Rebel Spirits

Rebel Spirits by Lois Ruby

Book: Rebel Spirits by Lois Ruby Read Free Book Online
Authors: Lois Ruby
ceramic bell on the book table brings a small woman out of the back room. She’s wearing a swaying 1860s dress. I’m glad Mom doesn’t make us dress like Civil War throwbacks.
    “Oh, hello! You’re the daughter of that new couple running Coolspring Inn,” she says, clapping her hands as if she’s smashing gnats.
    Word gets around fast in this outpost. Is my picture up in the post office? “Yes, I’m Lori Chase. I was wondering about the girl who used to live here.”
    “Our Tillie — well, really, Matilda.” She scoops up one of the little black books and holds it up to shoulder level like show-and-tell in kindergarten.
    “I’ll have to read the book one of these days.”
    Disappointed, the woman lays it facedown. No sale.
    “I was wondering,” I go on, “if Tillie is related to a Civil War soldier who fought here in the battle, someone named Nathaniel Pierce. Maybe he was her brother?” Please don’t make him her husband !
    “Our Tillie was a remarkable girl, from a well-to-do family by 1863 standards. Her father was a butcher; meat was dear in those days. Nowadays, well, we’re all vegetarians. Nathaniel. Hmm. No, her brothers were William and James, and to my knowledge, the family had no soldiers in our famous Battle.”
    Around town, the Battle is always spoken of with a capital B .
    “They did shelter five Union soldiers here when the house was surrounded by Confederates, but no kin, no Pierces. Have you been to the soldiers’ cemetery to find your gentleman? Do you know his regiment? The state he comes from? Which day of the Battle he fell?”
    “No, no, and no.” I wish I did.
    “Do you know anything about the man?” She eyes me skeptically. “What brings you to this soldier?”
    My lips must look bloodless the way they’re tucked into my teeth, so she draws her own conclusion. “Ah, I understand. He’s reached you from the Other Realm. Godspeed.”
    As I turn to go, I realize it’s not just Charlotte. Everyone in this town seems to believe in ghosts.

 
    EARLY THE MORNING of June 30, I open the drapes to dispel last night’s gloom. When I glance down at the lawn, parked right in front of the house is Jocelyn’s fire-engine red pickup. Could it be?
    I nearly leap all the way down the stairs to find her asleep in one of the porch rockers, with her feet up on the railing.
    “Jocelyn! What’re you doing here? You’re supposed to be up in the Poconos with the horsey girls.”
    Rubbing sleep out of her eyes, she says, “I told them Ineeded a day off ’cause my mom was getting married. They totally believed me. I left at midnight. Only took me four hours, and I have to be back by five o’clock today.” She unravels her slumped body, and we throw our arms around each other. My ring gets tangled in her long, dark braids.
    “Okay,” she says, pulling back. “Where is your ghost?”
    I glance around to make sure no one’s heard her. Then I whisper, “It’s not like I can just snap my fingers and Nathaniel appears like a genie.”
    She’s thoughtful a moment, then, “He isn’t really here anyway, is he? I mean, physically?”
    Is he? How to answer? “I was able to touch him …” I say, and I feel myself blushing.
    “Lorelei Cordelia,” Jocelyn whispers, widening her eyes. “Are you falling for a ghost?”
    “What? No. I don’t know!” I snap. I realize I haven’t thought about Danny Bartoli in days. “Besides, what do you know about love?” I challenge.
    Jocelyn smiles. “I met someone at camp.”
    “You never said!”
    “Hunh-uh. I was afraid the whole thing would curdle if I told. Cyberspace is toxic. Anyway, it didn’t curdle. Jude’s still sweet and fresh. Get this: He’s a horse whisperer. Swear to God.”
    “That’s wonderful,” I tell her, and I feel a pang of envy. Wouldn’t it be easier if I could fall for a flesh-and-blood boy? If I really am falling for Nathaniel, that is.
    “The best news is, he only lives an hour away from us. From me. You live

Similar Books

Face in the Frame

Heather Atkinson

The Last Promise

Richard Paul Evans

Powers

James A. Burton

Acting Out

Paulette Oakes

Dune Time

Jack Nicholls

Death on the Ice

Robert Ryan

Out of Africa

Isak Dinesen