The Ghoul Next Door

Chapter One

“Do you believe in all that exorcism, possessed-by-the-devil stuff? ’Cause I got to tell you, Larue, the more I think about it, the more freaked out I get. I don’t want to start speaking in a weird language and get glowing red eyes.” My best friend, Mindy Winters paced the length of her front porch.

I’d rushed to Mindy’s house the second she showed up at my front door in a panic and looking rather frazzled, demanding that I get rid of a ghost in her house pronto. I’d turned the ringer off on my phone so I could spend some quality time with the hunky Callahan Weiss. It always freaked her out if she couldn’t reach me on the phone.

Normally Mindy let the waves of her golden hair fall against her shoulders, but tonight she had her strands thrown into a drooping ponytail. I’d never seen her wear lime-green sweats and a black-and-yellow striped tank top at the same time before. Sure, she had always dressed a little bold, but this was insane clown apparel.

“You got dressed in a little bit of a hurry, huh?” I stared at her baggy pants and let my gaze move up to the bubble-bee tank.

She unlocked her door and stepped back, motioning for me to come in. “You’re damn right I got dressed in a hurry. You would too if a ghost was trying to kill you.” Her voice had reached ear-bleed level.

She could be so dramatic.

“Mindy, I need you to take a deep breath, let it out, and repeat. Think calming thoughts. Nothing bad is going to happen.”

Okay. I couldn’t guarantee that nothing weird would take place, but I’d keep that little tidbit to myself. In fact, I did believe in that exorcism-possessed-by-the-devil stuff. I’d seen it with my own eyes. It wasn’t something I ever cared to see again, either. Yet something told me I would see it again.

Mindy took in a deep breath, but she forgot to let it out. I slapped her on the back.

After grabbing her hands, I said, “Okay, if you freak out, I’ll freak out, so stop worrying. I can’t afford to freak out when I’m working.”

She scowled, but luckily didn’t smack me back.

In all the time that I’d known Mindy she’d never once had a paranormal bone in her body. I’d even tried to take her to fake haunted houses, but she’d always refused. Well, except for that one time. I’d gotten her inside one, but the first monster that jumped out wielding a chainsaw sent her screaming out the entrance door, knocking a few teenagers down in her path. She just wasn’t into it.

To her credit, Mindy had always believed me when I said I talked to ghosts. She was a great friend like that. So when she said she had a ghost in her house, I knew that something was really going on with her. She would never make up something like that. Was it her imagination finally getting the better of her? Maybe. But I’d soon find out.

Mindy had seen so many crazy things lately that maybe it was finally getting the better of her. Heck, she’d just recently gotten rid of a black magic spell that had been cast on her. Either way, I had to find out what was going on in her home.

“What makes you think you have a ghost?” I asked as we stepped through her front door.

My boyfriend Callahan Weiss was beside me as we stepped into the foyer. I still loved saying that—my boyfriend. It never got old. Well, technically it had only been a short time