Sandra cranked up the volume on her music player and let herself fly to the music. She was happy, damn it, and singing along to the Pharrell’s energising words almost made her believe it. Besides the sound drowned out the voices, and it didn’t get much better than that.
As the early morning sun peered through her window and cast a cheerful glow across the work-surface she began to twirl around the room; exhilarated and getting closer to happy with every turn.
Eventually the spinning made her dizzy, but she didn’t stop. Not even when she saw the glint of tanned skin, as though she’d brought the singer into her home by the sheer force of her will.
As his face began to emerge she stopped, so suddenly she almost collided with the fridge when she pitched forward.
For a brief moment she considered ignoring the stranger, going back to hiding in the energy of the song. But he looked so miserable she didn’t have the heart to continue her charade. He wasn’t happy, and neither was she.
Walking to the music station she muted the track and felt the silence like a slap. Her visitor was watching her with open curiosity; which meant he was probably wondering why she’d been gyrating like a lunatic. But hey, it was her house. If she wanted to embarrass herself at least it wasn’t in public.
Staring back turned out to be the wrong thing to do, because he was totally distracting and she could feel herself falling into the trap. She knew better than to engage with the dead and she was usually good at keeping her distance.
It was the eyes she realised, a minute too late. She’d always been a sucker for nice eyes, and calling his nice was like saying she was a little sensitive to psychic energy. Nice didn’t even come close. They were stunning. A deep shade of blue that radiated with intelligence.
His dark skin was covered with a hint of stubble. It swept along a strong, angular jaw line, and drew attention to his mouth. Her eyes dropped lower, taking in the athletically trimmed body and then stopped when she realised what she was doing. She was ogling a ghost for gods-sake. There was something seriously wrong with her.
Not that he was an ordinary ghost. He’d been all over the news for days. In the flesh, or certainly spirit, he was as enigmatic as he appeared in all the sound-bites.
“I need your help,” he said, and even his tone was commanding. It was deeply sensual, with a low vibration that walked her mind straight to the bedroom.
That reminded her she was still in her pyjamas and she blushed, looking down in horror. They just had to be her SpongeBob pants, didn’t they? Terrific.
“I’m not sure that there’s anything I can do,” she said, and it made her sad instead of angry. They all expected something from her; some explanation as to why their life had been cut short. And she knew diddly-squat about the laws of the universe. Well, except for the fact he’d been handed a bum deal.
He moved towards her, his expression hopeful. “You have to find my family. I can show you where they are.”
The O’Donnell’s had been kidnapped from their home in Chelsea. It had been a fumbled attempt and now every news station in London was covering the story. The kidnappers had yet to come forward, probably because of all the media attention. They’d already cocked it up once.
She’d been about to tell him to go to the police, until she remembered the whole invisibility thing. “If you describe it to me, I can put a call in,” she offered. She rarely broke her golden rule and got involved. But this was different. Something she couldn’t ignore.
“I don’t know how,” he admitted, a little confused. “I could show you.”
Sandra looked down at her pyjamas again. She already had nightmares about leaving the house in her underwear, what with her being easily distracted. But what the hell, her neighbours already thought she was weird.
“Okay, let’s go.”
She grabbed her keys from the side and, without waiting for him to catch up, she rushed to her car. Since her next-door neighbour was out mowing the grass, she gave him a friendly wave and made sure he got an eyeful of SpongeBob; it would give him something to talk about other than the weather.
Twenty minutes later she pulled into a side street and followed her new friend to get a better vantage point. He’d talked incessantly in the car, walking her though the details of the abduction until she felt like she’d been there with him. He was the reason the job went south; he’d gone home to surprise his parents and discovered two masked men bundling his mother and sister into a van. Not the kind of surprise he was looking for.
“In there,” he said, pointing to an abandoned warehouse.
They were in one of the more affluent areas of North London, so the place stood out like a woman strolling along in her pyjamas. Oh wait, that was her.
It was an ugly building, but she liked its air of defiance. If she was inclined to abduct people for money, she’d probably use it too. But she wasn’t that desperate to leave the secretarial pool, and sometimes hiding in plain sight was the wrong thing to do.
Her hand automatically went to her pocket for her phone. But clearly she didn’t have a practical bone in her body because she’d left it behind with other useful items, like clothes for example.
“I need to find a phone,” she muttered and turned to jog back in the direction of her car.
Half-way there she had a better idea and found a friendly sort who answered their door to a woman wearing cartoon pants and dishevelled hair. They probably felt sorry for her, or more likely they wanted her to go away.
It was the strangest conversation of her life and she was skilled at avoiding the subject of her so called gift. Luckily the tip-line couldn’t discount her as a hoax, so she waited by her car and wondered exactly how much trouble she’d be in when the police arrived.
I couldn’t get these characters out of my head all day, especially Sandra. She kept singing Pharrell’s song to me until I gave in and sat down to write her story. It turned out to be longer than I would like, so I’ve split it into two parts. I’ll post the conclusion later in the week. I welcome feedback on the humour within the piece. If something doesn’t work please let me know. I’m sure you can imagine how loud Sandra was in my head so, if anything, it’s a relief to get her out!
Thanks for reading.