The Flying Ghost in the Graveyard

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Copyright 2018 by Dan Nimak

All rights reserved. The reproduction or utilization of this work in whole or in part in any form is forbidden without the express permission of the author.

This is a work of fiction. Any references to historical events, real locales or real people are used fictitiously. Other events, locales, names and characters are the product of the author’s imagination, and any resemblance to actual events, locales or persons living or dead is entirely coincidental.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Lourdes, Tori and I had lived on the world of Rhyzia for exactly seven years and seven days when it happened.

The previous seven years and six days could best be described as heaven. No pain. No sickness. No death. And most importantly, no boredom. The fantasy gardens took care of that.

Although anyone could create a fantasy of their choice, Tori was the master of producing the most unique gardens. She had a special ability, and the only time the two hundred and twenty-three other residents of this world argued was when we fought over Tori – begging her to help set up a garden.

Rhyzia was a world for, and of, twelve-year-olds. If one wasn’t twelve when they arrived, they were eventually…and they remained that age. “Is there a better age to be an adult and a kid at the same time?” was the question the former leader of this world had asked me seven years ago just before he died, just before he informed Lourdes and me that we were to become the future leaders of Rhyzia.

And the question Lourdes asked me often when we were alone – most recently last night, as we held hands and walked under the three moons of Rhyzia: “Zach, what are we supposed to do as the leaders?”

I’ve never had an answer, and I assumed she’d be the one who would actually figure it out first. Or maybe Tori. Or maybe what had just occurred last night during our sleep, seven years and seven days after we arrived, would lead us to an answer.

Sleep. Years ago, my grandmother told me that we wouldn’t need to sleep in heaven because we would never get tired. That sounded nice, but I liked my sleep-time. I seriously loved sleeping. And if Rhyzia wasn’t heaven, there would be no complaints from me.

Excited voices ended my sleep early this morning, however; and we all gazed at the fantasy garden that had mysteriously appeared overnight.

The three other fantasy gardens that we had used and enjoyed the past seven years still existed, but they paled in comparison to this new one, which stood in front of the rest. Separate trails led to all four of the entrances, but only the trail to the new garden was paved in gold. The newest archway extended twice as high into the sky as its three underlings. And as with the other three, a dark green door perfectly fit under the archway, blocking the anticipated magic behind its entrance.

A sign sat on top of the new archway, which wasn’t unusual since the other three archways had always supported signs. These signs remained blank until the fantasy garden behind their respective door was ready. The gardens were programmed solely from thoughts, and the adventures behind each readied door was limited only by one’s thoughts. And best of all…everything was completely safe. Rhyzia took care of that. Whether it was a simple picnic under a waterfall, or hiking on an undiscovered planet in a distant galaxy, we always returned unharmed.

There were times, however, when we brought back a little something extra. I thought of Tori’s roller coaster creation yesterday, flying without tracks off a mile-high cliff at about a thousand miles an hour. And what a classic way to stop the thing, sliding through tons of the stuff. I rubbed my hand through my hair and licked the tips of my fingers. The chocolate chip cookie dough still tasted great.

The new sign was larger than the other three. And the words that just now appeared were bolder, and brighter, and eerier.

Someone read the sign aloud. “The Flying Ghost in the Graveyard.”

“What’s that mean?” another asked.

“I’ve heard of the old game called Ghost in the Graveyard,” said Lourdes, “but I never knew it could fly.”

Random murmurs softly began. More confused mumblings increased the volume. It became louder and louder…until Tori spoke. “It’s me.”

Only those nearest Tori heard her. But the news spread quickly. Within a few seconds, everyone stared at her.

“It’s from my dream last night,” she said.

Lourdes smiled at her friend. “That sounds about like you.”

“What’s it mean?” I asked.

She was about to reply, but someone shouted that the sign was changing. Seven names appeared on the new sign, one after another:

“Tori”

“Zach”

“Lourdes”

“Kye”

“Nisa”

“Cade”

“Cooper”

And then a final word flashed. “Welcome!”

“That sounds like an invitation we can’t refuse,” I said, as I silently reminded myself that Rhyzia’s fantasy gardens were always safe.

“Does this match your dream?” asked Lourdes.

Tori nodded her head.

The seven names should not have surprised anyone. After Lourdes and I found each other on Rhyzia from our dreams on Earth seven years ago, we were both thrilled that Lourdes’ best friend Tori was able to come with us. Two sets of twins – brother and sister Kye and Nisa, along with brothers Cade and Cooper – joined the permanent residents of Rhyzia just before the former leader died, at which time the doors of this magical world were closed to all. The seven of us quickly became great friends, and we rarely missed a day of adventuring together in one of the fantasy gardens.

“How about the ghost? Was he in your dream?”

I knew Cooper would be first to ask about the ghost, considering his fascination with them.

“We never saw a real ghost,” answered Tori. With a smile, she added, “But there was definitely some flying involved.”

***

Tori quickly gave us the highlights of her dream version of the game, and the seven of us stood below the sign that said The Flying Ghost in the Graveyard. She slowly opened the door and peeked in. “It looks good,” she said, and we followed her inside. As expected, the door and the world on the other side of it disappeared.

It was dark, but not dark enough to hide the cemetery resting below the cliff on which we stood. The single moon, hanging low in the sky, cast almost no light at all.

“Scary dark,” someone said.

Countless tombstones, many approaching the height of the surrounding dead trees, mournfully summoned those who sought a place to hide. Large ravens, as still as the night – except for their eyes, were the only other living occupants below. They perched in trees and on top of tombstones, and they watched.

“Are their eyes supposed to be that color?”

“You don’t like the color of blood?”

“As long as it’s not mine.”

“Okay guys,” Tori said happily as if to intentionally contradict the atmosphere. “Who wants to be the ghost?”

Five voices said Cooper as he slowly raised his hand.

“Done,” said Tori. “Now, Coop, go grab the six flags that should be behind that rock over there. How about the teams?”

“Boys against girls,” said Kye. “That way it’s three against three.”

Nisa had one condition. “And the winner gets to choose what we do tomorrow.”

Cooper returned with six pieces of dark cloth, and Tori continued with her instructions. “If you look hard enough to your right and left, you can see the out of bounds markers. They’re glowing yellow lines, which are on top of these cliffs and continue down below on each side. And trust me – you don’t want to go past a yellow line.”

“What would happen?” asked Cade.

“You don’t want to know. And the lines continue on the other side of the cemetery too.”

“I can’t see the other side. Are there more cliffs past the cemetery?”

“If you go far enough. You’ll have to fly, or at least you’d better fly. You should be fine running around in the cemetery, but if you go past it…let’s just say that you won’t want to stay on the ground. And get up pretty high because the cliffs on the other side are higher than we’re at now. I’d hate to hear a splat.”

“Why would we even want to go to the other side?” asked Lourdes.

“That’s where the haunted house is.”

“Remind me to skip your Halloween fantasy.”

Tori pointed to Cooper. “As the ghost, Coop’s job is to hide the six flags in the cemetery. And then, he’ll hide himself – or he can just hang out around the tombstones or in the trees.”

“And the team who finds the most flags wins?” Cade asked.

“One flag per person,” Tori answered. “And these flags have a special quality once they’re in the graveyard. As soon as you touch a flag, it will light up a bright red for a few seconds. Your job is to get the flag inside the haunted house before Cooper tags you. Inside the house is base, and Cooper can’t go there. But if he touches you before you’re inside, you have to hand over your flag to him. Then you have to return here and count to one hundred while he re-hides the flag.”

“I love it,” Nisa said.

“Once everyone on your team makes it to the house, put your flags together,” continued Tori. “Whenever three flags make contact inside the house, a room lights up. The first team to make it to that room with their flags wins.”

“Wait a minute,” Kye said. “That’s not fair. You already know which room it is.”

“It will be obvious to everyone where the room is. I’m not going to be hiding or sharing any secrets. Trust me. I enjoy it a lot more when I kick boys’ butts without cheating – even though it’s not always very challenging.”

“The boys accept your challenge,” Kye loudly proclaimed over Lourdes’ laughter. “And when we win, I won’t rub it in too bad.”

“Cooper has to promise not to favor the boys when he’s chasing the flag,” Nisa said.

“Hey, I’m a gender-neutral kind of ghost.”

“Okay,” said Tori, “we’ll turn around and sit down. You holler, or give some sort of sign when you’re ready, Coop.”

“Got it!” Cooper stepped toward the edge of the cliff, looked down and hesitated. “Are you sure we can fly, Tori? I really don’t want to be the first one to make that splatting sound.”

“Don’t worry,” I said. “It won’t hurt for long.”

“Funny, Zach. Be looking for me when you find a flag. I won’t be far away.” Cooper dived off the cliff. We watched him fly to the cemetery before we turned around so he could hide the game pieces.

It didn’t take him long.

“This flying thing is great, Tori. Can you make it so we can keep on flying – even after we leave these gardens?”

“You’re already back? Are you sure you hid the flags in good spots?”

Cooper laughed. “Just wait and see. I do have one little concern about your setup though.”

“What’s that?”

“Are you trying to kill us?” he shouted. “I threw a rock at the yellow boundary line, and you wouldn’t believe what happened to it.”

“Oh, that,” Tori said with a grin. “I don’t have it set at too high of a voltage.”

“We still need to have that talk about your best friend someday,” I said to Lourdes.

“Are we ready?” Tori asked. “Go fly away, Coop. We’ll count to twenty and be right behind you.”

“Ten is all I need. I’ll see you around,” said Cooper as he leapt off the cliff and flew toward the cemetery.
Six others soon followed, and the race was on.

***

“What the crap?” Lourdes screamed and hid behind a tombstone. “What just touched me, Tori?”

“It might’ve been a zombie,” came the response from across the cemetery.

“What? You didn’t feel the need to tell us there might be zombies roaming around?”

“Sorry,” said Tori. “But don’t worry. They won’t hurt you. They’re only allowed to touch you or get in your way a little bit – at least inside the cemetery area.”

“I found one!” Kye shouted from another location in the graveyard.

“What – a flag?”

“No, a zombie. And what do you mean they’re only allowed to touch us inside the cemetery. Are there more in the house?”

“No, I don’t think so,” Tori answered. “But like I told you, I’d avoid walking outside of the cemetery. That’s a place I like to call Zombieland, and they’re allowed to actually hold you there.”

“Ah, that’s sweet,” I said. “Are you creating some possible boyfriends, Tori? Someone to hold you at night?”

A few chuckles resonated throughout the cemetery.

“Can these zombies fly?” asked Nisa.

“Dang, I didn’t think of that.”

A bright red light illuminated, only for a few seconds, but it was long enough for everyone to notice – including Cooper, who screamed from the top of a tree and flew toward the lucky gamer.

Cade quickly pulled the partially buried flag from the ground and flew straight up, barely avoiding contact with his brother. Ravens scattered from the tree that scraped Cade on his way toward the dark skies. A large limb caught Cooper, and the first flag presumably made it to base.

“Go boys. One to nothing,” I proudly stated.

“It’s early,” said Lourdes.

“Do you think he put one in this mausoleum?” Kye asked me as we stood in front of the small building near the center of the cemetery.

I tested the door with a pull, and it opened. “After you,” I said. “You find the flag, and I’ll try to stop Cooper.”

The plan worked, and the boys needed only one more flag to reach the house.

“I don’t think that was exactly fair,” said Lourdes.

“No one said we couldn’t tackle the ghost.”

Another red light, and Nisa looked like a child with her hand caught in the cookie jar as she removed a flag from a flower holder. Lourdes, Tori and I watched Nisa and Cooper fly beyond our view.

“I think he was gaining on her,” Tori commented.

“I’m not sure he was trying very hard,” I said.

“It’s kind of sad that everybody’s showing us up,” Lourdes said. “But if Nisa keeps Cooper occupied for a while, maybe we can have a free flight to the house.”

“If we could only find a flag,” said Tori.

“What the heck!” I stood with my head back, staring straight up. “How’d he do that?”

“What is it?” Lourdes asked.

I didn’t answer. I flew up and reached for the flag, which was somehow suspended in midair twenty feet above the ground. I saw the red light the same time I felt the return tackle from a flying ghost.

“I thought you were just supposed to tag me,” I said as I handed my flag to Cooper.

Cooper took the flag and lightly tapped me on the shoulder. “Tag. Now, go back to the starting place and count to one hundred. You can count that high, right?”

I counted quickly. When I made it back to the cemetery, I found only Lourdes. “What happened to Tori?” I asked.

“She found a flag tied to the top branches of a tree while Cooper was re-hiding your flag. I think she made it to the house.”

Lourdes and I held hands as we leisurely walked through the graveyard. “Tori does a great job in creating fantasy gardens, doesn’t she?”

“No kidding,” answered Lourdes. “Even while she’s asleep.”

“Sometimes I wonder if she shouldn’t be Rhyzia’s future leader instead of us.”

“Are you sure she’s not already leading us?”

I laughed. “It works for me.”

“Me too,” said Lourdes. “And Zach…I’ve got an important question to ask you.”

Her serious expression worried me. “What is it?”

“If we find a flag…you’ll let me take it, won’t you?”

Silence.

“Well?”

“All is fair in love and war,” said the voice behind us that made both Lourdes and me jump. “I think that’s how the saying goes,” said Cooper.

“Yeah, that’s how it goes,” said Lourdes. “But – crap, Coop! How’d you do that?”

I tried to follow Lourdes’ eyes, but I didn’t see the reason she quickly flew away. Cooper also left, as did a bird – a raven that had a flag attached to its left leg.

Too amused to join to chase, I stared at the full moon, now higher in the sky and silhouetted by a raven being chased by Lourdes, with Cooper on her heels. The raven turned left and headed down toward a group of trees, swooping in and out amongst them. Lourdes left the flock, reversed direction and incredibly grabbed the flag as the bird attempted to escape. She seemed to be as surprised as anyone as she looked at the brightly glowing red object in her hand.

Cooper was higher and a few trees away, and Lourdes used the slight head start to her advantage. She nosedived toward the ground and straightened out in full flight just before impact. Lourdes swerved between tombstones like a falcon after its dinner, and Cooper had no chance.

“Are you hurt?” I asked.

Cooper rubbed the shoulder that had been rudely introduced to an unforgiving tombstone during the futile chase of Lourdes. “Not bad,” he replied, “but don’t ever let me do that again.”

“Do what? Fly into a tombstone, or chase Lourdes?”

“Yeah.”

“I had a blast watching it, but I guess the boys are going to lose now.”

“I don’t think so.”

“Why? What’s in the house?”

“I don’t know about that, but I do know who is not in the house.”

“Nisa?”

“No, Nisa made it. But Tori had a bit of bad luck.”

“You tagged her? I didn’t see her come back.”

“I didn’t tag her. I almost had her, and she tried to make a move to fake me out.” Cooper smiled. “It didn’t end very well.”

“What happened?”

“She dropped her flag. The last I saw of her she was in the middle of Zombieland, trying to negotiate with one confused zombie.”

I laughed. “I love it. And she kind of had that coming.”

“Karma, baby.”

We walked to the edge of the cemetery, and I hollered. “Are you having any luck finding a boyfriend, Tori?”

Tori replied.

“Did she just tell me to –”

“Yeah, she did.”

“I think I’d rather try to find that last flag.” I looked at Cooper. “You’re not just going to follow me around while I look for it, are you?”

Cooper put his arm around my shoulder, nudged me toward a tree and whispered, “Now that wouldn’t be very fair, would it?” He nodded to a specific hole in the tree.

***

Both Kye and Cade hollered my name and ran to me as I entered the house with the boys’ third flag.

“It doesn’t look that haunted to me,” I said.

“It’s actually a little plain and boring,” said Kye, “at least until you showed up.”

“Aren’t you girls going to congratulate me?”

Nisa didn’t reply, but Lourdes did – by sticking her tongue out with an accompanying displeased sound.

“That’s not very nice. And I was going to brag about how awesome you were in getting your flag.”

“You did get to see some pretty fancy flying, didn’t you?” Lourdes proudly said. “And I thought we had it won, but no one knows where Tori is.”

“Apparently, she’s talking to a zombie about a flag.”

The girls couldn’t help but add their laughter to ours. “Go ahead then,” said Lourdes. “We’re not going to be sore losers. Put your flags together and end the game.”

“Knowing Tori,” said Nisa as the boys’ flags made contact, “I’ve got a feeling this won’t be as simple as we think.”

The boring house became alive, or maybe just undead. An upstairs magically appeared before our eyes, and a room from the second floor lit up. Two sets of stairs, one on the left and another to the right, developed from thin air – providing a choice of access to the winning room.

“Sweet,” Kye said. “Do we take the right or left stairs?”

“Why not fly?” I answered as I attempted to take off. I hit the ground hard and heard the giggles. “Okay, so maybe flying isn’t allowed in the house. We’ll let Cade decide since he got here first, or maybe we should get the girls’ opinion. They probably want to be involved in our celebration.” I grinned at Lourdes. “Left, or right?”

“You’re really enjoying this, aren’t you?” she said.

“What? You’re not appreciating the humor in all of this.”

“Your flight attempt was pretty funny.”

“I’ve made my decision,” said Cade. “We’re taking the right stairs.”

“And a fine decision you’ve made.” I patted Cade on his shoulder as I continued to share my sarcastic comedy. “And why not make a race of it? Shall we? Perhaps Lourdes or Nisa would like to count to three to begin our competition.”

“Three,” Nisa half-heartedly said.

Cade was the closest to the stairs, so he got the early lead – with Kye and me only a step behind. A few steps from the top, however, the race ended as the stairs failed to maintain their status. They didn’t vanish, but as supernaturally as they had appeared only moments before, they changed to a flat surface – a very slick, flat surface. Cade, Kye and I quickly found ourselves in a new contest: who would reach the bottom floor, with the fewest bruises and broken bones, first. Cade grabbed Kye around his waist as our legs simultaneously buckled under us. Cade and Kye tumbled down in a heap, but I caught up just before we reached the bottom – somersaulting over the tangled pair as we landed in a pile of mass confusion.

Our moans and groans couldn’t be heard over the laughter of Lourdes and Nisa. “Now that’s funny!” said Lourdes.

Nisa stopped laughing long enough to ask a question. “Would you guys like to try the left stairs?”

“We could count to three,” said Lourdes.

“But which of us should do the counting?” Nisa asked.

“Oh, that’s such a hard decision. Maybe we should get the boys’ opinion.”

Tori interrupted the girls’ enjoyment of payback time. “I got here as soon as I – what the heck is going on?”

I pulled myself up and helped my friends back to standing positions as well. “Thanks for the sliding stairs, Tori.”

“You missed it, Tori,” said Lourdes. “But maybe they’ll perform an encore for you.”

Tori looked at the standard set of stairs on her left, and then returned her focus to Kye, Cade and me. “Did they just –”

“What do you mean by acting all surprised?” I asked. “Didn’t you set this up?”

“Well, sort of. I set the house up to halfway protect a special room. It may not be all that haunted really because I have no idea how it’s going to defend itself.”

“Are you serious?” Cade asked. “This could be interesting.”

“Especially since we now have three flags too.” Tori proudly displayed her soiled flag. “It’s got some blood, and possibly some zombie snot on it, but I got it.”

“How’d you manage that?” I asked.

“I asked him nicely for it.”

“And that worked?”

“No, but then I ripped his two arms off and took it out of his pocket myself.”

“Always the charmer.”

Suddenly, Cade sprinted up the stairs on the left. He stood outside the lit room and waved his flag with a smile. Lourdes immediately followed, slightly shoving Nisa and Tori out of her way.

“Maybe one at a time works,” I suggested.

Kye and Nisa didn’t wait to test out my theory, and Nisa chased her brother in an attempt to reach the second floor with Lourdes and Cade. About halfway up, the stairs began to move – in the fashion of an escalator. Unfortunately, it was a down escalator, and Kye and Nisa fervently ran against it. As they achieved their goal, the left stairs disappeared entirely.

“Your house has a weird sense of humor,” I told the other remaining ground floor occupant.

For a reply, Tori began to take off her shoes and socks.

“I guess the house gets it naturally,” I said.

Lourdes hollered from above. “Tori, what are you doing?”

“My feet have better traction than my shoes.” Tori removed her last sock, ran to the slippery object that used to be the right set of stairs and started to carefully bear crawl her way up.

“Zach, don’t just stand there!” shouted Kye.

I quickly kicked off my shoes and socks and joined Tori. It was a slow-motion exercise, but Tori and I did make some progress.

Cheers from above.

One cautious movement of a hand or foot at a time.

Finally, almost there.

Lourdes and Nisa lay flat on their stomachs and reached down with hopes to grasp the hands of their teammate.

Fingers touched.

And it was over.

Not the game, but the cheers – as they changed to screams.

Below Tori and me, the lower floor opened, revealing darkness underneath. The bottom portion of our sliding platform swung downward. And it no longer mattered if it was slippery or not. It hung vertically from the upper floor, and Tori and I fell into the depths of what I presumed to be the basement.

More screams of concern from above.

“We’re okay!” I shouted. “It’s not completely dark, and I think we landed in a big pile of feathers.”

“Feathers?”

“It’s really quite comfy,” said Tori.

“Tori?”

“Yes, Lourdes.”

“Would you mind not hanging out with my boyfriend on a pile of feathers, please?”

“Then next time, don’t push everyone out of the way to get to the second floor so fast.”

“Good point,” I whispered.

“What did you say?”

“He said he loves you.”

“Uh-uh.”

“So, lover boy,” Tori asked, “any suggestions on how we’re supposed to get out of here?”

I pointed to the pink-haired ghost standing in the corner of the basement. “How about asking her?”

“Silly me. Why didn’t I think of that? Hey, ghost girl! Where’s the way up?”

The ghost didn’t reply, but she did point to a trapdoor, which led to some stairs, which ended in a little hallway right beside the special room filled with our friends. I quickly ran toward my teammates…and even more promptly…I fell.

Proudly waving her flag, Tori scooted by me, and her celebration with Lourdes and Nisa had officially begun.

“Really, Tori?” I said. “You tripped me?”

“No, I didn’t,” she said.

“Then –”

A voice from behind interrupted me. “All is fair in love and war,” said the ghost with the pink hair.

***

We flew back to the cemetery with the ghost. Cooper was waiting for us, which killed my theory that he was actually our new, real ghost.

It was lighter as we sat amongst the tombstones, not from a sun, but thousands of brilliant stars that had just appeared brightened the night into a feeling of dawn.

Cooper nodded toward the ghost. “I assume you’re part of Tori’s creation.”

The ghost shook her head, and we all stared at the person sitting closest to the ghost.

Tori poked the ghost’s shoulder. “She feels real to me, but I didn’t make her.” Tori then ran her fingers through the ghost’s hair. “And I love what you’ve done with your hair.”

“It’s natural,” said the ghost.

We laughed, and Tori asked the question. “Are you a real ghost?”

“Do I look like a real ghost?”

“You look like what I think a ghost would look it.”

“Then, that’s what I must be.”

I didn’t know about anyone else, but I was getting a little confused. “You are real then?” I asked. “You’re not going to disappear when we leave this fantasy garden?”

“Will you come with us when we leave?” asked Lourdes.

“No,” replied the ghost. “My place is here, in this new garden. But I will only be here when I am needed.”

“When, exactly, are you needed?” asked Cooper.

“Today,” she said with a smile, “is my first day. I am needed to introduce myself, and to tell Zach and Lourdes that it is now time.”

“What?” asked Tori. “Someone’s finally going to perform a marriage ceremony?”

Both sets of twins laughed, and I knew my face was red. But I also knew exactly what the ghost was talking about.

So did Lourdes. “What are we supposed to do?” she asked.

“Rhyzia is entering its next phase,” said the ghost.

Beads of perspiration formed on my forehead as Lourdes’ hand reached for mine. Fortunately, the ghost must have noticed. “It’s not a bad thing,” she quickly said. “And your job is quite simple.”

“What is it?”

The ghost scooted on the ground to directly face Lourdes and me. “Rhyzia is about to open once again to visitors,” she said.

“Sweet,” said Tori.

“Tori’s been looking for a boyfriend,” I added. “Cade, Coop and Kye have known her too long.” I tried not to flinch as the punch landed on my shoulder.

“Just temporary visitors?” asked Lourdes. “Or will they be allowed to stay here?”

“Mainly one-time visitors,” said the ghost. “They will be here for a specific and special reason. If and when you and Zach approve such, these visitors will enter the new garden…and I’ll take it from there with the appropriate setup.”

“As a ghost?” asked Cooper.

“Most of the time, no one will ever know I’m here.”

“So, you set up the arrangement, fix them, and send them home.”

“Something like that…hopefully.”

“But some will be allowed to stay here permanently?” asked Lourdes.

“Most will never even know Rhyzia exists, so they won’t ask to stay. For a few others, however, Rhyzia might be their best option.”

“And for these,” said Tori, “it’s up to Lourdes and Zach to decide?”

“Exactly.”

“What if they can’t agree?” asked Nisa.

Tori chuckled. “Like that’ll ever happen.”

“If it does,” said the ghost, “then you may cast the tie-breaking vote, Tori.”

“Thanks, Miss Ghost. And by the way, do you have a name?”

“Yes,” she replied. “I should also tell you this newest garden on Rhyzia – where we are now – will only be used for the special visitors. But don’t worry. Visits will be seldom, and you’ll still have plenty of time to enjoy the other three gardens as you have for years.”

It was nice of her to answer my question before I asked. But she left the other question unanswered. “What’s your name?”

“My name…is Rhyzia.”

“You’re named after this planet?” asked Tori.

The ghost winked. “Sort of.”

Lourdes leaned in closer to the ghost. “How old are you?”

Rhyzia grinned. She then vanished, though her words lingered in the air. “I’m twelve, of course.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Thanks for taking the time to read my short story! I hope you enjoyed it. If you’d like to read more about Zach, Lourdes and Tori – and discover how they found Rhyzia, please check out my book “Above the Rain.”

Also, I have “The Flying Ghost in the Graveyard” available in both a mobi and an epub version. If you’d like a copy, just click a link below.

 

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