Friday, October 25, 2019

Witch of Apple Hill ~ Part 5

Once Apple Hill’s famous apples started to make their way out into the world, the town grew with people working for the orchard and the five families became the celebrated founders.
Founders? Elise’s family had been the first inhabitants of Apple Hill. They had been the ones to care for and cultivate the small apple trees that had established themselves on the hill and make them flourish. They had been the ones who had protected the valley from the likes of men and their greed. Except for Elise, she had failed.
She shook the thought away as she hurried to the library. She didn’t anticipate a line at the door, since most of the Apple Hill residents were busy cleaning up the mess she had made. That thought brought a smile to her lips as she unlocked the front door, turned the sign on the window to read open, and switched on the lights.
“Good morning,” she chimed as three ghosts floated down from the rafters.
“You were busy last night,” said the woman ghost. She floated right in front of the circulations desk as if she were waiting patiently for her turn to check out books.
“Thanks for noticing, Dorothea.” Elise smiled as Roark climbed out of her pocket and onto the desk as Elise turned on the computers.
“I didn’t mean it as a compliment,” snapped Dorothea as wagged a finger at Elise. “You shouldn’t do that. These are your neighbors”
“Oh leave her alone,” said a male ghost wearing a straw hat that had more holes and barely a brim. “It’s been forty years. Curses have to be maintained.”
“Ernest, you’re nothing more than a poltergeist,” quipped Dorothea. She folded her cubby arms.
“Better than being a Moaning Myrtle,” countered Ernest.
Elise had always thought of Dorothea as the cherub among her ghost friends. She was short and stubby, with matching cheeks and double chin, and all she needed was wings to make the transformation. Ernest was her opposite in many ways. He was tall and skinny, to the point Elise sure she could make out his bones had he not been wearing overalls and a long-sleeved shirt. Where Dorothea looked ready for the church social, Ernest looked ready to pick up a plow, complete with a phantom straw of hay constantly dangling from his lips.
“I never moan,” stated Dorothea, stomping her ghostly foot, “and I’m certainly nothing like that blubbering character hiding out in the girl’s bathroom.”
Elise cocked her head at the bickering ghosts. “Why, Ernest, you read Harry Potter. I knew you’d like it.”
“It’s no Steinbeck,” Ernest grumbled, “but what else am I going to do?” He shrugged. “I read and I haunt.”
“I can think of worse afterlives,” said Elise.
“You forgot one,” said Dorothea, “you also argue like a pig-headed ol’ fool.”
“I don’t know,” said Ernest, floating closer to Elise as if sharing a secret, “this might have been heaven if I didn’t have to share it with her.”
“I heard that!”
“Oh for the love of Pete, would you two pipe down,” said the third ghost who had casually been leaning again the wall in the corner with her own arms folded. “If anyone is being punished in the afterlife it’s me having to listen to the two of you bicker for eternity.” She floated to Elise. “What’s the plan?”

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