The Attic Ghosts (Dirge)

Once there were attic ghosts, haunting the top of an ancient manse, thumping and moaning in the dust. The ceiling above their humans' heads creaked with ethereal weight, terrifying and delighting the fleshed in equal measure. There is comfort in fear. In the reminder that this world is populated by forces the living will never understand. There is a purpose in frightening, in knowing that even after death, our souls, our echoes, still have a will to work in this world

And in their way, both the living and the dead were happy.

Once there was a community of the dead, composed of both housed and listless spirits. A community of those dead who haunt and possess a single place, and those who wander the Earth, drifting from home to home to see who resides inside, to see who died there and remains there still. The attic ghosts received these creatures of living light and decaying shadow with grace, grateful for their company. Glad to know they were not alone in the universe of the just beyond.

Once there were many incorporeal souls, but one day they began to fade, called onward by a breathing light to some unknown afterlife. Freed from the liminal space of half-being. But the attic ghosts remained. Once they entertained the prodigal departed, but no longer. All spirits passed beyond even the realm beyond, into the bliss of oblivion, leaving the attic ghosts on Earth, their souls standing apart and alone.

But still they had the living, and still they haunted their manse. Still they whispered that some dead were still here; that their souls remained. "We still have a place in the universe!" Was their voiceless cry.

And as long as the living remained below their feet to frighten, and abode to be reminded of the unknown, they were happy.

But then a final change came. The last of the men willing to live below the strange passed away. Their children moved into more modern homes, with more modern sensibilities. None with room for ghosts. Now, in the old house, the windows are boarded, the rooms are empty but for louses and dust. The ghosts are left alone with none but themselves for company.

Long after even those they haunted have been forgotten, the attic ghosts continue to howl and dance. The floorboards creak beneath transparent feet.

Now, alas, they frighten no one but themselves.