Some people swore the house was haunted. Oh, all right. It was me. I said it. I live across the street. One morning I walked outside and saw a “SOLD” sign stuck over the one that said “FOR SALE.” I was stoked. Maybe someone cool would move in. A thirteen year-old like me would be great. Turned out to be a she, a twelve year-old girl. Not a guy, but still.
I heard her way before I saw her.
“I won’t do it again!” she said. “You can’t make me!”
It was almost dark. I stopped my bike when I heard her. Looked up at the third floor window. There was a light on, and the curtain, what was left of it, was all raggedy and see through The window must’ve been open because I could hear everything.
“Baby! Don’t (sob)-- Make (gasp)-- Me (whimper)-- Shoot.” It was a woman’s voice. Her mom’s gonna kill her? That’s sick.
I let my bike fall over so I could pull my backpack off. Maybe I heard wrong. I rooted through my pack. I keep everything in there. Two years of scouts had taught me to be prepared. I dug out my binoculars case and snapped it open. Stepped behind my neighbor’s bushes and pointed the binoculars at the window.
Bang! The gunshot made me jump. It wasn’t real loud. Sounded like a little kid’s pop gun. Even so, the blast pushed the girl across the room. Her back hit the wall, and she slid to the ground. Holy crap! She was petite, with loads of dark hair. I winced as blood trickled down her chin. I got my cell phone out. To dial 9-1-1. Dang it! It was dead.
I sprinted to my house. Opened the front door and yelled.
“I’m in the shower, Shane.”
I took the stairs two at a time and stood beside the bathroom door.
“I think someone just got killed over at the new people’s house.”
“You what? Now why would you say something like that?”
I leaned against the wall and rolled my eyes. “I’m serious, Mom. I heard a gun and—“
“A gun? No, you didn’t, Shane. Those people haven’t even moved in yet. There's never been a moving truck or cars. Besides--”
“I know, but—“
“It was probably fireworks," she said. "Or maybe someone clapped. I swear! You’re so dramatic.”
I snorted. Clapped? Seriously?
“I’m going back out,” I said. “I bet the police’ll come.”
I waited for the cops. They never came. I got ready to go inside to call 'em, but then the whole thing started over. Like instant replay.
“Don’t make me--"
That’s when I got it. The house is haunted. The woman and girl are ghosts. The whole scene probably runs over and over. Forever. Guess I'd held my breath 'cause all of a sudden, it came out in a rush. I stood there for a minute, then I grinned. Ghosts? Ghosts live across the street from me? Cool.
The next day I was on my bike when I heard a car go up the alley behind the new people’s house. Then it came down the street. Toward me. Fast. My mouth fell open when I saw the dark-haired girl in the front seat. What the--? I huffed. The alley! They keep their car ‘round back!
The killing mom slowed the car and yelled out the window.
“Move it, kid. We’ve got places to go. People to see.”
I stayed put. “Where you going?”
“For your information, Mr. Nibby, Mystery here has an audition in exactly one hour. We want to be first in line.”
My eyebrows went up. “Audition?”
The girl leaned over. “Yeah. They wanna see if I can cry and die. Now move!”
She’s even prettier up close.
I tilted my head. “You act? For real? Me too.”
“Cool. We’ll talk later. Go, Mom.”
Me and Mystery? The girl who wasn’t a ghost? We became best friends. Until she kissed me. After that? Nothing was ever the same again after that.