Ghosts, Part Six

The door swings open. “How can I help you?” the old woman asks. Her dark eyes slowly drift to Miss Klane before widening. “My word. Emily, dear? I haven’t seen you in ages…”

Miss Klane smiles gently at her. “Mrs. O’Glory. How are you?”

“Ah, I’m all right. Still get a cold a little too easily, but other than that…Who’s this?” she asks, pointing to me.

“I’m Jay,” I say. “We…may we come in?”

Her lips purse together for a moment, but then she looks at Miss Klane again. “Oh, all right,” she says. She leads us to a small living room, and hen vanishes to the kitchen. She brings out a small plate of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. “These are store bought, mind you. I haven’t got any cooking talent,” she says.

I nod. “That’s okay,” I say. 

Miss Klane takes a bite of cookie before getting down to business. “Mrs. O’Glory. Did Holly swing by here before she disappeared?” she asks.

Mrs. O’Glory suddenly seems to age even more. “That again? Emily, dear. I thought we went over this ten years ago.”

“I know that. I just wondered…I was too wound up. Please, ma’am.”

Mrs. O’Glory sighs again. “Okay. As I told you, Holly gave me some tea. Lemon flavored, my favorite. Then she and Duane talked a bit in the garden. Then he came back in and told me she left. That’s all. Nothing has changed, Emily.”

I glance around the room as Miss Klane speaks. There’s a strange feel about it. It’s not Mrs. O’Glory; I think she’s telling the truth, or what she perceives as truth. Suddenly, Socks, who I hadn’t even noticed was still around here, leaps up and hisses lightly, his back arching and his tail puffing up. He makes a mad dash up the stairs.

“Mr. Mayer? Is there anything you need?” I glance at Mrs. O’Glory and realize I’ve jumped up from my seat. “Oh, uh, may I use the bathroom?” I ask.

She squints at me. “Upstairs, second door to the left,” she says. 

“Thanks!” I make sure to slowly make my way up the stairs. I can’t look any more suspicious than I already do. I walk into the bathroom and close the door. I faintly smell a cat, and I look into the corner to see Socks. His eyes are bugging out, and he’s staring behind me. I turn around to see Holly’s ghost standing right behind me. “Gah!” I leap back and bang my elbow against the wall. “God, can’t a guy get some privacy?” I ask.

She smiles at me. “Ah, Jay. I know you didn’t need any. You’re doing something else, right?” she chirps.

I narrow my eyes. She’s being chipper again… I don’t want her to freak out. She spots Socks in the corner. “Oh my, he is so cute! What’s his name?” she asks.

“Socks.”

She smiles. “Socks! Come here, sweetie.” He doesn’t move, so Holly drifts towards him. She strokes him for a moment, and then her eyes glance down to a lower cabinet. “Oh. I remember now. Why I came.” Her voice has lost all cheer.

“Why?” I ask.

“Mrs. O’Glory is ignorant of what happened. It’s not her fault,  you need to remember that,” she says. 

“What’s not her fault?” I’m barely breathing now.

“Open the lower cabinet.”

I carefully drift it open. All I see are shampoo bottles and toilet paper. I move them aside to see small plastic baggies in the way back. My stomach falls. I tear off a piece of toilet paper, wrap it around my fingers, and pick it up. Inside the baggie is white powder. “Drugs,” I whisper. 

Holly looks solemnly at me. “Mrs. O’Glory doesn’t know.”

“Then who do these belong to?” I ask.

Holly keeps stroking Socks’ ears. “Her son, Duane. He’s the one who killed me.”

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