Liz and Evie walked along broken pavement, in and out of the yellow glow of the streetlights.
“Who’s him, by the way?”
“Oh.” Evie nodded. “It must have been important, what you needed to tell him.”
“Yes, it was.”
Evie watched Liz with expectant eyes.
“I don’t want to talk about it,” Liz said.
Evie frowned and turned forward. “Your choice, I suppose.”
They came around a corner onto a concrete sidewalk. A small car pulled out of the intersection ahead of them and turned the other way. They crossed the street and walked along a line of dark windows. A man stumbled out of the shadows in front of them. His hair was greasy and uncombed, and his face unshaven. His clothes were dingy and worn through in spots.
Liz froze as he approached. Evie stepped aside and watched Liz’s face. The man dragged his feet and his arms were loose at his side. He moved right toward Liz, but at the last second drifted around and past her. Liz looked back at the man as he wandered away.
“Could he see us?”
“No. Most can’t, unless you want them to.”
“So was it by chance that he didn’t run into me?”
“Again, no. While they may not be able to see with their eyes, there are other senses that come in to play.”
Evie smiled and held out a hand. “Shall we?”
Liz looked along the sidewalk. “Sure.”
Three blocks later, Evie took them up a side street and stopped at a narrow greenspace. Along the road there was a metal bench surrounded by flowering bushes. Near the back were more benches and an old, rusty merry-go-round. Liz sat on the bench facing the road. Evie sat on the opposite end with her back straight and her hands on her lap. They watched cars and the odd pedestrian go by.
“Why do you run around looking like a little girl if you’re not?”
Evie shrugged. “Why do people go around looking like bankers or prostitutes? It is a way for me to get what I want. There’s not much more to it than that.”
Liz nodded. “You’re not wrong, I guess.” She brushed her hand down her leg to her knee. The sensation was as muted as her colour. “What is your story anyway?”
Evie pondered for a moment. “I’ve told a lot of stories. So many for so long that I’ve forgotten what is true. I was a princess, sent to the Americas to hide my father’s shame. I was a slave, murdered for looking at a white man’s wife. I was the young bride of a man who cut off my head with an axe. He buried it in the coat of a Confederate soldier, and then fed my body to the pigs. It changes depending on the situation.” Evie looked to Liz. “I don’t normally share so much. Maybe I’ve been around too long. Maybe I have a soft spot for those that have been done wrong.”
“You can tell that?”
Evie nodded. “It’s your energy. It would be different if the reason you died was natural, or if it was by your own hand. Your light burns stronger, brighter.”
“I’ll take your word for it.”
Evie smiled and shrugged. “I guess you will.”
Image by Kaleigh Kanary