Missy Good

“Nice.  In a wholly commercial, made in China kind of way.”

Kerry stepped back to observe the distribution of synthetic polymer masquerading as cobwebs spread across the bushes in front of their new porch.   She scattered a few plastic spiders in their depths, then looked up as a cavalcade of haunted house sounds emitted from the speakers nearby.

“Yow.” Dar repeated, as she emerged from the front door. “Looks nice.”

“Looks tacky.” Kerry disagreed. “But it’s going to be fun to have our first party in our new digs.”  She looked at the house in approval, smiling a little at the hanging pumpkins with LED bulbs inside them hanging over the back porch.

The place was mostly empty, they’d signed the closing paperwork just two days prior.  It was waterfront, of course, and expensive, but it had almost an acre of land around it and a wall, and a long driveway lined with gardenia bushes.

The house itself was fairly new, five bedrooms and five baths, with the porch around all sides of it, pool and Jacuzzi in the back and a boat dock literally steps from the pool deck she was standing at the edge of.

Kerry adored it.  The place was minutes from work, and they had enough trees planted along the wall to create a private oasis they could still walk to anything from.     It had taken them a few months to find it, but now that they had, she was looking forward to moving in.

“Good thing we decided to have a party here before we moved everything over.” Dar conveniently read her mind. “Plenty of space.”

“Considering we now have a hundred and fifty employees? Yes.”  Kerry chuckled.  “Did we decide on what food to have tonight?  We’re picking it up in your truck. It’s not fitting in my car.”

“What else for Halloween?  Barbeque.”  Dar acknowledged.  “With eyeballs in the baked beans and blood colored sauce.”  She rocked up and down on her heels, glancing back over her shoulder at the empty dock and water beyond it. “Nice day. “

“We got lucky with a early cold front.” Kerry reviewed the decorations on the outside of their new deck, then she patted her partner on the back and climbed up the steps to the porch, pushing open the back door with it’s inset of stained glass and entering the hall.

Wood floors,  nicely sweeping stairs up to the second level and third.  Echoingly empty and as she shut the door it did echo.   It would take a while to figure out how they wanted to decorate, but for right now she’d planned folding tables in the space to hold all the food.

To one side there was a nicely laid out kitchen, with a gas range and a large, right now empty refrigerator.  The cabinets were wood, the countertops were cultured stone and the floor was rough riverstone type tile.  

There were windows everywhere, all of them with hurricane resistant glass but light poured in from every side and lent the interior a sense of space and brightness that made her smile.

A knock on the front doors and she went to open the double hung portals, finding a set of men in matching purple polo shirts outside. “Hi there.”

“Hi. We’ve got stuff for a party?” The nearer one said. “Tables and chairs?”

Kerry moved back and opened the doors all the way. “Right in here.” She indicated the hallway. “Tables against the wall.”

The man looked around. “NO problem.” He turned and they went back to a truck that was pulled up in the driveway. 

Kerry stepped out on the front porch, looking out along the drive to the gates that she’d left propped open.  The land between them and the house was scrubby grass, typical Florida type and no particular landscaping.

She’d marked a corner for a little rock garden, but figured most of the space would be used by their dogs as a glorious playpen.   They’d brought both Labs over the previous day and the galomping barkfest had indicated both dogs approved.

Today they’d left them at the condo.   Kerry went over and sat down on the porch swing, pushing it lightly back and forth as she amused herself imagining how she was going to shift things from there to here and make them fit.

The second level had three bedrooms, two plus the master that filled the whole back half of the floor, with windows overlooking the porch, pool and boat slip.   The top level had two huge loft rooms they intended on making into offices.

It was theirs, and they had space, and the dogs and she and Dar were going to be happy here. 


The sun was setting and the party was starting.    Dar stripped yet another case of sangria out of it’s packaging and got it chilling in the big refrigerator.   Creepy Halloween sounds were drifting through the house among the voices of their guests and the smells of barbeque.

“I like this place.”  Ceci strolled into the kitchen.  “You kids picked well.”

Dar smiled at her mother.  “Glad you like it.”   She said. “I think they’re grilling some vegetables for you out there.”

“Kerry is, yes.”  Ceci agreed. “Really nice of her since an entire evening of eating beans with whatever those eyeballs are would be unkind to your father.”

Dar chuckled. 

“So did they tell you about the ghost yet?”

Dar paused and eyed her. “What?”

Ceci perched on a stool on the other side of the half counter that made up the breakfast nook.  “Why this place was abandoned?  The guy who built the place for his daughter?” She half turned as Andrew came over with a plate. “Why thank you.”

Andrew put the plate down.  “That’s some good barbecue there, Dardar. “ He commented. “That from round here?”

Dar was happy enough to sidestep the ghost conversation.  “Yeah, that old place down on US 1.  The one that burned down a year or so back? They built up again.” She heard the doorbell ring. “Scuse me.”

Ceci contentedly munched her grilled eggplant and red peppers. “I do like this place, Andy.”

He slid onto a stool next to her. “Me too. Minds me a bit of the house I done grew up in.” He glanced around. “Scept it’s kept a sight better and not old.”  He looked around. “Same big entering place and these here big rooms.”

“And the porch, I guess.”

“Yeap.” Andy got up. “Going to get me more of the ribs.”  He ambled out and went outside, where the hot foods were being kept that way by t-shirted staff from the barbeque joint and picked up a heavy duty paper plate. 

Behind him, in the boat slip, his own boat rested, rocking just slightly on the water and once he got to the end of the line, he found a seat where he could balance the plate on his knee and look at the gathering.

Good part of company staff was there, blissfully not in costume.  They looked happy and relaxed, the company was growing and doing well after all and they’d just signed the lease on the property next door to the office so they could expand.

Andrew nodded slightly to himself.  Off to one side, he spotted a wheelchair, surrounded by polo shirted bodies in khakis and as they shifted he saw one of the new staff, a brown haired gal in the programming group hand over a plate to the chair’s occupant.  “That there worked out.” He commented to himself, selecting a rib from his plate.

“Hey pops!”   Mark Polenti took a seat next to him.  “This is great, huh?”

Pops.  Andrew eyed him with a tinge of skepticism.  “This here’s a nice party.” He agreed. “Plenty of space for it here. Could not have done this over on that there island place.”

“Nope.” Mark took a swig of his beer. “Man I can’t believe they found a place with this much property down here, especially on the water. They lucked out.” He looked around in admiration. “With a pool AND a Jacuzzi AND a boat slip. Holy crap.”

And a nice house.  Andrew regarded the back of it, with it’s wrap around porches on the first and second level. “Yeap.”  He drew a breath to say more, then stopped as his eyes tracked a shadow on the third floor of the house. “Scuse me.” He got up and put the plate down. “Got some folks going where they shouldn’t.”

Mark watched him head for the house.  “They’ll only make that mistake once.” He said as a tall, angular figure sat down next to him in the chair Andrew vacated. “Hey Sev.” 

“This is amazing.” Sev replied. “My second day here, and already a party.”

Mark chuckled. “A party at the owner’s new pad.” He agreed. “You having fun?”

Sev smiled briefly. “I don’t know a lot of people yet.” He said. “Who was that man that you were speaking to here?  I have not met him.”

“Ahh. That’s Andy Roberts, Dar’s dad.”  Mark replied.  “He’s in charge of security for the company. “

“I thought the big man Carlos was in charge?”

“Carlos is cool, he’s an old bud of mine. He’s in charge up to a point, but like, he looks like he can break someone’s neck?”


“Mr. Roberts has.”  Mark sucked a bone clean.  “He’s a super guy, but don’t mess with him.”

Sev settled back, his eyes a bit wide. “Oh. I see.”


“How’d the veggies come out?”  Kerry entered the kitchen, and retrieved a bottle of water from the refrigerator.  “I’ve got some artichokes on.”

“Oh, yum. Best I ever did with those is set them on actual fire.”  Ceci grinned at her.  “They’re great, Kerry, and thank you for making sure I didn’t starve to death in this meatfest.”

“No problem.” Kerry opened the water and squeezed a mouthful of it.  “It made me a little less guilty because I had some too.  They said they’d bring salads, but their idea of salads have more calories than an ice cream sundae.”

“Oh, you mean those bowls weren’t ice cream?”  Ceci sounded surprised. “I thought they were. I was wondering why they weren’t melting.”

Kerry chuckled. “Potato and macaroni salad, and something called ambrosia?”

“Ahhh. I have to go get some of that. Brings back memories of potlucks on the base.”  Her mother in law smiled. “Not entirely good memories, but still. Dar liked the cherries in the ambrosia.”

Kerry eyed her mother in law for a moment, then decided the reference wasn’t a potentially racy one calculated to make her blush.  “Is that a southern thing?’

“Eh. I think it’s mostly a soccer mom in the burbs sort of potluck thing.  It’s pretty much everything you have in a can in your pantry with coconut dumped in it.”  Ceci said. “It’s whipped cream, marshmallows, cherries, mandarin oranges, coconut, and I think sometimes pinapple.”

Kerry made a face.

“Listen, kid, when you get that last minute call to bring a dish, you improvise.”  Ceci cut off a piece of eggplant and munched it.  “So how about you? Hear about the ghost in this place?”

“Oh no.” Kerry sighed. “Don’t tell me that.”


Kerry waited a moment, and they looked at each other as Ceci chewed her vegetables. “A ghost?”  Kerry repeated mournfully.  “C’mon I wanted to like this house.”

Ceci shrugged. “Hey it’s just what I heard in that little fortune telling place down the street. They know all about this place, apparently. “

“Oh boy.”

“Seems like the guy who had this place built, was a little nuts. His daughter was supposed to live in it, but she ran away and joined a circus or something.”  Ceci supplied, since Kerry seemed to be a somewhat willing audience.   “He tried to hunt her down, but she’d apparently married the dog faced boy and he chased the father back here.”

“Not really.”

“Well, maybe it was the strongman.” Her mother in law relented. “Anyway the gal at the my little pony shop said they’d heard the old man was killed and buried on the property somewhere.”

Kerry covered her eyes.

“And that he haunts anyone who tries to live here.”  Ceci assured her.  “They swear they see him on the upper landings late at night.”

“Mom.” Kerry parted her fingers and peered piteously at her.

The older woman lifted her hands in exaggerated innocence. “Hey, she’s a fortune teller. I’m sure she’s telling the truth.”   She chuckled at the expression on Kerry’s face.  “Anyway they’ve got some really nice crystals there so I got some of that with my ghost tales.”

“Are they pagans too?”

“No.” Ceci shook her head. “They’re fakes, and Lutherans, and I wasn’t about to start drawing pentagrams in the dust on their windows to send them screaming into the street but they’re harmless enough.”

“Fakes with fake ghost stories.” Kerry said, firmly.


They both looked at each other, then Kerry got up.  “Let me go grab the artichokes before they burst into flames.”   She set her bottle of water down and trotted off towards the deck.


Andrew climbed the stairs up one level and paused, listening.  He could hear plenty of sound beneath him, but nothing above. He continued climbing upward to the third level, and paused again, going still.

It was all quiet, not even the sound of the house settling around him.  “Huh.” He grunted under his breath before going to the right hand side room and looking around.  It was completely empty as the rest of the house was, with a high vaulted ceiling and huge windows overlooking the back.

He walked over to them and peered out, seeing nothing unusual.   He examined the wooden floors, but they were newly polished and immaculate – the house agents had buffed the place up for it’s new owners in meticulous detail.

With a shrug, he walked over into the second space, finding it equally empty.  A survey of the big French doors out to the balcony found them locked.


He opened the doors and went outside, going over to the external circular steps that led all the way down to the ground and started down them.


“What was that?”  Ceci asked Dar, as she returned from the barbeque.

“What was what?”  Dar looked around.

“That sound.”

Dar listened, slowly turning as she heard creaks over her head.  “Someone went up there.”  She exhaled. “Let me go chase them back down.” She went to the inside stairs and started up them, moving up past the second level to the third and walking quickly across the landing to peer into the two big lofts. “Hello?”

But it was quiet, and empty. Dar felt a faint draft and went to the balcony doors, finding one of them slightly ajar.  She opened it and peered out,  then walked out and went to the rail to look down.

She heard a whistle, and looked down to see Kerry waving at her. She waved back, then turned and went back inside, dismissing the sounds.  She trotted down the steps and went back past the kitchen. “Must have been just the floor settling.”

“If you say so.”  Ceci picked up her plate. “I’m going to find artichokes I hear might be grilling.”  She went out the back door, with Dar at her heels, and they joined the crowd around the pool outside.  

“Hey Dar, where are the pups?”  Colleen asked.  “Thought they’d love this crowd.”

“They would, but they also love the pool and jump into it every chance they get.”  Dar sat down next to her.  “Then climb out and shake themselves. Not sure you all would have enjoyed it.”

Everyone laughed,  as Kerry came over and perched on the arm of the Adirondack chair Dar was sprawled in.  “What were you upstairs for?” She leaned over and whispered into her partner’s ear.

“Thought I heard someone up there.”  Dar answered. “But it was nothing.”

“You haven’t been listening to your mother’s ghost stories, have you?”

Dar rolled her eyes, leaning her head against Kerry’s side as Kerry draped one arm casually over her shoulders.  “I wasn’t worried about ghosts, I was worried about someone tripping and falling down the damn stairs.”

“Uh huh.”

Dar took a sip of her freshened drink and dismissed the issue, as the little, local, rock group in the corner near the Jacuzzi started up and sent a roll of noise out over the water. 


“Glad we had that catering company come in and clean up.”  Kerry was sitting at the kitchen counter, in their now blessedly quiet and mostly empty new house.  “Wow. What a party.”

Dar trudged into the kitchen, stifling a yawn.  “I think everyone had fun.”  She took a seat on a stool that had been moved into the center of the kitchen.  “Is it really four am?”

“It’s really four am.”  Kerry confirmed. “Mom and Dad went back over to the island, and they said they’d take care of the kids.  You got that air mattress in the truck? Want to stay here overnight?”

“Yes.”  Dar nodded. “I’ve got that whole camping setup in the truck. I’ve almost gotten over our vacation enough to use it.”

Kerry chuckled.

“So let me go get that.” Dar pushed herself to her feet. “And we can get some sleep with the prospect of having barbeque for breakfast ahead of us.” She went through the big entry hall and out the front door, turning right and going over to the separate double garage where she’d parked.

Far off, she could hear continuing celebration.  It felt a little strange to hear that much humanity close by – she’d been living out on the exclusive island for long enough to get used to walking out at night and hearing nothing but the surf and some crickets.

Whistling softly under her breath she went to the door and unlocked it, opening it up and flipping the light on inside. 

One half of the space was empty, the other held her sports truck and she went over and opened the door and stuck her head inside.

A loud sound mad her jerk upright and she looked around, stepping up on the running board of the truck to look over it.

The garage was, save her and the truck, empty. It was concrete block construction with a poured concrete floor and shelves along the back wall.

Dar stepped down off the running board and circled the truck,  walking over to the other wall and then back along to where the shelves were.

“Ah.”  She picked up a paint can lid, lying on the floor. “That’s what fell.”  She put it back on the shelf and went back to the truck, rummaging inside foe the carry bag that held the air mattress in it, and pulling it out. 

Inside was a crate with some of their other camping gear in it, this she pushed gently aside, just retrieving the pillows and light blankets.   She gathered it all up and shut the door pausing when she thought she heard a scraping near the door.

She turned, expecting to see Kerry there, but seeing nothing but the door swinging open, apparently in the wind.   She waited, then picked up the gear and went out the conveniently open portal, kicking it shut behind her.

The door to the house opened and the scent of hot chocolate floated out,  making her smile as she approached the porch and climbed up onto it.   It surrounded the house, and she glanced down along it as she crossed to the door, then halted as she caught sight of a shadowy figure escaping around the corner near the front.

“Dar?”  Kerry poked her head out.

“Here, take this in.” Dar handed the bundles to her. “Thought I saw something up there. Maybe a raccoon or something.”

“Oh great.  Get him traveling before we bring the dogs here.” Kerry took the bundle from her partner’s arms and maneuvered it inside, starting up the steps to the second level.   

She paused on the landing, trying to decide which room to plop the gear into.  After a moment she shrugged and went along the hall to the back of the house, and the big master suite that filled the entire back end of the building.

Huge.  Full of high ceilings and arched windows, including two big bay windows that overlooked the water and had wooden built in seats with leather cushions on them.   She put the bed down in one corner and then picked up the bag of supplies, bringing it to the big en suite bathroom that included it’s own full size Jacuzzi tub.

She sorted out their sundries and walked back out into the room, hauling up as she heard a door shut down the hall from the other bedrooms.

She poked her head out and looked to her right, where there were two rooms on one side of the central hallway and two on the other, with the master at the end.  All the doors were shut, and she frowned, trying to remember if she’d left any of them open.

She hadn’t.   She walked down the hall and pushed gently against the doors, but they were closed tight, and the ones across the opening were the same.   With a shake of her head, Kerry walked down the steps to the bottom floor and walked through the kitchen to the side door.

It was half open. She pushed it outward and emerged onto the porch, looking around for her partner. “Dar?”

She heard a faint swish of water, and it drew her to the back of the house, where she’d left the lights on near the pool.   “Dar?” She repeated, coming out onto the deck, and shading her eyes from the halon lights.

The pool wasn’t lit, and she glanced down at the surface of it, coming to a halt and inhaling sharply as she thought she saw a figure floating face down.

She didn’t stop to think, running over to the edge and jumping in, letting out a yell as she pushed through the water reaching for the shadow on the top of it.  “Hey! Hey!”

“Kerry!”  Dar’s voice erupted into the night. “What in the hell are you doing?”

The lights flipped on and the pool went from dark shadows to rippling well lit teal, and Kerry stopped moving as she scanned the water, seeing nothing but water in front of her. “Oh crap!” She sighed.

A moment later Dar was in the pool with her, all wide eyed anxiety as she swam over. “What’s wrong?”  She asked, standing up and looking Kerry over. “Did you fall in?”

Kerry looked abashed. “You’re going to think I’m nuts but I thought I saw someone floating in the water here.” She admitted. “So I jumped in to save them.” 

Dar relaxed and grinned. “Shadows.” She pointed at the palm trees on either side of the pool. “The moon just came out.”

Kerry nodded. “Yeah.” She could see now the faint image reflected on the top of the water, with the palms outstretched leaves looking like arms.  “Now I feel like an idiot.”  She sloshed through the water towards the steps, pulling Dar along with her.  “We need to put a fence around this thing.”

“We do.”  Dar agreed. “Shadows are all over the place tonight. I thought I saw one too, in the back here but it turned out to be nothing.”  She said. “C’mon, lets get into dry clothes”

They trudged up out of the water and walked up the steps arm in arm, leaving wet splotches in their wake.


Kerry ruffled her hair, pausing to glance in the mirror.   “I like this bathroom.”  She said, as Dar entered.  “Especially that bathtub.”

Dar chuckled as she came up behind her partner and leaned against her.  “Glad we found this place. I thought we were going to end up in that little two story house with the big ficus tree in front of it.”

“Me too.”

“Would have taken a ton of construction work.” Dar ran a brush through her hair.  “This hasn’t really been used.”

“No.” Kerry followed her into the master suite, which looked ridiculous really with their air mattress in one corner. “I wonder why, Dar?  This is a gorgeous property.   It wasn’t even that expensive. Less then a lot of the ones we were looking at.”  She looked around at the spacious room. “What a great space this is going to be when we move our stuff into it.”

“It is.”  Dar joined her.  “Especially the little mini kitchen in the hall.” She went to the expansive French doors and opened them, stepping out onto the balcony and going over to rest her hands on the railing.  “This place had everything we were looking for.”

They both turned as they heard the door slam below. “What in the hell?”   Dar started back inside and headed for the stairs, rambling down them at an almost reckless speed.

“You know.” Kerry grabbed the hairbrush from the bathroom and ran after her.  “Most people, hearing a door in their house slamming at 3am would maybe call the police.”

Dar was already on the ground floor and most of the way to the front door by the time Kerry got down the steps and she bolted after the taller women. “Dar, turn on the lights!”

“No, I want to see if someone’s outside.” Dar objected, sliding past the door to the window and peering through it. “I turn the lights on I lose my night vision.”

Oh of course.   Kerry thumped up next to her and looked outside, seeing nothing remarkable except for their new front …  “Dar, what do we call this? It’s not a lawn.”

“What do we call what?”  Dar was peering busily on both sides of the house.  “The yard?”

Was it a yard?  “It’s more like a .. “ Kerry pondered. “East forty? I can barely see the gates from here.” She moved as Dar did, and followed her as she yanked open the front door and pushed the screen door outwards.  “Where are you going?”

They got outside and Dar paused, then she pointed. “Someone’s running. There.”  She took off after them, barefoot and in just a tshirt.  “Hey! Hey Buddy!”

Kerry hesitated, then she ran after her. “I swear, the woman has no fear. None. “ She recalled the story about the ghosts, and wondered briefly as she was catching up to Dar whether it would be more dangerous to find that, or a real flesh and blood intruder.  “Dar!”

“C’mere, you punk!”  Dar sped up and opened her arms, diving at the running figure and wrapping a hold around them as her forward momentum yanked him off his feet and sent them both to the grass.  “Ya bastard!”

Kerry hauled up and had to jump over them to avoid being knocked on her ass. She hopped twice and turned, raising the hairbrush in as threatening a manner as she could manage. “Don’t move buddy!”

The man was grappling with Dar but Dar got the upper hand quickly, ending up pressing his shoulders against the ground as she kneeled on top of him, rendering him unable to sit up.

He reached up to grab her shoulders but his arms were shorter than hers and she shifted quickly, moving her weight over as she got a grip on his biceps and pinned him down.

He had a hood on and was audibly rasping as he tried to breath through it.  Kerry stooped and grabbed the top of the hood, yanking it off.

The moon came out.

They all went still.

“What in the hell is this?”  Kerry finally blurted. “Live action Scooby Doo roleplay?”  She threw the hood to one side.  “Who are you? The former owner of this place or the groundskeeper?”

The intruder was an older man, with ruffled white gray hair and a tanned, lined face.  “Let me go!” He said. “I’m  not hurting anything!”

“You’re not.” Dar responded, in a wry tone. “Cause you’ve got a hundred fifty pounds of really pissed off redneck sitting on top of you.  You’re trespassing, buddy.”   She half turned her head. “Call the cops, Velma”

“No! I didn’t hurt you!” The man protested. “They’ll throw me in jail. C’mon!”

Dar got up and stood, moving warily out of his grabbing range and putting her hands on her hips. “What’s your deal?  You trying to scare us?”

“Yes.” The man sat up. “Didn’t go like it shoulda”

“Dude.” Kerry regarded him. “You really don’t have what it takes to scare us. Honestly.  Who are you?”

He got to his feet and started to back away. “None of your .. hey!”

Dar had grabbed him and hauled him around, shoving him towards the house.  “Move it.” She stalked after him, one hand balled into a fist. 

“I’m an old man!” He protested.

“I’m a helpless woman.” Dar responded dryly.  “Either you tell us why you’re here, and we work a deal, or you go to the cops. Its late and I’m tired.”

The man regarded her through half slitted eyes then shrugged.  “What the hell.” He trudged ahead of them towards the house, shaking his head. “Been that kind of day.  First I get chased around by some kids, then I almost get caught by some big guy upstairs, now this.”


Kerry settled on a stool with her coffee and regarded their unwilling guest.  In the full indoor light he turned out to be a man in his sixties, with a burly figure and a face that looked like he’d made a practice of smashing himself directly into walls on a regular basis.

His name was Jimmy.   “My friends call me Jimmy D.”  The man concluded. “I did some boxing, worked around the racetracks, that kinda thing.”

“Uh huh.”  Dar had slipped on a pair of jeans and a hoodie.  “You’re the guy the guy who knows a guy knows.”

Jimmy thought about that, then smiled. “Something like that, yeah.” He agreed. “Anyway, I got a buddy who gave me a call, asked me to mess around this place, making like a ghost.”

“Why?” Dar asked. “Who is this guy?”

Jimmy shrugged.  “He said a friend of his really wanted to buy this place, and if they could scare you off, and you broke the deal, he’d get the chance to.” He explained. “So he gave me a wad of cash like the last time someone bought this place, and I came in to do the job.”

Dar sighed and let her head rest against her hand.

“Hey, it worked before.”  Jimmy said. “You’re like the fifth, sixth people who closed on this place. Rest of them reneged, said house had prior undisclosed problems and left.”

“Why didn’t this guy just pay the going rate?”  Kerry asked. “Like we did?”

Jimmy exhaled, taking a sip of the coffee he’d been given.  “That’s a long story.”  He said. “Happens I know it.”

“Figured you did.”  Dar offered him one of the left over cupcakes.  “We’d love to hear it.”

Jimmy selected a treat. “You gals ain’t so bad.” He admitted. “I might even forgive you kicking my ass.”  He took a bite, extending his somewhat short legs out and crossing them. “See, it starts with this guy called Cranston Drake.”

“Drake.”  Dar’s brow twitched. “Any relation to the pirate?”

Jimmy shrugged.  “Who knows? Anyway, he usta live on this patch here, see?  Way back in the 1800’s. Had a big place right here on the bay with all kinds a horses, and a big house and stuff like that.”

“Oo. Horses.” Kerry perked up. “I think I like him already.”

“Well, most folks in these parts didn’t. He was a troublemaker.”


A pale, wraith like figure floated comfortably in the third floor space, hands settled over its stomach. “What do you think about this place?”

“As opposed to?” The tall, dark haired, dark wing equipped figure seated on the floor nearby asked. “The other place? Got more room here.”

“Yeah, I like it.” The first figure said. “As much as I like any of these box things.”  There was a plate on the ground in front of the second figure. “This is good.”

“The first exhaled in mock exasperation. “Do you always have to steal their food, Xe?”


The pale wraith floated down to the ground and settled next to her. “What is that?”


“It’s a weird color.”

“Try it.”

A bit of the substance on the plate floated upward and into the paler figures mouth.  “Oh! Wow. That is good.”

“Reminds me of those boar pit roasts we used to have.”

“Mm. Share.”

“Shh.”  The dark figure abandoned the plate and elevated off the ground, wings uncurling and spreading out. “Something’s in the other space over there.”    She stretched and launched upward, passing through the wall between the spaces and plunging into the other vaulted loft.  “Something I don’t like.”

A semi transparent, tall figure turned and faced her, spreading it’s arms out and making a moaning sound.

Xena chuckled. 

Another white figure appeared and rushed at her, and she reached behind her head and removed a sword from the sheath on her back, settling her feet on the ground and lazily waving them forward with her free hand. “C’mon.”

One flew at her.  She twisted the sword in a graceful figure eight and where it hit the milky plasm it sizzled with a rich golden fire, sending pieces flying off into the corners of the room, accompanied by a thin, terrified scream.

“Next?”  Xena flexed her hands in pleasure.  “You’re gonna make my night, boys.  It’s been a while.”

The soaring figures stopped and dissapated.  The one of the ground stared at her with empty eye sockets.  This place is ours!  It screamed silently at her, sending  a blast of frigid air at her and a moment later, the room was full of wraiths, all rushing towards the tall, mocking figure in their midst.

Xena merely laughed as they all met her sword, exploding into a wave of fractured energy that washed against her and shaking herself as though scattering icy drops of water from her skin. “Ahhhh!”

The hollow eyed figure was left.

“This place is mine.”  Xena warned softly, in the silence the followed.  “The living in it are mine.  My blood and bone and spirit. Bother them at your own risk.”

The ghost exhaled a fog of disappointment.

“And by your own risk, I mean I’ll pin your souls to the rocks on the shore of the endless sea if you stick around.”  Xena added, in a cool, remote tone.  “So go.”

The ghost stayed for a minute then faded, leaving nothing but a thick mist that coiled in the center of the room.   Xena leaned forward and blew out gently, and the mist evaporated, leaving nothing but clean air behind it.

Then she stuck her tongue out and blew a raspberry at the departed spirits.

“You scared them.”  Gabrielle entered, holding the now empty plate.

“A kitten you threw at them would have scared them.”  Xena examined her sword, gently kissing the blade before she put it back in the sheath.  “Much less me.”

“Awww..  “ Gabrielle gave her a one armed hug. “My hero.”


“Always and forever, hon.”

The tall figure shook a little as she chuckled silently  “Ah, let em find some other joint to haunt..” Xena said.  “Leave these kids alone.”  She glanced down at the plate.  “Hey. You ate all the good stuff!”

Gabrielle chuckled.

“Some things never change.”  The tall figure mock sighed. “Let’s go outside and get some more.”


Dar closed the door behind their new friend, Jimmy D.   Then she turned and walked back to the steps, climbing up them and crossing over to enter the master suite. 

Kerry was already laying down on their air mattress, her hands folded over her stomach, eyes regarding the ceiling. “Hon, we’re jinxed.”

“No we’re not.”  Dar shed her jeans and hoodie, and joined her on the bed.  “Its perfectly reasonable that we buy a house that sits on land that once held a sanctuary owned by some crusader who protected slaves, runaways and Tequesta indians.”

Kerry looked at her.

“Who had a feud with a bunch of cracker families who hold a grudge to this day and want the land back, since he conned them out of it.”  Dar concluded. “Makes perfect sense. Good for crusader dude. Remind me to call our lawyer in the morning and warn him.”

“Lame ass ghost stories.”  Kerry exhaled.  “Why not just tell the damn truth?”

Dar sprawled onto her back and stretched herself out, then paused. “Ouch.” She dug under her right shoulder and pulled something out into the light, holding it up. “Our little buddy must have left the door open up here and bird got in.” She displayed the big, black feather.  “Pain in my ass.”

Kerry took the feather from her and looked at it, glancing along it’s length and admiring the perfection of the curve of it.  “Kinda pretty.” She carefully put it on the ledge of the windows their air bed was pushed against.  “Maybe I’ll get some ink and try to write with it.”

Dar turned the light out. “Maybe I’ll just buy you a pen.”

The soft chuckle that responded almost sounded like it was coming from more than one direction and as Kerry turned over and snuggled up against Dar’s shoulder,  she felt a faint draft and heard the sound of fluttering wings.