The icy silence in the car lasted through the entire state of Kansas. There was no “look at that” because, honestly, there wasn’t that much to see in Kansas. There was no “turn up the radio” because the radio in the cheap fixer-upper car had gone out back in Chicago. There was no “turn down the air conditioner” because that too had become useless in St. Louis. Nothing in this trip was going right. It was physically impossible for anything else to go wrong.
Finding the perfect car for two ghosts to drive was rather difficult. Most ghosts drove trains, and for obvious reasons. Trains were set on a track, they didn’t have radios to break, and when the air conditioner went out, someone was there to fix it. The car the agency gave them was one giant nightmare (no…even a nightmare would have been terrified of this car). But at least it had been running from Chicago through Kansas…
Ambrose’s feet were propped up on the dashboard as he glared out of the windshield. His black eyes were narrow slits behind his sunglasses, and his pale lips were pursed. His arms were folded tightly against his chest. He had been in this position for several hours now. To be frank (not literally, Frank was quite the unfriendly sort of ghost. Moping about the office, doing no one any good at all) it was driving Ichabod crazy.
After chewing on his own pallid lower lip for a few moments, Ichabod finally broke the silence. “Ambrose! Get your big feet off of my dashboard!” Ambrose removed his sunglasses and looked at Ichabod with malice. “Shut up. It’s not your dashboard. It’s OUR dashboard. The agency gave US this piece of junk! NOT YOU!”
“Great Ambrose! Fine! It’s OUR car, OUR problem, and I suppose it’ll be OUR fault when the agency finds out we got freakin’ lost on our way to the job. I don’t want you to try and pin this on ME! It’s OUR problem now, not just mine!”
“Way to be mature Ichabod. You think you’re hot stuff, don’t you! Just because you died in a fookin’ fire! Well, I’ll let you know, just because you died in the Chicago fire three years before I drowned in the Mississippi river, it doesn’t make you king of the freakin’ world.”
“OH! OH! FINE Ambrose! If you’re going to throw around my death so disrespectfully, I’m going to pull this piece of garbage over and we’re going to duke this out like the ghosts we are!”
Ichabod slammed on the breaks, but never made it over to the side of the road. Because the two ghosts had been arguing so passionately, they failed to notice the car driving towards them at an accelerated rate. They also failed to notice that the driver of said fast-moving car was a teenager. The last thing they failed to notice was the simple (and rather stupid fact) that Ichabod had begun to drive in the wrong lane, and that slamming on his breaks would cause the inevitable crash of the two cars.
And that’s exactly what happened.
Ichabod and Ambrose’s car was totaled, but there was no physical damage done to them, seeing as they were already dead. However, the teenager (one Owen Guy Mallon) and his car both ended up in rather nasty shape. The ruined and smoking wreckage of Owen’s car smoldered on the side of the road, and Owen, ruined, smoking, and possibly smoldering as well, sat within it.
Ichabod and Ambrose looked at each other blankly. There wasn’t a whole lot they could do in this situation. The dead were not supposed to ever actually touch the living, and as far as they could tell, the boy in the car was still alive. The two ghosts blinked. A pair of white eyes focused on a pair of black eyes, and both sets seemed to be confused as of what to do.
The road trip through Kansas had started innocently. The two of them would drive across Kansas to the border, find 125 January Lane (the pink house with the rhododendrons in the front yard) and haunt that house until the occupants saw that their best option was to move out of the house (it was that or lose their sanity completely). The house would then become a half-way house for way-ward ghosts. Simple enough. Ichabod and Ambrose were the best haunters in the business, and the Agency had trusted them. They just gave them a crappy car with no air-conditioning or radio. And even the dead get cranky when the temperature is over 100 degrees and the humidity was 90 percent.
And the two ghosts’ irritable behavior had cost this poor boy his life.
Watching the birth of a ghost is a terrifying thing (if you’re alive). If you’re dead, it’s one of the most interesting things you could hope to witness. As Owen’s body caught fire and his heart stopped beating, a subtle mist oozed forth from the car. For a moment it seemed to hover in the air before shaping the form of a nineteen year old boy. Not a stitch of clothing on him (because clothing doesn’t have a soul, it would be impossible for it to pass on into death as well), granted, but still, the boy was intact.
His skin was alabaster white, like most other ghosts’. His hair retained some of its black hue, though it was a far more muted black now, paler if you will. His eyes were two different colors, the right one being black, the left being white. But despite the two toned look of his eyes, both appeared to agree on one thing: Owen Mallon did not have a clue about what was going on.
Ichabod and Ambrose realized quickly the boy had passed on. They had watched it happen with the same sort of stunned look a new father gives the baby he holds in his arms. Not that killing a teenager was the same sort of event as a new baby being born, but watching Owen begin a new life was a bit rewarding. The two were proud, in a sick sort of way.
Ambrose and Ichabod stepped out of their crunched up car, and walked over to Owen. Ichabod stood on the left, Ambrose on the right. The two were silent for a few moments, just staring at the boy. Finally, Ambrose spoke up.
“So. How do you feel?”
Owen looked at Ambrose confused-idly for a moment. But the moment passed quickly, and his eyes filled with anger.
“How do you think I feel?! My car is totaled! Mom and Dad are going to kill me!”
Ichabod could hardly restrain his laughter. He snickered for a moment before regaining his composure, and even then, had to keep from smiling. Owen glared at Ichabod ferociously.
“What? Do you find this funny? You’d better pray I don’t tell a state trooper you were driving on the wrong side of the road you freak!”
“No, it’s not that…I swear.” Ichabod said, suppressing more laughter. “It’s just that…heh…that you said your mom and dad will kill you when they find out about the car.”
“Yeah. And it’s not funny so stop laughing!”
“You see the fact of the matter is…they won’t kill you when they find out about the car. You can’t be killed if you’re already dead.”