“How long will it take?” Marcel peeked out of the service doors for the umpteenth time. Any signs of the graveyard shift staff still had yet to appear. He shuddered slightly at the term. But then again, this entrance corridor was notorious for having a ghost, so it was more likely that the staffers would use the kitchen exit.

“Depends on it, actually,” Rochelle sighed, staring down the hallway. The air was warm with lack of ventilation, but she felt rising goosebumps on her skin. She dreaded it, but a little headache was starting to hurt the right side of her head.

“What happens here again?” she tried to ignore it. “Light’s flickering, footsteps running, hair pulling, ankle grabbing; all that stuff. Ya’ know, G-H-O-S-T stuff,” he shrugged. Rochelle hummed thoughtfully. “Sure, but anything specific?,” she tried to narrow down the details. A typical haunting this definitely was, but to actually be of any use she needed to know some specifics.

She did try to tell Marcel that she wasn’t psychic, but having the ability to see things pretty much sealed the deal for him. He was so convinced in her that she didn’t have the heart to tell him that true psychics can also hear and perceive things in ways she can’t. She only saw what was left, and usually that wasn’t much to go on with in an ‘exorcism’.

Come to think of it, whatever she did, whatever that was, was definitely no exorcism. All she did, all that apparently worked, was her simply helping the spirits find lost things, all found within the vicinity. The more she knew about the spirit’s story, the better chance she had at finding whatever was tying it to the place.

“I’m not entirely sure. The janitor boys say the ghost’s a little girl who got lost and died here during construction, but the security boys say it’s a wanderer. A poltergeist,” Marcel finally left the doors alone and slumped next to Rochelle. “I got tripped on flat floor. Homemade lunch all over, and I had to clean it up myself ’cause the janitor refused to come down here,” he rubbed the back of his neck. “Maybe you just tripped,” Rochelle smirked. “Uchi, I’m a waiter,” he looked at her smugly.

A slam from far down the hallway made them both jump. Marcel pulled Rochelle in front of him and peeked over her shoulder. Rochelle braced herself for a black figure to fade into sight, or a worse case scenario, for tendrils to bleed out of the cement. Malicious ones tended to do that. She hoped Marcel didn’t feel how badly she was trembling.

“Bonsoir,” a voice spoke out behind them.

Rochelle and Marcel screamed so loudly the echo was deafening. They stumbled forward and tripped on each other’s legs, hugging each other as they fell flat onto the floor. Marcel continued to scream through gritted teeth; but Rochelle collected herself faster, clapping a hand to her mouth and staring at the origin of the voice.

Ahmed stood there in plain clothes, almost unrecognizable out of his crisp uniform, his hair windswept. The look on his face was of ignorant curiousness, but his hard eyes gave it away as one of his controlled expressions.

Rochelle quickly shook Marcel out of his fetal position and dragged the both of them to their feet.

“Mademoiselle du Bont, may I ask what you are doing in our service corridor?” Ahmed’s tight smile appeared slowly. “I! I thought she could help, with the ghost…,” Marcel nervously shuffled forward. “What of it, Mr. Faraji?” Ahmed’s smile seemed to become even tighter. Marcel’s nerves faltered and he practically stepped back.

“I-I… I can see… I can see… things… Monsieur. Marcel thought I can help, here,” she kept her head low. As if seeing ‘things’ alone wasn’t difficult enough. She was in no mood to face ‘crazy’ now. Daring herself to look up, Rochelle lifted her head hesitantly. She met his eyes and dipped her gaze instantly.

“Please. It was me. I honestly thought…,” Marcel tried to step back in, but Ahmed raised a hand, waving at him to calm down. He nodded at him thoughtfully and turned his focus to the wine-haired woman, contemplating the situation.

“Thank you for your assistance, Mademoiselle. I look forward to seeing the staff of this hotel comfortably use this route again,” Ahmed bowed respectfully.

Rochelle stared at him dumbfounded. Huh? HUH?!

He wasn’t going to call her crazy? Scold Marcel for being far-fetched? Usher her out?

When no response came, Ahmed straightened. He found himself looking into those shining dark eyes of hers, full of confusion, and still suspended in disbelief. Hmm. What could he say to avoid being the least bit offensive?

He was skeptical to a point, but times were a little desperate, and internal conflict had to be dealt with as soon and as silently as possible. Plus, with her, he somehow had the feeling that things were a little more… possible than usual.

As he pondered on his next words,  the lights overhead began to flicker rhythmically, almost like the waves. “Rochelle…,” Marcel reached out and touched her elbow.

A chill ran down her spine, and her headache was intensifying. She turned to look over her shoulder, down the hallway.

A black figure, too tall to be a little girl stood at the far end of the hall. Black tendrils swirled around its feet, slithering out from it and the floor. Two little white dots gleamed from its head, but seemed to pulsate red.

“Shit…” she whispered. Malicious. As if she wasn’t scared of regular ones already. “You guys better leave,” she absentmindedly held up a hand and nudged Ahmed’s chest gently.

Ahmed stared at her. Her outstretched arm was shaking and her hairs were standing like she was having fever chills. Leaving her alone was probably not a good idea.

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