*Yes, the camels will come, eventually. But Euclid took a claw from Greebo just above his eye. It’s probably nothing but I didn’t want to drag it through Christmas, when the vet is closed, and have it get massive and maybe have the cat lose his eye. So we took him in for a shot of Convenia (slow release antibiotic) but course, the clinic was packed with people who don’t want to leave it till after the holidays, whatever it is. So… an hour and change there. And then my mom is supposed to call, I have the house to clean and cookies to bake, but yes, I’ll do camels first. After I have lunch. Which hasn’t happened yet for reasons of running around like crazy people. Meanwhile I leave you with a promo for Amie Gibbons’ novella.*
Evie Jones and the Spirit Stalker:
Mandy looked behind her like she was checking the door was still closed. “I… no.” She chewed on her bottom lip again for a second. “I think I’m being haunted.”
“You mean by a ghost?” I froze, eyeing her with fear sliding icy fingers up my heart. “Why do you think I could help with a haunting?”
“I talked to my professors and some of the graduate assistants who know about this stuff. And they said, you know, ghosts are possible. They show up all the time throughout history. And they had theories, but I could tell they didn’t believe me. But after that, Chet said you might be able to help with more than just the theory stuff the professors know.”
“Chet? Ohhhhh, you’re taking anthropology?”
She nodded. “I’m a freshman. Chet’s my TA; he said you could help. He said I had to keep it under wraps. Couldn’t tell anyone because you could get in trouble if people know you… know something about this stuff?” Her voice went up, making it a question.
I rubbed my forehead. Oy vey, I’m going to kill him.
Chet had seen magic at work when we were attacked a few months ago and I swore him to secrecy. We’d dated, but after I lost my job I told him I needed some time to figure out where I was in my life and we were better going back to friends for now. He’d been the one to tell me about the job at the U of U Hospital and put in a good word for me, but other than that, we hadn’t talked in two months.
“Why do you think you’re being haunted?”
“I don’t think I am. I know I am.”
I resisted the urge to roll my eyes. I was the adult here after all. “Okay?”
She nodded again. “It started maybe a week ago. I’m not sure because it was so gradual. You know when something feels wrong and you just shake it off? Like you had a bad dream or the place is too cold so you’re on edge and shivery?”
I waved a hand and nodded. Come on, kid. I’ve got real work to do here… well, kind of.
I blinked and realized she was still talking.
“…so I just shook it off. You know?”
Apparently I hadn’t missed anything important.
“Yeah,” I said.
“But the cold kept getting worse and my roommate couldn’t feel it and then my laptop disappeared.”
“Someone stole it?”
“No. I put it in my backpack, went straight home, and it was gone when I opened it, right after I got home.”
“But you didn’t notice the change in weight?”
“Well, I mean, I ride a bike and put it in the basket. It’s heavy. You know?”
“Okay. What else?”
“Two nights ago, I heard something in the bathroom. It was sort of a thump?”
I wanted to say, “Asking or telling, kid?” I kept my mouth closed. So sometimes I had tact.
“I got out of bed and went in there and the faucet was on. I went to turn it off, and it was like pouring blood.”
I sat up straighter. Okay, that was definitely a sign of a ghost. A pissed off one, and powerful at that. Meant either a poltergeist or a dead witch. Either way, she could be in serious trouble.
“And then I turned on the light and the blood was gone,” she said.
Or she could be a kid with an overactive imagination fried from the bleach she took to her head, and a TA who was all too ready to fall over himself to help her. Oy vey, I was in a pissy mood. Still, I was so going to get Chet back for this.
“I tried telling myself it wasn’t real. It was my imagination. I was freaking out from the noises in the dorms. But my laptop popped up this morning. I pulled it up and the screen saver was a picture of my family, with my eyes crossed out.”
I shivered, sitting back. “Okay, that’s creepy. Do you have the laptop?”
“No. I screamed and ran to the common room to get my roommates. When I got back, the laptop was gone again.”
“I know the professors probably already asked you this, but are you sure you’re not seeing things? Halloween’s on Saturday, creepy decorations are up, there’s horror movies in theaters. You don’t have any proof. Nothing has stuck. If it was a ghost, wouldn’t he leave stuff around for you to show others so you’d get really worked up?”
“Do ghosts like it when people know about them?”
“A ghost pissed and powerful enough to mess with things on our plane wants chaos. Fear. They can’t move on for whatever reason, so they start to lose it and want to take others down with them.”
“Then wouldn’t he keep making only me see things so I’d think I was going crazy? If there was proof, I’d know I wasn’t.”
I shrugged one shoulder. “True, but ghosts aren’t coherent. They aren’t sentient the way we think of it. They’re an echo. A memory. They just react.” I leaned my elbows on the desk, pressing my fingers together in front of me. “Though, if it’s not a ghost, but a trapped spirit, it’d still be coherent. That requires some serious power… and the proper rituals before death to pull it off.”
“You do know about this stuff,” she breathed, grinning. “I knew it!”
“Do I need to say what I’ll do to you if this gets out?”
“Whatever you’re already going to do to poor Chet?”
“Yep… only he’s getting the dull hedge clippers because he’s older and owed me keeping my secret.”
“I’ll owe you forever if you can make this thing go away.”
I pointed at her. “Never say that. I mean it. To anyone, but especially anyone…” I bit my tongue.
“Were you going to say magical? Anyone magical?” She grinned.
“What else has happened, if anything?”
She told me of the bad feeling building up, swearing she was being watched when she was alone, someone peeking into the window when she was at her boyfriend’s place, the cold spots.
“And…” She finally paused for breath. “I’ve been hearing things from other people after I talked to the professors today. I walk past someone and a voice hisses at me. It’s happened a few times and it’s only been like two hours.”
“What does the voice say?”
“It says…” She looked down and when she met my eyes again, hers were filled with pure terror. “It says if I want to play it that way, I won’t live through the night.”