Ghost Train

2012-10-31-19-41-56The dead hung around her in spectral filaments like old lace on the wedding dress that Miss Havisham would have killed for. The shade of a young girl, more solid than most of the others, turned a face towards me that was smooth and devoid of features apart from two cross shaped scars where her eyes should have been.
’Tea Ms Garnett? ’ smiled my hostess giving me the benefit of her own honey brown peepers.
‘No, but I’ll have some whisky if you’ve got it Lucille,’ I said staring at the ghosts covering her.
The practiced smile slipped a little, whether at the request or the use of her first name, I couldn’t tell.
‘Yes…yes of course. You don’t mind if I don’t join you, do you? Nine in the morning is a tad early for me.’
‘In that case I’ll have yours, so make mine a double,’ I said, grinning. Nothing cheered me up like a spot of narking the clients and I had a feeling this one was going to be a riot.
‘So,’ I said settling into the uncomfortable cream leather couch and taking in the large chrome and glass living-room, ‘What can I do you for?’
She crossed the room and poured me a drink from a sparkling crystal decanter snatched from the drinks cabinet. An oblong of spring sunlight spilled into the room through the huge bay window and across my hostess, or perhaps ghostess would have been more apt, elevating her hair from red to fiery shades of copper and obliterating her trailing ghost-train.
The sounds of birdsong from the garden and the amber liquid sloshing into the shot glass momentarily calmed the white noise in my head. She handed me the drink with a sour grace and I glugged it down, holding my glass out for more and waggling it around for maximum irritation value.
‘Really, Ms Garnett-’
‘Call me Rose.’
‘Very well. Rose. You make it sound like you’re offering a plumbing service. And and I’d just like to remind you that this is not a public house.’
‘Dealing with other people’s shit is what I do, so it’s not a bad analogy. Anyway barkeep, after you’ve gotten me another li’l drinkie, you can tell me why the hell you’ve asked me here. I’ve got a fun-packed day ahead so we really do need to get down to it.’
The shade with the cross scarred eyes shook her head and placed an elongated spectral finger to non-existent lips.
‘What?’ I asked the wraith.
‘I didn’t say anything,’ said Lucille. ‘I should warn you that I’ll be making a complaint to your superiors about your behaviour today. It’s highly unprofessional, not to mention downright rude and frankly I think you have an alcohol problem.’
‘I’m not talking to you, I’m talking to one of the ghosts that’s clinging to you for dear life. Or should that be death? Anyway,’ I said putting a finger up to forestall interruption. ‘First off I don’t have any superiors. I’m my own boss so complaint duly noted and rest assured my fuck you response is in the post. Second I’m the only ‘professional’ in a city of bungling amateurs and I’m more than happy to leave you to their tender mercies, ‘cos frankly babes I don’t need either the work or the additional drama. And third, the only problem I have with alcohol is when I don’t bloody have any.’
I set the empty glass down on the ornate coffee table and got up.
‘Let’s not be so hasty shall we? Here, let me get you that drink,’ she said grabbing my glass and racing over to the drinks cabinet.
What sort of twisted individual had a drinks cabinet? Any booze that made it over my threshold was drained dry immediately. Perhaps more to the point, what sort of weirdo had her own personal ghost riders?
‘Look,’ she said, biting a lipsticked lower lip and handing me a heroic measure of whisky, ‘we’ve obviously got off on the wrong foot. I’m sorry if I’m a bit, well, abrupt, but I’ve been worried sick.’
Being a contrary sort, I accepted the glass first and then considered the apology.
‘Now, about this, er, ghost’ she continued. ‘What do you mean by that? Can you describe it?’
The scarred revenant shook her outsized head with such force that it wobbled on its little spindle of a neck. I downed my replenished drink which had a superior burn to the last one. What the hell was ol’ Luce was up to? Clients changing their tune was one thing, but breaking out the good booze for the lowly help meant a whole new level of messed up in my experience.
What was really bothering me though, was that while ghosts did occasionally haunt people, they never did it en masse – not unless…
I slammed my glass down, eliciting the desired wince from my hostess.
‘Let’s cut the crap, shall we,’ I said. ‘Just tell me where you’ve buried the bodies.’

Posted in Dark Fantasy, Scottish Urban Horror, Urban Fantasy and tagged , , , , .

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