Originally written for a friend. There’s a crick in my neck, and I think that’s what wakes me—the discomf ...
The Girl and the Ghost
This was originally posted as part of a blog tour, but I’ve always really liked it.
I’ve been sitting here since sundown, twitching at every snapped twig and creaking limb. I hate the dark. I hate these woods even more, but that’s the point. Ginny Thomas couldn’t think of anything worse to do to me.
It’s not like I was trying to steal Cal away from her. It’s not my fault she was assigned as my partner for our final English project, or that we found so much in common. I had no idea she even knew I existed, and I sure as hell didn’t ask her to kiss me! Not that I minded, but what was I supposed to do, not talk to her at all? Like that would’ve worked.
The tree beside me creaks loudly. I hold my breath, widening my eyes to look around. I haven’t seen any sign of her yet, but my skin is still crawling, and it’s not because of the cold wind. I know she’s here, somewhere. I can feel her.
I really hate Ginny for this. I suppose I should accept some responsibility for being out here, since I did open my big mouth. But I couldn’t let her make me out as a coward, not in front of the entire grade. Not when Cal was standing right there, watching. Even if she was sticking up for me.
Three nights in the haunted wood, sundown to sunup. That was the dare. Three nights, and Ginny’s posse standing guard, to make sure I stayed.
“Anyone can do a single night,” she’d said. “Even trash like you.” Why, oh why did I open my mouth?
The first night was easy. The second, Ginny tried to scare me out, convincing Tiffany to dress up. But ghosts don’t get bored and rub their eyes. I know. They also don’t drop the f-bomb when their dresses get caught on the undergrowth. Tiffany was pissed when she heard me laughing.
A shiver pulls over me, from head to toe, and I know it’s not the wind. The wind isn’t blowing right now. The trees aren’t moving. I’m deafened by the sudden silence as everything stops, and my breath goes cold.
And then I feel her.
Ghosts are cold, colder than winter, cold as death. They freeze time and air, jealous of life. I’ve met enough of them to know, which is another reason Tiffany didn’t fool me. You can’t fake this cruel, envious, soul-stealing cold, or how it sucks at your life. It’s the worst. I don’t want to turn, because I know she’s there, this once-woman who has so much anger that she’s been here for centuries. I’ve never dealt with a ghost this old, I don’t know if I can.
But I do turn, knowing I don’t have a choice. She’ll come for me, either way. They always do. And as soon as I turn, I know.
I’m not getting out of this one.
At least I got to kiss Cal McCourty. I just wish I could’ve rubbed it in Ginny’s face.