Ghost at the Door with a Dare

Submitted into Contest #94 in response to: Start your story with someone accepting a dare.... view prompt

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Speculative Urban Fantasy

It was a dreary day in this rain-soaked town. A day that should be one of joy and celebration was quickly one that was tainted by the stench of murder. Jaylee taps a pen against a notebook and smiles. That would be a strong opening. Suddenly the door received a knock, and they went to answer only to find trouble had come to their door. Jaylee jumps when her own door received such a knock. She never expected a ghost to be on the other side, but when you live in the world's most haunted place, it shouldn't be a surprise when one comes knocking.

"Is this the ghost see-er people place?" The ghost is a young man dressed in a navy suit too big for him. His brown hair is wispy, his blue eyes perpetually sad as he studies her hopefully.

"It's a bit ironic for you to ask." Jaylee wasn't used to ghosts asking for ghost-seeing services. "But do you come in?" She steps aside with a bounce.

"Thank you!" The young man smiles as he walks in. "I have to say, it's a relief that only certain rumors about you appear to be true." He looks around eagerly. "I like what you've done with the place," he adds. "The last time I was here, Mr. Mims had the ugliest paisley wallpaper all over..." he shakes his head. "Oh!" He offers her a bashful grin. "I'm Timothy. The last name's not important."

"There are rumors about me?" Jaylee didn't recall hearing anything negative about herself. "Well, we have no Mims here. I'm Jaylee Buchanan. I run this place with my brother and my fiancée." She smiles when Jacque appears in the doorway. "There she is now. This is Jacqueline Babineaux."

"Oh, plenty," Timothy says excitedly. He perks up when Jaylee introduces her fiance. "Lady Babineaux!" He exclaims. "I'm charmed!"

Jacque blinks at the unfamiliar ghost she's stumbled upon quite unexpectedly. "It is a pleasure to meet you," she says kindly, offering her hand as the young gentleman approaches.

"You are too kind!" Timothy gives Jacqueline Babineaux's hand a firm shake. Or, as firm a shake as a ghost of his caliber can muster. 

"This is Timothy. He's here to ... Well, he didn't say why he was here just yet," Jaylee says. 

"My apologies!" Timothy cries, recoiling with shock. "You must forgive my manners! I was just so excited to meet the ladies I've heard so much about!"

"We weren't aware we'd made such waves already," Jacque says, shooting Jaylee a questioning look over Timothy's shoulder.

"Oh, but you have!" Timothy practically dances in place. "Two newcomers with the sight, out to help all ghostkind! Or, well, that's what some say."

"Some you must trust," Jacque hazards.

"Yes, of course!" Timothy enthuses. "I would trust them with my life if I still had it!" He laughs. "A little joke," he explains. "I'm trying it out."

"It was very humorous," Jaylee says with a nod. "But why exactly are you here telling it? Do you need our help?" 

"Oh, right!" Timothy clears his throat and draws himself up to his full height. "I have a dare for you."

"... A dare? You came all the way here about a dare?" Jaylee looked at her fiancée. She's been around several ghosts in her life, but never has she ever been given a dare by one.

"This is rather odd," Jacque agrees, circling Timothy to stand at Jaylee's side. "We aren't judging, of course, but typically we are visited with more..." she searches for polite words. "More time-sensitive reasons," she finishes. 

"I understand you are very busy ladies," Timothy says. "Perhaps I should explain further?"

"Please do," Jacque says, taking Jaylee by the hand and walking serenely to the loveseat in the next room, indicating that Timothy should follow via a nod as they pass.

"The dare I speak of is no child's game," Timothy begins once Jaylee Buchanan and Jaqueline Babineaux are seated. "Far from it! In fact, I come directly from one of the Council of Ghosts' members!"

"And why do they need us to complete a dare? Is this like a do-or-die thing? Or is there treasure?" Jaylee perks up. "I would love to do a treasure hunt. How cool would that be?"

"We are not interested in doing or die scenarios," Jacque cuts in sternly. She puts a hand on Jaylee's arm. She knew her fiancée would be excited at the prospect of a dare from a ghost. Anything with a ghost seemed to intrigue Jaylee. 

"No, no," Timothy cries, holding up his hands as if to ward off a blow. "Nothing so dire! The Council merely wishes to test your mettle, such as it were."

Jacque narrows her eyes at the ghost. "I tire of talking in circles."

"Yes," Timothy says nervously. "Of course. I shall be blunt. The Council of Ghosts wishes, or, rather, dares you, to go to the Old Mine and commune with the ghostly residents there."

"That sounds simple enough," Jacque says, suspicion heavy in her words. Nothing is ever simple in the ghost world, and she had a bad feeling about this so-called dare. Dread with through her at the way her fiancée's eyes lit up. She could tell already that Jaylee was hooked.

"It is!" Timothy insists.

"Okay... then I guess we'll go see what's up with them." Jaylee gets to her feet. She was eager to dig into the mystery behind the dare and to discover the importance of the old mine. "Do we report back to you afterward?"

"If you would be so kind," Timothy says, relieved to be dealing with the jovial Jaylee in this regard. He produces a business card, curiously ghostly in nature. It floats to Jaylee's hand. "You can find me at the address listed."

Jaylee snatches the paper as the ghost disappears. She holds it out in front of her and bounces on her feet with excitement. "I guess we're spending date night in an old mine."

May 20, 2021 02:18

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