Ghosts can only haunt the places where they had died. This was why he was so careful to never kill anyone in his own home.

He was clever and well-connected enough to not be concerned about being caught, but a haunting was something that terrified him. He refused to be at the mercy of something that he could not fight. Most sensible people did not believe in ghosts, so it was unlikely that he would be able to seek help if he were to find himself so assailed.

And, to be clear, he was a sensible person. He was simply also a person who knew ghosts existed. The first time he saw one he had spent too long at a scene after he had finished. His meditation was interrupted by a woman’s weeping. The very same sound that he had permanently ended hours earlier. For a moment he saw the woman, whole and standing and impossible, and he had fled. He had needed to hire a cleaner for that one, which was embarrassing, but he could not return.

In the following weeks, walking the streets of his city, he began to feel unsafe for the very first time. Faces in windows were staring directly at him. Some he recognised.

At one point, he found himself about to enter his favourite restaurant when he saw a pale face through the mezzanine window. He then remembered the waiter who had spilled wine on his favourite shirt. He left and never returned. For him, they would deliver.

It was easy enough to avoid the most recent sites. The problem, however, was that buildings change. He had been indulging his habits for a very, very long time and could not remember every location. Many had been chosen by passion and circumstance.

Warehouses that were now shopping centres.

Empty lots that were now apartment buildings.

A school that was now a petrol station.

He refused to leave the city that had protected him from the cruelty of the court system, and so in his increasing age he decided to create a safe home for himself.

He could not trust that an existing building was not a conversion from somewhere he had been, so he arranged something new. A high rise, designed to be the tallest in the city. He made arrangements for a top-floor penthouse, spending a good fortune to bypass building regulations and existing plans.

He would live out his remaining years there in peace, he decided. All he had to do was to not kill anyone in this new home. He had tried to quell these urges in the past and so knew that, for him, willpower would not be enough. The elevator to the penthouse was disabled after his arrival. Deliveries arrived via a dumbwaiter, too small for a person to use. He paid up the building for the foreseeable future and willed it to a trust to hold it empty for another hundred years. He would risk no interlopers.

He was isolated. He felt the urge often, but remembered the faces staring at him through windows. Smiling. Eager. So he stayed.

In his final days, almost broken and mostly mad, he had tried to leave. He broke his own neck trying to fit inside the dumbwaiter.

He remained there, bent and broken as his body was pulled below but unwitting employees.

Over time, the building was torn down and he found himself suspended, much too high above his city. Below him, numerous faces stared gleefully as he remained in agony. Buffeted by endless wind and rain. Uprotected and alone.

His city, far below, was now an everlasting witness to his torment.

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