“You know ghosts are real, Curt,” Tara teases. “I have scientific proof, too!”
Curt is hardly listening to that claim, more focused on her hair, so dark and slick that the moonlight bounces off it with a glimmer. “You’re lying. Save the scary stories for the Halloween party tomorrow.”
“You wish I were lying, scaredy cat!”
He rolls his eyes and looks through the tall gate that nearly surrounds the entire house, save for the driveway entrance. It’s sixty-seven degrees outside, standard for a North Carolina fall, yet his hands feel as if they may freeze to the iron bars.
Tara barely scrapes her long acrylic nails on his neck, each emblazoned with either a pumpkin or witch hat or sheet ghost or whatever her heart desired. His veins run cold, and a chill raises the hairs on his arms as he breaks out in goosebumps.
He hides his neck like a turtle and recoils out of her reach. “Hey, don’t do that! It’s weird.”
“Ever feel that sensation when you’re all by yourself, Curt? Only no one is there?”
Curt’s cheeks turn red. “I guess, yeah.”
“Well, that’s cause a silent sneaky specter just soared right through you! Or more likely, you just ran through it while trespassing in its house! Boo!” Tara squeals, taunting Curt with the ghost painted on her thumb nail. “If you didn’t chicken out every year and actually went inside the old Wilkins house, you’d be shivering with cold chills the entire time, I bet!”
He rolls his eyes and looks back at the Wilkins house. “Whatever. I’m going home. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
She waves him off with a proud grin and stomps away in her big heeled black boots, making sure to jump over every crack in the sidewalk on her way home.
Curt walks into his small apartment and immediately heads to the thermostat; it’s a bit chilly. He scratches his head at the temperature display. It’s set to seventy-two but reads sixty-one. He heads into his bedroom, looking for an open window. All closed. His body shakes. Chills.