Mike and Liz Keeny are newlyweds, new parents, and the proprietors of the Barrett Inn, an 1875 Victorian on Cape Cod, which just happens to be haunted. By their own ghosts. The Inn had become an annex of Purgatory, putting Mike, Liz, and their infant son in danger. Selling the historic seaside bed and breakfast was the only answer, one that Liz and her own tortured specter refused to consider. Were they doomed to follow the same path that led to disaster in their previous lives? Was getting out, getting away, enough?
Silk rustled as she ran her hands over the dress. The lavender scent deepened as Elisabeth swirled around inside, Her mind went numb as the ghost took control. She slipped out of her clothes and stood naked in front of the mirror. She put up her hair, preening for her husband, before she stepped into the middle of the deep green skirts and pulled them up over her waist, slipped her arms into the sleeves, and twisted them behind her back to fasten the buttons. She used the buttonhook to do up the shoes, then peered out into the hallway.
Liz bundled the sweat suit into her arms, along with the soap and paper goods, and hurried to the attic door. It wasn’t until she placed her hand on the banister and started up the steep staircase to the roof that Elisabeth’s needling eased. Like an addict in the throes of withdrawal, just the promise of being up there, her spirit communing with the long lost sea captain, offered relief.
Look, for now, weâ€™ll just stay where we areâ€“together. If Liz and Mike are united, then Jared and Elisabeth arenâ€™t going to be able to get in between us.â€ He brushed the tears off her cheeks.
She stared at him intently, fear, maybe desperation in her eyes. â€œWe can only talk to each other about this. Others might use any information against us.â€
â€œWho would do that, Liz?â€™
Her demeanor hardened. She sat up, raised her chin. â€œMy son. Your daughter. Sandra.â€
â€œYouâ€™re paranoid. The kids have no inkling about ghosts. All Sandra has are theories. She doesnâ€™t know about your incidentâ€“or my illness. And Iâ€™m not going to tell her.â€ Guilt twanged in his gut. Sandra had come up with all the ghostly interpretations on her own, right?
Liz jumped up. â€œShe knows about my injury. Maybe not how it happened, but when Mae went in there to get my things, she figured out it was for me. She reads minds, or manipulates people into blabbing what they know.â€
Mike lowered his voice to a whisper. â€œIt doesnâ€™t take much for Mae to spill information. I think youâ€™re giving Sandra too much credit.â€ Yet, she did ask him about the ghosts as soon as he sat down.
â€œYou can joke all you want, Mike, but this is serious. We canâ€™t let anyone else in.â€
â€œI wonâ€™t say a word about anything ghostly to anyone. As long as things stay under control.â€
Liz studied him.
Mike squirmed. â€œI think Iâ€™m going to take a nap.â€ He settled back on the sofa.
She tucked the blanket around him and kissed him on the cheek. â€œIâ€™ll go help Mae with dinner.â€
She didnâ€™t believe him. He didnâ€™t trust her. This was never going to work.
Carole Ann Moleti is a nurse-midwife in New York City, thus explaining her fascination with paranormal and urban fantasy that infuses everything she writes. The Widow’s WalkÂ was released in 2014 by Soulmate, and is now out in print. The prequel, Breakwater Beach, is due out in late 2015. You can read a short story preview in Haunted: Ten Tales of Ghosts. Â Subscribe to Carole’s newsletter for updates and get a free download of Haunted.