The night begins to fall when Michael knock on the door of an old house in Harlem. “Why are you knocking?” Jacob asks. “Well, you never know. Imagine that there is someone inside.” And then he proceeds to open the door with the key that the owner of the house, Lady Cardbridge, has given him hours before. Both penetrate the dark and narrow hall. Jacob fires a kerosene lamp, in whose light they move slowly. The interior is also very old, with furniture from past centuries and paintings blackened by the accumulation of soot and dust that permeates the entire house. Suddenly they hear a woman’s voice clearly: “Benjamin, is that you?”
-You see? There is someone in here. We should have waited until they opened the door.
-Ghosts don’t usually open the door when one knocks, Michael.
-Mrs. Cardbridge says it’s a ghost, but that voice has sounded more like that of a flesh and blood woman.
They both climb up some narrow stairs to the top floor. “Benjamin, is that you?” the female voice repeats. “Yes, yes, we are Benjamin!” exclaims Michael. They stop to listen, but they don’t receive an answer. However, as they move down a corridor: “You are not Benjamin. Benjamin is just one and you are two.” Michael hurries to rectify: “Excuse me. I meant that I was Benjamin.”
-Who is the other?
-This one is…
-Robert, I’m Robert!
-Robert?! How dare you put your feet in this house after what you did?!
A sudden gale throws both of them to the ground and extinguishes the lamp. “You could have chosen another name,” Michael tells his friend in a low voice. “And how would I know?” Jacob answers. And then out loud: “Actually I’m not Robert! I am …am… am… the Emperor of Japan!” And again in a low voice to Michael: “No name came to my mind.” Then at the end of the corridor appears a blurred light that gradually takes on the shape of a woman: “Have you found the jewels?” Michael and Jacob assesses in a low voice whether they answer affirmatively or otherwise. At last they decide: “Yes, we found them!” Then the woman emits a kind of grunt and Michael hurries to rectify: “No! We don’t! We haven’t found them.” “And the money?” the ghost asks. “Neither!” Again the menacing growl. “Yes! Yes! We did find the money!” “And what have you done with it?” “Geez, this witch is making it more and more difficult for us” Jacob complains. The two speak to each other in low voices before answering: “With it we have offered Masses for the souls of the deceased!” “Have you converted to Catholicism?!” the voice thunders. “Just kidding! Actually, we have given it to charity!” “What?!” The voice sounds increasingly threatening. “What do you say you’ve done?!”
-We’ve spent it on whoring!
Then there is a silence during which the mysterious light fades slowly. Michael and Jacob stand trembling and, groping in the dark, descend the stairs.
-Shit! (Michael says) Another interrogation like this one and it gives me a heart attack! Let’s get out of here as soon as possible before she asks us more questions.
-But what shall we say to Mrs. Cardbridge?
-We’ll tell her: forget to rent this house because there is no way to dislodge the ghost.
-But we have not even tried.
– Do you dare?
-Well, me neither. So let’s get out before the interrogation resumes. Ugh, I was really scared!
The two friends grope down the stairs. The darkness is absolute. Gropingly, they reach the front door, open it, and run down the street.
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