I'd never seen a ghost before, not even when my dad died. Why had one decided to haunt me now?
"Just lucky, I guess," I said. "What do you think, Barkley?"
My long-legged Schnauzer scratched his ear with his hind foot.
"That's what I think too."
I tugged Barkley's ear and picked up one of the quarter-size flat stones scattered beside the path. I tossed the stone into the deep end of the Water Garden pond.
Barkley scrambled to the bank, then yipped and jumped back, almost jerking the leash from my hand. The ruff on his neck rose straight up. He stared at the pond, his lips curled, his teeth bared.
I gripped the red plastic leash more tightly.
The ghost liked water.
In the pond, twin black shafts of water shifted into the wavy outline of feminine eyes. Pale lips, reed-thin and white as unearthed slugs, parted. The lips tried to form a word. A gurgle rose from the depths like a deep sigh.
Bubbles roiled the surface of the water.
Barkley growled again. Then he barked, as if to prove the ghost hadn't silenced him.
I tried to speak, to ask the ghost what she wanted. My tongue clung to the roof of my mouth. My lips moved in a quivery jiggle as if I were silently whistling. But I could not force out a sound, much less a whole question.
Maybe if I could think a question, the ghost and I could communicate. Maybe she didn't need actual words to hear me and to answer.
I tipped forward. My glasses slipped down my nose. I wanted to ask her...something...something...important...
What would touching her feel like?
I stretched out my hand.
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