Rebel Spirits

Rebel Spirits by Lois Ruby Page B

Book: Rebel Spirits by Lois Ruby Read Free Book Online
Authors: Lois Ruby
saying. “I’m thinking how some tell about spirits that take on animal forms, coyotes and eagles and such. Cats, sometimes.”
    Evan says, “Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!”
    He’s kind of annoying, but also funny. Still, I can’t lose my focus. “But not people?” I press on.
    “Missy, you’ve seen too many movies about dead bodies that weren’t dead. Ever see Cape Fear , with that Robert De Niro actor fella? He kept not staying dead about a dozen times.”
    “Guess I missed that Golden Oldie,” I murmur.
    “Too bad. It was a nail-biter.” Bertha smirks; two bottom teeth are missing, one on each side. “Say, you notice that I’m in an awful good mood today?”
    I didn’t notice, but that doesn’t stop her.
    “Good reason to be grinning ear to ear. Like I told you, Old Dryden will be hiding out in his cave ’til July fourth.” This is the second time she’s told me this. Why?
    Evan shuts down the computer. “Gotta pick up my little sister at ballet. Catch you ladies later.”
    “Don’t even try,” Bertha mutters, tossing me some cloth napkins to fold for tomorrow’s breakfast.
    My napkins are a mess, not perky little dunce caps like Bertha’s, because I’m busy thinking how this quasi relationship I have with a semisolid ghost isn’t quite working for me.
    Or is it? Suddenly he’s there, just a shimmery flash of him in the dining room, hunched on the edge of the credenza, and then he’s gone.
    “Wait!” I whisper. “Don’t go.”
    Bertha gives me a snarly look. “Whaddya want now?”
    “No, not you,” I murmur.
    “You see anybody else?” She makes a big show of looking all around, under the stack of napkins, down the heat register, inside the silverware drawer.
    “No, I don’t see anybody else,” I reply, but I wish I could corral that fleeting spirit and keep Nathaniel close long enough to ask him a few thousand questions. I will in the attic, if he shows and if he stays around long enough.
    “See you later, Nathaniel,” I whisper when Bertha retreats to the kitchen. I don’t expect an answer.
    “See-throughy images?” Nathaniel whispers, his tone slightly mocking.
    I spin around and see him again, looking as handsome as ever, his dark eyes glinting mischievously. In the afternoon light, his uniform looks bluer than usual.
    “You heard the whole conversation?” I snap, even though I’m thrilled to see him. “You’ve been spying on me!”
    “Meet you in the attic,” he replies, smiling. “Let’s not wait until after the noon meal.”
    “Right now? I’ll dash right upstairs.”
    “I’ll get there before you,” he teases.
    “Well, yeah, since doors and walls are no obstacle.” I slowly back away, then spin and run as fast as I can up three flights of stairs. Breathless, I push the ceiling door to the attic open, and Nathaniel’s squatting there, ready to pull me up into the attic. He feels very much flesh-and-blood right now, but I gently push him away and lead him to the trunk.
    He straddles it with me facing him, my back against a post and my legs crisscrossed.
    “I’ll tell you my story,” he says.

    I CAME UP in Punxsutawney,” he begins.
    “Punxsutawney!” I cut in, grinning. “You know what that city’s famous for?”
    “Coal mining, I would venture, and sand flies,” Nathaniel responds.
    “No! Punxsutawney Phil. Groundhog Day.”
    “Beg your pardon?”
    “February second. The whole country waits for the famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, to poke his head out of the ground. If he sees his shadow, we’re in for six more weeksof winter.” Which sounds appealing now, because it’s sweltering up in the attic.
    Nathaniel raises his eyebrows. “Well, I’ll be. Punxsutawney Phil, eh? And if the famous groundhog doesn’t see his shadow, we’re in for roughly six more weeks of winter?” We both laugh at the absurdity of a rodent predicting the weather. Nathaniel’s laugh is robust, full-bodied, and I’ve always been a sucker for

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