Ghost Crossing

by Geonn Cannon

Copyright © 2016 Geonn Cannon

She thinks of herself as a bug. Not one of the flashy ones like a grasshopper or a ladybug. Nothing you would notice unless it happened to catch your eye. No, one of the little tiny brown ones. A speck moving across the windshield or the concrete underfoot. All but invisible until you got right up on it. Up close you could see tiny legs moving, but nothing else. These bugs always seemed to be moving with purpose, but they were just going from Point A to Point B with no further plan. When they reached Point B, they either kept going straight or chose a direction to turn.

Holiday was one of those bugs. Holiday wasn’t her real name, of course. She wasn’t able to remember her real name when she first became aware of her new circumstances. She saw a billboard advertising HOLIDAY FUN! The words stuck in her mind as she wandered those first few empty hours. When the memory of her true name did return, she was accustomed to the new label. Besides, it wasn’t like her real name had any purpose now.

She moved along the sidewalks of the city, unnoticed by those brushing by (and occasionally through) her. She sat in unusual places where it was unlikely anyone would sit on her or walk through her. Her favorite place was in the center of the floor of the library’s third floor. It took her weeks of observation before she noticed a triangular space of carpet where no one ever stepped. Patrons, librarians, custodians... they were all focused on getting to their destination in as straight a line as possible. They avoided support beams and shelves. It left quite a few gaps, and one was large enough for Holiday to sit cross-legged and observe.

That was all she did now. It was all she could do. Watch people, observe their behavior and their mistakes, wishing she could shake sense into some of them. In all honesty, she preferred the nights. Fewer people. And the ones who were out were far more fascinating than their day counterparts.

Holiday didn’t really remember her fashion sense from life, but she assumed it was close to what she wore now. A long brown dress, strappy sandals, and a pale-colored sweater over a tank top. She never needed to get a haircut; it was still the same shoulder length it had been when she first became aware.

Aware. Such an odd way to put it. But she hadn’t “woken up.” She was simply walking, one foot in front of the other, down the middle of the street. It was an off-ramp, one that went under and through a hotel. Her awareness began at the edge of shadow where the sun began - walking from the darkness into the light, she always remembered, symbolic or cliché or just a coincidence? She didn’t know why she was walking, but she wasn’t afraid of the cars zipping by her on every side. None of the drivers seemed to notice her. It took her a while to realize that she should get out of their way, and even longer to notice that some of them passed right through her.

So she walked. She thought of herself as Holiday. She sat for hours and observed the routine passage of days. The city lit up. People appeared and went to work. They laughed and ate meals and gathered in groups and fucked and, when the light faded, they vanished back into their hidey-holes. Being removed from the cycle gave her a chance to truly observe the monotony of it. It was like blood moving through a circulatory system.

Now and then if she was truly bored, she would slip into someone’s home. She learned as much about her host as she could, always silently observing. She wasn’t a haunt; she was just curious. She lived with a college girl who left all the lights on at night because, no matter how bravely she talked, she was still afraid of being by herself in the big city. She lived with a man who had once calculated how many pills it would take to kill himself and counted them out every night. He stared at them. He drank. Then he put them back in the bottle and went to bed. One woman startled Holiday by seeming to speak to her, but it quickly became apparent she was holding conversations with empty air, filling her loneliness with words. Holiday answered her anyway.

Eventually her hosts moved on. If they were aware of another presence in their homes, she hoped they felt it was a good and kind haunting. She never hurt or frightened the people she lived with (well, one, but he was an awful man who used his computer to do awful things. She found a way to manipulate the electronics until he finally took his laptop to be repaired, where evidence of his crimes was uncovered, and he was taken away).

Holiday didn’t keep track of the days, months, or years. She didn’t age and the days seemed to go by faster, blending together until remembering where she was on a calendar stopped mattering. Her city was rainy throughout the year and very temperate, so she was able to mostly ignore the changing of seasons. She could observe fashion, however, and it was early spring when she first spotted the young woman standing outside a construction area looking lost. She wasn’t dressed for the weather, in jeans and a light leather jacket. Her blonde hair was cut short, and she kept reaching up to fuss with it as she tried to get the attention of people passing by. No one even glanced at her.

Holiday approached from behind from an angle the other woman couldn’t see her coming. As she got closer it became clear that the young woman wasn’t physically present. Holiday had seen others like her, of course. Most of them lingered near their accident sites or claimed territory to haunt. Some were benevolent. Others obnoxiously insisted they were still alive. But something about this one made her impossible to ignore. The posture and the desperation with which she was trying to get someone’s attention reminded Holiday of her first few days alone in the city.


The sound of her own voice was startling. She’d spent the first stretch of her new existence trying to speak to people or speaking to herself just to break the silence, but she couldn’t remember the last time she’d actually used her voice. The blonde glanced at her, but then went back to scanning the passersby. Holiday stepped back into her line of sight.

“Hello,” she said again.

The blonde stared for a moment. She looked over her shoulder and then faced Holiday with almost heartbreaking intensity. “Are... are you talking to me?”

“Yes.” Holiday smiled in a manner she hoped was kind. “You look confused.”

“I am!” The tension faded from her shoulders. “You have no idea how long I’ve been trying to get someone to help me.”

Holiday said, “What do you remember?”

“I’m...” Her eyes flickered to one side. “I don’t know what... where I am...” She looked up and scanned the street as if it would offer a clue. “I think I’m very confused...”

Holiday smiled and said, “Come with me.”

They walked side-by-side away from the construction. Holiday moved casually, moving to avoid the living if she thought of it but otherwise just going on her way. Her blonde companion still moved to the side and ducked away from the pedestrians who couldn’t see her. She seemed relaxed but no less confused by her predicament as they neared an intersection. Holiday watched her face.

“So. What should I call you?”

“My name...” Her voice trailed off and she closed her eyes. “My... my name...”

Holiday said, “It’s all right. It’s going to come back to you eventually, just like it did for me. I chose a word from a sign to act as placeholder, just because... well... it’s nice to have an identity, even if it’s just in your own head. I call myself Holiday.”

The other woman looked around for a sign. She found one, thin and green, mounted on top of a stop sign. “I’m... I guess I can be Seventh.”

“Seventh isn’t...” She reconsidered. “Seventh would be a fine name.”

“Thank you.”

Downtown, through the crowds. Seventh stopped to observe traffic but, after a few blocks, she followed Holiday off the curb without bothering to look both ways. She screamed when cars passed through them; Holiday barely noticed it anymore. Being with Seventh forced her to see the city through a newcomer’s eyes, to remember how odd everything seemed. She remembered being tired from walking, even though there were no muscles to ache. Now she could walk ten miles, fifteen, hell, she could walk forever without getting tired.

When Holiday saw the library, she decided it would be the perfect spot for Seventh to sit and ponder her new reality. She reached out and indicated with her fingers that Seventh should follow her. Seventh misunderstood and tried to take Holiday’s hand, but their palms passed through each other.

“Oh! I just... I th-thought that we... we were the same.”

“We are,” Holiday said, “but nothing to touch means there’s nothing to touch. It would be like water wrapping around itself and squeezing.”

Seventh followed Holiday through the front doors of the library. She slowed and looked down at their feet. “Why aren’t we just sliding through the floor?”

“I don’t know. But we can sit, we can go upstairs, we can ride in cars or boats. I think it’s because we’ve always been able to do those things. Our brains can’t accept the fact the ground isn’t solid or gravity doesn’t work. We can force it to misbehave, of course.” She held her arms up and floated a few feet off the ground. She turned in a circle and Seventh laughed despite her terror. Holiday returned to the floor and continued on. “Just don’t think about it too much and you’ll be fine.”

Holiday went to her favorite spot and sat cross-legged on the carpet. Seventh sat facing her in the same position, their knees almost touching.

“It’s okay,” Holiday said. “This spot is pretty untraveled.”

“If you say so.”

Holiday said, “Have you remembered anything?”

“Uh. Not really.” Holiday reached up and scratched her forehead under the lock of dirty blonde hair. “I think I was falling. I remember falling, really fast. But my name... or the name of this city... I don’t know. I can’t remember anything like that.”

“It’s okay. Not everything comes back, and there’s no schedule for it. Maybe you’ll remember a few things in a week. Maybe you’ll remember everything tomorrow.”

Seventh said, “Okay. Hopefully.” She folded her hands in her lap and looked at the patrons passing by close enough that her arm should’ve been brushing the legs of their pants. “So what’s next?”


“Next. After this. Where do we go? What do we do?”


“Oh. I’m sorry. I just assumed. I’ve-I’ve just, I mean, of course you’re not my babysitter.”

Holiday thought back to her first terrified days. No memories, no life, nothing to anchor her to reality. She could have so easily lost her sense of self and become one of the terrifying things she sometimes saw downtown in the city center. Seventh might be on the borderline, could so easily slip away completely into the darkness. Holiday would feel responsible if anything like that happened to her.

Besides, it would be nice to have some company.

“No, but I can be your friend. It’s been so long since I spoke to anyone, I may not remember how to hold a conversation. If you can put up with that, then I’d be happy to pass the time with you.”

Seventh’s smile was so full of relief that Holiday knew she’d made the right decision.

They stayed in the library until closing. Seventh showed her first signs of excitement when Holiday suggested wandering the aisles in the dark. “I’ve always wanted to sneak around places after they were closed,” she said. “Not to steal, just to look around.”

“Always? So you remembered part of your life.”

Seventh smiled. “I... I guess I did. I’m still not certain of my name, though.”

“That’s fine. It’ll come when it comes.”

The city was beautiful at night. Holiday remembered being alive, too nervous and vulnerable to appreciate the world gone silent and still. Seventh stayed close to Holiday’s side as they traversed the harsher parts of town. Their first night was spent in conversation. Or more accurately, with Holiday speaking to fill the silence while Seventh looked around like a puppy trying to get used to a new house. They stopped “to rest” on an overpass that gave them a view of the entire downtown center, the gleaming skyscrapers that clustered together in the dark like cloaked figures in the middle of some arcane rituals. The streets were still lit, and there was enough traffic to keep it from being completely still. Holiday watched the ebb and flow of yellow headlights and red brake lights.

“Every day is like this?” Seventh asked. They were standing with their hands on the railing, even though their hands should have passed through it. Holiday tried not to think about it too much.

“Pretty much.”


Holiday smiled. “It’s not so bad once you get used to it.”

“No, I know, it’s just...  you must have been so lonely.”

Holiday’s smile wavered just a bit. “I think I was used to the solitude even before I passed away.”

“Still, I think I’ll hang around until you get sick of me. Unless that’s already happened.”

“No,” Holiday laughed. “I’m thrilled to have somebody to talk to. I just hope I haven’t been annoying you with all my chatter.”

Seventh shook her head. “No.”

Over the next few days, the weather turned warmer and Seventh became more comfortable in her new situation. It wasn’t long before she and Holiday stopped spending every moment together. Holiday went back to her routine while Seventh found one of her own. Sometimes she would choose a random commuter and follow them around for an entire day. She took Holiday’s advice and found homes to quietly haunt. She said she liked watching people live their lives; she said it made her feel less sad about not having one of her own.

Despite her new independence, Seventh still managed to find Holiday a few times a week. They would walk and share stories about how they’d filled the time since they last saw each other.

“The woman I’m staying with now narrates herself cooking like she’s on the Food Network. I thought I was the only one who did that.” She chuckled softly. They were currently walking the perimeter of a fountain. The water splashed over the concrete, passing through their feet with neither of them giving it any attention. “This chick is good, though. If she really had a show, I would definitely have watched it.”

Holiday said, “I’m sorry I never found her.”

“You should come over tonight. She bought groceries yesterday and I saw some really intriguing stuff going into her cupboards.”

“Are you asking me to dinner?” Holiday asked.

Seventh shrugged coyly. “Maybe I am.”

“Well, that is the best offer I’ve had in ages. I would love to.”

Seventh led her away from the fountain to the apartment in which she was currently taking up residence. Their unwitting hostess, a college student named Rita, was dressed in black knee-socks, a black skirt, and a white dress shirt. Holiday and Seventh chose to sit on top of the bookshelf, since they didn’t have to worry about their weight toppling it. Holiday was especially excited about the meal. They didn’t need to eat, of course, and they had no real physical cravings, but there was something about the ritual of food prep and enjoying a meal that appealed to them. Holiday was thrilled with the invitation, and glad that Seventh had found her own path. Gone was the frightened young woman she’d found on the street. She felt proud of playing a part in the rescue.

Rita was already cooking when they arrived. They could see her from the living room, which was really just a cozily cramped space next to the dinner table. The kitchen was barely more than a stove, microwave, and refrigerator separated from the rest of the room by a counter. Rita seemed to be making it work, though, and she cooked with a flair that Holiday found impressive.

“--just turn up the heat a little bit, because you don’t want it scorched. But you also don’t want it to be gross and cold when you’re ready for it...”

Seventh said, “Did I tell you I remembered my death?”

“No!” Holiday said. “Are you comfortable sharing it with me?”

“Of course. Who else am I going to tell?” She brought her legs up and crossed them in front of her. “Apparently I was some kind of daredevil, because I had built this experimental aircraft... thing. Like a one-person hang glider but with more support for the body. I took all the precautions and did the test runs. But when I went for the maiden voyage, something went wrong. The engine failed and down I went.”

Holiday said, “Wow. Well... if you remember all of that, you must remember your name.”

Seventh was focused on Rita’s cooking. “I do. But... I kind of like Seventh now. I’m used to it. And it helps connect me to you.”

Holiday beamed proudly. There was a knock on the door and Rita checked the clock before she hurried to answer it. She peeked out, then stepped aside to let her guest enter. It was a tall black-haired woman with a bright red scarf. She bent down and greeted Rita with a kiss that was more lip than cheek, her hand resting on Rita’s arm a little longer than necessary.

“Hey, babe. You’re early.”

“I was worried I would miss the streetcar so I jumped on the first one I saw. I hope that’s okay.”

“No, it’s great. You can help set the table.”

Rita and “Babe” went to work in the kitchen. They had just sat down when Babe stopped and slowly twisted at the waist to look around the apartment. Rita laughed at her.

“Feel it again, huh?”

“It’s a her,” Babe said, “and she’s definitely here. You’ve got a ghost. You should embrace it.”

“How would I do that? Leave a saucer of milk out when I go to bed?”

Holiday laughed and covered her mouth. Babe looked around again.

“Did you hear that?”

Seventh and Holiday looked at each other.

Rita shook her head. “It’s an old building with thin walls. The pipes are clanking. But if you’re not scared off by thinking I have a ghost, then you can go ahead and keep thinking it.”

Babe turned around and started eating. Once she and Rita were engaged in their conversation, Seventh leaned closer to Holiday and lowered her voice. “That’s one reason I wanted to bring you here. I wanted you to see that for yourself. Can she hear us?”

“Sometimes I get the impression a person can hear us or feel our presence. It’s not something I can really test. Does she do it a lot?”

“From time to time. She never looks directly at me or responds to me, but... it’s kind of creepy. I guess I’ve really gotten used to being unseen.” She smiled and cocked her head to the side. “Or maybe I just liked the fact that you were the only one seeing me.”

Holiday chuckled and watched Rita and Babe eat. Neither of the spirits spoke for fear of being overheard; Holiday was just happy to be in Seventh’s company. When the meal was finished, Babe took the dishes to the sink and rinsed them while Rita went into the living room and poked at the computer. She accessed Netflix and started naming movie options out loud for Babe to decide. The laptop was hooked to the television so, when they settled on a movie, they could sit together on the couch and watch it.

“I loved this movie,” Seventh said.

“Technically you still do,” Holiday pointed out.


They moved to sit on the counter where they could see the television. Rita and Babe were sitting in the center of the couch, Babe’s head on Rita’s shoulder. Halfway through the movie, Holiday noticed that Babe had turned her head to begin nibbling on Rita’s neck and earlobe. Seventh hadn't noticed yet, but the affection was soon impossible to ignore. Babe shifted her weight and threw her leg over Rita’s lap. Rita laughed and put her hands on Babe’s hips, tilting her head back for a long and lingering kiss.

“You weren’t watching the movie, were you?” Babe asked.

“Kind of. But if I knew this was an option...”

Their hands began exploring, removing clothes as necessary to reach new areas. Holiday glanced at Seventh, who was now also watching the women instead of the movie. She glanced at Holiday and gave a sheepish chuckle.

“Th-they don’t usually do this...”

Holiday grinned and faced the couch again.

“What about your ghost?” Rita asked.

“Let her watch,” Babe replied, tossing her shirt aside and reaching back to undo her bra.

Seventh said, “We should give them some privacy.”

“No, didn’t you hear? We have permission. She wants us to watch.”

Seventh looked at her. “You watch people...?”

Holiday shrugged. “Sometimes. It’s not like I peep in windows. But I live with these people, and occasionally they’ll do something in my line of sight. I stopped being coy about it a long time ago.”

“Oh.” Seventh looked back to the couch. Rita was lying down by that point, and Babe was kissing her way slowly down her chest. Holiday tilted her head to see over the back of the couch. In life she hadn’t been a womanizer, but she’d had her fair share of lovers. She missed the sensation of lips on her skin, the weight of someone else on top of her, and the warmth of another body making up for the lack of clothes. She remembered her toes curling as her boots were taken off by a near-stranger. She even liked those dead-of-night moments when she watched her lover gather discarded clothes and shoes in the darkness before slipping out to catch a cab or an Uber home.

Without realizing it, Holiday had moved one had between her thighs. She sat up straighter and flattened her hand against the material of her long skirt, moving her hips in time with Rita’s writhing.

“What are... oh...”

Holiday would have blushed, but she didn’t think she was capable of it. “I can stop.”

“No. It’s okay. I was... thinking of doing the same thing.”

“I wouldn’t be offended if you did.” She might, however, be distracted from what was happening on the couch. She left that unsaid and watched as Rita dropped one foot to the floor, her other leg bent against the back of the couch. Her skirt was pushed up and out of the way. Babe kissed her thigh and Rita made a quiet, shuddering sound of pleasure, rocking back and forth on the couch. She put her hands in Babe’s hair and then moved down to her shoulders.

Holiday glanced over at Seventh. She had unfastened her pants and her hand had disappeared into them. She was leaning back, one hand braced against the wall, her legs spread, and she was watching the display before them with half-lidded eyes. Her lips were parted but her breathing was slow and steady. Seventh glanced at her, looked away when she saw Holiday watching her, but then met her gaze again. Holiday smiled sheepishly. Seventh wet her lips and turned to put her shoulder to the wall, facing Holiday more than the couch.

“What are you doing?” Holiday whispered.

“Maybe this is a better show.”

Holiday faced her as well and continued touching herself. With her free hand, she cupped her breast through the blouse and arched her back. Seventh gave a sudden sharp gasp and clapped a hand over her mouth. Her eyes closed, a wrinkle appearing between her eyebrows as her body stiffened. Holiday pulled her skirt up past her knees, gathered the material, and touched herself. She knew that she could have simply passed her hand through the cloth or, hell, made it disappear. But she wanted to make the moment as true as possible. She wanted Seventh to see she was wearing stockings, wanted her to see a glimpse of a slip being moved out of the way. Seventh’s gaze was locked so firmly between Holiday’s legs that she couldn’t have missed it.

“Babe, slow down,” Rita whispered. “Oh, fuck... never mind. Don’t, don’t slow down...”

Babe chuckled and Rita cried out. Her body lifted up in a graceful arc before crashing back down onto the cushion. Babe scrambled up Rita’s body and stifled her post-climax moans with a kiss that Holiday could practically feel. Such power in the kiss, such an insistent tongue, thrusting and sliding and... Holiday tilted her head back and came. “Seven-Seven-Seventh,” she whispered, only realizing she’d said it out loud after the fact.

“Did you feel that?” Babe asked.

“Baby, I felt every bit of that,” Rita slurred. “You’re unbelievable.”

“No, I meant... first, thanks.” She kissed Rita again. “But no. There was something else...”

Rita played with Babe’s hair. “Well, you did tell her she could watch. Does that get you off? A ghost masturbating while watching us?”

“Would it freak you out if I said hell yeah?”

Rita said, “Baby, I’m pro anything that turns you on.”

“Oh, really. Well... in that case... I have a few ideas to run by you.”

Rita twisted on the couch and pinned Babe under her. Holiday drifted to the floor and hurriedly walked out of the apartment. She passed through the door and moved down the hallway faster than her feet would’ve carried her. A few seconds later she heard Seventh call out. “Holiday? Holiday, wait.”

“No, you don’t have to say anything. I just... I don’t... I shouldn’t have said that.”

“Said what? My name? Are you embarrassed because I didn’t say yours? Because I wanted to.” Holiday stopped, but she couldn’t turn around. “I wanted to, but I bit my tongue. Or whatever the hell it is that I have instead of teeth and a tongue. I stopped myself because I would be humiliated if you had laughed or refused me. But your name was the only thing on my mind. I had to force myself to think of literally anything else so I wouldn’t just blurt it out. And then you said my name, and I swear to God, I almost came again.”

Holiday finally looked at her. “I don’t know what this is.”

“Then I definitely don’t have a clue. But I know that I only feel okay when I’m with you. You make me feel safe. Which is a peculiar thing to say, given our circumstances, but it’s true.”

“I never knew how lonely I was until you came along. How much I missed... being seen. Being known.”

Seventh came closer. “I’ve seen dozens of other people like us since you introduced yourself. I’ve talked to them. I even spent the day with one of them. But no one was like you. No one made me feel alive like a feel when I’m with you.” She lifted her hand, curling the fingers just before she touched Holiday’s cheek. She made a face of frustration. “God, I wish I could touch you right now.”

Holiday said, “Me too. Wait...” She stepped closer and held out her hand. She held it above Seventh’s shoulder, just a hair away from contact. She put her other hand against Seventh’s hip with the same distance. She could feel the energy or aura or whatever gave her form tingling from the proximity. She was breathing hard. So was Seventh. She looked up into Seventh’s eyes. “I’m not sure what’s going to happen next.”

“That’s okay. No risk, no reward, right?”


They leaned closer to each other. The shape of their lips blurred just before they made contact. Holiday lowered her hands and let them blend into Seventh’s body. Seventh put her arms around Holiday and crossed her wrists. They passed into Holiday’s body in the small of her back. They were drawn into each other, solid lines of human bodies becoming an amorphous halo of blue-gold energy. The lights of the hallway flickered before coming back even brighter. The energy spread out in a wave, becoming a thin string that stretched from one end of the corridor to the other.

When the lights returned to their normal luminosity, anyone listening closely at just the right moment could have heard two women crying out in pleasure.


“I was thinking. About what? The weather has been getting cooler, so it must be fall. Really? Summer just flew by. To be honest, we have been spending a lot of time... preoccupied.” Light laughter. “But that means Halloween is right around the corner. Oh, I love Halloween. Me, too.”

None of the people near the pergola saw the wall of energy as it approached them. It passed through one of the steel legs and broke into a pair of clouds, both of which began to solidify into human forms. Holiday was naked but Seventh had created a T-shirt that draped her to the thighs. Holiday loved the way she looked in a shirt and nothing else, and Seventh was more than willing to indulge the fetish. As soon as they were separated, Holiday reached out and found Seventh’s hand reaching for hers. They linked fingers - their hands a blur of shifting clouds - and continued walking.

“Last year on Halloween, I felt different,” Holiday said. “Like everything was more locked-in. It was too frightening for me to explore, so I hid. I actually hid because I could sense that people could see me. I didn’t want that then.”

“And now?” Seventh asked.

“I don’t care about anyone else seeing me. But if there’s a possibility that we’re less... or that we’re more... or...” She sighed and shook her head. “If there’s a chance we can be something else, closer to alive, on Halloween night, I would really like to be able to touch you. To kiss you and hold you. Even if it’s just for one night.”

Seventh said, “That would be amazing. Yes. But we have to pay attention to the dates. If we miss it, it could be another year before we touch. I’m not sure I’d be strong enough.”

Holiday smiled. She’d been doing that a lot the past few months, when she actually formed her body. She and Seventh were spending more and more time... whatever it was. They blended, they swirled, they became one. It was somehow both better and worse than sex. Holiday knew the feel of her own “body,” and she was very aware of Seventh’s presence inside of her. She could feel Seventh completely, and she knew Seventh could feel her completely as well. They were touching each other everywhere at once, and the sensation was sublime. It was something they could never have felt when they were alive. The only reason they separated was a fear that spending too much time “in the cloud” would prevent them from being individuals from time to time.

But it was also worse. She wanted to kiss Seventh, wanted to hold her and feel her fall asleep in her arms. She wanted to listen to her breathing. She was desperate for those small things that she otherwise might have taken for granted. Just holding Seventh’s hand without their fingers mingling together would be bliss. Although she did like the tingling pins-and-needles she was feeling at that moment.

So they began taking stock of the real world. They peered over shoulders at the screens of iPhones to read the date. They listened to radios blasting from cars. October had just begun and the days ticked closer to Halloween and the moment of truth. They still went back to Rita and Babe’s apartment - they moved in together around July; Rita still hadn’t called her girlfriend by name in their presence - to watch movies or act as voyeur.

“Do you think we could... pop in?” Seventh asked.

“Pop in... into them? Like a possession?”

Seventh shrugged, watching Babe riding Rita. The bed creaked underneath them. Seventh was sitting in Holiday’s lap, their lower bodies blending together in a swirl that felt like a thousand whirlpool jets aimed at just the right angle.

“We have her permission.”

“To watch,” Holiday clarified. “Possession is a whole other violation.”

Seventh licked her lips. “I want to know what you sound like when you come.”

Holiday closed her eyes. “I know, beautiful. I want that, too. Halloween.”

“Right. Make me come.”

Later they sat on opposite sides of Rita and Babe’s bed and watched them sleep. Holiday smiled over their slumbering bodies at Seventh.

“I love you.”

Babe murmured in her sleep, “I love you, too.”

Holiday and Seventh both looked at her, looked at each other, and whisked themselves through the apartment to the bathroom. A calendar hung over the trash can with a sticker to mark every day Rita went to the gym. She went every morning, without fail, and the last day with a happy face was October 30.

“Tomorrow,” Seventh said, a little breathless as if she’d actually been running.

Holiday nodded. “Are you nervous? It’s okay if you are, because I’m terrified.”

“Me too. But I’m more excited.”

“Yes.” Holiday laughed. “Yes, that too.”

They left the apartment and went somewhere public, somewhere they could immediately test if they could be seen. Seventh suggested the pedestrian mall downtown. While en route, they changed their outfits to something more suited to being in public. They arrived well before sunrise, when the newspaper trucks were still idling under the streetlights and only the occasional nocturnal wanderer passed by. Soon the sun crested the mountains and began pushing away the shadows, turning up the lights on businesses as they opened for the day.

“Well?” Holiday asked.

Seventh said, “I don’t know. I feel something. But it might just be nerves or the placebo effect. You know, I’m expecting something to happen, so...”

“Yeah.” Holiday took a few steps forward to scan the growing crowd.

A man in a ratty army jacket passed by in front of them. He barely slowed his pace, but he held out his hand to Seventh. “Could you spare a little change?”

Seventh stared at him. “M-me...?”

“It’s all right if you can’t,” he said, continuing on. “Have a beautiful day, ladies.”

Holiday laughed. Seventh ran to her, laughing as well, and grabbed Holiday’s hand. They held their form, fingers pressing against soft flesh, actual pressure and sensation. Holiday laughed again, a giddy sound that exploded from her as she lifted Seventh’s hand to her face and kissed each finger individually. Seventh brought up her other hand to cup Holiday’s cheek. She reached up into her hair and pulled her close, sighing just as their lips met in their first official kiss.

A woman nearby whistled and called out, “It’s not a walk of shame if you aren’t ashamed! You show ‘em, ladies!”

Holiday laughed and turned her head. She pressed her cheek to Seventh’s and closed her eyes, the lashes heavy with unshed tears. She could actually feel the moisture. She was trembling and felt the quaking pass into Seventh’s body.

“We can show them,” she whispered against the shell of Seventh’s ear. “We can show everyone.”

“Why don’t you show me first?” Seventh whispered, her hand suddenly tightening on the collar of Holiday’s jacket. “Take me somewhere. Now.”

Holiday said, “Yes. Y-- shit. Where can I take you?”

Seventh said, “Shit.”

They had nowhere private, no place they could lock the door and spend the day taking advantage of each other. They were essentially homeless.

“No,” Holiday said. “I refuse to be defeated. I refuse to let this miracle go to waste.” She stood up straight and scanned the pedestrian mall. She’d spent months, maybe years, wandering alone and finding all the hidden places in the city. She knew the quiet places no one would be and where they might go undiscovered for an hour or two if they planned their schedule right. “Come on.”

She tightened her grip on Seventh’s hand, still giddy that she could even do that, and pulled her along. They didn’t have much time to reach the first destination on her list, and it would only be available for forty-five more minutes. She had forgotten how much energy was required to run, but her adrenaline and excitement helped her push through the pain. It also helped her accept the fact she had a physical body, or something closer than what she had before, not that she needed anything more than the feel of Seventh’s hand in hers.

In a glorified alley-slash-side street that never experienced foot traffic between six and six-fifty in the morning, Holiday pressed Seventh against a brick wall and learned the taste and texture of her neck. She memorized the way Seventh’s hair tickled her face and the feel of Seventh’s fingertips - their size and general pressure - on her hips.

One quadrant of the library’s second floor was utterly abandoned between seven and eight-thirty, due to activities planned in other sections and the librarians setting everything up for the day. That was where Seventh pulled up Holiday’s skirt and traced lines over her inner thigh. Holiday stretched out on the table and took a moment to luxuriate in the feel of a hard surface pressing against her back before she was distracted by a very soft surface pressing against her center.

Seventh achieved her first orgasm in the ticket booth of a movie theater that wouldn’t open for fifteen minutes. She was overstimulated by the sensation of having sensations again - the air on her bare breasts made her nipples painfully hard - but then Holiday closed her lips around them and Seventh could barely contain herself. Holiday urged her to let go and Seventh gave in with a cry that she stifled by pressing her fingers into her mouth and biting down hard enough to hurt. She felt pleasure and pain in the same moment and tears fell from her eyes as she came.

Some of their haunts required some breaking-and-entering. An office that was completely deserted during lunch. A car in a parking structure where they could spend the entire afternoon without seeing anyone until the end of the work day. It became a game, a tawdry scavenger hunt. At one point they saw a ghost Seventh was friendly with, and Seventh actually blushed though a smile as the friend looked between them and chuckled knowingly.

“Is this the one you’re always spending time with?”

Seventh tightened her grip on Holiday’s hand. “This is her.”

“Try not to wear her out,” the friend said, hurrying onward. “Remember to refuel!”

Holiday realized then that she was starving. Thirsty as well. Seventh smiled and told her she had an idea. She dragged Holiday through downtown until she found a diner she deemed “the right one” and took her inside. The bell over the door chimed, announcing their presence, and Holiday laughed at the small acknowledgement of their continued presence. Seventh went up to the counter and waited until the older woman behind the counter smiled at her.

“Happy Halloween.”

The woman smiled. “Happy Halloween! How can I help you?”

“I’m called Seventh and this is my love, Holiday. We’re ghosts who have been haunting this city for a while now, but today we get to be corporeal. It’s the one day of the year we can actually move around the city like the living. In our excitement, we forgot that we need food and lack the funds to buy it. If you would be so kind as to feed a pair of wandering spirits, we would repay the favor by watching over your fine establishment when we return to the other side of the veil.”

Holiday stared unblinking at Seventh. Of all the insane--

“Ham or turkey?”

Holiday blinked.

“Bless you,” Seventh said, “but at this point I honestly have no preference. The very act of eating is sure to be so blissful that we’ll barely taste whatever you choose for us.”

The woman winked. “Let me see what I can find.”

When she was gone, Holiday squeezed Seventh’s arm. “How did you think of that?”

“I thought... Halloween, getting food for free, trick-or-treat. And honesty is the best policy. I chose this place because I’ve been here before and it’s a very welcoming place. She’s Wiccan. She knows ways to keep harmful spirits away, but she doesn’t force benevolent guests out.”

Holiday kissed Seventh. “Mm. I’m going to miss tasting you...”

“Then we should be sure you get your fill today.”

“In one day?” Holiday said. “Impossible.”

“We can always try, my love.”

The woman returned with two sandwiches, two bags of chips, and two bottles of water. She wished them well and safe travels. Holiday thanked her and led Seventh out of the diner.

They had their lunch on benches that overlooked the water. Names and facts were slowly seeping back into Holiday’s mind, details that hadn’t been important to a spirit. She licked a bit of mayonnaise from Seventh’s lips and, when their food was gone, took her behind a sculpture to work off any excess calories they’d gained from the food.

When they were getting dressed again, Seventh said, “Can I make a request? And I don’t want you to take it the wrong way...”

“Uh-oh. But of course. You can have whatever you want.”

“As great as it is having sex with you... and don’t get me wrong, it’s been amazing... but it feels kind of wrong that we’re still hiding from everyone. So I want to just hang out. I want people to see us together. Holding hands, walking, hanging out.”

Holiday said, “I would absolutely love that.”


“Absolutely.” She kissed Seventh and stood up, extending her hands to help Seventh up. “I know just the place where we can be seen.”

They went to the waterfront, exhausted from everything they had done that day. Seventh found a concrete bench that had been soaked by the rain but neither of them minded. The water soaking through the seat of their pants reminded them of the miracle they were enjoying. They leaned against each other and watched the march of humanity all around them. People from all over the world, representing the full spectrum of nationality and gender, in windbreakers and heavy jackets, aiming bulky cameras and impossibly small phones at the scenery as they talked to each other in a medley of languages and accents. Russian, Mandarin, Japanese, Korean, French, and many other languages Holiday couldn’t identify.

“They’re as isolated as we were,” Seventh said. “As we are. Whatever. I never noticed that.”

Holiday kissed Seventh’s hair. She tried to remember the feel of it on her lips, the smell of it. She wanted to remember every sensation, even though she knew there was no chance it could carry her through a whole year. She put her arm around Seventh and squeezed her tightly while she still could.

They made love one more time before night fell. Streetlights came on, and little hooligans in a variety of masks and costumes showed up on the streets with parents in tow. Holiday suggested taking a long walk to soak up as much humanity as they could. “I forgot what it was like for people to actually see me. It’s an amazing feeling to be...”

“Known,” Seventh supplied.

Holiday nodded.

Neither of them knew when the miracle would wear off, if it ended at dawn or they only had until midnight. They were determined to make the most of it, however long it wound up being. They turned a corner in a familiar neighborhood and nearly collided with a couple going the other way. Holiday chuckled, amused that she still half-expected everyone to just pass through them, and moved to one side to let the other couple pass.

“Sorry about that,” Seventh said. “We should watch where we’re going.”

One of the other women stopped and stared. “Oh my God. Rita, that’s her. That’s-that’s the voice!”

Holiday froze. The streetlight glow was just enough for her to make out their faces now. They were dressed like a cowgirl and a vampire but, under the hat and makeup, she could now tell it was Rita and Babe. Her cheeks burned as she grabbed Seventh’s hand.

“The voice?” Holiday asked, somehow keeping her tone steady. “What voice?”

Rita laughed and put a hand on Babe’s shoulder. “Sorry. You must live in our building or something. We have paper-thin walls, and sometimes we can hear you talking. My girlfriend here thinks you’re a ghost.”

Seventh forced a laugh. “Oh, how funny. That must be it.”

Rita held out a hand. “I’m Rita, and this is Paula.”

Holiday shook Rita’s hand. After a brief but intense internal debate, she said, “I’m Caroline. This is...”

Seventh said, “Melanie. My name is Melanie.”

They all shook hands. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen you around the building,” Babe/Paula said.

“We work weird hours. And when we are there, we’re real homebodies.”

Paula put an arm around Rita’s waist. “Well, hopefully we’ll see you around more often. You two make a really cute couple.”

“As are you.”

Rita checked her phone. “Babe, the Uber will be here in two minutes. We should go.”

“Right.” Paula didn’t notice Holiday and Seventh smiling at the use of the nickname. “It was really great meeting you both.”

“Ditto. We’ll try to keep it down.”

Paula said, “Don’t hush up on our account. Sometimes it’s hot--”

“Babe!” Rita tried to physically drag Paula away.

“--to pretend you’re listening to us, too.” She laughed as Rita succeeded in unseating her. She wrapped her arms around Rita from behind and half-walked, half-tackled her around the corner.

As soon as they were gone, Holiday and Seventh fell against each other and laughed. “Oh, God. Do you think they’re swingers?”

“Don’t put that thought in my head when we could turn ghostly again at any second.”

Holiday grinned and pressed her fingers against the back of Seventh’s hand. “Still seems pretty solid to me. Where to next?”

Seventh said, “Take me to the beach.”

Holiday said, “I would love to.”

They crossed the city amid a flood of ghouls, goblins, superheroes and princesses. When they arrived at the beach, they took off their shoes to feel the sand on their toes. The water was too dark for them to see, but they could hear it crashing against the shore. They moved to an out-of-the-way spot under the pier and undressed each other. They made love slowly, backing off from each orgasm to draw out the experience. When Holiday finally let Seventh come, they were both covered with sweat and panting for breath. Holiday put her head down and nuzzled Seventh’s throat, opening her mouth just a little to taste her sweat.

“What’s going to happen?” Seventh asked.

“I don’t know. It will probably be subtle like it was this morning.”

“No...” Seventh leaned to one side. Holiday looked up to meet her gaze. “We’re not going to die again, right? So is it just this forever? Don’t misunderstand me. This is pretty damn great. But I want to know if there’s some... end to it all. Endings make everything more special. It makes us appreciate what we have even more. So...”

Holiday sat up. “I never thought about it. I assume eventually something will change. Some end will occur. Maybe we’ll decide when it’s time. If we’re lucky enough to stick around until we’re done with this world, maybe part of the reward is choosing when we leave.”

“I hope so. I don’t want it taken away from me like my life was. Especially now that I have so much to lose.” She threaded her fingers with Holiday’s. “I don’t know if I can wait a whole year to touch you again. But if I do only get one day, I want a whole bunch of them.”

“Me too.”

They held each other until the sky began to change colors. They could both feel the change, and they knew it was mutual without speaking. They kissed one more time and could feel it in the pressure or lack thereof. They stood and gathered their clothes, moved toward the shore, and stood where the water could lap against their feet. Holiday looked down and watched the water splash through her ankles instead of against them.

“Here we go,” she whispered.

Other people who were on the beach at that early hour might have reported seeing two women standing together in the surf, although it was still pretty dark out. It was difficult to be sure if there was really anyone there or if it was just a trick of the eye. When the sun came up and threw light across the sand, rocks, and water, it was definitively revealed that there was no one anywhere near the water.

There were, however, two sets of footprints.