Scary Ghost Stories A Case Of Eavesdropping

Ghost stories like “A Case of Eavesdropping” are spine-tingling. Scary stories cause terror within because they could happen to any of us. Eavesdrop on this tale if you dare.

A Case of Easvesdropping

Jim Shorthouse was the sort of fellow who always made a mess of things. About the age of 22, his father’s purse and patience had given out, and Jim found himself stranded high and dry in a large American city. Careful reflection on a bench in one of the city parks led him to the conclusion that the only thing to do was to persuade the city editor of one of the daily journals that he possessed an observant mind and a ready pen, and that he could “do good work for your paper, sir, as a reporter.” “Guess we’ll have to give you a week’s trial,” said the editor.

Then he went to find living quarters, and it was in the house he eventually selected that this sad tale took place. His horizon was bounded by boarding-houses and room-houses; and, owing to the necessary irregularity of his meals and hours, he took the latter.

It was a large place in a side street, with dirty windows and a creaking iron gate, but the rooms were large, and the one he selected and paid for in advance was on the top floor. The landlady looked gaunt and dusty, and quite old. Her eyes were green and faded, and her features large.

“Anyone else on this floor?” he asked.

“Why, there’s no one at all but an old gent who’s stayed here every bit of five years. He’s over thar,” pointing to the end of the passage.

“Ah! I see,” said Shorthouse feebly. “So I’m alone up here?”

“Reckon you are, pretty near,” she twanged out, ending the conversation abruptly by turning her back on her new “guest,” and going slowly and deliberately downstairs.

The room proved comfortable enough, and he paid for a second week. One night, about the middle of the second week, he came home tired after a long day’s work.

There were no lights under any of the doors. It was after two o’clock. Just as he was about to get into bed, he could hear the sound of steps somewhere in the house. He heard somebody coming upstairs, and taking no pains to step quietly, obviously a big man, and one in something of a hurry.

Shorthouse paused a moment before turning out the light to see if the steps would go on again, when he was startled by a loud knocking on his door. Instantly, he turned out the light, leaving himself and the room in total darkness.

He had scarcely taken a step across the room to open the door, when a voice exclaimed in German, “Is that you, father? Come in.”

The speaker was a man in the next room, and the knocking, had not been on his own door, but on the adjoining chamber, which was supposed to be vacant.

Before the man in the passage had time to answer in German, “Let me in at once,” Jim heard someone cross the floor and unlock the door. Then it was slammed to with a bang, and there was audible the sound of footsteps about the room, and of chairs being drawn up to a table and knocking against furniture on the way. They made noise enough to wake the dead.

“I wonder whom she’s let the room to!” Jim reflected.

In a low voice the father continued softly, and ended with: ” but now they’ve all left, and I’ve managed to get up to you. You know what I’ve come for.” There was distinct menace in his tone.

“Yes,” returned the other; “I have been waiting.”

“And the money?” asked the father impatiently.

No answer.

“You’ve had three days to get it in, and I’ve contrived to stave off the worst so farbut to-morrow is the end.”

No answer.

“Speak, Otto! What have you got for me? Speak, my son; for God’s sake, tell me.”

There was a moment’s silence, during which the old man’s vibrating accents seemed to echo through the rooms. Then came in a low voice the answer

“I have nothing.”

“Otto!” cried the other with passion, “nothing!”

“I can get nothing,” came almost in a whisper.

“You lie!” cried the other, in a half-stifled voice. “I swear you lie. Give me the money.”

“Father, what’s in that? I must know,” said Otto, with the first signs of determination in his voice. There must have been an effort on the son’s part to gain possession of the parcel in question, and on the father’s to retain it, for between them it fell to the ground. A curious rattle followed its contact with the floor. Instantly there were sounds of a scuffle.

“I knew it. Her jewels! You scoundrel, you shall never have them. It is a crime.”

The elder man uttered a short, guttural laugh. Then the air trembled with the sound of a thud, followed immediately by a groan and the crash of a heavy body falling over on to the table. Shorthouse ran across the floor in a single bound. He knew that murder had been done by a father to his son.

Shorthouse had his hand on the door of the next room. It was locked. He plunged forward with all his weight against it, and, the lock giving way, he fell headlong into a room that was pitch dark and very cold. It was empty! Suddenly there was a step behind him and a light flashed into the room, and when he turned quickly he found himself face to face with the landlady.

Shorthouse threw himself into his clothes and went out of the house. He preferred the storm to the horrors of that top floor, and he walked the streets till daylight. In the evening he told the landlady he would leave next day, in spite of her assurances that nothing more would happen.

“It never comes back,” she said”that is, not after he’s killed.”

Shorthouse gasped.

“Only I was wonderin’ how you really did feel, because the man who had that room last was found one morning in bed.” she drawled out.

“He was dead. He was the one before you. Oh! You don’t need to get rattled so. You’re all right. And it all really happened, they do say. This house used to be a private residence some twenty-five years ago, and a German family of the name of Steinhardt lived here.”

“That’s so,” she said; “got clear away with all the money, and the son was found dead in his house, committed suicide it was thought. They said he was murdered. The father died in prison. They tried to fasten the murder on him, but there was no motive, or no evidence, or no somethin’. I forget now.”

That night he slept in a hotel, and the following day sought new quarters. In the newspapers on file he found twenty years back the detailed story, of Steinhardt