The Haunting of The Denizen

The Haunting of The Denizen

In the City of London there is a luxury ghost home development built by Taylor Wimpey called The Denizen. This apartment building on Golden Lane has an evil reputation and ruined the health of all who visited it. In the dead of night a clanking of chains would be heard, first of all from a distance, before moving closer. Presently a spectre would appear, a Huguenot refugee sinking with emaciation and squalor, with a long beard and bristly hair, wearing shackles on his legs and fetters on his hands, and shaking them.

Those property investors who visited their ghost flats in The Denizen passed miserable and horrible nights. Insomnia and wasting away was followed shortly by death. Even after they fled The Denizen, a reminiscence of the apparition flitted before the eyes of those that saw it, and their dread soon killed them.

The Denizen had always been deserted and after reports of its horrors spread like wildfire among apartment owners, it was soon entirely abandoned to the dreadful ghost. Nonetheless, some flats were advertised as for sale or rent, on the chance that someone, ignorant of the fearful curse attached to them, might part with money for a place to sleep.

An academic called Alex Johnson who was attending a comparative religion conference in London came across a Denizen listing on AirBnB. The terms were so low as to appear suspicious, so Alex made inquiries, and learned the building was haunted. Since Johnson was a Christian, he rented the apartment for three nights, believing that Jesus would protect him from any Satanic influences in the building.

On Alex’s first evening in Golden Lane, he sat on a sofa with his laptop and all the lights on. He applied himself to the composition of a scholarly article about evangelical Christianity in Lagos, to prevent his mind conjuring up the phantom of which he had heard so much.

At first the night was silent apart from the low rumble of traffic and the sounds of junkies doing deals and shooting up in the park opposite The Denizen. When Alex heard the shaking of irons and the clanking of chains, he didn’t raise his eyes or slacken his typing, but hardened his soul and deadened his ears.

The noise grew louder: it seemed it was in the hallway of the floor on which Alex was staying before it passed though his front door and into his apartment.

Putting aside his work on American missionaries in Nigeria, Alex looked up and recognised the figure he had heard about. It was standing and signalling to him with its finger, as though inviting him to follow it. Johnson used his hand to signal the spectre should wait a moment, and applied himself to his computer. The figure kept rattling its chains as Alex typed.

On looking round again, Johnson saw the ghost making the same signal as before, so he stood up and followed it. It moved with a slow step, as though oppressed by its chains, and after taking Alex into the basement, the apparition vanished.

Johnson marked the spot of this disappearance by making a hole in the carpet of the building’s private cinema with a pocketknife. The next day Alex hired two construction workers with a jackhammer to break open the concrete floor of the cinema. Digging deeper beneath The Denizen’s foundations, the labourers found some bones attached to and intermingled with fetters. Believing that burying the bones elsewhere would lift the curse of The Denizen, Johnson ordered the men he’d hired to carry them out of the basement. But when those charged with removing the human remains touched them, they dropped dead. The same fate befell Alex when he attempted to pick up the bones. The ghost was happy enough with The Denizen for its home. It was a quiet location because no one lived there….

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