“Why don’t you just leave?” Alison McCarthy asked seriously.
The younger woman glared at her, brown eyes narrowed. She was about five feet tall, a full eight inches shorter than Alison herself. Her hair was hay-colored and tangled around her head. “You can’t make me,” she snarled. “I was here first. It’s my room.”
Alison sighed, pulling a cigarette from the already near empty pack. A nasty habit, smoking was. She had tried quitting years ago just to start right back up again. Must’ve been the stress of her work. She brought it to her lips, lighting it and taking a deep drag. God, she was stressed. “You do realize you’re dead, don’t you?” she asked finally.
To be honest, Alison felt exhausted. She hated the late night house calls. Her clients acted like she didn’t have a life of her own. Her personal home business, McCarthy’s Paranormal Agency, did nothing but wear her out.
Still, it had felt like a natural course to follow. A calling. She was a psychic living in Spring Falls, Pennsylvania that could communicate with the dead. Why not make a profit off of it?
The younger woman didn’t answer her. Instead, to her surprise, the dead woman screamed hysterically as she leaped toward Alison, grabbing her by the neck and knocking her down to the floor. “I’m not dead!” she shrieked. “I’m not dead.”
The fall knocked the wind from her. Alison gasped for air as she grasped at the woman’s cold fingers wrapped tightly around her throat. She struggled as she tried to pull free from the dead woman’s strong hold. “Get off me!” Alison said angrily. She gave a hard shove, managing to push the woman off her. Climbing to her feet, Alison’s hand went to the tender area around her throat where she had been strangled.
The woman watched her as Alison took a step back. Alison’s eyes moved to her lost cigarette smoking on the carpet. She picked it up again, putting it to her lips as she spoke. “You’re dead,” she said again, her voice annoyed. Her patience with the poltergeist was wearing thin. “Get over it.”
“I am not!” the woman shrieked, pressing her hands to her ears. Her clothes looked older, as if they were from the early 40′s. “I’m not dead! I’m alive. I’ll prove I’m alive.” She moved to a table lamp, looking ready to fling the heavy object in Alison’s direction. However, her hands fell through the solid object. The woman let out a cry, trying again, only to have her hands go through the lamp once more. Her fingers looked transparent as they disappeared into the base.
The woman stopped, looking upset. “I’m not,” she said desperately. She started to sob. She looked as though she wanted to cry but couldn’t. Just the act of crying. Her spiritual body couldn’t produce the tears. “Am I?” She looked at Alison, her expression distressed. “Am I dead?”
Alison stepped up, wrapping an arm around the woman’s thin shoulders as she blew out a breath of smoke. Poor kid. “Don’t let it get to you,” she reassured. “I know it hurts as first. But you’ll see. It’s not so bad.” She gave her a gentle pat on the woman’s back, taking her cigarette and inhaling in the last bit of tobacco. “You’ll see when you get there.”
The woman shook her head, her hands going to her face. “You have no idea what it’s like. I don’t even remember it happening. I don’t know how it happened. I don’t know when. I’ve just been here so long. It’s not fair.”
“It’ll make sense. As long as you know it now.”
The woman nodded. Already she had begun to fade away. She was leaving their dimension and traveling to the next. The afterlife. The woman had no reason to fear it any longer.
The woman faded until nothing was left. The room went quiet and
Alison checked her watch. 3:25 am. She had to get some sleep. She stepped out of the bedroom and headed downstairs to where the anxious elderly couple were seated on their living room couch.
The couple looked towards her as she stepped off the last stair. “Is it gone?” the man asked, his voice shaking.
Alison had to keep from rolling her eyes. It. How annoying. What the hell did they think they were dealing with anyway? The boogieman? “She’s not going to bother you anymore,” she said instead. “That’ll be $250 plus the $50 fee for house calls after seven.” For that matter, she should’ve charged more for calls after 2:00 am.
“Of course,” the elderly wife said quickly. She pulled her checkbook from an old leather purse and set it on the small coffee table, scribbling across the front. “Thanks again for coming. I know it’s late. We weren’t trying to wake you up.”
Well, they did, but that was fine. She was used to it by now. If not them, then someone else would’ve. Business was booming. How many self-employed entrepreneurs could complain about that? “Don’t worry about it,” she said. The woman handed her the check and Alison made a small waving motion with her hand. “Thanks guys. G’night.”
She made her way towards the front door, half jogging as she passed through the entrance and down the porch stairs. She couldn’t wait to get back in bed. Another good thing about owning her own business, work didn’t start until she did. Unless she got another emergency house call, that is. Which, unfortunately, had been happening a lot more often than not lately. Always when she was trying to get some sleep too.
She climbed into her car, catching a glance of her reflection in the mirror. Her long, chestnut-colored hair framed a slender face and blue eyes. She was twenty-eight, though she could’ve passed for several years younger, and had owned her business for about five years already. Her eyes fell to the red lines around her neck. She knew she’d be bruised in the morning from the attack.