I entered the kitchen to make my morning cup of tea and looked out the window instead. The sunrise was beautiful. Tea forgotten, I walked up to my office for a day of writing. My office was perfect. Everything exactly where I wanted it. From my desk, I had a view of Pikes Peak, which always calmed me.

Before I could sit, I heard a noise downstairs. Someone was in my house. Like a foolish character in one of my novels, I ran down the stairs to confront the intruder. It was Abbie, my niece. I wasn’t expecting her, but I would enjoy the visit.

I looked closer and saw she was crying, so I asked, “What’s wrong?”

Abbie broke down, crying harder. She dropped her bags and the local paper into a chair while she reached for a Kleenex. While blowing her nose, Abbie’s phone rang. She grabbed it and said, “Hello… Yes, I’m here… I didn’t think it would be this hard… I should have come more often… No, I’ll be fine until you arrive Friday night.”

Wiping her tears away, Abbie hung up the phone, and said, “Dear Aunt Telitha, I miss you so much.”

Whatever had happened, Abbie was distraught, so I reached out and hugged her. I was not prepared to have my hands go through her. I looked down at my hands and noticed I could see through them to the floor. I looked around the room. Everything was solid except me.

The paper Abbie brought in was face up showing the front page. My picture was there. It was one of my favorites. I was in the stall brushing my stallion, Thunder. The caption read, Local Horror Author Trampled to Death. I leaned closer to read the details.

Engrossed in the article that described my death, I didn’t realize someone else had arrived until Abbie’s voice turned angry. “I already told you, I’m not selling.”

“Reconsider. Your life is back east. Let me save you the hassle of this old, rundown place.” Arnold Tombs, the man who had bugged me for years to sell this farm, was now bugging Abbie.

Abbie glared at Arnold. “If it’s so run down, why do you want it?”

“It backs up on my property and makes a nice addition to my holdings,” Arnold said. “You don’t want to have an accident like your aunt.”

His words sounded wrong and gave me pause. Memories flooded into my mind. Thunder didn’t trample me. Arnold killed me. He must have made it look like an accident. Anger built within me as I looked at the man who shortened my life and had the nerve to blame my horse.

Abbie crossed her arms over her chest. “Are you threatening me?”

“No, but farm life is hard, and you were raised in the city.”

That explained why I hadn’t moved on. I knew what needed to be done.

I couldn’t touch anything, but there must be some way for me to impact the environment. I screamed, but they couldn’t hear me. They were arguing louder than I could scream. When Arnold grabbed Abbie’s arm, I stepped between them.

I didn’t expect anything to happen. When Arnold saw me, I’m not sure who was more surprised, him or me. He ran screaming from the house.

I turned to Abbie. She was shocked, but laughter bubbled up. “He’s gone now, Auntie. You can dial down the scary.”

At first, I didn’t know what she was talking about, then I looked past her to the mirror over the coat rack bench. My face was identifiable, but the rest of me was in flames. Calling on every meditation technique I knew, I calmed myself. Slowly, the ghostly flames went out, and I was normal again. At least as normal as a mostly transparent ghost can be.

My eyes met Abbie’s. “Can you hear me?”

“Yes, Auntie. What’s going on?”

“I don’t know, but dead or not, I will make Arnold Tombs pay.” A grin spread across my face. After all, I wrote horror stories, and Arnold Tombs was due some payback.

More flash fiction by N. R. Tucker

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