An old clock tower, with an unsolved death - that the ghost still haunted.
Once a year she appeared. Right on the calendar date of her death. Not that she wasn't also seen during the day, some rumors said, but that was a real person. A flesh version.
Who was also haunted by the mysterious death.
The mystery was who pushed the young woman - or did she simply slip? Why the lights in the upper bell tower - and why three of them? Too many for a single person to carry...
For hundreds of years, the clock never moved - frozen at the time of her death, it was said.
Yet the bell still tolled once a year. Two minuted before her anniversary - of dying.
"And why did Ben say this ghost was on the list? Seems pretty slight, since she only haunts the tower, doesn't harm anyone else..."
"Someone got him interested in this. And gave him access to a stack of arcane references if he would help out on this little mystery."
"I didn't think Ben could be bribed."
"More like the list is 'flexible', as he tells it."
I sighed. "Well, it's not like we couldn't use a vacation. I've gotten pretty used to saving the world and such, but getting back to just saving individual ghosts would be a nice break."
"Careful what you wish - you may get more than you bargained for."
I took the last few steps and grasped the iron handle to the thick door. Just pushing down the thumb-catch when I felt it - a sudden push at me from the side...
- - - -
The next thing I knew, I was falling from the three-story tall clock tower, down past the granite cliffs at its base, gaining speed as I rushed toward the rocks and spiky-looking pine trees below.
Of course, Jude caught me in time - and shimmered us to some flat space that opened off the steep path back on top of the craggy cliff.
It took awhile to get my breath back. "I don't think this ghost is particularly harmless."
"Not to other ghosts, anyway. And you would have been one pretty fast." Jude hugged me close to her, as much for my own comfort as hers. "But I like you in the human form too much to let that happen - any time soon."
I certainly didn't mind holding her. Especially while my heart was still racing.
"Sal didn't say much to me about that urgent business of hers." Jude found the spot between my shoulder blades and started rubbing it, with a slight scratching of her nails. "Not that we couldn't use some more 'alone' time now and then."
I was starting to relax a bit, but didn't mind holding on just a little more. "Sal just told me that we could handle this on our own - not a big deal."
Jude rested her head on my shoulder for a bit, but then thought better and pushed away. "We'd better get moving again. I think just walking would be smarter. Like two humans - to see if she's got any other tricks for us."
She took my hand to lead me on along the dark trail. I would have appreciated a flashlight or lantern, but as a spirit-guide Jude needed no extra light to clearing see that thin winding path where any human would see only pitch black.
Her touch also reminded me of other things. "You know, I think you should start telling me some of your origin stories - how you got that way."
She turned her face to me briefly, and then returned to scouting out the trail. "The part where I died, or all the sexy bits I keep teasing you with?"
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