Vagen hesitated on the first step of the spiral staircase.
The murder happened here.
And though the killer may not always return to the scene of the crime, the ghost did.
She placed her hand to the railing and shuddered at the ice-cube feel of it.
This definitely ranked up there high on the list of things she didn’t want to do.
But it reckoned part of the job.
And she was no slouch when it came to work.
Besides, how else would she get the right feel for the story she wrote for the high school newspaper?
With a quick breath, and before she could stop herself again, she took the landing above.
Fog shadowed the steps.
Though the hairs on the back of her neck bristled, she continued on.
“Natalie,” she whispered.
Would she have to walk up what looked like five-thousand steps before the ghost spoke to her?
She groaned at the idea as she looked at the half-moon intersections of the staircases ahead.
Heat blew against her neck and she turned.
The girl stood in the shadows, her dark hair billowing around her face, her irises now
filmed over. She reached out to touch Vegan’s face and goosebumps pricked forth.
Did Vegan really want to be here? With her? Yes. She lifted her chin. “Natalie?” she asked.
The spirit nodded.
“What can you tell me about your death?”
She laughed and it came out eerie and high-pitched.
Vegan took a step back.
She danced around her, her fingernails raking skin.
As Vegan cried out in pain, she paused and opened her mouth.
“I can tell you, you’re wrong. The killer always comes back. In fact, he’s waiting right below. For you. You see, he waits for young girls…he never bothers with the older ones…to be lured here by my story. And then swoops in.”
As Vegan fell onto the landing, she heard footfalls.
“No,” came out of her lips, unbidden. She picked herself up and raced up the steps , even as the ghost told her more.
“I did that too.”
Vegan fell again.
“And that. You’re replaying my death. All the girls’ deaths.”
She felt a hand fall to her shoulder and braced herself as the killer spun her around, knife to her throat.
Still, Natalie hovered near. “If I could help you, I would. But you’re really just…an echo in time.”
Vegan’s screams joined dozens around her even as she struggled for her life.
There came a sharp grunt as the killer lifted off her and hit the opposite wall. He slumped to the floor. I stared at Reggie and then leaped into his arms.
“You saved me.”
He drew back his head. “Of course I did. Just as we planned. Don’t you remember? All these murders had to lead up to somewhere and we figured on the how.”
She sobbed. “It just felt so…real.”
He put a hand to her cheek. “Of course it was. These tours of the past aim to please. So, what’s up next? Return to the Jack the Ripper days?”
Vegan swallowed. “Let’s try a little something tamer for a while.”
He kissed her forehead. “Whatever you say.”
©Copyright 2011, January 29, tlc.
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