After William protected my honor, things changed quite a bit. I noticed William never stayed too far from my side and he seemed tense, as if ready for a fight. Mike stayed disappeared for a few days but when he started showing up again he avoided me completely other than very dirty, angry looks thrown my way. One night when William was riding, Mike started approaching but then William rode over, pulling the horse to a stop between me and Mike, and Mike retreated.
I realized all this was going to make it difficult to get away from him whenever my sis showed up, but when she did I was able to find an excuse to go wander on my own a bit. He held my hands and accepted it when I made it clear I kinda wanted to ‘be alone’. “If you need me, call out and I shall come,” he said, kissing my knuckles. So I was able to get down the hill to chat with my sister without too much trouble.
One night in early February the graveyard got another visitor. A girl came strolling in, wearing very weird looking clothes. I was sort of in the middle of being sung to so I didn’t notice her until after she noticed me. I saw her as she came running across the bridge. Fear seized me and I started to fade but it was really too late. She was shrieking loudly. Sounding very excited.
“I wonder–” William began as he stood up from his kneeling position but there was no time for anything because there she was, right there, staring at me.
“Oh my GOSH!” she shrieked. “It’s YOU!!!” I backed up a bit, gulping. Me? Was she… expecting me or something? I was very dazed and had no clue what to even do. “I can’t believe this, after so many years of searching… You’re the Danevbie ghost. But you look older. I don’t understand. How come you look older? Ghosts can’t age. Or can they? OH it doesn’t matter! You don’t remember me, do you? We only met once but it changed my life. I saw you. I was there for that snob Miracle Danevbie’s birthday party and I saw you, you were haunting the upstairs and then you were haunting under the bed.”
My eyes went wide. I couldn’t remember her name but I certainly remembered what she was talking about. “Y-you!” I gasped.
“Me! You remember!” she squealed, clapping her hands.
“You used to be… blonde…?”
“Omagawsh you remember that too? Yes. I dyed my hair. It suits the look. I’m a psychic now! But you know that, because you’re the spirit that connected me to the supernatural world. When I saw you, I knew I was different! Well, I always knew I was different, but the first time I ever saw you was when I knew my powers came to be.” She walked right through a very confused-looking William and I took a step back. “I tried getting back into the house but never could. I focused on my powers growing up but I couldn’t really contact spirits again as well as I did with you…”
“When I saw the photo in the Spiritualist Monthly, I did some research and when I found out Miracle Danevbie was here too I knew it couldn’t just be a coincidence, and it’s not!”
“Oh!” She dug in her bag and then held up a photo. A blurry, semi-transparent figure flying close to the ground over near the guest graves. It was me. I remembered that night. That guy who had been taking pictures, and Mike snapped at me for not being in the guest graves to hide. Oh no. “It’s you! Isn’t it?”
“It is! I recognized the colors and felt this… deep… connection within me.” She pressed the photo against her chest. “I knew it had to be you. Especially with your great-great-great niece being here. That’s who she is, isn’t she? I mean, you’re Orion Danevbie, aren’t you?”
“N… no… I d-d-d-don’t know anyone by that name…”
“Oh.” Her face fell. “See, I did research. On the Danevbie family. After seeing you. I figured you were a Danevbie and–well, that doesn’t make sense you’re right. But then who are you? I thought you were Orion since he died in that house.”
“Okay not really, but close enough. A few blocks away. Well, at the hospital which is more than a few blocks but it’s close enough, isn’t it?”
“Are you not a Danevbie then?”
“Who are you? My name is Morganza. Well really it was Lindsey but it–because Lindsey doesn’t make a very good psychic name. I thought about Morgan but I like Morganza better it doesn’t sound as common, I mean come on, how many Morgans or Morganas are gonna be psychics?”
“Morganza Moonwhisper. Do you like it? I like it, though I am not sure. I mean, I haven’t really officially changed it yet. I can though. I’m an adult now. But I was waiting and now I don’t wait because I have my Spirit Channel now! You!”
“I’m y-your what now?” Finally I got more than one syllable out.
“My Spirit Channel! Cassandra told me every real good psychic has a real good Spirit Channel, a–a–a sort of radio to the other side, like you. One spirit they are super connected to, I always knew it was you so I’ve been faking it till I found you again, or someone else who was my Spirit Channel, but it’s NOT someone else, it’s YOU and we’re together again!”
“Chance, what is going on?” William asked and I gaped at him.
Lindsey-Morganza saw that and began talking before I could. “Is someone else there? Oh my gosh, it’s my aunt isn’t it? Aunt Claire? It’s me!” She turned and spread her arms out. “This young male spirit can speak to me! Speak through him! Hey! Tell my aunt that everything is fine. We miss her very much.”
“WE MISS YOU!” she said very loudly, practically in William’s ear. He flinched and floated a bit away, rubbing his ear as he looked at me. I felt sick. “Aunt Claire! We followed your wishes so you can move on! I have your engagement ring, and my sister has your emerald pendant, and my brother took in your cat! Everything is fine!” She whirled on me, pressing in so close that I stumbled back through the bench. “Does she understand? Please help her understand. Wait, why is she here? She died in Hidden Springs…”
“Chance–praytell–what is going on?” William said as soon as there was a pause.
“I don’t know,” I managed to squeak out at him.
“Can’t you ask her?” Both William and Lindsey-Morganza asked at the same time. It kinda made me dizzy and I began stammering, no clue what to even say. I tried looking at William but the girl was walking forward again so all I could really do was step back to keep a bit of distance between us.
“Please, ma’am, leave me a–alone…” I whimpered. “I don’t know wh-what you want from me? I c-can’t do anything to help you or–or anything. I don’t know your aunt.”
“You can talk to other ghosts, right? And see other ghosts? And have them speak through you? That’s what Spirit Channels do. You channel the spirit world for me, it’s how I can interact with the spirit world, through you!” She was at the bench now, staring happily. “This means I really am a psychic. I’ve been training under Cassandra who really does have a Spirit Channel and I’ve been having to fake it for the past couple of years but she says it’s fine since some people take ages to find their Spirit Channel and I tried explaining to her about you but I don’t think she believed me, she always talked about how some psychics don’t get them and that some just have to fake it their entire lives.”
“Um. I’m not… I mean… I’m not your S-Spirit Channel.”
“Of course you are, I can see you, and talk to you. And you can…”
She kept babbling but William moved so he was right next to me. “What is she going on about?” he whispered. “How can she… see you? Hear what you speak?”
“Umm…” I felt like crying. Everything was going so well now everything would be ruined! “It’s a l-long story,” I managed to say and the girl stopped talking, tilting her head to one side and asking what I was talking about. “Nothing. Um… I just… sincerely believe I am not your Spirit anything. If I was, I’m sure we would have known–um–before.”
She looked devastated. Completely, a hundred percent devastated. I felt really super bad for doing that to her. “But… you’re… the only ghost I’ve ever seen. You have to be. I have to be psychic. I KNOW I am. I can feel it.” Now she was looking all suspicious. “What kind of trick are you trying to play?”
“I’m n-not playing any trick!” I looked at William who was very silent, eyes focused on me. “Please, can’t we… can’t you…” I struggled to figure out what to say but before I could come up with anything, there was a loud chirruping sound. Both me and the girl jumped and then she reddened, pulling a little phone out from her pocket.
“Madame Cassandra?” she breathed out. “Yes, I’m fine, I just–danger? No. No danger. I’m in a graveyard. I found my Spirit Channel!…. what? No! This isn’t like last time, I really did find it now. Remember I told you of my experience as a little girl? It’s–huh? No! Madame, no, I swear it’s true. I’m in Appaloosa Plains…. B-but Madame… no–yes–yes–yes–yes, Madame, I under–huh? But… no…” She gave me a sad look. “He’s really here. What?… NO! It’s NOT at all like before. I swear it… Well, yes, but–Well I suppose he–uhhh, no. No… oh.” Her face fell completely again. “Madame, I really–Oh. I s-see. Yes, I understand. I’ll be back right away. Th-thank you.”
She snapped the phone close and gave me a longing look. “Madame wants me to, uh, head back… she doesn’t…” She ran her finger over the bridge of her nose. “She doesn’t believe me. Like always. You’ll be here… for a while, yeah?” She reached out as if to grab me but then let her hands draw back. I wasn’t solid anyway but I didn’t want her to touch me. I was worried even if her hands went through mine that it might really connect us or something. “I’ll come see–oh! Or can you come with me? Come to Madame? I can prove to her I’m truly a psychic.”
“I can’t go anywhere,” I lied quickly. I was worried William would wonder why I lied but I saw he was smirking quite a lot, to the point of covering the smirk with his hand. As the girl spoke, William began snickering.
“You moved from Sunset Valley to here,” she said, not hearing William’s laughter. “How come you can’t come with me? It’s not far. Only a couple hours.”
“No. I can’t. I… I stay here. Actually–well, the thing is… I’m…. moving.”
William gave a loud snort and turned his shoulder a bit so he was facing away. I bit my lip and stared intently at the girl, waiting. “Moving?” she asked slowly.
“Yes. Back to Sunset Valley. So if you need me… I’ll be there…” It felt strange lying so much but it needed to be done. “Um, not here.” She folded her arms and I knew she didn’t believe me. I was an idiot for thinking it would, really. “So, um, I’ll see you there. If you still want to talk to me, that is.”
“Riiiight.” She took a step back and gave me a semi-smile. “See you soon then. Um, what’s your name? I need to know.”
“Ah, V-Venkman. P-Peter Venkman.”
She continued staring and I figured she was just going to laugh in my face. But then she smiled broadly. “Not a Danevbie then.” Wow, seriously? She didn’t know who Dr. Peter Venkman was? And she insisted she was into ghosts? Did she NOT watch movies? It’s been ages since I’ve seen a movie, I realized. Since I played a video game… My fingers twitched, missing the feel of a game controller. Almost two years now… Then I realized the girl was still talking and I had no clue what she was saying. Then she took off running, leaving the graveyard.
I faced William who was still smirking. “You look as you do when the horse is around,” he said, putting his fingers against my wrist. “What was that about?”
“I don’t know. She’s crazy,” I said, drifting closer to him so our faces were close. I was hoping he would kiss me and forget about all that but no such luck.
“How can she see you? Speak with you?” I stared hopelessly up at him. I knew I needed to tell him but I was so afraid to. I was silent, unable to figure out what to say. William moved his hand to my cheek. “Praytell, what is it?”
“I’m… not a normal ghost…” The words were thick in my mouth and I couldn’t say them very well. I reached up and put my hand against his, something in my throat. I felt like crying. “I was b-born this way. As… as a ghost. Normal people–uh, living people can see me. Interact with me.” I stared into his eyes, trying hard to figure out what he was thinking. But I couldn’t figure out anything. “William…?”
“Uhhh, well I kinda told you something important and you’re not saying anything.”
“I apologize. What do you desire me to say?”
I flinched. “That’s not exactly the response I was hoping for.”
His lips pressed together then pressed against mine, hard. I nearly toppled backwards but he put his hands firmly around my back, then kept leaning me back until I realized we were in a dipped kiss. Totally like in the movies. I gasped for air when he moved his lips away, staring dizzily up. “Was that a more desirable response?” he whispered.
“Ah…. uh-huh…” I squeaked, fingers clutching at his shirt as best they could.
“Chance, what does it matter? Who, or what, you once were.” His lips touched my chin, leaving a burning sensation there. “You are here now, yes?”
His lips moved up my jawline and I begin shaking. “Whatever path which led you here is behind you. We have an eternity together now.” His mouth was at my ear now and I couldn’t help giggling as he kissed then nibbled at my earlobe. I felt like my body would just melt. “I desire you, Chance. Nothing will change that.”
“Ohhh.” I pressed against him, smiling more. That was easier than I expected. “But–that girl is going to come back.”
“Mm, aye. You shall have to hide. Not to worry.” He shifted his arms and I felt myself lifted then thrown over his shoulder. “I shall hide you.”
I laughed and wriggled as he carted me towards the bridge. “William!” He adjusted me, so I was facing forward now. “She’s gone for tonight, you know! Put me down!”
“Nay, I think I shall keep you like this.”
“Willlliiiaam!” But I didn’t fight too much. I rather liked being carted around.
Lindsey-Morganza came by the next night. As soon as I saw her, I faded as much as I could and dove into one of the columns. William told me what was going on as I stayed in the thick darkness. “I am fairly certain she saw you, she has come over. She looks distressed. She is walking around the columns now, looking with great suspicion.”
But now I could hear her. “Peter!” she called out and I tried not to choke with laughter. “Peter, where are you? It’s me! Morganza! Please come out, we need to talk. Madame Cassandra is coming over tomorrow night.” Oh no, I thought, pressing my hands together in fear. Please no. “I need to make sure everything is okay, cause–I know you’re around here somewhere! Oh my gosh! Is that…?”
“The fair woman who comes by on some nights has arrived,” William explained to me. I sunk down to a sitting position, hugging my knees to my body. Oh no. Oh no oh no.
“Miracle!” Lindsey-Morganza shouted. “MIRACLE! HEY!!!!”
“She is running off,” William said. “She is gone.”
I came out of the pillar and William waved his hand to indicate. I cautiously drifted a bit and could see Lindsey-Morganza chasing my sister down to her car, then she was left as the car drove off. She stood there staring off at it. I took William’s hand and faced him now. “I’m going to go into my grave to hide,” I said.
“Come. Mine is closer.” He dragged me off to his brother’s descendent’s grave and then down into the ground. The coffin was large and rather fancy. Plenty of room for the two of us to be in there though we did have to snuggle close together. “I like this,” I whispered.
His arms tightened around me. “As do I. Would…”
“Hmm?” I inquired when he didn’t say anything else.
“Nay, tis nothing.” I felt his lips against the back of my head. “I expect we shall remain here for the rest of the night. I do believe you were telling me a story… about the brave knight who rescued a princess against evil.”
I closed my eyes and smiled. “Yeah. Let’s see, I left off… ummmm…”
“In the land of ice and snow,” he prompted.
“Oh yes! Well, Mario had faced disappointment about storming the castle only to find out that the princess was yet again in ANOTHER castle!”
“I’ve noticed that happens a lot to him.”
“Yeah. Well, when he came out on the other side he found himself facing a white wonderland full of slippery blocks…”
I folded my arms and stared hard at the ground, completely unsure how to answer my sister’s question. It had been a full week since Lindsey-Morganza first showed up, and the first night she hadn’t. Two of the nights she had dragged a strange looking woman in a turban with her who I figured was Madame Cassandra. I hoped they had given up by now and weren’t coming back, though I did have to figure out how to explain it all to Miracle who was giving me a stern, impatient look. I wasn’t looking at her but I could feel her eyes boring into me.
“She used to go to school with you,” I said slowly.
“I know who she is. What’s she doing here?”
I kicked up some grass. “I don’t know. She probably followed you…”
“Me? That’s why she’s stalking you, because she followed me?”
“Okay, so it’s cause of me.” I finally looked up. Miracle had her eyes narrowed. “Look, nothing’s happened. She–” But then I stopped. If my sister knew about the picture, I don’t know what she would do. “She will stop eventually soon. She didn’t come here tonight.”
“No, but she’s been at the college. She tried talking to me the other day after class, asking all sorts of questions about the graveyard and someone named…” Miracle’s eyebrow raised. “Peter Venkman?” I began laughing hard, doubling over and clutching my sides. “It’s not funny!” she growled.
“Yes it is!” I shrieked.
“You’ve got someone after you, what if she calls a ghost hunter or something?”
My laughter certainly stopped at that. “She thinks I’m her spirit guide or something, like in video games. I don’t think she’ll call a hunter. Or anything.” I shivered though, unable to completely push that fear from inside me. Not a hunter but what if she did try to capture me or something to carry around with her? That was certainly disturbing and all gross.
“Be careful, okay?” I nodded and promised to be as careful as I could. I figured hiding out was going to keep me safe enough. Before I could say much else, she switched the subject. “So you really like it here…?”
“Oh, yes. I love it. I’m so happy.” I beamed at her, wondering how to put into words how best to explain it. “It’s hard to think what it’d be like without William. He’s… he’s great. He’s so romantic, he knows all sorts of really cool medieval-y stuff and–“
“We’re moving back to Sunset Valley.”
I reeled back as if I had been hit cause it really felt as if I had. I heard wrong. “Wh-what?” I stammered, feeling terror flooding my body.
“We’re moving back,” she said. “I’m dropping out of my classes and I’ll just attend SVU. I’m thinking about becoming a pharmacist. What do you think?”
“Move–back?” I whispered. “But… wh-what about becoming a vet assistant? And–Jeff?”
“Jeff and I broke up,” she said very stiffly.
“When did this happen?”
She eyed her fingernails and then shrugged. “A couple weeks ago. It’s not the only reason we’re leaving. I don’t want to be a vet assistant.”
I pressed my hands against my face then pushed them back, pushing my hair away. “You want to–to go? Back to Sunset V-Valley? Are you–k-kidding me?! Is that why you asked me if I’m happy here?”
“I was rather hoping you hated it here,” she mumbled. “You could go back to, uh, Pleasant Rest. You liked it there… right?”
“You–seriously–want me to leave Appaloosa Plains now?!” I flung an arm out, pointing up the hill. “Away from William?! Miracle! You–you–I don’t believe this! Wh-why can’t you pick another major here at APU?”
She shook her head. “I don’t want to be here anymore. Watcher, I hate it here. I’ve been wanting to move back for ages but kept trying for… for Jeff’s sake, and our relationship. But it didn’t work, and this doesn’t work, and I want to go back to Sunset Valley. Don’t you…? Don’t you miss ANY of it? Any of our family?”
I pushed my hair back again. “Yes. Of course I miss my family. But… I thought… I mean, I can’t just keep jumping through hoops. You want me there, you want me here, I settle down then pull up again?”
“I thought you said a while ago that I was right,” she pointed out. “About being with family and having to listen to us and stuff. What changed?”
“N-nothing’s changed, you are still right, I just… feel so unhappy about–about the whole thing.” I rubbed my eyes, trying not to cry. The thought of just going back to Sunset valley was horrible. Of leaving William. “I just… I used to lock myself in my bedroom for you. I know I’m just–I’m not even quite seventeen. But I don’t want… I need… but I guess I’m too young and stupid to know what I should want and need…”
“You’re not stupid.”
“Then why do you treat me like I am?”
We stared at one another until she moved closer to my, holding onto my wrists. “I’m sorry,” she said quietly. “I guess I have been jerking you around. I just want us to stay together. You’re my brother. I don’t want to lose you like I lost Mom.”
“Sometimes… back home… I really felt like letting go. Back in the house. Unable to go outside or do anything or meet people or…” I smiled. “Or have a medieval knight sing romantic lyrics to me under a full moon…” Miracle raised her eyebrows and I coughed. “Uh, what I mean is… I like it here, and I want my freedom but I know I belong with you and Aunt Kaylee and the family. But…”
“It’s a big decision. How long do I have?”
She sighed loudly and plucked her glasses off her face, fiddling with one of the ear pieces. “Soon…”
“Ah–I dunno. Let’s say… two weeks?”
I gulped and felt ill. “T-two weeks. I see. Um. Well. Okay. Two weeks.” I gave her a hug and floated back to the graveyard. Two weeks to make a huge decision. To decide whether or not to leave Appaloosa Plains, and William… Oh William. I doubted very much he could leave. I came up over the hill and froze, watching him galloping around on the horse. He just looked so handsome and strong and gallant it made my heart leap. Or whatever I had in place of a heart.
How can I leave him? I wrapped my arms around myself and smiled sadly. I had moved here for my sister, making a big decision for it, and I was really happy here now. Whatever came out of my relationship… didn’t I deserve a chance to find out?