🙂 Tuesday is upon us once again!! Let the #Blogbattle begin!!
#BlogBattle is a weekly short story challenge using a single word for inspiration. Hosted by the talented Rachael Ritchey. Feel free to join in, or click here to read the current week’s stories and vote for your favorites.
Two of my favorite characters, Nita and Michael, for some ghostly fun 🙂
As Nita approaches the vacant building, she sees the owner waiting by the door, she greets her as she walks up, “Hi Alyssa, Michael should be here shortly.”
“Nita, Hello. Let’s step inside and wait then.”
Alyssa is the current owner of the hair salon that Nita and Michael want to purchase. She inherited it from her Aunt Babs, and kept it open for as long as she could. It has been empty for several years now, it needs a little work, but it’s in a good location, and had a great reputation when it was a hair salon for all those years.
Alyssa heads towards the back to turn the lights on when Michael walks in. Nita glances at him then does a double take. He’s wearing work boots, what the heck? “Hey Michael, what’s with the boots? You look like one of The Village People.”
He stops dead in his tracks. “Pumpkin. I hope that was a compliment and not a derogatory remark.” He walks over and stands next to her, his voice low, “The boots, my little Frappuccino, are protection in the event this place has rats. You know those damn things like to lurk in the shadows and then dart out and scurry across your feet…I can’t even…ewww” His whole body shudders with exaggeration as he explains himself.
Alyssa enters the room, Michael walks over with a dramatic flourish to greet her, “Alyssa, darling, so good to see you.” He uses both his hands to shake hers.
“Hello Michael, I’m glad to have this opportunity to show you the place, I think you will both see it’s a great space. Let’s go to the back, and you can see the rest, the supply room, break room and bathrooms.” Alyssa says as she leads the way.
As they stand in the break room, Michael says to Nita, “I like it. With a thorough cleaning, a little interior design and new fixtures, it will be absolutely gorgeous, don’t you agree?”
Nita nods her head in agreement as she continues to look around, “I think you’re right.” She says with excitement.
Alyssa moves to walk back to the front when she stops and asks, “Do you smell that?”
Nita questions as she inhales deeply, “Smell what?”
Embarrassed she waves her hand to dismiss the notion, “Oh it’s probably nothing, I thought I smelled something that reminded me of the perfume Babs used to wear.” She smiles at the fond memory, “Giorgio was her signature scent. My mind must be playing tricks on me. She always joked that she would haunt the place if she didn’t like the new owners, and it was no secret that she didn’t like male hairstylists. That’s why she never hired any, she didn’t want them taking over her space.”
Nita and Michael just look at each other amused as Michael quietly says, “Well wasn’t she just a bundle of fabulous wrapped up in sunshine.”
“Michael!!” Nita chides.
Just then a noise comes from the corner of the room, and a rat darts out and runs right past Michael a hair’s width away from his feet, and disappears behind a cabinet. Michael has to take several cleansing breaths to calm himself. He glares at Nita, “See.”
“Sorry about that. We didn’t have rats when we were in business, that’s only because it’s been empty for some time.” Alyssa assures them.
They walk back out into the open area, “So, do the two of you need time to make a decision?”
Nita and Michael look and each other, smile and say in unison, “No.”
“Great, we’ll set up and appointment and make it official.” Alyssa says as she shakes their hands.
After extensive renovations and a successful grand opening, they agreed on a schedule that allows Michael to open the Salon every morning. On his first morning alone, after turning on the lights, he reaches over to turn on the radio, he jumps as some god-awful country music blares from the speakers. Cringing from the sound not unlike someone running their fingernails down a chalkboard, he fumbles to change the station quickly, and doesn’t think anything of it and starts his day.
But every morning it’s the same. He mentions it to Nita, but she shrugs it off. One morning he realizes what it is. He turns the radio on, switches the station and fearlessly commands, “Babs? Why don’t you make yourself useful and make some coffee instead of messing with the radio every morning!! I’m not afraid of you!!”
That same day, his new client Josephine comes in. Michael is not only one of the best hairstylists, but he also has a genuine personality that draws a person in, and makes them feel like they are the most important person in the world. Josephine tells him that she and Babs were best friends for years, he listened as she reminisced about the good ol’ days, obviously missing her friend. Michael mentions to her the strange thing that goes on each morning. Josephine smiles and tells him that Babs appeared to her in a dream asking her to stop by the Salon to see how things are going. She explains that the Salon was everything to Babs, she just wants to be sure it’s in good hands. Josephine assures him that after today, the strange things will most likely stop. Before she leaves, she makes a standing weekly appointment with him. Not only because she is completely overjoyed with her visit with Michael, but as her way of letting Babs know it’s OK to move on.
The next morning Michael walks into the Salon, soft music and the smell of coffee gives him pause. The salon is still dark which causes him to stop in the middle of the open space. With an unsteady hand he rubs the back of his neck to smooth the tiny hairs that are standing at attention. Just as he’s about to move, Nita walks in from the back room. “Michael…hey…you OK? It looks like you’ve just seen a ghost.”
Letting out a breath he was holding for too long, he says, “It’s just you, Apple Slice.” Splaying his hand over his chest to calm his racing heart.
Nita laughs, “Who else would it be? You think the spirit of Babs is lurking in the break room?” She teases, giving him a push as she walks past him. “Oh, and I didn’t have any problem with the radio this morning. I noticed that the buttons are really close together, maybe you’re just hitting the wrong one or something.” She says with a shrug as she begins to set up for the day.
Michael walks into the back room. After he hangs up his coat, he turns to find a cup of coffee sitting on the table that he knows was not there when he first walked in. Before he moves towards it, his nostrils are invaded with a sweet, flowery scent, as the back door slowly swings open on a breeze. He walks over to pull the door closed, a warm sensation moves across his body as if exiting out the door. He smiles to himself and quietly says, “Godspeed Babs…Godspeed.”