[Editor's Note: This is the latest installment of 'Notes from the 422nd Annual Wraiths for Writing Conference,' a biweekly series of story and art that artist Amelia Garretson-Persans has created for Country Life. Trace its roots by reading the previous 11 entries.]
I hurried out of the abandoned exhibition hall where I had just received some portentous messages. Once I reached the main hall I could tell I wasn’t alone. Three sister-spirits revealed themselves one by one at equal intervals along my path. Everyone knew they were crazy and mean so I kept my eyes down and kept walking. Some short distance later, they revealed themselves in the same order. I stuck to my stratagem, but they continued to light my path like evil torches. Their similarity in appearance (black hair, white dresses, vaguely contorted expressions) added to their illusion of infinite repetition.
“What do you want?”
Before I finished the question they sang it back to me in a cascade of shrill voices. Sometimes a person’s voice after death is like a mirror after it’s been shattered.
Their voices faded, and for a moment I thought maybe they’d gone. This is of course the oldest trick in the haunting canon. I was on my way to a workshop on choosing the right words for your death rattle, and I was already late. The bitches careened out of the linoleum tile a few steps ahead of me.
Their voices were quieter and lower-pitched now, though thick, like the buzzing of bees’ wings:
“We wanted to tell you what we planted in our garden.” Their eyes twinkled maliciously, as if they had just begun a dirty joke in mixed company.
Against my better judgment, I took the bait: “What did you plant?”
“Buttons and teeth, “ they tittered. “Shall we tell you what they grew?”
“Plastic flowers of course!” Their wicked laughter filled the hall until their sudden disappearance turned it off like a radio dial.