Halloween Miracles

By BadSquirrel


“You’re so good with the babies.”

Emma Tanner looked up at her co-worker with a smile. “Maybe they know how much I love them.”

Tracy smiled and then moved away to tend another fussy baby. They worked at an infant care center that only took care of children under 18 months of age. There were 22 babies in the building with 12 being toddlers and 10 being infants. Emma was curled up in an overstuffed rocking chair with three of those infants. Two of them were sleeping peacefully beside her legs in the big chair. The third, little Ben, was happy and content to tug on Emma’s brown hair and blow spit bubbles.

Emma loved nothing as much as she loved babies. It didn’t pay squat, but there was no better job in the entire world. If Emma had her way, all of the babies would be hers and she would love them for all of their lives. It was very difficult to let them go with their parents at the end of each day, but she knew logically that she had to let them go.

Emma put a hand under Ben’s kicking feet to keep him from accidently hitting one of the sleeping babies. “Easy now, big guy. You don’t want to wake Debbie up. You know how grumpy she is when she wakes.”

Ben gurgled and waved his tiny fists around.

Emma ran gentle fingers over his sparse hair. “You’re such a good boy.”


She looked up as her boss, Olivia, came into view. “Yes?”

“Would you be able to stay about a half hour later tonight? Sandy’s mom just called, and she had a flat tire. She hopes to be on time, but she might not be.”

“I can do that.”

Olivia sighed. “I really appreciate it. Even if she comes on time, make sure you put a whole half hour on your timecard.”

“I will.”

“Lord,” Olivia muttered as she left the room. “I hate Halloween.”

Tracy snickered from where she was changing a diaper. “That’s just wrong. Nobody hates Halloween.”

The entire room was decorated in cheerful Halloween style. Nobody wanted to scar the babies for life with ghouls and werewolves. Emma liked Halloween, but she no longer dressed up. Why Olivia didn’t like Halloween, Emma didn’t know, but she was not of a like mind on the subject.

“Are you doing anything for Halloween?” she asked Tracy.

“I’m going to trick or treat with my nieces. I take them every year. What about you?”

Ben stuck most of his fist in his mouth and chewed happily. “I was invited to have dinner and play cards with a couple of friends. We aren’t going out or dressing up. Just a quiet night, handing out candy.”

“I’m so glad it’s Friday. I’m going to need the next two days to get ready.”

Emma smiled with Tracy, but she would miss the babies over the weekend. Not for the first time, Emma wished she had at least one baby of her own. If she were straight, she would have a horde of kids by now, but she just couldn’t bring herself to sleep with men and IVF was too expensive on her wages. In fact, with her income, it was nigh on impossible that she could take care of a baby’s financial requirements. She was barely keeping her own head above water. Knowing that she would probably never have children of her own nearly brought her to tears. It didn’t seem fair that people who were fundamentally incapable of caring about anyone but themselves could get pregnant and have children without any thought at all. It broke Emma’s heart that there were so many children living with substandard parenting.

Baby Sandy’s mom showed up only 15 minutes after everyone else left. She was desperately apologetic, and Emma eased her mind with smiles and calm words. Soon, Emma was locking the building and heading home.


Emma spent most of the weekend doing chores and preparing for the following week. Since she didn’t know the hostess for the party on Sunday night, Emma spent some time looking for a guest gift. The obvious choice would be a bottle of wine, but not all parties encouraged drinking. Flowers were another obvious choice, but they would just die.

Emma finally settled on a small, green, decorative bowl. It wasn’t expensive and would serve no real purpose, but it was pretty, and she hoped it would be appreciated.

When Emma pulled up to Zoe’s address on Sunday night, she saw her friend, Claire, getting out of her own car. It was a relief to see her. And then another woman got out of the passenger seat. She was tall and athletic, with short red hair and piercing eyes. She was cute as hell and Emma suddenly felt nervous about meeting her.

“Emma! You made it!”

Emma focused on Claire. “Hello.”

Claire approached quickly and flung her arms out. “Give me a hug!”

Emma stepped into her embrace willingly. Claire gave great hugs. “Who’s your friend?”

Claire stepped back and pulled her companion to her side. “This is Tahme. It’s spelled weird, but it sounds just like the boy’s name: T. A. H. M. E.”

Emma smiled at the new woman. “It’s nice to meet you, Tahme.”

“I only know Claire,” Tahme said nervously.

“Me, too,” Emma agreed. “But Claire is a great person so I’m sure her friends are great, too.”


Claire rolled her eyes and Emma realized that Tahme might be one of Claire’s “projects”. Claire was a rescuer and she was taking college courses so she could be a social worker. Her paid job was paper pushing in a Real Estate Title Company and Claire hated it. In another year, Claire would have her degree and she was really looking forward to doing what she dreamed of.

“Well,” Emma said cheerfully, “let’s go find out.”

The house was behind another house. It looked like a large lot had been divided in half and a little path led them around the front house to the green shotgun house behind it. The house was really cute and had a nice little porch. Emma thought it unlikely that there would be any trick or treaters. If you didn’t already know that the tiny house was there, nothing on the street indicated it was hiding.

Zoe answered the door with an effusive smile. “Welcome! Come in! Come in!”

Emma recognized her. “Hey! I know you. Don’t you work at the Co-op?”

Zoe peered at her for a moment and then laughed. “I know you, too. Oranges and Farmer’s Cheese, right? You get them almost every time you come in.”

Emma blushed. “Well, you sell the best ones in town. Can you blame me?”

Zoe laughed. “Well, it’s nice to meet you officially.”

Emma held up the little bowl. “I wanted to bring flowers, but I wasn’t sure if you had allergies.”

Zoe’s eyes lit up and she took the green bowl in both hands. “This is gorgeous. I like this much better than flowers that are going to die.”

“I hate flowers,” Tahme said dismissively. “They draw bees. You got any beer?”

Claire put a hand on Tahme’s shoulder. “I already told you there would be no alcohol.”

Emma sighed in relief. She’d made the right choice.

Tahme hunched in on herself and stuck her hands in her pockets. “People like me better when I drink.”

Claire leaned over to see Tahme’s eyes. “We talked about that and it’s not true. At least not for me.”


Tahme wandered away and left them at the door. Claire sighed. “I’m sorry. She can be difficult.”

Zoe put an arm around Claire’s shoulder. “Not to worry. We’ll deal with it.”

Emma looked around with interest. The house was only about 12 feet wide, but it looked long from outside. The living room and kitchen/dining room were open to one another and they seemed spacious despite the lack of width. Beyond the kitchen, there was a hallway to the left that led deeper into the house.

Emma guessed there was a bathroom off the hallway and a bedroom at the back. It was really cute, and she felt a little jealous. She lived in a third-floor walk-up that pretended to be a one-bedroom but was really more of a collection of closets. Nothing was big enough for anything and it could all fit in about half of the tiny house she was in. Her bedroom was exactly 49 square feet in size, and that included a very small closet. It was the legal minimum size for a bedroom and Emma slept in a twin bed so there would be some floor space left. Something this size would be dreamy.

There were personal photos all over the living room in a variety of frames. Most were rather small, but Zoe and another woman were smiling in all of them. “Is this your girlfriend?”

Zoe’s smile was calm and peaceful. “That’s my Gwen. She’s on a training mission this weekend.”

“Training for what?”

“She’s in the National Guard. This is one of her weekends.”

Emma nodded. “I appreciate the sacrifices that both of you make.”

“Oh, I like you,” Zoe laughed. “No one ever thanks me. Just Gwen.”

Claire put an arm over Emma’s shoulders. “Emma is the best.”

“Which means I’m not,” Tahme groused from the kitchen.

Claire closed her eyes and whispered, “Lord, give me strength.”

Zoe laughed softly. “Not to worry.” She lifted her new tiny green bowl and then looked around the living room. “Ah. That’s where you belong.”

It pleased Emma a great deal to know that Zoe really liked the guest gift. She fussed over exactly the right place to put it and when she was done, she dropped a little pinecone in it. Emma had no idea why Zoe had a random pinecone in her house, but it didn’t really matter. Emma was just glad it had been well received.


Tahme really wanted to play Canasta, but Claire put her foot down.

“No, Tahme.”

“Why not? I’m really good at it.”

“Because you cheat.”

“I do not.”

“You change the rules every turn, Tahme. You cheat, and you’re not even subtle about it.”

Tahme looked angry as she got up. “I’m going to the bathroom.”

As soon as she left the room, Claire put her head in her hands. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have brought her.”

Emma rearranged the cards in her hand. “I don’t mind. Mostly she’s just grumpy. What I want to know is why every time someone walks through the middle of the living room, the stereo cuts out.”

Zoe shrugged. “We can’t figure it out. Nothing else is affected.”

“Loose wires under the floor?” Emma asked.

“Gwen went under the house and she said it looks like nothing goes under that section of floor.”

Emma got up and walked slowly to the center of the room. The stereo cut out right about where she thought it would. She tested the firmness of the floor and it felt no different than the rest of the floor. “Could there be wires under the carpet?”

“Maybe,” Zoe admitted, “but we won’t get away with tearing up the carpet to find out.”

Emma backed up a little and the stereo came back on. She watched the large stereo as she moved back into the space. The sound cut off, but the stereo stayed on. “Now that’s odd.”

Claire came over. “What is?”

“When the sound cuts out, there’s still electricity.” She moved back and forth to demonstrate. “Only the sound is affected. Is it an antenna problem?”

“It does it on CDs as well,” Zoe informed them from the table.

Emma crouched down and pushed a single finger towards the edge. She didn’t touch the floor, but when her finger crossed an invisible line, the sound stopped. She did it a couple of times to prove it would.

“Wait,” Zoe said as she stood. “You’re not touching the floor.”

Emma moved her whole hand into the silent area and then slowly lifted it. At about 12 inches in height, the sound kicked back in.

“Okay,” Claire said. “You are officially creeping me out.”

Emma grinned. “It’s a Halloween miracle.”

Tahme came back into the room. “What are you doing?”

Emma looked up at Tahme and then stuck her finger in and out of the silent area. The stereo obligingly co-operated. “Why is it doing that?”

Tahme frowned and slowly went to her knees. She put a finger out on her side of the zone and tested it from another direction. “How are you doing that?”

“I’m not,” Emma said gently. “I’m trying to figure out why it does it.”

Claire and Zoe were testing the zone now.

“Do you have any dry beans?” Tahme asked.

Zoe looked up. “I think so. Why?”

“We need a way to mark the edges. Maybe a shape will tell us what it is.”

Five minutes later, they all had a handful of beans. They would test the edges and drop a bean as soon as the sound cut off. They had to take turns because they were cutting each other off and the lines got weird, but it didn’t take long to finish. All four of them cocked their heads trying to figure it out, but it was Tahme who gasped and took a big step back.

“I know what it is.”

Claire frowned. “You do?”

Tahme nodded. “It’s a body.”

Everyone took a step back. “No,” Zoe said slowly. “That can’t be it.”

Claire cocked her head to one side as if looking at it from a new perspective would make it change. “I don’t know…”

Emma had chills running up and down her arms. “I think she’s right.”

There was a long silence and then Zoe exhaled noisily. “Well, shit.”

“I wish Gwen were here,” Claire said.

Zoe almost laughed. “Are you kidding? This kind of stuff freaks her out.”

“Yeah, but she’s got a gun.”

“You can’t shoot a ghost,” Tahme snorted.

“Maybe it’s just pareidolia,” Emma suggested.

“What the hell is that?” Tahme asked.

“You know how you sometimes see faces and stuff in wood grain or the shape of rocks?” Everyone nodded. “Our brains are pre-wired to recognize certain things. Babies are born knowing to look at faces. The brain recognizes facial structure even before it’s ever seen a face. Maybe it just looks like an outline of a body.”

Tahme walked around part of it. “No, look. That’s definitely a head. Watch…”

Tahme went to a knee and the stereo went silent. She carefully lay down within the beans and arranged her body. “See?”

Tahme was on her side with her chin on her chest and one arm flung out. Her legs were mostly together with bent knees. It sure looked right.

Zoe grabbed her cell phone. “I’m calling the landlord.”

Tahme put her head down and her eyes closed.

Zoe went into the kitchen to talk and Emma patted Tahme’s hip. “You should get up. It’s too creepy to see you there.”

“Wait,” Tahme said in a whisper. “I hear something.”

Emma looked at Claire and got a wide-eyed look in return. “I’m freaking the fuck out,” Claire whispered.

Emma smiled. “What could a ghost possibly do to you?”

“Scare me to death?”

“Only if you let it,” Emma chuckled. “It can’t touch you or hurt you. What else is there?”

“Are you fucking serious?”

Emma and Claire looked towards the kitchen at Zoe’s cry.

“And you didn’t think to tell us that fact?”

The stereo turned on. Emma looked down at Tahme. She was still lying on the silent spot, but the sound was back. “Tahme?” All of the hair on her arms stood up. It looked like Tahme was asleep.

Zoe came in the room. “A woman died here,” she said angrily. “She was murdered and lay here for 2 days before they found her. They never caught the killer and the landlord never said one word to us about that. Not one word!”

“Zoe,” Emma said slowly, “The music is back on.”

Zoe opened her mouth to continue ranting and then frowned. “But Tahme is laying on the spot.”

Emma crouched down and put a hand on Tahme’s shoulder. She gave her a little shake.

No one expected Tahme to come off the floor screaming like a banshee.


The next couple of minutes were every disaster movie ever made rolled into one. Tahme was screaming non-stop, her eyes wild and confused. Zoe had her back against a wall, both hands held up in front of her like Tahme was going to rush her. Claire had fallen over a footstool and was now scooting backwards towards the kitchen as fast as she could go.

Emma had frozen in place when Tahme exploded from the floor. She could hear nothing but terror in Tahme’s scream, and she recognized the panic in Tahme’s eyes and movements. For a moment, she wasn’t sure what to do, but then she realized somebody had to do something or it could all go more sideways than it already was.


The taller woman shook her head and the screaming eased into sobbing.

Emma wasn’t sure what Tahme’s mental condition was, but she wanted to be very careful. “Are you Tahme?”

“No.” Her hands came up to cover her mouth, but her eyes were darting back and forth.

Emma took a half step forward. “Can you tell me your name?”

Tahme struggled to calm her sobbing. “Jenny.”

“Jenny…my name is Emma. You look very confused.” Emma felt a little better when Jenny/Tahme watched her carefully. “We are not going to hurt you, but we’re a little confused, too.”

“What are you doing here?”

Emma slowly pointed to Zoe. “That’s my friend, Zoe. She lives here.”

Jenny/Tahme shook her head. “My sister lives here. Lisa. Where is she?”

Claire was sitting on her ass in the hallway watching all of it. “Tahme doesn’t have a sister.”

“You look like our friend, Tahme,” Emma said slowly. “Do you know her?”

Jenny/Tahme was starting to look a little panicky again.

“Maybe we can all sit down and see if we can figure this out, okay?”

Claire and Zoe sat on the couch together. Emma guided Jenny/Tahme without touching her to a rocking chair and then sat down beside her on the footstool Claire had fallen over.

Emma leaned closer and caught Jenny/Tahme’s eyes. “We’re all confused, but you’re in control here. Okay?”

Jenny/Tahme wiped at her face with both hands.

“Would you like tissues?”


After a few minutes, it seemed calmer. Emma was content that no one was screaming any more. She just waited on Jenny to respond.

“Where’s my sister? And my fiancé, Doug. Why are you in my sister’s house?”

Zoe started to giggle. “Boy, you got me good, Tahme.”

Jenny shook her head and leaned towards Emma. “Who’s Tommy?”

It occurred to Emma that if Jenny really didn’t know who Tahme was, more panic was on the horizon. But how could she not know? Maybe Zoe was right and Tahme was playing a joke on them. But if that were true, why did the music start playing? No way did Tahme make that happen.

Emma reached out to take one of Jenny’s hands. “Does your hand look familiar?”

Jenny stilled as she turned her hand over, then lifted the other hand. “What the…?”

It all kind of clicked for Emma. She knew it was completely crazy, but it also made a little bit of sense.

“Zoe, do you still have your phone?”

Zoe held it up.

“Google this. Jenny, what is your last name?”


“Is that Lisa’s last name, too?”

Jenny nodded. She was still studying her hands and was starting to look at the rest of her body. If this was a joke, Tahme had perfect mannerisms for the situation.

“Holy…” Zoe breathed. “It says…” Zoe looked up at Jenny. “It says that your sister died here. In this house.”

Jenny/Tahme was suddenly standing, but she was still and silent. After a few moments, she dropped back into the rocking chair like her strings had been cut. “Oh my God. Oh my God.” Jenny’s chin dropped and tears spilled down her face. “I remember what happened. I remember. Oh my God.”

“What happened?” Claire asked.

Emma sat back a bit. “I think it’s time for something to drink.”

Jenny cried softly while three glasses of wine were poured in the kitchen. Emma stayed by Jenny and kept the tissues coming. When Jenny was handed a glass of wine, she drank it down like it was water and then relaxed in her chair.

“Can you tell us what happened?” Emma asked.

Jenny’s eyes were unfocused as she talked. “Doug asked me to marry him. I came over to tell Lisa and she…she got upset. She was begging me to tell him no, but she wouldn’t tell me why. We argued.” Jenny reached back to touch the back of her head. “She must have hit me with something. And then I woke up here. In this body…how is that even possible?”

“But you’re Jenny?” Claire asked. “It says you lived.”

Zoe gasped. “So, your sister killed you and then pretended to be you? That’s cold.”

Emma carefully put a hand on Jenny’s arm. “Are you aware of Tahme? Is she still there?”

Jenny’s eyes lost focus for a moment. “I don’t know. It’s not like I can hear anyone else’s thoughts.” Her body slumped in the chair and she covered her face. “I don’t belong here. This isn’t right.”

Emma patted her arm. “Maybe this happened for a reason. Maybe you need to confront your sister in order to move on.”

Jenny wiped tears from her eyes as she sat up straighter. “Maybe I do. I just have to find her. Then maybe I can give your friend back.”

After some internet searching, they discovered that Lisa was still living in Jenny’s apartment on the other side of town. Claire volunteered to drive them, and they were off. Emma sat in the back seat with Jenny, holding her hand, and wondering how the evening had gone sideways so quickly.

“That’s new,” Jenny said quietly.

Emma just saw the Office supply store as it whizzed past. “That came in about 2 years ago. What year was it when…?”

“When I died?” Jenny smiled wistfully. “It was 2017.”

“It’s 2021 now.”

Jenny sighed. “I expected to have babies by now.”

“I’ve always wanted babies,” Emma said.

Jenny smiled softly. “How many do you want?”

“As many as possible,” Emma shrugged. “But it’s not very likely.”

“Why not?”

It suddenly occurred to her that Jenny didn’t know. “I’m a lesbian.”


Emma had a fleeting thought that Jenny’s response was probably ideal. “I just can’t make myself sleep with a man to get pregnant, and I can’t afford medical procedures. Maybe someday…”

Jenny turned to look back out a window. “Sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith. Someday might never come.”

Emma felt bad for Jenny. She also felt bad for Tahme. In fact, the weirdness was creating all kinds of bad feelings. Emma held hope that Jenny would find peace by confronting her sister, but she was quite worried that it would turn into a very bad situation. They were rushing across town to find a murderess. Nothing good could come from that. Emma would hold out hope, but she just didn’t see a good ending to the situation. Not to mention that Jenny had not really addressed her fiancé. Was that where they were going next?

Jenny’s apartment was in the BayView complex off Henderson Street. The windows were dark, but Jenny bounded up the stairs and pounded on the door. No one answered. Before they could react, Jenny ran back down the stairs and out to the curb. She knelt down beside a utility box and reached underneath. She pulled something out and ran back up the stairs to them.

“Let’s hope this still works,” Jenny breathed as she put a key in the lock. It did.

The apartment was dark as they all stepped inside. As soon as the front door closed, Jenny flipped on a light. Jenny started moving through the elegant space as Emma, Zoe and Claire just watched.

As Jenny left the living room, Zoe whispered, “We’re all going to get arrested. I just know it.”

“If this turns out to be a gag,” Claire added, “I’m going to rip Tahme’s head off and kick it down the street.”

“I think it’s real,” Emma said softly. “Doesn’t she feel different to you? I only knew Tahme for a short time, but she seems completely different to me.”

“True,” Claire admitted. “She does seem really different.”

“I’m going to be really relieved if this turns out to be a joke,” Zoe whispered. “Gwen is never going to believe this.”

Emma’s heart was aching. “Somebody has to die.”

“What?” Claire asked in surprise.

“Two people. One body. Someone has to die.”

Zoe and Claire stared at her for a moment and then looked away.

“Everything is the same, but different,” Jenny said as she came back into the room. “All of my fiancé’s things are gone. I’m hoping that means they didn’t get married.”

“Do you want to see him?” Emma asked.

Jenny considered it. “You would think that would be a priority, but no. I don’t feel a drive to see him. Just Lisa.”

“It must be awful to know that your sister killed you,” Emma said gently.

There were tears in Jenny’s eyes as she nodded. “I just want to understand why. I really don’t think she intended to do it, but something was driving her, and I want to understand.”

Zoe took a deep breath. “Any idea where we should look for her?”

Jenny shrugged. “It’s Halloween, right? She could be anywhere.”

Claire sat down in a chair. “I say we wait for a bit and see if she comes back. It’s not that late. Hell, it’s not even lesbian time yet.”

Jenny cocked her head. “What’s lesbian time?”

“An hour later than normal people start things,” Zoe said. “If nine is the time things normally start, lesbians will start showing up at ten. Or later. We’re not very good at moving with the herd.”

Jenny dropped onto one end of the sofa with a little laugh. “I guess that makes sense, but Lisa isn’t a lesbian.”

“I was just pointing out that it isn’t late. She might not be at a party yet. Maybe she’s running an errand or something.”

Emma sat down beside Jenny and Claire sat down on an ottoman. They all stared at each other for a moment and then Claire started to snicker.

“Look at us. We broke into a strangers house and now we’re sitting around waiting for her to get home so we can accuse her of murder.”

Emma wasn’t sure what part of that was funny, but she smiled so as not to make it awkward.

“We could play cards,” Zoe suggested.

“Do we have a deck?” Claire asked.

Zoe shook her head and looked at Jenny.

Jenny shook herself like she was waking up. “I used to keep a deck in the junk drawer. Second drawer down to the right of the dishwasher.”

Zoe went into the kitchen and came back with cards a moment later. “Hearts?”

With a little adjustment, they were all sitting around the coffee table. Zoe dealt and they were all arranging cards in their hands when the front door opened.

The new arrival was of middle height with a lithe, dancer’s body. Her hair was brown, and her eyes were a vivid green.

For a long moment, the five of them stared at each other.

“Who the fuck are you and what are you doing in my house?” the woman demanded.

Emma leaned towards Jenny. “You were gorgeous.”

Jenny gave her a quick smile and stood up. “Hello, Lisa.”

“That’s not funny,” Lisa scowled. “My name is Jenny and I want you out of my house right now or I’m calling the cops. And how did you get in here anyway?”

“I used the spare key,” Jenny answered.

Lisa started to shake her head and stopped. “Okay, so Lisa told you where the spare was.”

“You didn’t know where it was, Lisa.”

“My name is Jenny.”

The real Jenny folded her arms and lifted her chin. “I know you, Lisa. I know that you hit me in the head in your little house and left me there. I know that you stepped into my life. I know this. And I can prove it.”

Lisa gaped at Jenny for a moment and then pulled a cell phone from her purse. “I’m calling the cops.”

“Go ahead,” Jenny said. “I’d be happy to explain how you murdered me.”

Lisa stepped forward with intent. “I don’t even know who you are. I can’t believe you broke into my house to accuse me of murdering my twin. I’m still heartbroken about it and it feels like you’re here to twist that knife.”

“Did you ever tell anyone what you did with Eric’s transformer toy?”

Lisa froze.

“You never did tell Mom that you were the one who drew all over that library book, did you?”

“Who the fuck are you?”

“I took the blame for that fender bender at the Sonic drive-thru so Mom and Dad wouldn’t take your license away. I used to sneak food to you when you got grounded without dinner. I held your hand when you got the abortion. You told me that you would never forgive yourself after it was over.”

Lisa looked horrified and hopeful at the same time. “Jenny?”

Jenny took a step forward. “I want to know why you were so upset about me and Doug.”

“He was cheating on you. On Jenny. What the hell is going on? How do you know all that stuff?”

“When Booker died, you put his favorite toy in the grave with him. That goofy looking chicken, remember?”

Lisa nodded. “But how do you know that?”

“Because I was there. How do you know Doug was cheating?”

Lisa took several breaths before answering. “I was sleeping with him.”

Jenny dropped back down onto the couch.

Lisa moved closer. “Are you really Jenny?”

“Ask me anything.”

Emma glanced at Zoe and Claire. They looked at captivated as she felt.

“Why did I break up with Trevor?”

“Because he was a terrible kisser.”

Lisa blinked. “What did you tell me when I wasn’t accepted to Harvard?”

“That it was all image and no substance. You could do better.”

“What was my favorite painting at the Museum of Modern Art?”

Jenny frowned. “I don’t remember that you liked anything. You were being really pissy that day because you wanted to go ice skating and Mom dragged us to a museum. As I recall, you thought all of the art was stupid.”

Lisa dropped to her knees. “How is this happening?”

“I don’t know, but the fact remains: you murdered me and stole my life.”

Lisa covered her face with both hands and began to cry.

Jenny reached out and grabbed one of Lisa’s hands. “You don’t get to cry and be sad, Lisa. You murdered me and I want answers. Did you want Doug? Was that it?’

“It was an accident,” Lisa wept. “You weren’t listening to me and I just…I didn’t mean to kill you. It was an accident.”

“Why didn’t you just tell me that you were sleeping with Doug?”

“I didn’t want you to be mad at me.”

“I see. Murder is so much better.”

“It was an accident,” Lisa all but screamed. “There was no way to explain it and I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life in prison. It wouldn’t have served any purpose. I mourned you, Jenny. I still grieve.”

Jenny let out a deep breath. “I believe you, but I think it’s more guilt than grief. What happened with Doug?”

Lisa shook her head. “When you died, he said I had changed, and we split up. He’s married to someone else now.”

A look of anguish flowed across Jenny’s face and then disappeared. “I guess that’s it then.”

Lisa wiped tears from her face. “What happens now?”

Jenny held up her hands and stared at them. “I think I need to leave.”

Emma stood up. “Where do you want to go?”

“No.” Jenny looked up at Emma. “I mean, I think I need to leave.”

Emma sat back down and put a hand on Jenny’s shoulder. “You mean…”

“I got my answers. I feel kind of tingly.”

Emma felt like she was losing a dear friend. “I don’t want you to go. I mean, I know Tahme needs to come back, but…”

Jenny smiled. “Thank you for caring about me. I’m sorry I ruined your evening and I appreciate all you did.” Jenny turned to Lisa. “I believe that you didn’t intend to kill me, but you did. I could forgive that, but then you stole my life to hide what you did. I can’t forgive you for that, Lisa. I can’t stop you from pretending to be me going forward, but it’s not going to make you happy. Whatever happens, you deserve it. Don’t be an asshole about it. It’s your penance.”

Lisa was crying now, her face buried in her hands.

Jenny turned back to Emma. “Do you have something I can write on?”

Emma made quick work of giving her a pen and the back of a grocery receipt. Jenny wrote on it quickly and folded it up. She looked up at Emma intently. “Do you really want children?”

“More than anything in the world,” Emma answered honestly. “Why?”

“This might not work,” Jenny said absently, “but I don’t know how it worked in the first place. Look at this later,” she said as she handed her note to Emma. That done, she lay down on the couch and put her head in Emma’s lap.

Emma put a hand on Jenny’s head. “Are you leaving now?”

Jenny looked up at her with a smile. “If it works, don’t name me Jenny. I never really liked that name.”

Emma opened her mouth to ask what she meant, but never got the words out. Jenny sagged and Emma gasped as a cramp took her belly. It wasn’t terrible, just unexpected. It was followed with a rush of inner heat that made her whole body break into a sweat. And then it was over. She felt no different really. Maybe a little confused, but she mostly felt the same.

Jenny sat up. “What the fuck?”

Emma’s hands went to her belly as she realized that Tahme was back. She looked down at her stomach in confusion.

“Where the hell are we and how did I get here?”

Claire and Zoe were gaping like landed fish. Lisa was still on her knees, crying into her hands. Emma suddenly felt completely at peace in a way she’d never experienced before.

“Did everyone suddenly get stupid? What the fuck is going on?”

Emma took one hand from her belly and wrapped her fingers around Tahme’s wrist. “Sit down and behave, Tahme. You’re acting like a jerk.”

“Excuse me?”

Emma tensed her core and barked, “Sit down!”

Tahme dropped to the couch.

Emma took a deep breath. “We don’t know what happened. Not really.” She pointed to Lisa. “That’s…Jenny. We came to drop off a message and now we’re going back to Zoe’s place. We can talk about it there, alright?”

“But how did I get here?”

“You don’t remember?” Zoe asked.

“Remember what? Did you guys drug me? Why don’t I remember?”

Emma just knew this whole thing was going to turn into a big mess. “You were possessed by a restless spirit. We brought her, in your body, to meet her sister who killed her by accident. She left your body a few minutes ago and you’re back. Does that help?”

Tahme blinked a few times while she thought it over. “You are one weird chick.”

“I think the weirdness is just getting started,” Emma said with a chuckle, “but we should leave.”

Lisa was still crying when they shut the front door and walked down the steps. “I remember laying on the floor and then I was laying in your lap,” Tahme persisted. “I don’t remember anything in the middle. And why was I laying in your lap?”

Emma put a hand in the crook of Tahme’s arm. “I’m not positive but ask me again in a few weeks.”

They got in the car and Tahme leaned over to Emma. “I feel different.”

“Different how?”

“I’m not sure.” Tahme pinched the bridge of her nose. “Just different.”

Emma thought that Jenny’s presence in Tahme’s mind may have changed Tahme in some way. She hoped that it turned out to be beneficial in the long run. She put her hands back on her belly. Emma wasn’t sure what had happened, but she was pretty sure that Jenny had moved into her in some way. She thought there might be a chance that she was pregnant, and her hands were protecting it. It was crazy. That sort of thing never happened. It was impossible.

But Emma knew.

She smiled.


Emma read the note Jenny had given her the next day. It said EFG International and had two sets of numbers on it. A few minutes on the computer showed that EFG International was a Swiss bank. Feeling nervous as hell, Emma tried the numbers for logging in and found herself looking at an account with nearly 600-thousand dollars in it. Scared to death that someone was going to knock on her door any moment and arrest her for international bank fraud, Emma logged out and tossed the note into a drawer.

She did not look at it again until a month later when she tested positive. Emma cautiously took out just enough money to pay for a doctor visit. She verified that she was pregnant and cried in fear, happiness and worry for the rest of the day.

Eight months later, Emma held her baby daughter for the first time. After counting all her fingers and toes, Emma named her Renee Justine. All of her friends came to see them in the hospital, including Tahme.

Tahme’s personality had undergone a drastic change. She wasn’t remotely like Jenny had been, but she was calmer and friendlier. Most of the people who had history with Tahme were unable to accept her as she was now, but she was a lot better. Emma really liked her now.

When Tahme came to the hospital, she came carrying two packages of diapers. She dropped them on the end of Emma’s bed. “There’s more in the car.”

“I am really going to appreciate those. Thank you.”

Tahme leaned closer. “Can I see her?”

Emma patted the bed next to her hip. “Sit down and you can hold her.”

Tahme’s eyes got big. “You’ll let me hold her?”

Emma cradled Renee in her hands and held her out. “Yes, you can hold her.”

“Aren’t you afraid I’ll drop her?”

“No. Here.”

Emma was always a little bit nervous when others wanted to hold the baby, but for some reason, she wasn’t nervous with Tahme. She watched how Tahme curled her larger body around the baby and knew Renee was safe.

“Hey, baby girl,” Tahme said softly. “What do you think so far?”

Emma curled up on her side and relaxed. She watched Tahme smile with wonder when Renee wrapped her tiny hand around a finger.

Tahme acted like she was holding a miracle. Every single thing about Renee was fascinating to her. Emma watched her touch Renee’s hair and kiss each finger on her tiny hand. She was almost asleep when Tahme said, “I got a job.”

Emma blinked herself back to awareness. “You did?”

“Driving a forklift down by the docks.”


“It pays good.”

Emma smiled. “I’m proud of you, Tahme.”

The taller woman blushed almost as red as her hair. “Thanks.”

“I didn’t like you very much at first, but you’ve changed a lot this year. I like you and I think the baby likes you, too.”

Tahme was looking at the baby as she spoke. “I think she changed me. When she was inside of me, I think it changed me.”

Emma thought so, too, but she just waited.

“I think there was something wrong with me before. Maybe having her in my head fixed me. But I can’t say that to my therapist, or I’ll spend the rest of my life drooling on Thorazine.”

Emma chuckled softly. “You can always talk to me about that. You know I’ll believe you.”

“It’s her, isn’t it? She became this baby?”

“I think so, but I don’t think her personality came through. She doesn’t seem to exhibit any awareness beyond everything being shiny and new. I think Jenny is finally at peace and this is a new person.”

Tahme nodded. “I feel like a new person, too. I never could have gotten a job before. I’m off all the medications I was on and my therapist says I’m doing really well.”

“I agree,” Emma said.

Tahme stared at the baby for a moment and then looked straight into Emma’s eyes. “I don’t think I’ve ever been this scared in all my life.”

“Why are you scared?”

Tahme took a deep breath. “I want to ask you on a date, and I’m terrified you’ll laugh at me.”

A slow smile spread across Emma’s face. “When I laugh, it’s because I’m happy. Yes.”

Tahme cocked her head. “Did you say yes?”

Emma laughed. “I said yes.”

Tahme smiled down at the baby. “She said yes.”

“The baby will need to come with us for a while.”

Tahme ran a finger down Renee’s cheek. “The baby will be part of everything forever. Maybe, someday, I can be part of everything, too?”

Emma put a hand on Tahme’s knee. “Maybe you can.”

A single tear rolled down Tahme’s face and dropped on the baby’s blanket. “I will do my best.”

Emma looked at the two of them together and smiled. “Who knew that Halloween miracles were a thing?”

The End



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