Do you believe in ghosts? I know I don’t. But tonight I nearly changed my mind.

There I was, in my pitch black apartment with my pistol loaded. I stood in one corner that gave me a good view of both the window and the door and waited. Still as stone was I and silent until a familiar, silky smooth voice came to my ears.

“Hello Clive.”

My heart jolted, then raced as I processed what I was hearing. Just when I thought I’d imagined it, her voice came again.

“Come on, Clive. I know you’re in there. You’re so predictable, where is the challenge?”

I had to restrain myself from pulling the trigger for no reason. Her spooky voice wasn’t a legit target. I kept waiting. She wouldn’t get me this time. Then a gloved fist flew out of the darkness and hit me right in the jaw. I saw stars and the next thing I knew I was on the ground, scrambling for the gun. She gave me a swift kick to the ribs while I was still dazed and put her other foot on my wrist. I lied there, coughing, writhing, and cussing her out.

“Do you kiss your mother with that mouth?” She pressed a knife right on the artery in my neck, “Don’t move.”

“Why would I do that?” I finally replied, “I’m not stupid.”

“Oh yes you are.You’re doing it again.”

“Doing? Doing what?”

She put all her weight on my wrist and pressed harder on the knife.

“You’re meddling. This case you’re investigating is under our jurisdiction.”

Now that was interesting.

“Oh really? And what interest would the Circle of Justice¬†have in actual justice for Milly Jonison. Man, for you scum to be in on this and for them to send you, this has got to be big.”

“Nobody sent me. I came on my own to warn you, Clive.”

I laughed with all my might even though I knew I’d pay for it in a minute.

“Warn me! Don’t give me that trash!”

She hit me again. Her other fist had brass knuckles and as I laid there with the right half of my face throbbing I wondered if the laugh was worth it.

“Shut up. I know the inspector is paying you. We’ll triple his offer for you to stay out of it.”

Blood was trickling down my chin and the knife was biting at my skin a little.

“If you came on your own, you can’t make promises for the circle. I knew you were lying. No deal.”

“You’re going to regret that,” she warned.

I let pure, wholesome hate seep into my words,

“I stopped being bothered by regrets a long time ago. Go tell your puppet masters I’m not dropping anything. In fact, if they’d kept their warnings to themselves I might have lost interest. I’m really hooked now.”

She let me go and I heard the window open. I jumped up and tried to go after her, but she’d already vanished. Her final cry came from somewhere below.

“I’ll bring flowers to your grave every day, Clive! I’d rather you be there to laugh about it. You know who to call.”

I snatched the gun off the floor and fired into the alley below my window. The bullets flashed into the darkness, clanging off metal and stone, but no flesh. I sighed and murmured.

“What do you keep coming back for, Vyla? Could you really miss me as much as I miss you?”

For once I wished I wasn’t a living lie detector.