The Dripping Thing—Cat Voleur

“This house is haunted.”

Of course, Louis hadn’t listened. It sounded silly at the time. He’d been too arrogant, and the price had been too good.

“Excuse me?”

Now, it’s too late. Ascending footsteps can be heard throughout the entire house. The sound of wet feet slapping the hard wood echoes down the hall to his bedroom. Louis can count the seconds by the steady drip, drip, drip of the thing approaching.

“Nothing is coming for me.”

He says the words, but they are only a whisper and provide him no comfort. They sound false, even to his own ears. He cannot help but revisit in his mind the first conversation he’d had with the realtor about the place.

Her words had not surprised him half so much as the way she’d spoken them. She was so certain, so resolute, that he thought he must have misheard.

Drip. Drip. Drip.

She sighed. “I don’t like to participate in the gossip surrounding the properties that I show, but I like you Mr. Black. You seem like such a nice young man, and I’d like to be upfront with you about this house.”


She paused at that point in her speech and Louis had just waited for her to continue. She seemed to be in a bigger hurry than he was.

Drip. Drip. Drip. Slap!

“There’s a thing that lives inside.”

The footsteps are at the top of the stairs.

“A thing?”

“A spirit, an entity. I don’t know what you’d call it. I’ll admit that I’ve never seen it myself — nor do I intend to. I only show this property midday, and I prefer to keep these appointments short.”

Louis had noticed that his tour had seemed rather rushed, but had been able to overlook it easily. He’d been more wrapped up in his excitement about the excellent condition of the suspiciously low-priced building — which was now starting to make sense.

There was something about her sincerity on the subject that unnerved him, but he did his best to brush it aside. “With all due respect, I don’t really believe in that sort of thing.”

The footsteps stop.

“You will.” She met his gaze and there was a look in her eyes that seemed to scream at him, though her voice remained flat as she spoke. “If you buy this house, you’ll start believing. There’s something in there that changes people. Good people.”

Louis realizes that he’s holding his breath without meaning to. He has been for a minute now, waiting for the footsteps to resume. He forces himself to inhale, and succeeds only with effort. His body is working against him. There’s an uncomfortable tightness in his chest.

“This may not be the house for you.”

Only it had been. He’d fallen in love with the architecture when he’d first seen the listing, and touring it in person had reaffirmed the notion that he had to have it. The place was perfect. It hit every point in his checklist.

Terror grips him. From the far end of the hallway, he hears another drip. It sounds slightly louder than the one before. Closer.

The relative seclusion suited his tastes.


The interior was spacious, but not entirely impractical.


There was room on the property to expand into something truly impressive if his business were ever to truly take off.


And it had been twice the size of anything else in his price range. Not to mention the land surrounding it.

“It’s just that this house has everything I’m looking for and then some. But you don’t need to worry. I’m not easily spooked.”

“You’re someone who appreciates facts. I understand. SO here are the facts.”


“In the ten years that I’ve been selling homes in this area, I’ve sold this place more than a dozen times. That kind of turnaround is unheard of, especially out here.”


“None of the owners have inhabited the house more than a week, and all of them have been quick to sell — usually at a great personal, financial loss.”


“Everyone who has spent so much as a single night in that house has reported seeing things that simply cannot be explained away after.”

“There isn’t anything in that hall. I just let that silly ghost story get in my head.” he says. His voice lacks the conviction he seeks.

“I did the research,” he tries again. He wants his heartbeat to slow back down. He wants his breathing to feel normal. He wants to quit being scared. “I did the research, and I couldn’t find anything about this place.”

Louis believes that records of anything suspicious can be found online if a person knows where to look. He always knows where to look. He has used the internet to dig up all kinds of information on just about everything. He has never bought something that he has not personally and thoroughly investigated through this method. Of course, he researched the house.

It turned up clean. There are no horror stories online surrounding it. No bad ratings. No police reports. There’s nothing but his realtor’s words to warn him about the house that is now his.

Drip. Drip. Drip. Slap!

His heart stops at the sound of another footstep on the far side of the hall.

“It’s not her.”


“There is no her.”


“Old buildings make all sorts of sounds, and they just seem a lot louder outside the noise of the city.”


“There’s no such thing as ghosts.”

Only he believes now what he didn’t believe yesterday. He believes that there is such a thing. He believes this because he has no other way to rationalize the thing he saw in the bathroom mirror.

The dripping thing.

It is humanoid and dark. It has slender, almost feminine outlines. Its features are shrouded in shadows. It quivers at the edges, where it’s most translucent. It drips constantly. There is an almost smoky stain in the tub downstairs. The thing left that stain with drops of transparent, black liquid that fall from and perhaps make up its body.

He believes that it was real. That he saw it there. He believes he hears her dripping in the hallway.

“I just let the realtor get into my head,” he whispers into the darkness. It is so very dark in his room.

He has yet to fully settle into the new home. This first day has been moving boxes and dragging his mattress up the stairs by himself. His friends won’t be able to make it out until Monday, and not a bit of furniture is properly assembled. It’s only now he realizes how devoid his room currently is of the little electronic lights to which he is accustomed.


The expensive desktop that he runs nearly 24/7 is across the hall, waiting to be set up in his office. It cannot offer the comforting glow of its screen.


There is no alarm clock plugged in, with its red LED numbers.


No charging light on his phone.


No phone.

Fear seizes him as he reaches for his phone only to find it missing. Not only is the sound drawing nearer, but he doesn’t even have the ability to reach out to someone at his fingertips. It’s only rarely that he finds himself without a device of some sort. In his exhaustion though, he hasn’t brought a single electronic to bed. Not even his phone.

“It must be downstairs,” he says. 

Past the ghost, he thinks.

He shakes his head, as if to disregard his own foolishness. It doesn’t work. The icy pit in the bottom of his stomach will not go away.

He tries to blame the solitude of the location. The realtor. The utter darkness. Never in his life has Louis been so disconnected from everyone and everything.

That thought is enough to terrify him on its own.

Drip. Drip. Drip. Slap!

“This is ridiculous.”

He will not cower, he decides. He is not some scared boy. He throws the blanket off himself and stumbles blindly toward the bedroom door. He is determined to settle the matter once and for all.

“It isn’t like in the movies.”

His hand clenches tightly around the doorknob, but does not turn it. He remembers more of their conversation against his will.

His realtor’s voice was hollow once he’d signed the paperwork. Resigned. “It’s not a gradual thing that will ease you in. One night is all it will take.”

Yet here he stands, having moved in anyway after pouring every cent he had into the place. His resolve wavers in much the same way the transparent, dripping, outline of the woman wavered earlier in his periphery. He wants to believe she wasn’t there.


He wants to believe she isn’t standing there dripping on the other side of his door.


He wants to swing it open and put his fears at ease. He wants to be greeted with an empty hallway.


He lets go of the doorknob in defeat.

He isn’t sure.

He doesn’t know that the hallway will be empty. In fact, he doesn’t think it will be. He especially doesn’t know what he’ll do if his entire belief system is, in a single night, proven to be false. The thought of this scares him away from the door and back to the warmth of his bed.

He’s ashamed of his illogical thoughts and his cowardice alike. Still, he doesn’t regret the decision. The stakes were simply too high to be tested. He is more comfortable in the cozy life of a skeptic. He does not wish to have his world view questioned. He likes having a life he understands.

Drip. Drip. Drip.

“Just a leaky faucet,” he tells himself. He pulls the blanket tighter around his shoulders to cancel out the chill of his fear.

He does not believe that there’s a leaky faucet.

He does believe that he’s won. For tonight, at least. The house has not shown him anything that can change him beyond repair. He has not seen the thing inside it standing before him with much clarity. It can all still be explained away soundly. He feels right not to have turned the knob.


The door swings open.

The sound approaches.

Drip. Drip. Drip.

previously published in The Sirens Call, issue 49 (Spring 2020)

Cat Voleur is a writer of dark, speculative fiction and co-host of the Slasher Radio podcast. Her day job consists of script writing for ever-growing YouTube channels focused on media breakdowns. She currently resides in a house with her army of rescue felines. In addition to her writing, she can often be found reading, gaming, or pursuing her passion of fictional languages.

photo by James Frid and FWStudio (via pexels)