“JOHN, I JUST MET A ghost who’s dying.”
I raised one eyebrow, waiting for the punchline from my favorite time-bender.
“No, it’s not what you think. I haven’t gone off the deep end. The government made him into something they call a ghost.”
“Figure if the government’s involved, then it’s going to be screwed up… But a ghost – dying?”
“Running out of juice, actually. Kept alive on some sort of weird life support that he won’t fix to save himself.”
“No, he says there’s another in worse shape than him. A girl detective – of sorts.”
“And you got this from one meeting?”
“No, he appears once a year for about 5 minutes – so I tracked him back. And I’ve been talking to him for decades now.”
“5 minutes at a time?”
Carol nodded, and bowed her head.
I raised it with a gentle touch to her chin.
And saw a tear roll down her cheek.
“Please, John. Help me help him – and her.”
– The Case of the Time Bent Beau by S. H. Marpel
– The Case of the Walkaway Diner Redoux by J. R. Kruze, S. H. Marpel
– Walkaway Redemption by S. H. Marpel
– Felicity by S. H. Marpel
I didn’t often see Carol like this. In fact, never.
Her eyes were hollow, her skin pasty, and she looked like she had slept in those clothes more than once. Not her ordinary tidy, perky self.
Unlike some other of my guests, Carol always knocked politely. So softly, sometimes she had to knock twice to get my attention.
This time, I rose at her first knock. Because there was some insistence in it this time. That’s when I got a good look at her.
Her red-rimmed eyes met mine and I held out my arms.
She melted into them for a long hug between friends.
And I waited for her to speak.
But when she didn’t, “I’ve got some coffee I can warm up, and there’s some of Hami’s cookies left.”
Carol only looked up at me and nodded, then released me so she could drop onto the couch-bunk. I returned with the cookies after I’d poured this morning’s coffee into a pan on the hotplate and set the coffeemaker to run another batch. A second look at her face persuaded me that this might be a long story she wanted to tell…
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