“I’m telling you, it was the same girl!” Chris said for the seventeenth time. Freddy just smirked.
“Look, Dude, that image was so fuzzy there’s no way you could…”
“Whatever! All I know is that a girl with black hair got strangled less than a block from my house, and then a ghostly girl with black hair shows up in a skate photo taken with the house she was strangled in right there in the background. Seems pretty straight forward to me.” Chris was tired of arguing about it. Either his friend believed him or he didn’t.
“Straight forward if you’re bat-shit…” Freddy mumbled, then killed the last of his shake.
“I’m going to figure out some way to communicate with her. If I can…” Chris trailed off, but as he did, the sound of loud techno music started to drift into the shop with bass so heavy it shook the windows with each bump.
“Whoa, Dude. Check it! Convertible Lotus!” Freddy slapped Chris’s shoulder and pointed at a radically sculpted sports car that had just pulled up and parked in front of the malt shop. “And get a load of the cargo! She looks like Morticia Addams!”
A petite woman with long, black hair and a black dress with a low cut top got out of the car wearing dark, wrap-around shades—even though the sun had already gone down. A thin, spiky haired man in a dark sport suit, also wearing shades, hopped from the car and bopped over to the woman. He seemed to be moving with the beat of the techno music his car had been spewing, even though the music was off now. He reached for her hand, and they headed towards the door to Zarger’s.
There were only a half dozen people in the shop, counting Curtis, the twenty something behind the malt shop’s bar in his paper hat, but all conversation stopped as soon as the car pulled up and parked. The strange couple came through the door, the man dancing to some unheard rhythm, the woman gliding on little, unseen feet. The man pulled his shades off and slipped them into the pocket of his jacket. The women kept hers on.
“I hef nevair seen a true American malt store bifore,” she said in a thick, eastern European accent.
“Jah,” the man said. “It’s dis small town feel dat I wanted. As eef I walked into a 1950’s Hollywood film.” The man smiled a perfectly white smile.
The woman scanned the room, and Chris had the feeling that she took everything in, the décor, the posters, the hat on Curtis’s head, the people—all just scenery to her.
“Is all so deelishuus,” the woman said, and then froze with her head facing towards Chris and Freddy.
The man bopped up to the bar and dropped a hundred dollar bill on the counter. “Two of de chocolate malts!” Curtis shook himself, spotted the bill on the counter, and nodded, then headed off to the blender.
Though he couldn’t see her eyes, Chris felt as if the woman was staring at him. She seemed supernaturally beautiful, but so pale and so unreal that she almost looked like marble brought to life. The man rubbed her shoulder and continued to smile as he looked around the room. She seemed to ignore him and remained motionless, perhaps looking at Chris, perhaps not. Other than the sound of Curtis’s blender, the room was silent for several minutes.
“Ummm, here’s your shakes,” Curtis said, “but I don’t think I have change to break this…”
“Is nossink. Keep it,” the man said. He grabbed the drinks and slipped an arm around the woman, guiding her to the door. After they left, and the loud techno came blaring back on, the shop remained quiet for a few more seconds, everyone processing what they’d just seen.
Finally, Freddy nudged Chris. “You know who that was? That’s the dude that bought Wrenn Place.”
Chris shivered. He looked at Freddy with eyes that were a bit too wide. “Did you see the necklace she was wearing? The pendant on her choker?” he asked.
“Gotta admit, that wasn’t where I was looking,” Freddy laughed.
“It was a pentagram,” Chris said.
“Dude, if she’s not a witch, I don’t ride a skateboard, but if she’s gonna run around town looking like that, she can put any spell she wants on me.”
“I don’t think she’s a witch—well maybe… But she’s going to be right down the street from me,” Chris’s voice was quiet, like he was taking mostly to himself.
“Yeah, about that. Can I stay over?” Freddy snickered.
“Sure, but I don’t think we’re sleeping until dawn.”
“Same as always!” Freddy said, and pulled his friend out of his seat. “And what happened to your whole ‘I’d make friends with the monster’ bit? Not feeling so friendly now, are ya?”