“Rose! Look at this.” Rose jumped at John’s voice and though she didn’t want to admit it she was most certainly scared, scared of things that skulk in alleys and afraid of whatever had organized the dollar store dragon’s hoard of junk that surrounded them.

John moved deftly in and out of the piles and it was obvious he had been here many times and Rose often stumbled over things and stubbed her toes trying to follow him in the dim light.

            John stood before a wall covered in graffiti and looking up at its dirty brick façade he paused and Rose followed his gaze. The wall had the normal assortment of dirty phrases and hateful expletives but centered in it all was a mural of an achingly beautiful women leaning over an injured knight. The knight’s face showed his obvious pain from a jagged chest wound but the pain was secondary to the look of rapture on his spray painted face. The graffiti mural was well done and obviously had been worked with love and attention but something was wrong. The women seemed in no way sad at the death of her knight but seemed to instead revel in his pain and his misery and Rose was convinced she could see eyes staring out at her from corners of the picture but each time she tried to look at them it turned out to be nothing.

            “John where are we?” Rose was giving up the tough act and it was plain to see just how afraid she was.

            “Where she is.” John answered cryptically before going on down the alley.

            “Who’s she” is what Rose was going to say before she bumped right into John as he stopped abruptly. It was the end of the alleyway and the narrow passage filled with junk broadened out into a small dirt lot filled with junk. John walked strait into the center of the clearing without stopping to look at the tapestry of strange and disturbing imagining on the walls or the odd items in the various piles in the mediocre dragon’s hoard assembled in the space.

            “Honey it’s me!” John yelled out and a thick mist formed around him coalescing into a hauntingly beautiful woman. This woman was John’s dead wife.

            “Hello dear and who is this?” The dead women’s ghost murmured inquisitively all the while shooting daggers at Rose with her dull grey eyes.

            “Jessica this is Rose, you know our friend. Surely you recognize her?” John sounded genuinely troubled that the aspiration didn’t recognize Rose put kept that disturbing grin on his face.

            Rose looked at the ghost and felt the hair on the back of her neck rise up. Sure superficially like Jessica but carried itself with an air that didn’t match the unassuming woman that Rose had known only a few years ago and while it wasn’t bad that she didn’t recognize Rose, after all how much can dead people be expected to remember, but the open hostility she showed her was unnerving to say the least. She was covered in expensive looking jewerally that swayed and bobbed as the spirit moved which was weird because Rose had never seen Jessica wear any jewerly beyond earrings in her life and now she was entirely bedecked I layers of pearl necklaces and there were rings on every finger as well as ivory figures holding back her hair. More disturbing was that Rose kept seeing glimpses of something else through the transparent body of John’s dead wife. The jewerally would fade for an instant and out of the corner of her eye Rose would see rusted metal and rags but when she’d turn to examine it, it would revert back.

            “John that’s not Jessica.” Rose delivered this statement with a surety that surprised even herself and John was most certainly shocked because that plastic smile finally left his face. She was right though that thing was not Jessica, or at least not the Jessica she knew.

The End

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