Part 1

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A flash of too-bright light illuminated the dead girl's face for an instant as the crime scene photographer snapped a picture. Jason shook his head and muttered, half to me and half to himself. "Nineteen, Ruben. Nineteen. Had her whole life ahead of her."

I didn't answer as I stared down at the body. Jason had helped the medical examiner cut her down from the closet, and the scarf she'd been hanging from had left ugly marks around her neck. I bent and reached out to brush her dark hair away from her face. My semi-translucent fingers went right through the fine strands, and I grunted at my own absentminded mistake. Three years had passed since the night a stray semi-truck on an icy road killed me, but sometimes I still forgot I didn't have a real body anymore.

Jason went to confer with the medical examiner, who scratched notes on a clipboard. He returned a few moments later. "She thinks it was suicide."

I frowned. The way the girl's body had been found clearly implied suicide. She'd even left a note, two words—I'm sorry. Still, I couldn't shake the feeling that there was more to the situation than we were seeing. "I want to look into it more. I'm not convinced she killed herself."

"What, then?" Jason said. I could hear the impatience in his voice. It had been a long day, and we'd been on our way out of the station for the night when this call had come in. If not for the call, he could have been home hours ago.

"She should still be here," I said. "They always stick around for at least a little while. But I can't feel her presence anywhere. It's strange."

"No offense man, but I think things stopped being strange the day ghosts became more than just a superstition."

"Where's the guy who found her?"

"Outside."

"I want to talk to him."

Jason sighed. "Some officers already took his statement. He doesn't know much."

I nodded and made my way to the front door of the apartment anyway. The place was small and undecorated, but tidy. We'd checked for any signs of forced entry as soon as we got here. The fact that there was nothing out of place only served to reinforce Jason's theory that the girl—Cassandra—had killed herself.

I passed through the yellow tape that crisscrossed the doorway. Jason muttered a curse behind me, and I turned to watch as he attempted to untangle his foot from the tape. At least he'd followed.

He was a reliable partner, if a bit reluctant. Not many people would have put up with chasing after the hunches of a dead detective, but Jason always had my back. We were something of a joke in the homicide unit, the rookie and the ghost, but we worked well together. He respected my ten years' experience on the force prior to my death, and I was just glad to have the work. Murder cases were few and far between these days; it was too hard to get away with killing someone when their spirit might linger behind to tell the police exactly what happened. Sure, less crime was good for everyone. But it still felt good to have some work to break up the monotony of my ghostly existence, even if it did just turn out to be a suicide.

A balding man in a dirty t-shirt leaned against the wall with folded arms and an air of casual disinterest. We approached him. "Michael Garrett?" I said.

"Just Mike." He straightened and stuck his hands in his pockets.

"Mike. You're the one who found Cassandra?"

"That's right."

"I'm Detective Vasquez, and this is my partner, Detective Reese. I know you've already given a statement, but I wanted to ask you a few more questions."

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