To Kiss a Ghost

Author's Note: Not my best work by far, but I wouldn't say it's bad. It's an attempt at something cutesy and sweet, unlike most of the other things I write. So, if you're into that sort of thing, enjoy!

I couldn't understand the people in horror movies, so willing to peak around corners in a pitch-black room, to shout out hellos when they aren't sure what's there. Even now, as I stood in the hallway of my home, I couldn't speak, let alone move to see what was around that corner.

A fuse had blown...or at least, that was my theory. In reality, I had no idea what had happened, no idea why I'd heard a thump downstairs. Perhaps someone had broken in, aware that I owned two desktop computers, a laptop, and a wide variety of game consoles and jewelry. But then, how did they know to go down to the basement to the fuse box? And more importantly, why? I was one woman, alone in a big old house, with nothing more than a cat and a hamster to protect me.

A creak from behind me jerked me from my frozen state, but I turned to find nothing there. The house was old. It was windy outside, on the verge of storming. I should've expected such noises. Maybe the wind and the storm were the reason for the blackout. Maybe the thud was my cat knocking something over downstairs. A sigh of relief escaped me. Duh. Why hadn't I thought of that before? Reassured, I crept closer to the stairway.

The first step creaked loudly when I put my weight on it. As reassured as I was, the sound still gave me pause. It was still possible that someone was downstairs, waiting for me. But when I heard no more movement, I continued on. Another step, then another, then twelve more after that. I reached the bottom landing with no more scares.

Stepping from the landing, I peeked through the lacy curtain covering the front door's large window. I couldn't help a frown upon noticing the telltale glow of electricity in a couple of the windows across the street. The lights were on. The TV, too. So what happened to mine?

I'd just begun to turn when a light, gentle breeze brushed past. My hair shifted about my shoulders, the hem of my nearly sheer nightgown fluttering against my knees. A shiver slid down my spine, goosebumps raised on my arms, and I felt my fingers tighten about the edge of the curtain. And then, I went cold.

In the corner opposite me stood a figure, tall and slender and definitely not what you would expect of a burglar. But it was hazy, its very matter shifting and twisting with each of the strange breezes that passed. I edged closer to the stairs, chill after chill raising the hair on the nape of my neck.

"Wh-who are you?" I stammered, still clutching the curtain for some unknown reason. "What are you doing here?"

The figure said nothing. It merely started toward me, gliding along with that odd indoor wind like an apparition, a ghost. Suddenly, it was before me. I caught only a ghostly white, feminine face before being knocked to the ground by a much stronger wind than before. The thud of my landing on a hollow wooden stair was lost beneath the sound of a falling curtain rod and splintering plaster. I was pelted with debris, quickly covering my face with one hand while clutching the side I'd landed on with the other. A dull, throbbing pain had begun, and I just knew I'd have a bruise when I got the chance to check. If I ever got the chance to check.

Over the top of my hand, I saw another figure, just where the first had been standing. But this one was dark, substantial, and it wasn't being buffeted by that otherworldly wind. An arm was extended, and I could clearly see the silhouette of a handgun.

I scrambled to my feet, hitting my shoulder on the banister as I did so. Another throbbing began, but I had no time for that. Another shot sounded behind me, the plaster of that poor wall scattering about once more. I dashed up the stairs.

I reached the hallway with the sounds of hurried footsteps on the stairs behind. My eyes landed first on the closet door, then the open door of my bedroom. My mind inappropriately wandered back to those fools in horror movies as I darted toward it. Why would you hide in a closet? They would just find you or trap you in there. Either way, you were dead.

Of course, as I made my way to the window and threw it open, I realized that I wasn't much better off. I stuck my head out, the wind from that far-off storm tousling my hair as I peered at the blowing leaves of the bushes two-stories below. Another gunshot made me jerk back, slamming my head on the window before I was able to slide it back in.

I spun to see that man in the doorway, the wall to my right torn by another bullet. My head was pounding, furthering my confusion and my fear. There was a gun aimed at my face now, the hand that held it far too steady for my comfort. He must have done this before. He had to have.

"Why are you doing this?" I asked, my voice little more than a choked whisper. The wind was raising my nightgown, and I busied my fidgeting hands with holding the thin fabric against my thighs. "You don't have to-" But yet another bullet cut me off, catching me in the shoulder and knocking me back into the window. My upper back began to sting, melding with the menagerie of other pains I already had.

Shaking, I slid to the floor, clutching my wounded shoulder. I turned to look out the window, trying to leave the sound of approaching footsteps behind. I was going to die here.

Just as I started to close my eyes, a soft glow appeared before me. A snow-white face formed, sporting the same feminine features as the strange woman I'd seen before. I could see that she was familiar now, frighteningly so, but I never got the chance to place her. She reached through the open window, gripped my shoulder, and pulled me through. But it wasn't just through the window. She pulled me through the wall. A gunshot rang out, but I was long gone, caught up in the recognition of that face and my free fall.

The wind was colder now, sharp and stinging against the bare skin of my legs and arms and face. There was a tingling in my shoulder, right where that strange woman had touched me. It was colder even than the wind, like a chunk of ice pressed flush against my skin. The ghostly woman's face hovered before me, close, though it seemed so very far away.

Morgan, I realized, all thoughts of my current predicament gone. How could it have taken me so long to figure it out? Even in all of her silvery, glowing glory, she was still undeniably Morgan.

Morgan Meadows. I'd had a thing for her before she'd died in a car accident four years ago, on the very day I'd been planning to ask her out. I'd had no idea if she even swung my way, but...damn it, I was determined to at least try. She was beautiful, smart, funny, caring, sweet, just...everything a girl could ever want. I'd almost forgotten about her over the years, but now, she was back. Why?

"What are you doing here?" I breathed, returning from those old, cruel memories. "You've been gone for so long..." I hit the ground, and everything went black.

"Wake up," came a melodious voice accompanied by a sweet, teasing little laugh. "You can't sleep forever, silly."

My eyelids fluttered, and I took in my first gulp of Other Side air. It was as saccharine and refreshing as that pretty little voice, and I just had to take another breath. Turning my face, I found Morgan kneeling by my side. She was no longer a glowing-white figure, lost in the distance. She was in full color, with vivid red hair and sparkling blue eyes, though her skin still carried with it a faint glow, like pure white snow in full sunlight.

"Finally," she said, and I couldn't help marveling at the soft curve of her perfect pink lips. "I thought you were going to be dead forever."

Dead...forever? As I slowly sat up, I looked past her, at our surroundings. We were between my house and the neighbor's, right where I'd fallen, but...things were different. While Morgan and I were colorful and lively, the world around us was not. The houses, the grass, even the storm clouds had become what Morgan had been to me: glowing-white, ghostly masses.

Glancing back, I saw myself...well, my old self. I was nothing more than a corpse now, that same bright white as the objects all around. Had the fall killed me? Had I bled to death from my bullet wound? Had Morgan been waiting long?

"Morgan," I started, turning to her with a furrowed brow, "what...happened? How did you come to me? And...why are we like this?"

She smiled at me, laughed, shook her head. "I came to save you, Mia. Couldn't you tell?"

"But...I'm dead, aren't I?" I asked, eying her in confusion. None of this was making any sense.

She dropped her gaze, and I could see guilt in her eyes. "Yes, you are."

"But you came to save me, so...why am I dead?" Panic was beginning to set in. I was dead. Dead and gone with no chance of return. And for some reason, this girl I'd never even gotten the chance to ask out had shown up right when it was happening. Something was very, very wrong with this picture.

"I failed, obviously." Her joyful, loving tone was gone, replaced by bitterness. "I thought I could soften your fall, but I was wrong. You just went right through me." She turned to me, and it looked as if years of guilt and regret had already built up in those ocean-blue eyes. "I'm sorry."

"Hey. You win some, you lose some, right?" I let out a nervous laugh, fully aware that the joke would do nothing to help. But my panic was subsiding with the realization that maybe, just maybe, this wasn't the end. At least, not of everything. "Why did you come for me?"

At that, a ghost of her old smile returned. "I've been watching you for a while, actually. I just hadn't had a chance to show myself until now."

"You were watching me?" It was all backward, the opposite of our high school years. I hadn't been a stalker or anything, but I'd felt as if I did much more watching of her than she did of me. We talked only occasionally, and I was the only one who noticed when we passed each other in the hallway otherwise.

Her smile fully returned now. "Yes, I was." She let out a soft, nervous laugh of her own now, dropping her gaze to where her hands were folded upon her lap. "Making up for lost time, ya know?"

Lost time...? My eyes widened at the implication, and I felt like we were in high school again. But this time, I wasn't the only one with the stalker-like tendencies. "Do you mean...?" I trailed off, afraid to look foolish by voicing my hopeful thoughts.

She laughed again, already nodding as if she knew just what I was going to ask. "A friend told me that you had a thing for me. She said you'd told her that you were actually planning to ask me out that...that day." Her smile faltered, and her eyes once again found her delicate, snow-white hands. "I'd spent that entire day up to the accident trying to figure out what we would talk about, what we would do..." Without giving myself a chance to think about it, I kissed her.

Her lips were warm and cold, all at the same time. The curse of being dead, I guessed. But they were just as smooth and perfect as I'd imagined they would be, though she responded in a way I hadn't expected. She actually kissed me back.

Of course, this wasn't high school anymore. This was our new beginning, in our own ghostly world; and here, nothing was to be expected.