the bar out, he screamed as he slammed it into the wall again, wrenching hard to tear the paneling off the wall. It came down in wet, crumbling flakes but he ignored it, lost in his obsession to tear down the wall and find the hidden room.
Straining, he ignored the burn in his muscles and attacked the wall, tearing hunks of wood and nails and throwing them aside. Dust rose up and choked him, but he continued straining with his efforts to strip away the veneer of the hidden room.
He only took a few minutes to gulp down some energy drink before staring at the wall. The dozen holes that pierced the stone were a challenge, a target to him.
“Leave me, will you?”
Greg slammed his crowbar into the wall. It cracked violently. He bellowed in anger, slamming the metal bar into the bricks. They shattered from the force of his blow. Greg snarled and punched the metal into it again.
“Not enough of man for you!?”
The impact of metal against stone rang out loudly. Shards of concrete cut across his face, leaving scores but he continued to slam the bar repeatedly into the brick until a gaping darkness stood before him.
Panting heavily, he glared into the dark room.
“The shit I have to go through.”
The crowbar clanged loudly as it dropped to the ground. Snatching up a high-powered halogen lamp from his pile of brand new supplies. Thumbing the switch, he watched as a remarkable nothing happened. He flipped it again.
Then, Greg realized that it wasn’t plugged in. Blushing from embarrassment, he jammed the plug into an extension cord and thumbed the switch on. Brilliant light exploded in his eyes and he held it away until the stars faded from his vision.
Breathing heavily, he picked up his crowbar and peered into the sealed room. Instead of hidden treasures or some dark secret, all he spotted was rubble. Piles of dirt and larger piles of concrete. The far edge of the wall glittered wetly from water seeping through the foundation.
“Well, damn it.”
The crowbar dropped loudly, the fight dissipating instantly as he looked at a remarkably boring room filled with rubble. He sighed and peered around the room, stabbing the darkness with his lamp.
Behind him, the dust rose up in a thick cloud, moving without wind or guidance. Greg didn’t notice as arms and legs formed in the cloud, pieces of rubble and wood rising up to fill out a form of a man. As the shape solidified, an expression of bored malice focused on Greg’s back.
Unaware, Greg sighed with disgust.
“Why does this happen to me?”
Swearing under his breath, he sat the lamp down on the rubble and slumped down against the wall. Sweat ran rivulets down the dust on his face.
“Why did she have to leave me?”
He stared down at the brand new halogen lamp. Rage rose up inside him and he lashed out with his foot, kicking the lamp across the room. It exploded against the far wall, plunging the room in utter darkness.
“No one has to deal the crap I have to.”
His voice echoed in the room, then a hard voice spoke up.
“Want to bet?”
Greg jumped, his eyes probing the entrance. A man stood in the entrance, blocking it with his body. He felt a prickle of fear dancing down his spine as he stared at the stranger.
“W-Who are you?”
The man shrugged, “Doesn’t matter. What matters is that I can top your story.”
The man stepped forward, walking away from the entrance. Greg scanned the room, planning. Stone rumbled beyond the entrance and Greg froze as he saw hunks of concrete rolling up the gaping hole.
Speaking in a hard voice, the ghost walked closer, “Let me tell you about a wife who seals you into the back room of your house.”
Behind the ghost, the rumble moved on its own, piling up over the entrance to block it. Greg watched as the bricks reformed over the entrance, melting into place as the cracks sealed shut.
Feeling that his last chance for survival rushing up to him, Greg threw himself across the room, scrambling along the rubble. His hand formed a fist as he punched at the ghost. Instead of hitting solid flesh, he only crashed into dust, rock, and wood. His hand smacked wetly against the opposite wall.
His fingers screamed out in pain as he clawed at the closing opening to the room. He felt the icy concrete sealing into place, forming into place as if he never broke them. In the last few inches of light, he watched as the wooden paneling beyond the wall crawling up into place, replacing his hours of work in seconds.
A hand landed heavily down on his shoulder. The ghost chuckled and spoke into his hear, dust blowing past his earlobe.
“Don’t worry, we have all the time in your life. Plenty of time, days at least.”
The last of the light faded as the wall repaired itself, powered by the anger will of the ghost. Greg let out a long whimper of fear, shivering from the very depths of his soul.