Matt and Paul are engineering students. They do not have a lot of money, but they need somewhere to live. They find an old house that is very cheap, but it has no furniture. They look in charity shops and secondhand shops for furniture. They buy beds, desk, a sofa, a table and chairs and other things but the house still looks very empty.
One day, Paul is riding home from university when he sees a chair outside a charity shop. It is a big, old armchair. He gets off his bike and goes to look at it. It looks very comfortable and it is free! He tells the man in the shop he wants the chair. The man says, “It’s strange. Many people have looked at that chair. They say they want to buy it.
They sit in it, and then they change their minds. They go away. It has been in this shop for a long time, so I thought I would put it outside and give it to anyone who will take it away.”
Paul calls Matt. Matt has an old van. He comes to the shop. They put the armchair in the van and take it back to the house.
The chair looks very good in their living room. Paul and Matt are very pleased but they don’t sit in it because they are busy. Their girlfriends are coming for a small party. After dinner, they sit in the living room. Matt’s girlfriend Cindy, sits in the new chair. After a while she moves to the sofa. “Don’t you like our new chair, Cindy?” asks Paul.
“No,” says Cindy. “It makes strange noises.”
Everyone laughs at Cindy.
A storm blows up and the weather is very bad so their girlfriends go home early. Just after they leave, there is a lot of thunder and lightning and the power goes off. Paul and Matt clean up the kitchen and go to the living room. It is very dark and quiet because they have no TV and no electric lights.
Paul sits in the new chair “Aah,” he says. “This is so comfortable! And it was free!”
Matt is sitting on the sofa. “What’s that?” he asks.
“What’s what?” asks Paul.
There are strange sounds coming from the chair. There is a rattling noise, like something knocking. Paul stands up. The sound stops. He sits down hard and this time there is a different noise. It sounds like a child crying.
He jumps up, and the sound stops. “Someone, or something, doesn’t want you to sit in that chair!” laughs Matt.
Paul’s face is white. “Don’t joke. It’s not funny. There is something wrong with that chair!”
Paul and Matt go to bed. When they leave the living room, they shut the door very carefully.
The next morning the sun is shining. Matt is cheerful but Paul is worried. “I think we should take that chair back to the shop,” he says. “It is a very scary chair.”
“No!” laughs Matt. We were tired last night and it was dark, and cold. We imagined those noises. Let’s go and sit in it again.”
The living room is bright. The chair does not look scary, but Paul won’t sit in it. He stands by the door. “No way!” he says.
“OK. I will,” says Matt. He sits in the chair, and they both listen. They can hear the knocking sound. Then Matt stands up and pushes the seat of the chair, very hard. ‘Mama!’ the sound comes from inside the chair!
He pulls the cushion of the chair seat. “Come and look!” he says. “I have found the ghost!”
Paul comes and looks. The chair is old and the material over the springs has holes in it. Matt puts his hand through one of the holes and pulls out a money box! He shakes it. It makes a rattling noise. Then he puts his hand in again and pulls out a doll. He pushes the doll’s stomach. ‘Mama’.
Paul is happy. “Mystery solved. No ghosts. Just a small child’s hiding place for her toys.
“But I wonder what happened to her?”
“Don’t think about. We have a very good chair and it was free!” answers Matt.