I decide to go to the coffee shop around ten minutes early. I called Emily once more to let her know what I looked like, and what I would be wearing.
I notice an old man with a bloody face at one of the outdoors table; there’s no one else outside. I vaguely remember a story about a nasty car accident. One of them died. I guess it was the old man.
I have barely taken a sip of scalding coffee when I hear, “Are you Jay?” I choke and sputter and glance up to see a woman with short red hair and a scowl looking down at me. “Y-yeah, and you’re Emily, right?”
Her frown deepens. “Miss Klane, if you don’t mind.” However, I get the feeling that this is less a suggestion, and more of an order.
“Oh, sure, of course! I’m sorry, Miss Klane.”
She waves a hand before sitting. “It doesn’t matter. Now tell me. What is this so-called information that you have?” she asks.
I take a hasty gulp of coffee before replying. It’s better to get the truth out of the way; lying only makes a bad situation worse. “Um… I…you’re not going to believe me…”
Miss Klane checks her watch. “I don’t have time for this! Just tell me.”
I chew my lip. “I see ghosts,” I say bluntly.
Miss Klane stares at me for a moment. “Like in The Sixth Sense?” she asks.
I shake my head. “I was not quoting The Sixth Sense! I am literally telling you my lead.”
She rises suddenly. “Well then. You’re right. I don’t believe you. Thanks for wasting my time,” she snaps.
I wave my hands frantically. “No! Miss Klane! Wait! Holly had curly hair. She was wearing a school uniform, and her teeth were a little crooked,” I cry.
Miss Klane just sighs. “Anyone could know that from a newspaper photo. I’m leaving now,” she says.
I think back to when I met Holly. “She had a small birth mark on her neck! Well, around the neck, but close to the collarbone,” I say.
Miss Klane stops walking and abruptly turns towards me. “How did you know that? Only the friends who saw her during summer knew that. Most people didn’t notice it when she was at school. It matched her skin tone too much.”
I sigh. “Ghosts usually have no pigment in their skin. The birth mark stood out,” I say.
Miss Klane chews on her lip some more and finally sits down. “Okay. I’m still skeptical about this, mind you, but I’m willing to believe that you can see ghosts. What house did she look at?”
I think back. “It was a peeling orange color. The tiles were good and the front yard was good, but the house really needed to be painted,” I say.
Miss Klane pales a little. “Oh…” She looks up at me. “Holly stopped off there to give the occupant some tea. They’d helped with some yard work at her house, and Holly’s family wanted to thank them…”
I lean forward a little. “Who lives there?” I ask.
Miss Klane gulps down some coffee. “Mrs. O’Glory. But she couldn’t have done anything to Holly. It’s been ten years; she must be sixty.”
To be continued