Fangirl Rewrite: Part 2

Read Part One here.

Jamie stood looking at her counterpart. Lily’s posture was bold and aggressive, flawless. She really was Jamie’s masterpiece.

“I’ll ask again, Jamie,” she leaned in with her arms crossed, “…what are you doing?”
“He.. he wants me.”
“What about Cole?” Lily asked.
“Cole?” Jamie laughed a little. “Is that what this is about?”
Lily cocked an eyebrow. She was waiting for a better answer.
“I mean… Rob Denhart or… Cole Sheldon?” She gestured like she was weighing the names in her hands. “Who cares?” she laughed again.
“Don’t you?”
“Don’t I what?”
“Don’t you care about him?” Lily was maintaining intense eye contact.
“No,” she scoffed, “I didn’t even really like him.” she said to her feet.
Heat rose up in Jamie’s face, she started to panic. Why was Lily here? Asking about Cole of all people?
“You almost slept with him.”
“Yeah, well I didn’t.” she said defensively.
“HE COULD HAVE BEEN ANYONE!” Jamie screamed and the noise was deafening. Her words echoed into the distance.

Then silence…

They stared at each other. Jamie stood in shock, she hadn’t meant to say that. Lily seemed startled too.  Like an actor in a play where someone had said something decidedly off-script. Her posture turned inward, she held her arms and turned away from Jamie.

Is that right? Jamie thought to herself. It couldn’t be…

Clouds had grown overhead and rain started to fall gently. The edges of the field began to blur more closely and the low hum grew louder. But Jamie took no notice. She was lost in thought. She remembered that night with Cole, how she had cried so hard she threw up. And the next day when she returned his bag, he wouldn’t look at her. After that she had gone home and written some of her most intense stories about Rob, including the one that drew his response.

It didn’t seem like the actions of someone who didn’t care. And yet she had been right. She had no feelings for Cole whatsoever. He was a dull, fumbling boy with no passion for anything except Counterstrike and comic books.

So why… her thoughts were interrupted by a crash of thunder. It was pouring now. Water was dripping off her nose. She had no idea how much time had past. Jamie strained to see Lily through the sheets of torrential rain. Some distance away, she now sat crouched, hugging herself in the grass.

Jamie came toward her in the rain, “Lily?” she yelled over the thunder.

She was facing away but Jamie could see her arms jerking wildly. The blurred edge was only a few feet away now and hum was making her head pound. The dream was unraveling. Jamie’s shoes were sinking into the mud as trudged over to Lily and looked her. She could hear her crying.

Lily’s face was red. She had clawed her eyes and torn the skin straight down to her chin. Jamie reeled back but her shoes stuck in the ground and she fell into the muddy grass.

Her face… her beautiful, perfect face! Jamie looked on horrified. But having seen her Lily finally straightened up. Her legs had sunk into the mud, she looked like a disembodied torso. She lunged forward and grabbed Jamie’s foot as she began sinking farther. Jamie shrieked and kicked as hard as she could. But she couldn’t shake her. They both sunk deeper as the rain came down until everything went black.

Jamie woke up with a start on the bus.

It was empty. The passengers and driver gone. They had pulled over onto the side of the road into a gas station. She grabbed her bag and walked down the aisle. The front door was open and Jamie stepped down. Something was wrong. The station was empty. It was completely deserted and looked like it had been for years. Two rusty pumps stood in front of a desolate looking office. Weeds had sprouted out of the cracks in the cement.

A cold panic ran down her body, she had been abandoned.

“Hello?” she called out. No response but her own echo.

How long has she been asleep? She pulled her phone out to check the time. 2:37pm. She had been asleep for two hours, meaning she was too far away to walk back.

“Shit shit shit…” she scrolled to her mother’s number, but hesitated. What would she say? Could she even find the words to explain what she was doing? 2:30pm. Her mom would have started drinking at about eleven. She may not even pick up. Even if she did, she wouldn’t be able to drive out here. No, she decided. She stuck her phone back in her pocket.

She looked down the highway. There were buildings in the distance. Not her destination, but probably somewhere she could rest and get some food. Her stomach growled loudly as if on cue.

Screw it, I’ll walk. She picked up her bag and headed out onto the roadside.

I could use the exercise anyway.

Her cheek felt warm as she walked. It must have been from sleeping against the window of the bus. Then she remembered her dream. How Lily had been exactly how she imagined and then so…

Jamie shivered at the memory.

Crazy. She thought. That’s how she looked. Completely mad. And that stuff about Cole? That night had seemed forever ago. Now it felt like it happened yesterday.

She kept walking.

… Had she meant it? When she said, “he could have been anyone”? Looking back she had only had a few conversations before, mostly involving school. If they hadn’t been lab partners they probably may have never hooked up.

But why Cole? He was a tall, lanky boy. With a small chin and short blonde hair. But his eyes were green, like Rob’s eyes, she remembered that. Round globes of forest green. She stared into them and something touched her deep inside. Rob’s eyes…

“Your eyes are green, I never noticed before.” she had said. It sounded familiar now that she thought about it… It was a line from a TV show she had seen as a child. It was one of those soft core, romantic skit shows that were always on late night cable. The woman had seemed hesitant at first, even scared. But the gentlemen was persistent enough. She might have gotten in trouble if she was ever caught watching them, but no one ever came in, so she never did. They had shared a moment, and then kissed just like in the show. But the similarities ended there. The woman in the show didn’t get rebuffed and humiliated at school the next day.

She had a feeling that everyone knew. None of them would ever talk to her, so Jamie didn’t know why it mattered. But it did. It mattered a lot. The thought of going back to school and facing all their smug faces for another day made her stomach twist up. Seeing them whisper and laugh.

“Did you hear about Jamie? She couldn’t even make it with Cole Sheldon!” she thought. In a way she almost wished they would say something like that. But the pretty girls never said anything about her.

The pretty girls with their pretty hair. Their goddamn hair! How the fuck did they get it to do that anyway? It’s not that they teased her. They ignored her. The bathrooms at school would be full of them, giggling and gossiping. Jamie would sit on the toilet and just listen to the chatter. They talked about people she didn’t know, shows she didn’t watch. But the moment Jamie would walk out of the stall everything came to a halt. They would smile absentmindedly at her through the mirror and then out the door they went. As far as they were concerned Jamie Ann Bentley was another fucking species. An alien at the watering hole. Fuck them.

Up ahead she could see another gas station, but this one was open. There was a diner attached and it looked busy. Good, she thought. I’ll feel better once I eat and get some directions.

She kept walking.

She wondered if she could turn this little adventure into a story. One only Rob and herself would know the secret of it’s origins. She smiled. How romantic…

Jamie had never written much before becoming part of the Xcute fandom, but once she started she found she loved the whole process. Everything in Storyland had a purpose. Nothing was random, everything made sense. In Storyland, she was Lily von Eades. No one could resist her charms, especially Rob, who had fallen for her in a dozen different stories. More if you counted the one where he got amnesia. Writing soothed her. Whenever a day had been especially bad Jamie would go home and write. Taking the stairs two at a time- bypassing her mom’s couch- she would shut herself away in her room and write. It felt… powerful.

Jamie had made it to the diner called “Pammy’s”, it looked like a 50’s retro place but from the aged look of it, she thought it was authentic. She took this as a good sign. Back when her family would take road trips, her dad used to say old beat up joints were the best.

“Well they’re still here aren’t they, JamJam?” he would say. Jamie missed her dad.

She pulled the glass door open. Red booths with duct tape patches, a rotating display of pies and country music playing on a tinny radio. Another day she might have rolled her eyes, but after the weirdness of the morning she found these All American stand-bys deeply comforting. She took a deep breath and smelled french fry grease. Yes. She thought.

“Booth or bar, hon?”said an waitress with graying hair pulled back in a bun.

“Oh, uh bar please. It’s just me.”

She had a seat at the bar and unfolded the large menu in front of her. Didn’t matter, she knew what she wanted” hamburger and french fries with a Coke.

She ordered and stared at the counter for a while. Her feet hurt, it felt good to sit. She normally took the bus to school and couldn’t remember the last time she had walked this far. Her mind wandered…

The nightmare had felt real. More real then any nightmare before. She could smell the water and grass, feel the wind and rain on her face. When she had woken up she was surprised her clothes weren’t soaked. And Lily… God. She remembered the very real slap when Lily had grabbed her leg in the mud. Jamie had never been so afraid in her life. Why had she done that? She remembered they had spoken, but the details had faded. Something about… Rob?It was gone.

Her food came. A juicy hamburger and krinkle cut fries with a Coke in a tall blue glass. She had never been so happy to see a burger in her life. She tucked in and her spirits lifted.

She had decided to put Cole behind her. The nightmare had just addled her, stirred up her emotions. It seemed ridiculous to be thinking about Cole when Rob was within her reach. Ungrateful, even. She figured she should start rehearsing what she would say when they met.

Jamie looked to her right, an older man sat next to her at the bar. He was slim with dark, graying hair, a bulbous nose. He had left one stool between them. Their eyes met just as Jamie had taken a huge bite out of her burger, she smiled awkwardly and gestured a sorry. He chuckled. She swallowed and said,

“Sorry, just happy to see food. I walked here.”

“Did you? Grace, bacon cheeseburger, please.” he gestured airily to the waitress. His voice was bright and neighborly. She nodded.

“I thought you looked like you had t a lot on your mind,” he said, sounding vaguely Southern. “Looks like it was just your appetite.” he smiled.

She paused for a moment and drank her Coke.

“Well…yeah, I guess I do. Um, I’m Jamie” Jamie said and stuck out her hand.

He shook it and nodded, “Pete”. When he faced her head on she saw his right eye had a milky cast to it and looked away quickly.

“I’m in here a lot, it’s on my route. Never seen you before. You new to the area?”

“Oh no, I’m just passing through. I’m uh, meeting my boyfriend.” It was a stupid lie. Pete hadn’t given off any of what the girl’s called “creeper signals”, he was old enough to be her dad, but it was just habit.

“He the one given all that grief?” the waitress, Grace, joined them and refilled Jamie’s soda.

Jamie laughed. “Ha, no. That was…forever ago.” she waved her hand dismissively.

She had intended that to be the end of it, but the two paused as if waiting for her to say more. It looked like Pammy’s was the type of place people came to unload.

“We were… on a date. And I guess I got rejected.” Jamie shrugged casually and ate her fries. That was as close as she could get to explaining to two strangers.

“Aw, hun.” Grace patted her hand and Pete nodded thoughtfully. He seemed to understand despite Jamie’s vague description.

He leaned in conspiratorially to them, “When I was about fourteen, I asked this girl out to the movies. Georgeous girl! Annie Nelson, I’ll never forget. I had like her since we were kids. Anyway she said yes, right? I told her I would meet her there. But when she showed up…”

The two women waited for the punchline.

…”I was so scared I hid in the dumpster.”

Grace and Pete erupted in laughter. She slapped the counter and walked away. Jamie smiled.

“She was probably really confused when you didn’t show up.” she said finally. Her voice sounded more strained than she had intended.

“Thing you got to remember about boys is this: they’re jest as scared as you.” he said.

Jamie looked at him for a moment, confused.

“…you think he was scared?”

“Sure, boy your age? Probably nervous as Hell.” he said and ate some fries.

Jamie thought back to Cole’s face. The scared, deer-in-headlights look he got when she pulled out the condom. She had replayed the scene a thousand times in her head and it still made her stomach drop.


Her phone suddenly sprang to life with the newest XCUTE ringtone. She pulled it out of her pocket. It was a text, the number was unfamiliar. It was the address of a hotel with the message:

“I’ll be here all weekend. Drop by if you can -RD”

R.D. Rob Denhart! Jamie felt electrified. She couldn’t stop smiling, she had been so caught up in things she had almost forgotten where she was going. She was going to meet her idol, her muse, and possibly her true love. He was going to change her life. But her happiness was short lived.

“Your bill, miss.” a woman’s voice from behind her. Jamie looked up and nearly choked on her Coke.

It was Lily. She was dressed like a waitress and holding a pot of coffee, but it was Lily. Her auburn waves were pulled back in a ponytail, her face was still gashed from her eye to her chin, dried blood had crusted on her cheek. Her cool blue eyes were staring right at her. A fictional character of her own invention. Right there, in the flesh.

“Whenever you’re ready.”

Jamie was frozen in shock. Her heart was pounding so hard she thought the burger she just ate might come up. She jerked herself to her feet, scrambling for her bag as she backed away from the waitress, toward the door, never taking her eyes off of her face. It was frozen, emotionless. Just two blue eyes staring right into Jamie’s soul. Other customers were beginning to stare too. But at Jamie.

Grace called out, “Hon, your bill?”

Pete craned his neck to see what was happening, “It’s okay Grace. I’ll get it.” he called out to Jamie, “You okay, sweetie?”

Lily raised a perfect eyebrow, “Something wrong, miss?” she took a step toward Jamie.

“GET AWAY FROM ME!” Jamie shrieked and she bolted out the door. She ran down the side of the highway, looking behind her as she ran. No one was following her, although quite a few people were looking at her out the Pammy’s front window.

She ran out of breathe quickly and slowed to a brisk walk, but she kept looking behind her. Waiting for Lily to come out of the door. To follow her. Or appear in front of her when she turned back to the road. Lily could contort backwards and scuttle after her like a human crab for all she knew. Nothing would surprise her after what she wad just seen.

Rob. She thought. She could call the number back and have him come get her. Maybe he would send a car. Deciding this was the best option, she felt her pocket for her phone.

Nothing. No way. She thought. There’s no fucking way.

She checked the rest of her pants and her bag too. She didn’t have it, meaning it was sitting on the counter back at Pammies.

Jamie looked back towards the diner window. She thought she could still see the figure of Lily, still holding the coffee pot. Staring back out at her.

There was no way she could go back now.

Fangirl: Rewrite Part 1

This is rewrite of an audio short story I did in 2013, you can check it out here. I wanted to add more depth to Jamie as a character and generally make the writing suck less. I welcome any criticisms or comments as I’m an amateur and still in the process of this rewrite.


Jamie looked at herself in the mirror. Plain, she thought. Plain Jane. Jamie always considered herself a beautiful woman trapped in the body of a chubby 16 year old. At least that’s what she told herself. She pulled the skin of her face back. Even behind the fat, her features was boring. She sighed.

She rifled through the piles of clothes on the floor. It was hard to tell what was what because it was all black. But she had to find the right one, her XCute t-shirt. She scanned her bedroom and spotted the tour dates on the back, draped over a chair. Maneuvering around her duffel bag, she snatched it up and pull it on over her camisole. She spun to catch her reflection in the mirror. Perfect. Well, as perfect as she was going to get. What else could she where to meet her idol but the shirt she bought at her very first XCute concert? She grabbed the rest of her things and threw them in her bag. Toothbrush, deodorant, hair brush, iPod and her wallet. Jamie opened it and a condom fell out. She paused for a moment…

She decided early on not to gush about the email to the online XCute community. Rob had contacted her personally. This was serious. He wanted her. With a deep breath, she placed the condom reverently back in her wallet, picked up her bag and headed out her bedroom door.

Her mom spotted her leaving from the couch, “Where are you off to?” she asked. Jamie winced in annoyance and turned into the living room. Her mother was laying on the couch, still in her robe at three in the afternoon. A pretty common occurrence in the Bentley house.

“I’m staying at Katie’s tonight, remember?”
Her mom’s eyes glazed over for a moment.
“Oh right, okay.” and turned back to the television.
Jamie stood in the doorway for moment, looking at her mom.

“I may stay over Sunday too.”
“…and she’ll probably just give me a ride to school on Monday.”
“…that’s why I brought so much stuff.”

She should have been relieved as she turned back down the hall. For once in her life her mom’s apathy had been to her advantage. But she wasn’t. Mom was drunk, no surprise there. Except this time it felt different, like an insult. She was about to meet the most important person in her life. Her soul mate. After today she would never be the same old Jamie Ann Bentley and her mom was too sloshed to see that. She slammed the screen door as she left. It was going to be a long walk to the bus station.

Jamie gave the bus ticket to the driver with a shaky hand. But as he tore the end off and handed it back her spirits began to lift. She could now push the conversation with her mom- if one could call it that- to the back of her mind. Her heart raced as the bus left the station. No going back now. I’m going meet Rob Denhart! There were only a few other passengers and they had all seated themselves far away from her.

Jamie pulled out her iPod, set it to the most recent XCute album, and let her mind wander. She thought of the condom…

It had almost happened.

That night with Cole Sheldon, her study partner for Physics. It was her first kiss, first time getting felt up… there were a lot of firsts that night. She had reached over and pulled the condom out of the bedside table and offered it to him. She remembered he looked like a deer caught in headlights. Cole had paused, looking down at it from on top of her. Then he scrambled off the bed, pulled on his jeans and Green Lantern t-shirt and left. Leaving all his notes and backpack behind. Later she cried so hard she vomited.

That had been three months ago and Jamie felt she was over it. Cole had never spoken to her to since, even when she returned his backpack. But she finally understood that it was for the best. That even though she had been rejected, it was meant to happen.

The bus was headed out of town now and in her heart she hoped this would be the last time she saw this shit hole. Rob could take her away… to Los Angeles or New York. She was young but celebrities were above the law. All it takes is money, she thought.

Heat started to rise up in her face as she looked at Denhart’s face on the album cover.

He was a beautiful man. Jamie thought he was more beautiful than most women and certainly more beautiful than she’d ever been. His green eyes looked up from the microphone, his face was mesmerizing. His body was perfection. Rob was her muse. He inspired her to write all sorts of fan fiction about the band members, something she had never done before. But to her amazement, the stories were quite popular.

She quickly became a regular author on, a site that was infamous for having only the smuttiest and most tawdry types of fan fiction. Jamie was thankful she chose a pen name as the stories were…deeply personal. Lily Von Eades was her alias and the heroine of her stories, the most recent post was an erotic account of this alter ego meeting Rob. So when she had gotten an email from Rob Denhart himself two days ago, she was overcome with a mixture of exhilaration and deep embarrassment.

I was moved by your story, and by your dedication to the band. I’d like to meet . . .

“Moved by your story?” Which story? There were almost thirty. The most popular were the ones where she paired off the members with each other. But she was certain she knew the one he meant.

A story wherein Lily Von Eades was the lead singer of a rock band playing at the same venue. Rob is enchanted with her immediately. After saving her from a gang of thugs, he professes his love and Lily reveals her secret: she’s a virgin. Intoxicated by her beauty, Rob takes her right there as she tries to fend him off, but eventually submits in bashful compliance.

She had daydreamed often about a chance meeting with Rob at a concert wherein he fell desperately in love with her. A happy coincidence where they found themselves sitting next to each other on an airplane or stuck in a broken elevator. Surely once he had time to get to know her, he’d realize how special she was. She wasn’t just a face in the crowd screaming up at the stage; she was in love with him. She dreamed about him at night. Memorized his lyrics, re watched interviews with the band over and over and over.
Fantasies blossomed in her mind, he would love her and steal her away- the laws be damned. Nothing was going to stop them. The scenery drifting by outside was rural now. Jamie finally started to relax and tried to sleep. She wanted to dream of him.

Her dreams were normally as bland and unexceptional as Jaime herself. She often dreamed about coming to school naked or being chased by shadows in the dark. She would wake up with only fragmented memories.

Which is why what she began to dream on the bus was so unusual.

She was standing in a sunny field. What she noticed immediately was that she could feel the warmth of the sun. There were flowers speckled about the grass, and far away she could hear a stream trickling. She smelled sweet water. But the area still retained a dream-like quality. Everything far away seemed to blur, as if the world faded as soon as it was out of her perception. Underneath the sound of water and grass, there was another sound. A low, undulating hum that Jamie couldn’t place. It was an unnerving sound.
She heard footsteps in the grass behind her. As she turned she felt slowed, like she was moving underwater. The motion made her stomach fly into a tailspin, but she turned to face the steps anyway. A figure stepped out from the blurred horizon.
It was a woman.
Jamie recognized her instantly. Lily Von Eades, exactly as she had imagined her. Perfect hourglass figure, pale skin and the type of rich auburn hair Jamie had always dyed her hair to mimic. Her red lips were curved into a stern frown as she stared at her author.
“What are you doing?” she asked.
Her tone was not what Jamie expected, accusing with a touch of condescension. It was off putting, she crossed her arms in front of her stomach. She knew, as one often does in dreams, what Lily was asking.

“I…I’m…” she began. Lily cocked a eyebrow.
“Rob Denhart read my stories. He wants to meet me. Me.”she nearly squealed in excitement, but corrected herself, “Well, us, technically.” She added this like a bribe. As if the invitation for Lily to join her would somehow make her stop looking at her that way.

It did not.

Part 2 coming soon

Alex the Badass – Creation of a Superhero

Standing only 5’5, our heroine is unassuming. She, let’s call her Alex, works as a maid cleaning the homes of the excessively rich. Yes, a maid. And no, not that kind of maid. None of that faffing about in french aprons. We’re talking a modern cleaning lady in knee pads and latex gloves. The job is demeaning and the pay is shit. But at night- at night she fights crime. On a goddamn motorcycle. Oh and she knows Krav Maga. Yeah, sweet. Alex is confident and snarky, but also hotheaded. We’ll make her hair fire engine red to really drive that point home. So she’ll have to wear the helmet when she fights so know one can know her identity.


So at night she roams the streets of… uh Portland? Yeah. Portland is weird, no one would blink and eye at a short girl on a motorcycle with a stun baton. Oh she has a stun baton by the way. The retractable kind so she can whip it out like wich-chaa. And then beat the shit out of criminals. But she doesn’t kill them because she doesn’t do that. She has a strict code of ethics because someone has to now that Superman is killing people.


Her outfit is utilitarian. So of course a badass motorcycle jacket, pants, and boots. Not sexy heeled boots, like Doc Martens. Who the Hell would want to try and fight crime in heels? That’s just stupid. Oh and she wasn’t raped. Ever. It’s never a thing. She might stop a rapist or two, but it never happens to her. Because God, why would I ever want to talk about rape in my escapist action fantasy? That shit is real enough.


So she fights crime, but if she’s such a badass why not become a police officer and earn slightly more than she does scrubbing floors? That’s a good question, is it because the police are corrupt and evil? No, because that’s played out and lame. People put their lives on the line every day and we repay them by shitting all over them in our media because you got that speeding ticket that one time. Maybe she failed the psych exam or something. I don’t know, we’ll figure that out later.


Oh- and her love interest is adorbes! She’s a librarian so big glasses, oversized Cosby sweaters, leggings and cute boots. She can have heels if she wants because she’s not fighting crime. Her name is Lisa. She’s shy and nerdy, but super smart and knows a shit ton about history which will come in handy a lot. Lisa leaves the library late at night and gets mugged, but then Alex is all like wich-cha and kicks the muggers ass. Of course at first Alex can’t accept she loves her because of her horrible fear of intimacy. I don’t mean sex, I mean in the way of trusting others and letting people into your comfort zone. She sucks at that. Don’t worry, they’ll make out eventually.


You know what we need? Some foil. A character who is in stark contrast to Alex to help distinguish her character. Let’s make him a cop. But not a dick cop, we’ve been over this. He’ll be calm, pragmatic and believe in the law. We’ll call him Wade. Wade will try and stop her at first. But after she brings down the kingpin of that human trafficking ring, well, he has a change of heart. After all, thanks to a lot of legal bribes the douche would have gotten off scott free. Maybe there is a place in the world for vigilante justice. Eventually he starts helping her and arrests a bunch of the people she beat the crap out of too.


Alex will struggle with her sense of right and wrong, whether she’s doing more harm than good and explore her own flawed nature. She’ll also have lots of cool conversations with Wade about justice and stuff. Yeah, sweet.

The Ghost

The Ghost
A short story inspired by urban legends from Japan.
by Magdalen Cochran

Alex eyed the cafe from across the street as she puffed the last of her cigarette. Margeux’s Cafe was on the corner of Fourth and Monroe, right across from the old Whiteside theatre. It had large open windows and through them she could see people sitting at small tables, drinking coffee and enjoying the free bandwidth. She frowned. The patrons looked clean cut and rich. The place stunk of the Junior League and PTA meetings. For a moment she regretted wearing her black jacket with studs in the shoulders. But quickly shrugged it off as she realized that a different jacket wasn’t going to conceal her tattoos, her earrings, or her flamingo pink hair. So fuck it. she thought. Then she spotted Maya sitting in the window. She saw her too and gave a big goofy wave. Jesus, she looks exactly the same. Alex thought as she stubbed out her cigarette and crossed the street. Maya’s long brown hair was pulled back with a cute headband, she wore a blue Rainbow Brite t-shirt and a pink plaid skirt with white shoes. Alex thought she even remembered this outfit from high school. Maya had emailed her a couple weeks ago, asking to get coffee and catch up.

She pushed open the door to Margeux’s and Maya bounded up her squealing. “Hey! Oh my gosh, I can’t believe it’s really you!” She threw her arms around her and Alex countered with kind of patient smile one would give a hysterical puppy. From far away, she really had looked like the same eighteen year old girl who she had graduated with. Now she could see the age much better. She was rounder, with a few subtle wrinkles just beginning to form around her mouth. But overall Maya was the same manic ray of sunshine she had always been. She spun in place, “I wore this outfit so you would recognize me,” she said and her eyes grew wide, “Wow, your hair is so short!” Alex ran her fingers self consciously through her shock of pink hair. “Yeah, it was longer back then. I think had it black for graduation.” Maya nodded in agreement as the two women walked back to the table where Maya had been sitting.

Alex sat down in the chair and unconsciously crossed her arms. She could tell Maya came here a lot, the barista had swirled a Hello Kitty into her latte foam. Alex had taken off right after graduation, moved to Portland and never looked back. Maya had stayed in their hometown and it showed. They couldn’t look more different and Alex thought they probably looked really strange sitting together. Alex was brooding and volatile, but Maya didn’t care. She never let anything pop her bubble of optimism and even though she was the squeaky clean princess type, Alex had to respect that she never seemed to judge people.

The two chatted for a while. Maya worked for the local Humane Society and sold handmade crafts online. Alex told her about her singing with Mi-go Love, a horror themed Rock band that had been touring up and down the West coast. Maya nodded excitedly as she blew on her latte, “Yeah, that’s why I picked this place.” she said with a grin. Alex paused and looked around the chic little cafe, it looked like the inside of any Starbucks. She looked back at Maya dubiously and stifled a laugh. Her companion blinked innocently, “Oh you haven’t heard about it?” then she gave an indulgent smile as if she was about to impart some juicy gossip. She leaned in closely, “It’s haunted.” she said. Now Alex really did laugh. She couldn’t tell if she thought it was cute that Maya was naïve enough to believe a ghost haunted a coffee shop, or just sad that her life had turned out so boring.

Maya waved her hands quickly, dismissing her skepticism.

“No I’m being totally serious! It’s true!” she said.

“This place is haunted, huh? Is the coffee really that bad?” Alex said and laughed again.

Maya smiled but looked at her pleadingly. Alex suddenly felt bad for teasing her and gave an apologetic nod.

“Okay, okay. So what, it’s like a disgruntled employee or something?”

“Oh no, nothing like that. It’s the ghost of someone’s twin.” Maya said quietly.

Alex was surprised. She had expected something more hokey.


“Well that’s the thing, no one knows. They say the living twin never even knew she had a sister. But because they’re twins, the girl’s spirit is stuck somewhere between the living and the dead.”

“…So now she haunts a coffee shop?” Alex had recovered a bit of her snarky confidence. But admittedly the story was not what she had expected.

Maya shrugged. “That’s what they say. I come here a lot and every once in a while I’ll see someone go white like-…”

“Like they’ve seen a ghost?” Alex finished.

“Well, yeah.”

Alex studied her for a moment. She thought Maya was probably the type of girl who read her horoscope in the paper. One who might see a palm reader or talk to you about your aura. But a pang of guilt struck her at this thought. Maya had been the only person from school who bothered to get in touch, and Alex thought she could probably stand not being such a bitch to her.

Maya sipped her coffee, carefully avoiding the Hello Kitty design. She put her cup down on the saucer and that’s when Alex noticed the distinct lack of clink. She paused for a moment. Looking around she saw people were tapping away and laptops, talking on phones, chatting with friends… and she couldn’t hear any of it. She put her finger in her ear and shook, thinking the last concert may have really done in her hearing. Nothing. Alex suddenly realized she was cold. The sun was shining outside, but inside the small cafe the world felt icy, even through her jacket. She was becoming concerned. Am I getting sick? she wondered. Maya seemed blissfully unaware that Alex couldn’t hear her and she continued to chatter away. Alex was about to interrupt her when she saw it.

There was a doorway at the other end of the cafe. A pale figure stood partly obscured by the frame, but Alex could see clearly it was a woman. The world seem to be going on around her in perfect silence. Maya was still talking, idly looking out the window. People came and went as usual. No one seemed to notice the young woman watching Alex from the doorway. She stared back, rooted in place. Her ears began to ring and her heart thudded in her chest. She could see half the girl’s face, her shoulder, and one thin arm that rested at her side. Slowly, the figure began to move into the doorway. A violent chill ran up Alex’s body as she watched the figure move. It was slow and unnatural like she was walking underwater. She looked like she was wearing a shapeless white dress or smock and dark hair drifted out behind her as she moved. The figure fluctuated between swimming through the air and sudden jerky movements that made Alex feel seasick. She stared frantically at Maya, hoping her expression of fear might prompt her stop talking, to look behind her…to see what Alex was seeing. But Maya was still oblivious despite she was looking straight at her now. Everyone in the room seemed unfazed. Whatever was happening was happening to Alex alone. She looked back to the figure who was now only a few feet away. Alex reared back so far in her seat she almost toppled over, but found that’s all she could do. She was paralyzed with fear and the ringing in her ears was getting louder.

The figure came forward with unblinking eyes. Alex’s mind was a flurry of panicked thoughts, but one realization pierced through the static. The figure looked like… Maya. The eyes were dead and lacked any glimmer of consciousness, but they were Maya’s eyes; her small nose, her round face. As she moved toward the table, in that hideously unnatural way, Alex realized the girl was not looking at her at all. The figure turned her gaze to her companion. She knelt beside her, watching her mouth words and gesture absentmindedly. Alex could see the girl’s feet were bare, and didn’t cast a shadow on the tile floor. the girl crouched there for a moment, stroking Maya’s hair and face. The ringing was so loud now Alex couldn’t think. Her hands and feet had gone numb and the seasickness was coming in nauseating waves. She was sure if she had to endure much more that she’d pass out completely.

All of the sudden the girl’s face was transformed. It twisted violently as if she was screaming, but no sound came out. She stood and slammed her hands down on the table which didn’t budge an inch. Her arm flung out wildly at the coffee cup but it passed right through. She stood still for a moment, her head bowed, shoulders heaving. The girl brought her frail little hands to the sides of her head and began to cry. Dark locks of hair whipped through the air as she shook her head. As she did, the cafe started to move and sway along with her. Alex clung to the table as it rocked back and forth. The ear-splitting ring was deafening now, it seems to radiate outward from the girl who was howling in impotent rage in front of her. Alex finally lost control and toppled out of the chair onto the undulating tile floor. Her stomach lurched and she tried not to vomit. But the movement suddenly stopped. Alex looked up to see the girl had stopped screaming, the fall from the chair had grabbed her attention and now she was looking straight at Alex. Her breath caught in her throat and Alex scrambled backward- colliding with the counter. It was her eyes that scared her the most. The irises were so big that she looked like a life-sized doll. The girl knelt again, swam through the air toward her on all fours. She brought her wide, unblinking eyes within a few inches of Alex’s terrified face and then opened her mouth. Her jaw dropped downward in a sickening way that was far too wide for the her small face. She was going to swallow her whole… and Alex was too deaf and sick from the mere closeness of her to do anything except watch it happen. The girl took one white hand and grabbed Alex’s arm.

“…Alex?” a small distant voice said.

Alex was back in her seat. The ringing faded and the gentle hum of the bustling cafe was back. The figure was gone. She blinked and looked down to see Maya was gently touching her arm.

“Are you okay, hon? You kind of space out there for a moment.” she said with a worried smile.

The nausea had subsided and the feeling had come back into her limbs. Alex stared at her for a moment, trying to find the words to describe what had just happened. But it was useless. She got up from her chair and hurried out of the cafe and down the block. Maya could only sit at the table exchanging awkward glances with the other patrons who had watched Alex flee the building.

The End.