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Rated: 18+ · Short Story · Paranormal · #2248227
What was he searching for?
It was an unusual building. Doors opened to walls. Stairs led up and down to nowhere. Windows revealed the next room inside. The thing often groaned, twisted, moaned as if it were alive. Henry Wallace avoided the wreaking stench littering the wet basement as best he could.

It was here, the report of the white woman ghost haunting the place had stood multiple tests of time. “Are you there? I’m not here to hurt you.” Henry wasn’t one of those ghost hunters who based their search or findings on prickling emotional responses unfounded by fact. Still, he felt them here.

One look at his spectrometer made his hair rise on the back of his neck. A definite shift in temperature brought an arctic cold wind brushing against his face. Hovering light where there should be none coalesced in a far corner.

“What is it this time?” A throaty, female voice said into the silence. “You’re not the type to be out for a thrill.”

“You are real,” Henry said, completely forgetting to turn his video mode to his cell phone on.

“Not scary enough for you? I’m Mitilda Gatsby, at least I was. Look at me now.” The voice thickened from a whisper.

The white shiny cloud shifted, pulsed, reformed into such an exquisitely formed beauty, Henry found it difficult to breathe. “I’m a professional ghost hunter with my own TV show, here to help you find release.” His fingertip’s twitched out of habit, performing the usual rites on his test and recording equipment.

“Shall I model?” The ghost fleshed out, teasing, taunting and flirting with the shroud she wore. “I don’t often get guests staying this long.” She actually winked, tossing a white head of hair with long silky curls, “By-the-way, nothing electrical works in here, unless I want it to.”

Henry’s first thought was, no one was going to believe this happened. It would be a blatant cruel and unusual punishment for a ghost hunter finding such treasure. “You’re certainly not threatening. Why are you here?” he asked.

“No simple answer, that. Come, walk with me. It is a bit damp down here. I’ll show you to the atrium, my favorite room.”

Henry watched as the ghost named Miltida, faded into a cloud passing through the nearest wall. “Wait,” he called. “How do I get there?”

Her voice led him on through countless passageways ending into puzzling ups, downs and sideways. Doors refused to budge or opened in instead of out, making it difficult to push or shove them away.

The voice took on a sing song quality interspersed with chuckling laughter. “If I hum any louder, I may break glass in the windows. All I am is harmonic vibrations after all. Close your eyes. I am tired of waiting and watching you.”

“Help me,” Henry paused and said. He shut his eyes, mind awhirl with possabilities. Other hauntings faded in comparison with this spectral appearance. Ghosts trapped by memories of the living unwilling to let them go were nothing such as this.

“Are you there?” Henry felt a soft velvet touch kiss his lips, the probing of a soul kiss released his tightly held unconscious sigh.

“Such a pretty boy. I’m here hunting a date brave enough to see me for who I am and strike up a relationship. I may think you are such a man.”

It was one startled ghost hunter who opened his eyes. The vision before him dropped her single garment and beckoned him. “This way, kind sir. If you dare.”

A few twists and turns revealed the atrium courtyard within the middle of the architectural wonder’s walls. “My haven. Do you like it?”

A pond of water with a fountain bubbling in the middle was surrounded by healthy green shrubs, flowers and the arching shade of a willow tree embedded with its roots in cobblestone. “You are the first to make it this far. Please rest yourself on a bench and let us get acquainted.”

Henry did so, taking his time to get a measure of composure back. “You are on a quest, then, to relive something lost?”

“How artful of you to guess that. You must certainly be the one I’ve been searching for. Be careful with your talents, sir, or I may not let you go.” The white cloud reshaped, became quite gray and stormy with strange flickerings of light. “I can appear to you as anything you’d like. Do you like fire or ice?”

Henry sat still watching it dance, dreamlike before him. “I wish you’d settle down and just be yourself, as you were when we first met.”

A whisper of a moment later and the visage of beauty seen before languished gently warming his side. “Better? I’m glad you chose this. Kiss me. We both so enjoyed it. Please, let yourself go. I want to bond with you.”

Henry nodded, licked his lips ready to reply with assent, wondering if he’d been captured by some form of ghostly succubus sent from heaven instead of hell. The taste of her was like the freshened air after a rainstorm. He breathed her in. Faint stirrings of passion embraced him, grew bolder, teased, flickered and were gone.

“Whew. Not so fast. I nearly became lost in you.”

Henry rubbed his eyes in wonder as the ghost Matilda reappeared. “I wouldn’t want that, or would I? What I felt was magical.”

Soft glowing eyes took him in. “I touched your heart strings. You are a good man, an innocent, open and without guile. I am glad I wished you here. Love has avoided me much too long.”

It was time to regain a glimpse of composure and settle oneself. Henry felt her hand warm his, stroking a welcome that offered such a strange relationship, fear threatened to make him feel like he was losing his mind. “You can’t expect me to stay here in your citadel as a slave to your every whim. What would I eat? How would I live?”

Matilda, the ghost, faded slightly in alarm. “I’d feed you with my energy. It is pure, untainted, filled with love. Taste.”

This time, she melted against him, into his forced embrace. All Henry’s senses focused on the richness of her desire mingling intimately with his own. Ghost or not, she was all yearning woman asking him to be all man.

They moved together into the ancient rhythm humming in her breath, urging him on. “Now. Give yourself to me.”

This was more than soul kiss. He became a shooting star exploding into her cloud. Lightning flared, flashed, stroked his every nerve. Henry felt himself transported into soaring pure delight. Landing back into himself was pure shock.

“Hmm, such a feast. Quite filling, wasn’t it? Ready for seconds?” Time became endlessly lost. Seconds became eternity in the pulse of a heartbeat.

Only the merest fundamental thread of life held Henry attached to himself. He rode Matilda’s passion with his own into every form of love making ever imagined and into the unknown. Dreamlike, feeling complete, he settled down with her, pillowed by her warm cloud into sleep.

“You’re awake.” Matilda brushed a curl from Henry’s forehead. She looked more human and beautiful than ever before. “Thank you for your gift.”

“I didn’t dream this?” The ghost hunter in Henry awoke.

“I’m more real than I think I ever was before. It is too early for us to try it again. Talk to me. I want to learn all about you. It will be a gentler kind of feast fed by way of words.” Matilda’s cloudy presence hovered over the fountain water, mirroring her image in the lapping waves of the pond.

Talking about himself became stepping stones bringing Henry back to the reality of his past. He explained how he’d become a ghost hunter, his own troubled spirit wanting to help those of others more helpless then he. “You can help, you know. Lead me to them, engage them with me. We could be a team.”

Matilda formed into the woman Henry felt most comfortable with, eased onto his lap, settled. “Are you asking me to marry you in some quaint, off-handed way? I won’t masquerade as anything other than I am, held captive in your heart, good man. How will you explain me outside these prison walls?”

And so it was settled. A portion of her would always be with him as the ghost hunter went on his adventures, untying the knots of the dearly and not so dearly departed with Matilda’s help. When Henry needed replenishing after an especially haunting ghost trial, she would be there.

“I’ve missed you. Come, let us be complete. Feast with me.” Matilda welcomed him in his newly purchased home. Henry grew quite adept at traversing the house with doors that opened to walls, stairs which led up and down to nowhere. Everywhere opened to the nerve tingling game of hide and seek fulfilled with the ghost who’s love energized his entire being as did his to her own self.

1501 Word entry into April's Paranormal Romance Contest
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