Chapter 16: Alexandra

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What? Destroy the town?

It took a lot of willpower to not react or ask him what the hell he was talking about. His words bounced around in my head; they didn't make sense. Maybe this guy belonged in Mirrabooka House.

As we moved on from the bakery, the ghost tagged along. I wanted to groan out loud. How was I going to get rid of him? Telling him off or asking questions wasn't going to happen. That would involve talking to him in public.

He kept ranting about how it's not right that I can see the dead and that I must be possessed by a demon or the devil himself and I wished I was anywhere but here.

As I stepped around Tracy to try to pick up the pace, three women wove their way through the crowd toward us. Three more spirits.

Great. Did no one ever cross over in this town? Maybe the dead outnumbered the living.

I averted my eyes, but the ghost next to me called them over and they joined him in following me.

I sighed.

He told them what he'd been saying to me. "So now she thinks she can just pretend I'm not here and I'll go away. Well, that ain't gonna work."

They started talking about the others like me destroying the town, but I still had no clue what they meant. Who were the others and how were we going to destroy anything? Maybe Johnny would know what this was all about.

It was getting harder to keep up with Kellie and the others while pretending the four people trailing behind me didn't exist. Especially when they pointed out the different shops and businesses. I struggled to hear what they were saying.

One of the spirits stepped in front of me, some of her long, curly hair escaping its ponytail. "Don't ignore us, you rude child!"

I couldn't side-step her without it looking totally weird to everyone in the street, so I didn't change course. I did that shoulder bump thing that people do when they want to piss someone off, just so I could keep walking in a straight line. It worked. She did get pissed off. Well, more pissed off than she already was.

"How dare you? Do not disrespect me like that!"

Now I had all four of them yelling at the top of their voices and I wasn't sure how much longer I could deal with it.

One of the women gasped. "She touched you! She ran into you. How come she didn't walk right through you like everyone else? What kind of witchcraft is that?"

Johnny appeared out of nowhere and his eyes widened once he'd assessed the situation. "Hey guys, you can't just yell at people like that."

The man turned to him. "I can do whatever the hell I want."

They all stopped to argue with Johnny and I couldn't be more thankful for his timing.

I heard Johnny's voice loud and clear. "Why are you harassing this young woman?"

"She and the others like her are what's wrong with this town."

"What are you talking about?"

I couldn't hear the reply as we walked further away and I was glad that nobody else could hear or see them. I took a deep breath in and let it out slowly. I was so thankful to finally be free of them.

I turned to see if they were still there, and when I turned back, I stumbled.

Kellie spun around. "Maddie, are you okay?"

"Yeah. I just tripped."

She looked at the ground and a smile lit up her face as she pointed. "On what? That flat piece of footpath?"

I laughed. "I guess so."

As we turned our attention back to Tracy, she had stopped to speak to an elegantly-dressed woman who was smiling sweetly as she fussed with her hair.

The woman's voice was smooth and confident. "Tracy, darling, how nice to see you. Who do you have with you today?"

"Hello, Mrs Pierce. Nice to see you too." She gestured towards us. "You know Kellie and Kaydan, and this is our newest resident, Maddelyn Johnson. She is from Katoomba."

Mrs Pierce smiled and her eyes seemed to light up. "Hello, Maddelyn. It's so nice to meet you. How do you like our little town?"

I squirmed a little at the intense attention. "Uh, it's nice to meet you too. The town is very nice so far, but I haven't seen much. I only arrived yesterday."

Her smile faded only a fraction. "Oh, I see. Well, there's not too much more to see, but we love it small. I don't like big cities."

"Me neither."

Tracy stepped forward. "Maddie, this is Mrs Pierce—"

"You can call me Alexandra. I'm on several committees here in town. I love to organise activities and fundraisers and the like. If you ever need anything done, I'm your woman."

I kind of cringed a little at that. It sounded like a line from a TV show.

I didn't think her smile could be any wider. "I'm also the wife of the local priest in our own little church here in Angel Falls: The Descendants of the Faith Church. I hope to see you there on Sundays. It's a lovely service and is just perfect for someone like you."

Someone like me? I was stunned silent for a few moments. "Uh, I don't really go to church..."

"That's okay, dear. I'm sure you will be wanting to soon."

She stared at me for what seemed like forever with her bright, blue eyes, completely ignoring the others and making me feel like I was under a microscope, then broke eye contact and smiled again. "Well, I guess we'll be seeing more of each other soon enough. Small town and everything. See you all later."

And with that, she gave a small wave and strutted off down the street, holding her head high and swaying her hips.

Tracy let out a long breath through her nose. "Right. Let's go home."

There were so many questions swimming in my head, but I kept quiet. I wasn't sure where to even start. She was such a strange woman, and so pushy. No one was going to force me to join their religion.

I didn't have anything against religion, it was just that Mum had never been into the church and seemed to avoid them like dog droppings on the footpath. I'd never given much thought to why. That was just another Mum Mystery I wasn't interested in cracking.

We headed straight back to the car and piled in. Everyone else was pretty quiet, which gave my mind the chance to overthink things. There was too much to take in. So much had happened in one short trip, and the people in the car didn't know the half of it.

I sighed heavily. Everywhere I turned, there were spirits of the dead, and they all seemed to be able to sense that I could see them.

I mean, they probably couldn't, but it seemed that way right now.

How can I do this? How can I prove that I'm sane if there's a ghost on every damn corner?

It was impossible.

I was going to end up back at Mirrabooka House before the end of the week.

Kellie looked over at me a few times on the drive, but didn't say anything and I was grateful. There was so much I couldn't tell her anyway.

Once we got home, Tracy put the kettle on and offered to make us hot drinks. I asked for a cup of tea and went up to my room to put my handbag on my dresser.

As the bedroom door swung open, the redhead lying on my bed scowled at me. "Who are you and who gave you a key to this room?"

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Author's Note: Do you think that being able to see ghosts would be a good thing? Have you ever seen a ghost?

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