Monday, December 12, 2011

After all

Steven moved in to his new apartment on Wednesday and was completely in love by Friday. He saw her in the hallway by his apartment door. He only saw her for a second, but she had a lingering perfume and a cute look.  It wasn’t something he wasn’t expecting and certainly not something he was used to. Her name was Carrie and she was dead.

It started soon after Steven got the last of his kitchen items put away. He left the room to break the moving box down and when he came back into the kitchen every drawer and cabinet was wide open. He was startled but simply chalked it up to being a little fried from all the moving stuff. Moving usually leaves most people feeling a bit frazzled. He’d left his old apartment in a real trendy part of town because he felt he had outgrown it. It was time for a more adult and respectable place. A place his mother could come to without having to hold her nose.

He closed all the drawers and cabinets and grabbed a beer out of his new fridge. He’d bought a lot of beer because he thought he’d have more friends helping him move but it turned out no one came to help him except his older brother Terry. Terry had a family of his own and could only help move the big items for about an hour and a half before having to pick up his daughter from Ballet.  So Steven moved most of the other boxes by himself and cursed his jerk friends for not showing up to help.

He went to his living room and sat on his couch. It was pretty old and a little smelly and he was pretty sure his old roommate Cam had slept with Katie Morris on it, but it would do for now. He planned on replacing it as soon as he got a little more settled. The TV wasn’t connected to the cable service yet so he had no reception. He had his radio on, but commercial radio was so bad now. It was just commercial after commercial. He shut it off and relaxed on his couch. It was only mid afternoon and he had no idea what he was going to do with the rest of his Wednesday.

He heard a noise from the kitchen. Steven didn’t mind it so much because there were always going to be new noises in new places. Then he heard it again, it was a solid thud, not mechanical or the apartment groaning with its new tenant. Steven got up and went into the kitchen and again, the drawers and cabinets were all open. Now Steven was scared. He immediately thought that he’d rented a haunted apartment. No wonder the rent was only $650 a month.

He almost ran screaming from the place like a maniac until he noticed it. The perfume he’d smelled earlier as he was carrying up his stereo; when he saw that cute girl. He calmed immediately, maybe she was hazing him. Maybe she thought he was cute too and was sneaking in through a door he didn’t know about.

“Hello”, asked Steven.

He stepped further into the kitchen and could smell her perfume again, even stronger. It smelled like flowers you see in those big bouquets at funerals. It was robust and Steven liked it.

“Hello”, he asked again.

He was met with silence again. He took a sip from his beer and swallowed hard. He was getting nervous.

“C’mon now, no more fooling around. Where are you”, he asked the empty kitchen.

He turned around the room straining for an answer but heard nothing. He started closing the cabinets and drawers again.

“Don’t”, said a soft female voice.

Steven dropped his beer to the kitchen linoleum and fell back against the counter with a shout.

“Sorry. I didn’t mean to scare you”, the voice.
“Where the hell are you?”
“I’m here. Sorry, wait…”

A young blonde woman entered the kitchen from nothing, she just appeared as she stepped in from the dining room, as if from a mist and Steven felt himself starting to faint.

“Sorry, I’ve been a ghost before”, she said.
“A G-g-g-g-g-ghost”, stuttered Steven.

She laughed at him. It was a sweet laugh, there was something innocent and childlike about it and Steven felt himself more at ease as this ghost woman giggled.

“Are you Scooby-Doo or something”, she asked.
“Hm? No, I… I… more of a Shaggy I guess”, said Steven.
“I’m sorry about your beer. Shame to waste alcohol”, she said looking at the beer can on the floor.

Steven bent over to pick it up quickly and turned to get some paper towels.

“What are you doing in here? I mean, c’mon, you’re not really a ghost right. There’s a door or secret passage from your apartment to mine right”, asked Steven as he bent to wipe the spill.
“Did you see the way I came in here? I’m pretty sure I’m a ghost.”

Steven looked up at her and from his crouched position on the floor he realized that her lower body was somewhat transparent. He stumbled back and fell to his butt.

“Are you okay? I’m sorry. I’m a little nervous too. You’re the first one to see me”, she said, “My name is Carrie”.

She smiled at Steven and he stood up. He tossed the wet paper towels in to the trash and wiped his hand on his pants.

“Carrie. Um… It’s nice to meet you”, said Steven as he reached out to shake her hand.

Carrie smiled and didn’t reach out to take his hand. She looked at Steven with a raised eyebrow and a smirk on her face. Steven blushed. He really got a good look at her face and she was beautiful. Her eyes were light blue, her hair was blonde and wistfully pulled into a ponytail. She seemed petite, maybe about 5’, 4” in height, although without being able to actually see her legs Steven really couldn’t tell.

He lowered his hand.

“Sorry. Habit. So, really, what are you doing here”, he asked.
“I don’t know. You’re the first one to see me and actually talk with me, so I’m not exactly sure”.
“What’s with the opening of all the drawers and stuff?”
“Oh, I saw that in The Sixth Sense and it creeped me out so I figured it’d creep out anyone that moved in here”.
“It does”, smiled Steven.

She smiled back at him. Steven’s heart started wildly beating in his chest. He hadn’t felt that since eighth grade when Sally Nickels kissed him after the graduation dance. He adjusted his stance and tried to look a little cooler. He sort of chuckled at himself for trying to be cool in front of the cute ghost.

“So, like, how did you, you know, die”, he asked.
“I’m not too sure about that either. I lived in this apartment, I think”, she said.
“You think?”
“Yes. I’m not sure about a lot of things to be honest. Do you think you can help me?”

Steven rubbed his chin and felt the day off stubble. Carrie stood with her hands meekly together in front of her. She was the spitting image of the woman Steven had been dreaming about since he was nine.

“I’d love to help”.

She smiled.

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