by Christine Lashinski
Callie awoke suddenly, with none of the usual fuzziness. She escaped from her tangled sheets. Moonlight shone through cracks in the rumpled storm clouds, as the empty branches of an oak tree clawed at her bedroom window. Outside, her golden retriever paced. Rusty was afraid of storms.
She stretched out her legs as far from the darkness under her bed as possible. She crept across her room and into the hall. When she reached the stairs she discovered she wasn’t alone. A shadow elongated. As it spread up the staircase, the dark shape snuffed out the moonlight previously streaming through the glass pane of the front door.
Callie’s throat seized up, trapping her scream. Her hands fisted at her sides. “I hate it when you do that.”
The form shrank to human size as the ghost shook with laughter. She took the binder out of her hair and shot it at him. It passed harmlessly through him and landed in the entryway.
“That was almost worth dying for.”
“Stop trying to scare me.” She walked around the cold space surrounding him. “I’m getting my dog.”
“I make animals nervous. If you bring Rusty in, then I’ll have to leave.”
“And the downside of that would be?” She opened the door and walked into windblown rain.
“That’s cold.” He hovered above the door. “Find a date for the prom yet?”
Her teeth squeaked as she ground them together. “Yes, but something keeps scaring them away.”