Harper sat on the stool and picked up the phone. On the other side of the glass was Frank Gretz.
“In a way, it’s good to see you,” he said through his handset.
“I’m surprised you had it in you to come,” she said to him. “After what you told them at the trial.”
Gretz shrugged. “It all happened so quickly. You know how things go. We can never be too sure about what we’ve seen.” Then he paused before speaking again. “Especially after you tried to kill me.”
“What are you talking about?” asked Harper. “I never tried to kill you.” Then she realized. Her head jerked up. “It’s not him in there, is it?” she asked the ghost.
Gretz glanced at the officer standing behind him and asked to be let out of the visitor’s area.
Harper screamed and pounded on the partition. “It’s you! I know it’s you!” she yelled, until two prison guards reached her to drag her back to her cell.
“Keep quiet, Cop Killer,” one said as she rammed her nightstick into Harper’s belly. “If you keep this up for the rest of your life sentence, we’re going to get really tired of it.”
Shannon Harper spent a long time piecing together what must have happened. She learned from her former newspaper’s reports that her attempt at arson hadn’t burned down the entire structure. With the police and emergency crews already on the scene, they’d apparently been able to save enough of the building for the ghost to survive inside.
Gretz, who had been on the site every day during the rest of the demolition and construction, would have been a prime candidate for the ghost to inhabit in a desperate measure when the last parts of the store were taken down.
ValuMart’s grand opening was a huge success. Hundreds of people showed up to see the new store.
Among the shoppers was Frank Gretz.
He broke off from the crowd, and slipped past a door marked “Staff Only” to climb the stairs to the manager’s office. Once inside, he closed the door and fell immediately to the floor, dead.
Ruby Florence stood in the middle of the room, having shed the vessel that had carried her for the last year and a half. She placed her head on the window sill, like old times.
“It’s good to be home,” she said with a wicked smile.