BREAKFAST THE NEXT day was sweet and fun…until Hadrian – who was, you know, my boyfriend – told me he had to head up to Mt. Olympus, and that he wouldn’t be able to take me with him.
“No ghost zone?
“More like members only,” Hadrian clarified.
“And you’re one of those members?”
“I told you, didn’t I? I’m the one out of ten type.”
I coughed ‘show off’ under my breath, expecting to make him smile, but he only continued to look at me. That’s when I realized it was concern turning his silvery gaze into a darker shade of gray, and I quickly plunked myself down on his lap so I could shower his face with kisses. “There’s no need to worry about me, okay?”
But Hadrian still looked far from convinced. “You remember how to use the coin?”
“Aim for the eye.”
“And this.” Hadrian took my wrist and tapped the bracelet he gave me. “Remember what it’s for?”
“Access to ghosts-free zones.”
“I thought I could give you a list of places—-”
I shook my head when I realized what he was getting at. “I don’t want to live my life in a cage.”
Hadrian frowned. “When I’m in Mt. Olympus, I might not be able to sense you’re in danger.”
“I’d have asked someone to look after you if—-”
“They could see me,” I finished ruefully, “but they can’t, so we need to just get rid of the training wheels, and let me do this on my own. Okay?”
“I’m going to be fine.” And to prove this to both of us, I insisted on accompanying him all the way to the basement and waved Hadrian off like a good little girlfriend as he drove away. Big girl now, Saoirse. I watched his car speed up the ramp before turning around the corner. Big. Girl. Now. But before I could even turn around, I already knew…
My fingers curled into fists as I forced myself to stay still. I waited for it to come closer and closer…and then I turned around and slammed the coin…on the ghost’s forehead. Shit. I hurriedly moved the coin down even as my skin crawled at the thought of having to touch another ghost. I finally got the coin covering his eye—-
The ghost screamed as ropes of black water came out of nowhere to twine around his body, and the ghost screamed again when it started tightening. It was the same ghost from Jason’s building, and the realization had me trembling even as I forced myself to look into his too-white eyes. “Who are you?”
“C-Caleb. Please. Let go—-”
“Tell me why you’ve been following me,” I demanded shakily.
Oh shit. If he knew Edith…then had I just used the coin on someone innocent? Maybe someone who was another victim of MS? Panicking at the thought, I yelled out ‘stop’ in hopes that the ropes did voice command, and what do you know?
It actually worked!
The watery ropes disappeared, and I saw Caleb’s body twitched and jerked…just before vanishing into thin air.
“Caleb?” I called out nervously, but only silence answered me back. Shit. I had never thought I could scare off another ghost, but apparently, miracles still happened even in the afterlife.
“AND THAT WAS IT.” HADRIAN and I were in the kitchen, and I had just finished recounting my story while he was taking a couple of containers out from a paper bag. He had brought takeout, and whatever it was, it smelled quite good.
“I never got to ask him anything, but I’m checking Edith’s social media now, and there is a Caleb in her life.” I turned the laptop around to show Hadrian the photos that showed Caleb and Edith together.
“And you’re certain it’s the same man?”
“Exactly identical except for the eyes,” I confirmed.
“And you think he left because you scared him off?”
“Either that…or maybe he sensed your presence? He was acting rather oddly before he disappeared. His body was twitching violently, like someone with an allergy…or maybe he was just afraid. I mean, you did say most ghosts tend to avoid you.”
“They don’t tend to avoid me,” Hadrian corrected mildly as he handed me my plate of lamb chops. “All ghosts actively avoid me, or at least everyone does except you.”
“Superghost,” I reminded him sweetly as I passed him the steak sauce.
But Hadrian acted like he hadn’t heard me say anything. “What else have you found out about him?”
“He’s reported missing by his parents,” I added unhappily, “even days before Edith’s death.”
“You feel bad for his parents,” Hadrian guessed.
“We both know he’s dead, and it doesn’t seem right to let them keep hoping.”
“I’ll forward what you’ve learned to CSI,” he promised. “If they find Caleb’s body, then his parents will be notified.”
“Speaking of CSI…” I looked at him questioningly. “How did your visit go? Any luck in finding the pink leather-bound?”
Hadrian’s lips tightened. “CSI had the photo of the book blown up, and its spine says Alice in Wonderland and 1862 embossed under it.”