Friday, May 2, 2014


I noticed her during pre-calc, a pale girl in a gray dress hanging around, peeping through the window trying to catch my eye. I swore to myself and stared doggedly forward as I tried to pay attention. The bell rang and I finally met her glance. She smiled, thin as a moon beam and I felt the familiar pang of sympathy. I knew I was going to spend my night helping her rather than sleeping.

I waved at her. “Okay, okay.”

The kid in the desk next to mine looked at me, looked out the window and back.

“Loopy Lucy,” he sneered loud enough for me to hear but I ignored him. Jackass. I closed my laptop, gathered up my stuff and shuffled through the crowded halls, thick with the smells of body odor, too much cologne and government-issue disinfectant.

The pale girl lurked between the mobiles where the grass hadn’t yet been trampled down to bare earth by thousands of sneakers. Most of my schoolmates had already left when I found her so we had a little privacy. She looked only a little older than I was, maybe eighteen or nineteen. Her hair hung in rumpled ringlets and her threadbare gray dress seemed suspended from rather than worn on her bony body.

“So?” I started. It wasn’t my nicest opener but I was feeling put out again.

“I got kicked out of my place.”

“Really? Let me guess. You weren’t causing any trouble—no moaning or groaning or messing with stuff that didn’t belong to you—when your housemates just suddenly booted you?”

She opened her mouth to protest but I gave her my best “mom” look. I must have pulled it off because she dropped her head to look down at her scuffed shoes.

“I didn’t mean to cause any trouble. I was just… bored.”

Her gray dress stirred on an unfelt breeze. As I watched her in that pathetic pose that pang of sympathy returned. Maybe it was her fault she had been kicked out of her place but it wasn’t her fault she was stuck haunting the same thousand square feet of land until whatever unstated laws determined she could move on.

“At least tell me your anchor isn’t in their friggin’ crawlspace.”

With my skeleton key (one of the perks of being a Spectral Realtor) it was easy enough to getting in and out of places. But getting all the way down into a crawl space or up into an attic to recover some bit of bone to which a ghost was forever tied without anyone noticing was tricky. You could wait until no one was around, but sometimes that would take too long. A ghost could only survive so long once it had been driven from its anchor. We were already on the clock.

“No,” the girl said with a smile. “It actually got churned up when they planted their roses.”

“Great, that’ll be easy enough. Once we’ve got that we’ll have all the time in the world to find something new.”

There was a new development on the north-east part of town that had some great floor plans and it would take decades for people to start thinking “ghost” when things started going bump in the night. I could practically taste my commission already.


Some images © Adam Borkowski |

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