African American Fiction Urban Fantasy

This story contains themes or mentions of physical violence, gore, or abuse.

“You have got to be fucking kidding me…..” Darius Porter said to himself as he stood behind the counter at Saver Gas and tried not to throw up recently eaten lunch.

He could tell that today was gonna be a bad fucking day. He wished he had normal bad days but instead he saw fucking Dead People.

“Good Evening.” Darius said through gritted teeth as he pretended he didn’t see the dead girl following the white dude into the store. Darius knew exactly who she was—- he’d gone to high school with her. She was an older girl by the name of Tenesha Edwards and she’d been killed in a car crash after she was hit by a drunk driver. Darius had known her as a pretty girl with a big smile, a big attitude, and an obsession with cats. 

 Now she was a ghost and currently following a random white guy down the snack aisle of the gas station. He didn’t look like he was from the neighborhood since Darius was born and raised here and knew every saint and sinner on the street. He looked like he came from money and this was a working class neighborhood.He looked like he hadn’t worked a day in his life. 

He was handsome in a bland, forgettable way but he was clean cut and neat. He had a friendly smile as he walked up to the cash register to pay for his chips and drink.

“Can I get forty on seven and a pack of Marlboro Red 100’s.” He said with a friendly smile as he placed his items on the counter. Darius glanced out to the lone car at gas pump seven and reached behind him to grab the man’s cigarettes.

He looked at the ghost of Tenesha Edwards again.

He didn’t really know her all that well but he knew she definitely came from good people.He knew her parents went to church with his grandmother and they were nice people.

Now she was apparently haunting this unsuspecting man.

“May I see your I.D please?” Darius asked politely as he never took his eyes off Tenesha. It appeared she definitely died in a car crash. She was covered in blood and half of her face was caved in. She was also dripping invisible blood and other viscera onto the tile floor behind the man. She was staring at the man with an intent focus that only the dead seemed to have.


“Sure.” The man said in a friendly tone as he pulled out his driver’s license. Darius finally tore his gaze away from Tenesha Edwards as he glanced at the man’s information.

Darius did his best not to get involved in the personal lives of the dead….but this was different.

He kind of knew Tenesha.

She’d been a nice girl. She’d always been nice enough to him and cracked jokes every time she came into the store. It was none of his business— but it was obvious some kind of grudge was tying her to this man.

The man’s name was Kevin Aston Stevens and he lived on 1505 Ivory Lane, Apartment 202.

He lived in the city.

“You have a good evening' sir.” He said politely as he rang up the man’s purchases.

“You too, man.” The man called Kevin replied with a nod. Darius watched as he exited the store with a bloody ghost trailing behind him. He noticed she was gripping a Cord in her hand. It was golden and bloody…. And it hung limply from her hand as it disappeared into the nothing beside her. It was the thing that often tied the dead to the living world.

Tenesha was gripping it tight.

She definitely had unfinished business.

* * *

It took Darius awhile to figure out what he wanted to do. He really didn’t want to get involved in the affairs of the dead— but there was something about the intensity of the way Tenesha was staring at the man.

 It wouldn’t leave his mind.

So he did some research.

He learned a lot about Kevin Stevens from his public social media account. The man seemed to have the perfect life. He attended the local city college and was getting his MBA in business and marketing. He came from an affluent family and was very much well off. He seemed to be well liked in most circles of his life. He was also dating a beautiful young woman by the name of Naomi Edwards. They appeared devastatingly happy together. 

Naomi looked like she was glowing in Kevin’s arms and Kevin looked absolutely smitten and in love.

It was too much of a coincidence to think that Naomi Edwards had nothing to do with Tenesha Edwards. 

It turns out that Naomi Edwards was Tenesha Edwards' younger sister. She ran track, was a cheerleader, and was very involved in a lot of college activities. She didn’t look much like her sister. 

It was also apparent that Naomi adored her older sister from the amount of pictures she had of Tenesha.  Darius stared at the last picture of Tenesha and Naomi that was taken before she died. She was sporting a cocky pose and a wink for the camera. It was obvious that Tenesha was loved by her sister and family.

And this led Darius to his current dilemma.

Why was she haunting her sister’s boyfriend?

* * * *

Darius decided to follow his intuition and decided to stake out  Kevin Steven’s apartment that was close to the local city college. It was so close to the college that he was able to blend in with the other college students. He’d woken up super early and made his way across the city in the hopes of catching Kevin before he started his daily schedule.

Turns out he was right.

Naomi and Kevin were early risers….. And arguing very loudly.

Darius had barely found Kevin’s apartment block when he heard the shouting and yelling that seemed to come from their apartment.

He was very much aware that he was a strange dude lurking around an affluent apartment complex. There was a very good chance that someone would call the cops on him if he wasn’t quick. 

The closer he got to their apartment— the louder the yelling sounded.

The door to the apartment flung open as Naomi ran out crying.

 Kevin came out a few moments later looking far more composed. If Darius hadn’t heard the yelling and screaming— he would never have thought the man who walked out of that apartment had been yelling and swearing a moment ago. Every hair appeared to be in place as he calmly locked his door and walked away fucking whistling.

Everything would appear normal if he didn’t have a fucking vengeful ghost trailing after him. Tenesha barely looked human anymore. She was twisted and warped and she let out an unearthly scream.

 She looked like a deranged medusa as her braids floated and snaked in the air around her. 

Kevin had no idea what was following him around.

Darius saw the golden cord in her hand glowing brightly.

 Something had set her off something awful. 

Tenesha was on the verge of Changing— she wouldn’t be a harmless ghost for much longer. She was changing into a Poltergeist— a violent and vengeful spirit. It was obvious that the lives of Naomi and Kevin weren’t as perfect as their social media pictures led others to believe. 

But whose life was?

 No one was truly what they appeared to be. 

The problem was— what was Darius going to do about this situation?

* * *

Darius decided to focus his attention on Naomi. She was definitely a busy bee and it took a while for him to finally track her down. He found her at the college library later that evening. It had been a long day and Darius was determined to come to some sort of decision before he left.

Whether he would interfere or not.

“Hey” Darius said as he walked up to Naomi in some random book aisle in the library. She was working as a library aide. “You’re Naomi Edwards right? You went to Booker T. High school on the Southside right?”

Darius knew that from her social media page. It was kinda surprising that they went to the same high school. However, they did live in the same area even though they had never really interacted with each other. "You’re Tenesha’s younger sister right?”

Naomi’s face lit up at the mention of her older sister.

She was even prettier up close but Darius could see the bruises on her wrists and forearms. It looked like someone had grabbed her. He examined her heavily made up face and saw the shadows of bruising under her right eye under her concealer.

 However, she smiled brightly at him as she pushed her braids behind her ear.

“Hey babe…. Who's your friend?” Kevin’s voice said menacingly from behind him. However that’s not what caught his immediate attention. There was a strange tension in the air and the temperature dropped suddenly. Darius saw his breath fog up in front of him.

 Naomi suddenly went silent and stared intently at the floor. She bit her lip nervously as Darius glanced over his shoulder to see Kevin Stevens standing with an unassuming smile on his face. However, it was the look in his eyes that caught Darius’ attention. He had a displeased glint in his eye.

Darius’ eyes flickered over Kevin’s shoulder and if Tenesha barely looked human before— he didn’t know what the fuck she was now. 

She was a writhing mass of flickering darkness.

 A soft shrieking noise seemed to come from deep inside of her.

 He could still see her clutching the golden cord in her hand and now he could see where it led. Tenesha was gripping the cord in what passed for a clawed hand tightly.

  Darius saw it float past him and towards Naomi and saw the cord wrapped tightly around Naomi’s neck.

Naomi was rubbing her neck in discomfort.

Darius ignored Kevin and looked straight at Tenesha.

“Loosen your grip.” He said to her softly, “ You’re hurting her.”

He watched as what passed for Tenesha paused for a moment. It tilted its upper body like it was trying to tilt its head.

“Who the fuck do you think you are?” Kevin’s voice hissed suddenly from in front of him. He took a menacing step forward. Darius heard Tenesha growl from behind Kevin.

 This is why Darius didn’t usually attempt to address the dead. He sometimes forgot that other people couldn’t see or hear them and he often ended up with his foot in his mouth.

However, that was beside the point.

“What?” He replied calmly to Kevin,“I say something you didn’t like? Something about your grip? Or is it the bruises on your girlfriend's arm? Or the black eye she’s trying to cover up. Thought I wasn’t gonna notice you beating on your girlfriend?”

Darius didn’t have any proof but Kevin’s face flushed red from anger. He looked like he was going to vibrate out of his own skin.

He opened his mouth to retort but Darius cut him off.

“Shut Up.” He said before Kevin could speak. He took a step towards the man and placed his hand on his shoulder. This was another thing  he normally didn’t do— but he was gonna do it anyway. He felt his own awareness seep into Kevin and felt the other man stiffen as he felt the sudden temperature drop. That wasn’t what scared him though….. It was the low growling rumble that was coming from what was left of Tenesha’s spirit. She was on the verge of changing into a poltergeist.

 “You hear that?” Darius continued conversationally. “No man, you’re not imagining it. It is not in your head. That cold shiver down your spine is real. Now you have a very real choice. You are going to stay away from Naomi. It is 100% your choice on whether you do that or not. I just want you to know that if you don’t—- this feeling that you have that you’re being watched, followed, stalked. It’s going to get worse. If you don’t stay away from Naomi— I’m gonna let the thing that’s following you get you. It’s no skin off my back. You’re an abusive piece of shit and deserve whatever’s coming for you. So the choice is yours. What are you gonna do?”

Tenesha’s growl became more menacing throughout his whole speech and Darius knew that Kevin heard it. He watched as the jackass pissed himself and felt absolutely no pity for him. The dead were terrifying and not to be fucked with.

He felt Kevin jerk his shoulder from his grip and run straight through Tenehsa’s spirit in his haste to get away. She dissipated like gas around him with a screech but otherwise didn’t move.

Darius turned back to Naomi.

She was looking shell-shocked, confused, and scared out of her mind. Darius wasn’t sure if she was entirely aware of Tenesha’s presence in her life but she was rubbing her neck as if she could feel the tight cord around her neck. 

“Now you also have a choice to make.” Darius told her kindly. “I know you don’t understand what’s happening right now but it’s up to you to decide what to do about your boyfriend. But keep this in mind….you have an angel looking out for you and she’s not gonna let go until you get outta this relationship. She’s holding on really fucking tight. So what are you gonna do? Stay or Go?”

Naomi looked like she would scream and crumble into a thousand pieces.

“I want my mom and dad.” she finally whispered. “I want to go home.”

Darius nodded. He could do that. Good thing they lived in the same neighborhood.

“Okay, we can do that. Let’s go get your stuff okay and then we’ll get you home.” He said kindly again and was surprised when Naomi threw herself into his arms. He awkwardly patted her back as he glanced over his shoulder at Tenesha.

She was still gripping the cord tight that tied her to her sister.

“You can let go now. She’s as safe as she's gonna be for now.” Darius told her, “ I’m gonna take her home to your parents. So let go now. She’s safe now. I’ve got her.”

Tenesha suddenly looked like she did when she was alive


She smiled at him and winked and then let go of the cord holding her to her sister. She didn’t disappear or pass on onto the next life— but she let go of the cord that tied her to her sister….. 

And that was a start.

February 15, 2023 08:15

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18:53 Feb 24, 2023

This was a fun read, and I like short stories like this. In the end of the day I like the progression of knowing this person has her sister around even though she died. The state of her, very scary. It was interesting how he was Saying that the ghost holding on to the sister too tight could hurt her as well, which seemed apt for the boundaries of familial love and a commentary on them. I'm happy the abuser got put in his place, hopefully it will deter him from abuse in general. More importantly, I am happy the sister made the choice to...


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Milena Todorova
07:02 Feb 23, 2023

I loved the tension you are building, and the ending too! Congrats!


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Michelle Oliver
05:37 Feb 19, 2023

Ghostly and creepy, well done.


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