Write me a story where the living haunt the dead.

I live in a quiet part of town. I like my privacy. Not many people visit me, probably because I scare them away if they got too close. I guess I would consider myself an average ghost in an above average haunted house. Frankly, the key to a good haunting is the setting. Do up the decorations nicely, and half the work is done.

Never in my afterlife would I have imagined that a human would actually look for scares on purpose, so I was considerably surprised when that group pulled up outside my house a couple nights ago. They parked their white van by the roadside and immediately a couple of guys jumped out and started walking towards the house. Naturally, I followed my routine and initiated the first trap – I went down to the cellar, took a long stick, and started prodding the bats that were hanging on the ceiling. They flew out in dazed rush, straight into the path of those men. Usually that would be enough to draw some surprised screams and most people back off, but the men merely wiped off the guano and chuckled. One of them seemed to be speaking while the other filmed. “See that, Ben? Real spooky this place is, but there must be some scientific explanation for that!”

It was getting dark and I was rushing back up the stairs to activate the falling willows trap, when I heard the front door creak open. “Ghost, if you’re here, show yourself. We’re coming in”. I watched in horror as two other men barged into the room, somehow they had gotten past the squeaky patio. They were equipped with sensor equipment from head to toe, night vision goggles on, torchlights turned to full power mounted on their helmets. No time for that trap.

I ran to start the music. The gramophone was in the other room. If only I could reach it – sudden eerie music playing was bound to scare them off. I turned the corner and froze. There was Ben and his partner, with the camera aimed straight at me. He shouted “I’m picking up something”. A machine squealed. The sound was deafening. I ducked and dived for the gramophone. “What the Heck Man!” Both men spun round as the music started. The other party thundered in. “Who turned that damn thing on?”

“Not me. Was it you?”

“Heck no. But hey, AC/DC is my jam, bro.”

I was horrified. Who were these people and what did they want with me? I fled back up the stairs, terrified of their courage and lack of fear. From the attic I could hear one of them narrating “On this episode of ghost hunters, Larry and I investigate this old wooden mansion off Cherswick Avenue…We already see some heat signatures on our infrared scanners…Bats fly out unexpectedly….and music plays suddenly…”

It’s been an hour since I retreated up here. I can hear the four of them rummaging around the house. Sooner or later, they’re going to find the secret staircase that leads up to this crawlspace of mine. I don’t know how long I have. All I know is, when they open it, that will be my chance, my one chance to get out.

Your quiet life in the suburbs is shaken up when your neighbor casually claims he is a lizard person. Doubting him, you decide to start monitoring him for any suspicious behavior. After all, you didn’t see him at the last lizard people reunion.

We lizard people are a fairly close knit society. There’s so few of us that I know close to everyone who lives in the tri-state area, and definitely, I would have spotted Jeremy at the latest lizard people reunion in our neighbourhood. It’s not like he was new to the neighbourhood, he was my neighbour for the past decade or so. Something was definitely not right.

When Jeremy got home last night I was discreetly observing him while I pretended to tend to my garden. I searched for the casual tongue flick, one that was too fast for ordinary humans to perceive, but there was none. I looked out for the way his hand should have stuck on to that doorknob just that little bit more than a normal guy, but it did not. I tried to smell the faint scent of the nest as his door opened, but not even a whiff came by me as Jeremy closed the door to his house. Something was definitely wrong.

I decided to confront him that very night. Transformed into lizard form and slipped down his chimney and hid in the dark corner of his living room till all was quiet for the night, then I scooched over to the dinner table to await him. If he was one of us he would have been able to sense me, and he would have come.

The cuckoo clock on his wall chimed. It was three in the morning. Soon it was four. At five I stood up to leave, for I had concluded there was nothing to this idle boast of his. And just as I turned I found myself face to face with him. Good old Jeremy. He had been there the whole time, watching, waiting. All around me the world suddenly erupted in a ear-piercing scream, the high pitch cacophony drowned out my thoughts and seemed to stab into the very heart of my brain. Damn those lizard traps and their high frequency sounds, there was no way I would be able to transform back into a human.

A huge crash on my right. I saw Jeremy readying his hand to strike again, newspaper all rolled up into a tight baton. One strike would do me in. One strike would squash my skeleton and my insides. Whoosh. I felt the pressure building up and the wind pushing against me – the strike was coming. Instinctively, I sprang forward. Left right left right. I was at the edge of the table. I covered the last few steps and sprang off.

Not fast enough! Pain shot through my lower back. I knew what had happened even before I turned to look and assess the damage. My tail was off. I could still feel it wriggling and squirming, the lingering, phantom pain of a appendage no longer attached. But I was home free, all that was left was to squeeze through the door. One last bit.

Zhoop. I ran myself right into a glass wall. “Cripes” I thought to myself. This was the end of it. Frantically, I backtracked, but the glass was all around me. Jeremy had me in a jar. Now this was really the end of it. The next thing I knew, the lid had been put on, and I was being taken to a new area of his house. Down the steps Jeremy went – into his basement. There was this low humming sound. It was tuned at just the right frequency to inhibit a lizard person’s transformation to human form. Damn. This Jeremy knew what he was doing.

That’s when I saw it. Rows upon rows, shelves upon shelves, in all of them were stacked small rounded glass jars very much like mine, each with a captive lizard of their own. I looked in horror upon the sight that was in front of me, as the terror of my predicament slowly dawned on me. Desperately, I tapped at the glass, only to hear a low chuckle from my captor. “There’s no escape, my friend. Here, you will join the others to rot for all of eternity. No one will feed you. No one will save you. And when all the lizard people of the world have been exterminated, the cockroach people will rule the land.”