“You say you have eight minutes left? You’re not leaving here alive, gentleman suitor,” said the suave apparition. “No one, no one, NO ONE shall get near my wife.”
Roger’s life flashed before his eyes in an instant. He had eight minutes to go to complete the dare. Now he could not get the stench of death away from him. Now what looked like real knives were inches away from his neck.
Then Roger remembered something. It was in his back pocket. He pulled out the strange mirror that Beth had given him. Then he also remembered who this suave guy was. Hector Hundred, #10 of 24 ghosts known to haunt the school grounds, was supposed to have been the one responsible for killing his wife, the old drama instructor, with twin hunting knives.
It was said Hector was responsible for all 24 victims who would later haunt the grounds, claiming extreme jealousy, holding everyone under suspicion that they were courting his wife. The book advised to run away fast if Hector was seen. Thankfully, he only showed up late at night, just like he would in life after frequenting the bar.
Roger now had the face shaped mirror in his hand and set it on the table. Immediately Hector saw it and cringed. It was his only weakness: Catoptrophobia: fear of mirrors. Hector started to back away from Roger.
“Are you still gonna make me ‘specter #25’?” said Roger, gaining confidence.
“Get that mirror away from me!” shouted Hector backing up to the stage. He disappeared. The blood all over the place disappeared too. It was no longer cold, and tension was lifted.
Roger had six minutes left. He was no longer scared, but it still felt weird seeing this. The lady in the red veil on stage was watching the whole fiasco with Hector. Once he left, she resumed her dancing as if he had never showed up. Roger kept his head to the table and continued recording. At the end of the full twenty minutes, the lady bowed. Roger could somewhat sense she would disappear. Having gained some courage from his bout with Hector, Roger called to the lady.
“You don’t have to be afraid anymore. You don’t have to wear that veil.”
The Red Veil Phantom stood straight up, startled that an intruder would come watch her. For the first time she realized Roger was watching her. But now she was watching Roger. Though she seemed to be kind hearted, there was still a reason why she was rated #15 of 24.
“Hello, dear boy,” said the apparition, “What is your name?”
“Um, Roger,” he said.
“And how long have you been here, Roger?” she asked.
“Twenty minutes,” he said, “I’ve come to see you.”
The Red Veil Phantom smiled behind the veil.
“Will you come dance with me?” she asked. She stretched out her hands.
“Thank you for the offer,” said Roger, “But I really must be going.”
“Oh,” she said disappointed, “Am I not beautiful? Do I not dance with grace?”
“You dance wonderful,” said Roger.
“Well if you must be going, return when you can,” said the lady.
“Thank you,” said Roger.
“I insist,” she said, “Visit me again. I will wait patiently for your return,” said the lady.
from “Fall from Autumnway” from the curiously long book of short stories, I am lettuce, who are you?
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How about a Tangent? Everybody loves tangents.