''No,' he replied in a voice that touched my boots somehow. 'I am the man who was frightened to death. And
what is more, I am frightened now!'
''So am I!' I managed to utter, speaking instinctively. 'I'm simply terrified.'
''Yes,' he replied in that same odd voice that seemed to sound within me. 'But you are still in the flesh, and
'I felt the need for vigorous self-assertion. I stood up in that empty, unfurnished room, digging the nails into
my palms and clenching my teeth. I was determined to assert my individuality and my courage as a new
woman and a free soul.
''You mean to say you are not in the flesh!' I gasped. 'What in the world are you talking about?'
'The silence of the night swallowed up my voice. For the first time I realized that darkness was over the city;
that dust lay upon the stairs; that the floor above was untenanted and the floor below empty. I was alone in an
unoccupied and haunted house, unprotected, and a woman. I chilled. I heard the wind round the house, and
knew the stars were hidden. My thoughts rushed to policemen and omnibuses, and everything that was useful
and comforting. I suddenly realized what a fool I was to come to such a house alone. I was icily afraid. I
thought the end of my life had come. I was an utter fool to go in for psychical research when I had not the
''Good God!' I gasped. 'If you're not Carey, the man I arranged with, who are you?'
'I was really stiff with terror. The man moved slowly towards me across the empty room. I held out my arm to
stop him, getting up out of my chair at the same moment, and he came to halt just opposite to me, a smile on
his worn, sad face.
''I told you who I am,' he repeated quietly with a sigh, looking at me with the saddest eyes I have ever seen,
'and I am frightened still.'
'By this time I was convinced that I was entertaining either a rogue or a madman, and I cursed my stupidity in
bringing the man in without having seen his face. My mind was quickly made up, and I knew what to do.
Ghosts and psychic phenomena flew to the winds. If I angered the creature my life might pay the price. I must
humor him till I got to the door, and then race for the street. I stood bolt upright and faced him. We were about
of a height, and I was a strong, athletic woman who played hockey in winter and climbed Alps in summer. My
hand itched for a stick, but I had none.
''Now, of course, I remember,' I said with a sort of stiff smile that was very hard to force. 'Now I remember
your case and the wonderful way you behaved . . . .'
'The man stared at me stupidly, turning his head to watch me as I backed more and more quickly to the door.
But when his face broke into a smile I could control myself no longer. I reached the door in a run, and shot out
on to the landing. Like a fool, I turned the wrong way, and stumbled over the stairs leading to the next story.
But it was too late to change. The man was after me, I was sure, though no sound of footsteps came; and I
dashed up the next flight, tearing my skirt and banging my ribs in the darkness, and rushed headlong into the
first room I came to. Luckily the door stood ajar, and, still more fortunate, there was a key in the lock. In a
second I had slammed the door, flung my whole weight against it, and turned the key.
'I was safe, but my heart was beating like a drum. A second later it seemed to stop altogether, for I saw that
there was some one else in the room besides myself. A man's figure stood between me and the windows,
where the street lamps gave just enough light to outline his shape against the glass. I'm a plucky woman, you
know, for even then I didn't give up hope, but I may tell you that I have never felt so vilely frightened in all
my born days. I had locked myself in with him!
'The man leaned against the window, watching me where I lay in a collapsed heap upon the floor. So there
were two men in the house with me, I reflected. Perhaps other rooms were occupied too! What could it all
mean? But, as I stared something changed in the room, or in me--hard to say which--and I realized my
mistake, so that my fear, which had so far been physical, at once altered its character and became psychical. I
became afraid in my soul instead of in my heart, and I knew immediately who this man was.
''How in the world did you get up here?' I stammered to him across the empty room, amazement momentarily
stemming my fear.
''Now, let me tell you,' he began, in that odd faraway voice of his that went down my spine like a knife. 'I'm in
different space, for one thing, and you'd find me in any room you went into; for according to your way of
measuring, I'm all over the house. Space is a bodily condition, but I am out of the body, and am not affected
by space. It's my condition that keeps me here. I want something to change my condition for me, for then I
could get away. What I want is sympathy. Or, really, more than sympathy; I want affection--I want love!'
'While he was speaking I gathered myself slowly upon my feet. I wanted to scream and cry and laugh all at
once, but I only succeeded in sighing, for my emotion was exhausted and a numbness was coming over me. I
felt for the matches in my pocket and made a movement towards the gas jet.