The Red Room by H.G. Wells
Adapted by EFLshorts.com
‘I tell you,’ I said angrily, ‘there are no ghosts*. I do not believe* in them.’ I sat in front of the fire with a glass in my hand. I looked at the old man and woman. They sat in front of the fire with me and warmed their hands.
‘It is your choice,*’ said the old man.
‘I am twenty-eight years old,’ I said, ‘and only children believe in ghosts.’
The old woman looked into the fire. ‘Yes,’ she said, ‘you are twenty-eight years old but you don’t know anything.’
‘You are trying to make me afraid,’ I said and put my glass down on the table. I stood up. There was a big mirror* in front of me. I looked at the mirror and saw my face. ‘I say again, there are no ghosts.’
The old man looked at me and I saw the fire in his eyes. ‘That is your choice.’
Just then, the door opened and another* old man came in. He walked very slowly and he looked a lot older than his friends. He had no hair and his teeth were yellow. He did not look at me. He went and sat in one of the chairs. I watched him sit down slowly.
‘My husband is right*: this has nothing to do with us. It is your choice,’ said the old woman.
‘I know,’ I said. ‘I heard you and I choose to stay. Now please take me to the room, I am tired and I want to sleep.’
‘You can go alone,’ said the old woman. ‘I am not taking you to that room.’
‘All right,’ I said. ‘Where do I go?’
‘The room is upstairs. Go along the corridor* and through a door. The red room is on your left,’ said the old man.
‘Goodnight to you all,’ I said but I did not move.
The three of them looked at me and I did not like the look on their faces. I laughed. ‘I am not going to die tonight. There is no ghost.’
They said nothing.
‘Goodnight,’ I said again and this time I left the room. When I closed the door, I heard the oldest man say something.
I heard him say: ‘Goodbye.’
*ghost (n) – a dead person’s image
*believe (v) – think that something is true
*choice (n) – make a decision (between alternatives)
*mirror (n) – glass that shows our face
*another (det) – one more
*right (adj) – not wrong
*corridor (n) – part of a house whose doors lead to other rooms