Click to read Chapter Six Part Two
As they drove away from the farm, a weight lifted from Josh's shoulders. He glanced over at Whisper and found her a lot less tense, too. A quick look in the rearview mirror, however, brought back a bit of a chill; the sign said something different. He couldn't read the backwards writing as they sped away, but the amount of letters wasn't the same as when they drove up.
Whisper looked back. "Was it? What did it say?"
"I couldn't tell. And I'm not so sure I want to go back and find out. We can ask Zach and Kendra tomorrow."
"Good. Yeah. That works."
"So you saw it, right? The guy sitting in the tree, falling down, and hanging in a noose. Over and over. I'm not crazy?"
"No, you're not crazy. Or, if you are, I'm right there with you." She paused for a second. "But why couldn't they see it?"
"I don't know. If they could, Kendra would probably still be screaming. Zach'd be happy, though. He loves ghosts. Where should I take you? Home, or do you have a car at school?"
"No, home is good. I don't have my license yet. Do you know where Craig Street is?"
"It's at the end, almost to Street Avenue. Isn't that the coolest name for a street ever? I still laugh every time I see it."
"In junior high, Zach and I used to plot how we were going to steal that sign. We still crack each other up just by saying the name."
She gave him a sly smile. "So you're a little hoodlum. Is that what I'm hearing?"
"I said we used to, not anymore. Kids stuff, you know." He puffed his chest out. "We're totally grown up now."
They both laughed.
"So you said you don't have your license yet. Is that your choice or your parents?"
"A little of both. We knew we'd be moving here this year, so they promised I could start practicing and all that once we got settled. Maybe I'll be ready to get it when I turn 17 this summer. I'm not in a big hurry, so that's fine with me."
"I was chomping to get mine. I got it the day of my sixteenth birthday. This car was my present. Not much, but it runs. No problems yet, anyway." He rapped his knuckles against his head. "Knock on wood."
She giggled. "That should keep you safe." She put her hand on his arm. He tensed, and she took it away. He glanced over and saw her looking in her lap, face burning bright.
He cleared his throat and prayed his voice would sound normal. "So where are you from, anyway?"
"Originally from Las Vegas. I loved it there. Still miss it and my friends, but life goes on, I guess."
"Vegas, huh? I heard it's a lot of fun, even if you aren't old enough to gamble and stuff. A lot of theme parks and things."
"It's just a normal town when you live there. I mean, we're close to Disneyland and other places like that here, right? And the beach. Vegas didn't have that. A ton of my old friends would be jealous."
"That's true," he said with a chuckle." I never thought of it like that. But you said originally. Did you live somewhere after Vegas?"
"Yes. My dad got a new job a couple of years ago that moved us to a little town in Colorado. I didn't like it there."
"Too cold for you?"
"Miserably cold for a girl who grew up in the desert. Vegas got cold in the winter, but not like that. And I never made any real friends. It was a cliquey little town, but most of it was my fault. I didn't take the move well. I didn't see it at the time, but looking back I could see that I was Queen Bitch number one. It's amazing any of the kids could tolerate me at all."
"Nothing. I mean, I know we just met, but you seem the furthest thing from a bitch as could be." He gave her a playful nudge. "Or are you just playing nice?"
"I guess you'll just have to get to know me better to find out."
His breath caught in his throat, but he did his best to act natural. "I guess I will. So why did you leave Colorado?"
"Another job for my dad. The economy would have eaten his old one if he didn't agree to a transfer."
"What do you think of it here so far?"
"Too soon to tell, really, but I think I'll be okay. Can't beat the year-round Southern California weather, that's for sure. And everyone's been really nice so far, especially Kendra."
He turned down her street. "So down near the end?"
"Anyone else you think seems nice? Or interesting? Or anything?"
"I don't know yet," she said with a giggle. "There is this one guy who was nice enough to drive me home after we saw a bunch of ghosts."
Josh let out a deep breath. "Yeah, that all really happened. I'm having a hard time wrapping my mind around it."
"I know. Thank you for talking about normal stuff. I didn't really want to think of the farm."
"Mr. Baxter will grill us enough about it tomorrow. I wonder if Zach and Kendra finally got to see anything."
"I don't know. There's my house." She pointed at a beige one-story on the left. It looked as nondescript as the others in the neighborhood. As nondescript as the houses in his neighborhood. A theme, really, for the town of Citrus Valley.
He pulled into the driveway and watched her get out. She walked over to his window. "Thanks for the ride, Josh. I really appreciate it." She gave him a shy smile. "It's nice to make friends so easily here."
"I'm glad to be you're friend." He hoped that didn't sound too lame. It did, though, didn't it?
She raised her hand towards his face, but stopped before getting to close. She blushed again, said she'd see him tomorrow, and ran to her front door. She waved, then disappeared into the house.
Wow, had that all really just happened? Both the weirdness at the farm and the heavy flirting in the car? He always clammed up or said stupid stuff when he was with a pretty girl. Looking back on the conversation, he had to admit he did a good job. And she really seemed to like him. Would she go out with him, or was she just looking for a friend?
Why did girls and dating have to be so complicated?
Click to read Chapter Eight Part One
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