Authors: Tara West
Tags: #horror, #spirits, #ghost, #teen romance, #teen angst, #ya romance, #teen drama, #young adult paranormal, #ya paranormal, #teen paranormal
Copyright © 2011 by Tara West
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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places,
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Table of Contents
Where are they? Where are they? We have to get out
of this house.
My legs were shaking so badly, I could barely
stand on them.
can’t faint, Krysta
“Aaaahhhh!” Making a hasty retreat, I
tripped over my own legs, landing on my butt. Looking at the
puzzled expression of my third-grade classmate, I breathed a sigh
“What’s wrong with you?” Sophie bent over
me, offering a chubby hand. “Why didn’t you come get me?”
I grabbed her by the wrist, unsteadily
pulling myself up. “I…I think I saw a ghost.”
Scowling, she crossed her arms. “Just
because you couldn’t find me, doesn’t mean you should make up a
“I’m not making it up.” I cautiously turned
my head in both directions, terrified he was still in the house. “I
saw him. I really did.”
Lifting her rounded chin, Sophie tapped her
foot. “Okay, what did he look like?”
How could I forget?
I would forever have his image
in my head. In the bathtub, in my bed at night, whenever I was
alone, I would remember his floating spirit, his pained expression.
“He was maybe a little older than us. He had red hair and a red and
white striped shirt.”
“Corbin!” Sophie’s hands flew to her
“Corbin?” Somehow, putting a name to his
spirit only made my experience more real, more frightening.
“My neighbor,” Sophie gasped. “He died two
weeks ago. He had red hair and always wore that shirt. Did he say
anything to you?”
“No.” I shook my head.
Sophie swallowed, her eyes nearly popping
out of her head. “Where did you see him?”
“The living room,” came a raspy voice.
Sophie and I both shrieked.
I turned to see AJ standing motionless in
front of the living room entryway, her sun-kissed skin was now
nearly as white as the ghost. I had forgotten that she still hadn’t
come out of hiding.
“Did you see him, too?” I asked AJ.
Her mouth opened, but nothing came out.
Finally, she just shook her head.
“Then how did you know where he was?” I
She stuttered a few times before spitting
out the words. “I dreamed him.”
A strange chill raised the hair on the back
of my neck. Fear and awe pushed blood through my veins even faster
than when I’d seen the ghost. This couldn’t be happening. This was
just too freaky to be real. As I shakily moved toward AJ, I looked
into her frozen expression, and somehow, I suspected what she
“What do you mean you dreamed him?” I
AJ’s lips trembled, as she wrapped her arms
across her stomach. “I had a dream about this day, us playing, the
ghost. I…I didn’t think it would really happen.”
“What was he doing when you saw him?” Sophie
AJ’s eyes and mouth appeared to be encrusted
in ice, her arms and feet motionless, like she was rooted to the
floor. “He just glided, like he was on skates.” Her tone was even,
but not calm.
Somewhere on the edge of AJ’ voice,
suspended in her breath, was the tangible fear that I also felt in
my bones. Something weird, something major, was happening.
The act of lifting my arm felt like lifting
dead weight, as I pointed toward Sophie’s darkened living room. “He
kind of glided from one side to the other and disappeared behind a
window.” Recalling that image sent new shivers down my spine.
Sophie’s eyes bulged even more and her mouth
fell open. “What window?”
“The window behind the couch,” I said.
Although the window was huge, it was veiled in heavy drapes,
casting an eerie gloom over the area.
I looked at Sophie, who began to sway from
side to side. “You’re turning green.”
She put her hand to her throat. “I was
hiding behind the couch.”
I grabbed their hands, tugging them in the
direction of the front door. “Let’s get out of here.”
I found myself locked in a tight embrace. AJ
was pulling on my hair and Sophie’s nails had dug into my back.
Sophie screamed so loud I thought my eardrums must have burst.
Somehow, I summoned the courage to look in the direction of the
Sophie’s parents stared at us before
exchanging confused expressions with each other. A big suitcase,
which probably caused the loud noise, was lying at their feet.
Pinching Sophie and AJ, I made them open
their eyes. Sophie squealed, running into her mom’s arms before
pulling back and pointing at AJ and me. “Krysta and AJ saw our dead
“What?” Sophie’s dad laughed, narrowing his
eyes in our direction.
“He was in our living room,” she blurted.
“He walked right through me!”
“Rose Marie,” Sophie’s mom looked over my
shoulder. “What is this about?”
I turned to see Rose Marie, Sophie’s older
sister, standing behind us. She was supposed to be our babysitter,
but she took off after Sophie’s mom went to pick up her dad at the
airport. She must have snuck into the house when she saw them pull
“They’re just pretending, Mom.” She laughed,
flinging her body onto the couch. The couch that Corbin had walked
through just minutes earlier.
“No.” Turning to her sister, Sophie stomped
her foot. “They really saw him. They described him and
Grabbing the remote, Rose Marie rolled her
eyes and turned on the TV.
My heart sank as I heard the faint laughter
of Sophie’s parents. We
did see a ghost. Why didn’t they believe
Sophie’s head jerked back toward her mother.
being fanciful girls.”
Sophie’s mom gasped. “I didn’t say that you
Pointing a shaky finger at her mother,
Sophie’s eyes began to water. “But you were
“How did you?” Her mom shook her head.
“Never mind. I don’t want to hear any more ghost talk. You girls
listen, and listen good. There are no such things as ghosts!”
“Emmy Jane, wake up.”
Trying to rub the sleep from my eyes, I
propped myself up on wobbly elbows. An old couple hovered above me
with determined expressions.
Determined to drive me crazy! “What are you
doing in my room?”
The old woman turned a frown. “We need your
She could have been anyone’s grandma. She
could have been
grandma. But I didn’t care anymore. I was tired
of these intrusions into my sanity.
“Don’t you realize I have school tomorrow?”
God, why couldn’t I have been a normal girl?
The old man shifted in front of the woman.
The outline of a long, scraggly beard was still visible despite his
translucent form. “It’s me, your grandpa, Emmy Jane.”
Annoyed, I rolled my eyes. “I don’t have a
The old woman attempted to nudge him, but
her elbow just slipped in his body, like running a knife through
Jell-O. “This ain’t Emmy Jane, Ed.”
Scowling, he shook his head. “Of course she
“Look, aren’t you people supposed to be
sleeping…like all the time?” Why did they wake me up just to argue?
I was tired and getting more annoyed by the second.
Ignoring me, Grandma proceeded to prove
Grandpa wrong. “Emmy Jane was a good head taller.”
Great, now even the dead were poking fun of
my height. What would they criticize next? My dull brown eyes or my
hair which looked more like an electrified mop on my head?
“Hello, dead people, please leave.” Waving
my arms at them, I tried to get their attention. “I can’t go to
school with circles under my eyes.”
Grandpa threw up his hands. “Well then, who
Holy crap! Did people lose their hearing
when they died? They were treating me as if
“I don’t know.” Grandma shrugged. “But she
sees us and that’s all that matters.”
The spirits turned toward me.
I instinctively rubbed my arms. I didn’t
know why dead people always gave me the chills, but they did.
Still, I was relieved to finally get their attention, yet weirded
out, too. I mean, yeah, I was used to dead people waking me up at
night. But I couldn’t say I liked it.
I realized by their clothes that they must
have lived in the last century. Grandpa’s long beard was kind of
goofy, but the way his eyes fixed on me creeped me out. Make that
one eye. The other eye kept rolling to the back of his head.
Although Grandma had a sweet kind of smile, she looked a little too
cliché with her knit shawl and hair pinned back in some
I hoped I wasn’t going to be that uncool
when I died. I mean, I knew I couldn’t take my cosmetics with me,
but I would still insist on a decent hairstyle for my burial.
Hopefully, by the time I died, longer lasting anti-frizz products
would be on the market.
I sighed, realizing that getting rid of
these pests wouldn’t be easy. “Do you mind telling me what you’re
doing in my room?”
“I’m Gertrude.” She pulled tightly on her
shawl before nodding toward Grandpa. “This here’s Ed. We’d be much
obliged for a moment of your time.”
Feeling my teeth grind together, I had to
remind myself to unlock my jaw before I rubbed off all my enamel.
“Do I have a choice?”
“No.” Ed shook his head. “She’s much too
sassy to be Emmy Jane.”
What nerve! As if he had any right to come
into my room without asking, waking me up on a school night. I
clenched my fists into balls, only releasing my fingers after
realizing my nails were breaking skin. “Excuse me, but I was