Book Excerpt

As a Ghostwalker, I thought a book helping other Ghostwalkers understand their powers would be a good idea…and I need money for college.

I’ve been able to see ghosts ever since I can remember. Heck, I thought everybody could see them. But when I was about six, my parents were concerned my imaginary friends were more than imaginary, so they took me to a doctor. After that I stopped mentioning the ghosts, but I could still see them…and they could still talk to me.

Ghostwalker Tip #1 Ghost: The spirit or soul of a deceased person that resides on the physical plane. Ghosts are everywhere; you just don’t usually realize it. Like the ghost reading over your shoulder right now. Psyche!…maybe.

“Good morning, starshine, the earth says hello!” Edwin crowed his usual morning wake up call—some obscure song by an old band named Strawberry Alarm Clock. Alarm clock, yeah that little pun lost its charm years ago.

A blurred image of Edwin tossing a black feather-boa over his shoulder and standing with one hand on his hip greeted my sleepy eyes.

My morning vision cleared and I took in Edwin’s ensemble: A red bustier with a satin, black half-jacket, red and black polka-dotted velvet knickers and gold pumps. His hair resembled a mound of white cotton-candy and his garish makeup would’ve made a prostitute shudder…or laugh—it would’ve depended on the prostitute.

“Really, Edwin—turn down your queen-o-meter, you’re making my eyes water,” I said, stretching.

He harrumphed. I mean, he actually made that sound. What’s even weirder, it’s a real word.

“I’ll have you know, Jenna, this was the height of couture in Paris in the spring of 1757.” Edwin examined himself. “Well, parts of it anyway.”

“That may be, Edwin,” I said, dragging myself out of bed, yawning and padding to my closet to pick out my clothes, “but we now have a little something called taste.”

I held up a periwinkle-blue, watercolor print, sundress. Although it was only March, hardly summer, it was already hot—it always seems hot in San Antonio.

“Oh yes, Jenna,” Edwin said with an exaggerated twist of his wrist, “such excellent taste… if you’re choosing a day dress for the hired help.”

I threw a shoe in his direction, which went right through him, of course. You see, Edwin is a gender confused, eighteenth-century, English drama queen with a penchant for cross dressing who also happens to be a ghost. Actually he’s a bhost; my bhost to be exact.

Ghostwalker Tip #2 Bhost: A bothersome ghost who latches onto you and who stubbornly remains on the physical plane of existence. My bhost is Edwin. He tends to be sulky, whiney and perpetually bored. You gotta love him…’cause there’s no getting rid of him. Really… I’ve tried…many, MANY times.

He sat down on my bed—he wasn’t actually sitting, since ghosts don’t have a physical form—but that’s where he perched his plasma. “I suppose you’re going to school today. Shouldn’t you have graduated by now?” he asked, watching me with a jaded expression.

I paused for about three seconds. Wait for it…there it was, the heavy sigh.

“Yes, Edwin, I’m going to school—still one more year ‘till graduation. Don’t act all surprised,” I said, digging through my closet for my leather flats.

He yawned. “It’s dreadfully tedious when you aren’t here.”

I rolled my eyes. “We’ve been through this before—either go to school with me or stop your moaning.” I located one shoe.

“No, thank you. I don’t care for the particular class of specters who haunt your school, no pun intended.” He stretched his legs and examined his fingernails. “They are so gauche.”

“Great, gauche ghosts,” I said, looking for the shoe’s mate.

“You don’t even know what gauche means, do you?”

I sighed. We do a lot of that around each other. “No Edwin, I don’t. Please do tell, you’re going to anyway.” Stopping my frustrated hunt, I spotted the other shoe across the room where it landed after I threw it at Edwin.

Edwin crossed his legs and put his hands behind his head. “It means lacking social polish, graceless, unsophisticated.”

“Well Edwin, we all can’t be aristocratic, English peers of the realm, now can we?” I said snatching up the stray shoe and gathering the rest of my clothes. “Honestly, you’re such a major snob, it’s amazing you ever died in the first place—after all, dying’s such a common thing to do.”

Edwin snorted; he hates being reminded he’s dead, as if you can ignore the fact.

“If you’re going to be like that, I’m leaving,” he said.

Let the snit begin. “Aww, don’t go away mad, Edwin.”

He brightened.

“Just go away.”

Edwin disappeared in a blink. I felt a little guilty, but not enough to call him back. He’d return later—he always did. Turning the TV on for Edwin’s entertainment, I found one of those women’s network channels; the kind that shows movies with names like, The Secret She Never Shared or Jennifer: A Life of Shame. I can’t count how many times I’ve come home to find Edwin boo-hooing his eyes out and shushing me until the end of the movie.

Thankful for the peace, I managed to get dressed, eat breakfast and arrive at school with thirty minutes to spare before class started.

The weather was already warm, the humidity making my hair wilt. I squeezed my Toyota Yaris into a tight parking spot between a huge truck and a jeep parked on the white line. I got out, gathering my things from the back seat and turned, surprised to be facing a scowling Brianna Shulster. Brianna was one of the queen bees at Bradmore High. She had long, red hair, a knockout body and a bitchyer-than-thou attitude that even Edwin couldn’t compete with.

“Hey, freak—your clown car is parked too close to Rebecca’s jeep. How are we supposed to leave for lunch?” Brianna’s red hair fluttered in the breeze, even though I hadn’t felt a stir in the air since I left the house. It was as if Brianna had ordered a gust of wind for just that moment to appear even more stunning next to my self-conscious awkwardness.

I eyed the space between Rebecca’s car and mine. “I’m between the lines. Besides, Rebecca’s car and the truck are both kind of close to the edge.”

“Not. My. Problem,” she said, pinning me with a stare of contempt she might give a roach she was about to squash. “Move it.”

Her friends watched with arms crossed and lips curled in disdain.

“I hope her creepiness doesn’t infect my car. It’s probably going to be all haunted now,” Rebecca said.

The others stared at me with horrified speculation. Since elementary school, these girls were well aware of my “differences”. Even if they didn’t believe the rumors, it still made me the weird girl.

My face flushed and rather than argue I simply got in my car, backed out and parked closer to the truck. As one, the group turned their backs and walked away.

I was dismissed.

I shook my head and sighed. Why did high school have to be such a misery?

Walking to the common area of the school I wondered what it would be like to move to a new school where my odd reputation wouldn’t precede me. I’d learned how to hide my ghost issues, so I could almost be normal. But that wasn’t going to happen at Bradmore. Many of the kids still hadn’t forgotten my childhood penchant for talking about or (even worse) talking to ghosts…and it seemed they’d never let me forget it, either.

“Hey,” I said as I sat down on a bench next to my best friend. The cold concrete felt good in the sultry weather. I threw my backpack on the table in front of me.

Eva examined my outfit. “Cute dress,” she said.

It was new and I hadn’t had a chance to show it off yet. “Thanks, just got it last week.”

Evangelina Maria De La Fuente or Eva, for short, has been my best friend since third grade. She’s petite, has curly hair I would die for and a feisty attitude that comes in handy at times. Oh, and Eva’s also a norm, but I’ve never held it against her.

Ghostwalker Tip #3 Norm: Someone with no psychic ability to see supernatural beings such as ghosts, angels and demons.

Example: What’s that guy looking at? There’s no way he can see the ghost mooning him, he’s a total norm.

For some reason she’s never been freaked out by the fact I can see and talk to ghosts. Maybe it’s because her grandmother practices what Eva’s mother calls “Mexican voodoo.” It’s not actually voodoo— more like superstition—such as touching a baby when you admire it to avoid the evil eye; and if someone is suffering from a poor appetite and a fever they’re supposed to take a pinch of dust from four corners of a grave and make it into a tea (gross, I know).

In case you haven’t guessed, Eva’s Mexican, but she calls herself a “beaner”—hey, her words, not mine. Although, she says she’s more pinto bean: brown on the outside, white on the inside.

“Wow, you’re here early,” Eva said, checking her watch, “Did Edwina sleep in late or something?”

“No, he went off in a huff because I mentioned he was dead, so I had the morning to myself without the usual Edwin dramas.”

“Hmmm…being dead sends him into a prissy hissy? God, I should call him Edwinita instead of Edwina, ‘cause he’s such a little girl.”

Eva doesn’t hide the fact that Edwin is a thorn in her side. She can’t see him, but she’s had plenty of insult matches with him via yours truly.

“Yeah, I know, but don’t start teasing him about it or I’ll have to listen to him go on about you throwing “issues” in his face…over and over and—”

“Sure, sure,” she said, but her eyes gleamed at the prospect of further Edwin torture.

I watched Brianna and her crew enter the courtyard, football players and assorted popular guys in tow.

“My car better not have any ghosts in it, freakazoid,” Rebecca said when she walked by.

I stared at the table, trying to ignore her.

“Hey, Rebecca,” Eva said. “You shouldn’t say things like that; it just makes you sound stupid. In fact, don’t talk at all and you can avoid sounding stupid altogether.”

Some of the guys following the bees snickered and Rebecca flushed. Tight lipped she turned to Brianna.

“Why don’t you stay out of it, Eva?” Brianna said

“Why don’t you and the drones drop the hive mentality and try using your own brain cells every now and then?” Eva said with a smirk.

The guys nudged each other and grinned. Eva’s friendship with me never seemed to affect her attractiveness to the opposite sex. Guys seemed to be as equally fascinated by her scathing wit as they were by her physical features.

I lowered my gaze. “Don’t worry about it, Eva,” I mumbled, but she had already zeroed in on her target.

Brianna peered at Eva with distaste. “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

Eva’s eyes glittered as she stared at the queen bee. “I’d explain it to you, but I don’t have any crayons with me.”

Brianna looked flustered. She rolled her eyes to hide her apprehension “Whatever,” she said and walked away.

Other students watched Brianna’s humiliation with glee and I hid my face behind one hand, the attention making me uncomfortable. But, it was gratifying to see not everyone was for Club Brianna.

“Skank,” Eva muttered at Brianna’s retreating back. “Why do you put up with their crap?”

I shrugged and fidgeted with the clasp on my backpack. “Because I’m not you and…” I looked at her and said quietly, “some of what they say is true.” I hated the shame creeping into my voice.

Double crap, Jenna. You need a serious dose of self-confidence.”

“I do have self-confidence.”

Eva shook her head. “Sure, but only with dead people, it hardly counts.”

“Well, when Brianna’s a ghost, I’ll make sure to tell her off.”

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