A Summertime Carol: A Novella

It was a dark and unpleasant night. Rain had begun to fall and Michael burst through the door of the apartment, reasonably intoxicated.
“Guess who’s…” his voice trailed off into the obviously empty place.
“drunk.” he sighed softly to no one in particular. It was his second night here, and he noticed that it unfortunately still smelled strongly of cat fur, and even more unfortunately, there were no cats in this apartment. Michael sat on the edge of the couch, thinking of putting in that Spiderman 2 dvd, but on second thought, he needed the sleep.
“Bah.” He said again to himself. This was kind of odd, Michael didn’t normally speak to himself, but he supposed that it was a valuable narrative tool.
Michael latched the deadbolt shut, turned off the lamp, and laid down on the couch for what was to become a very troubling night.

“Why is she not in her room? That better be her on the couch.” a quiet female voice whispered a few hours later.
“Well go wake her up then. We’ve only got so long.” responded another.
“HAILEY! WE HAVE COME WITH A WARNING!” the first voice suddenly boomed accompanied by what sounded like metal chains being dropped into a frying pan. Michael awoke with a start, absolutely sure that he had probably 30 seconds before he was violently murdered.
He ripped the blanket from his body and yelled to the seemingly empty room, “She’s not here! She’s st-st-staying with a friend”
A silence spread across the room as all three voices realized they were all extremely confused.
“Oh… shit. Sorry dude.” one of the female voices began meekly.
Michael, head full of both curiosity and aches, reached up and turned on the light. Standing near bathroom stood two ghostly figures; he assumed they were ghosts. One of them held a large handful of ghostly chains over a ghostly frying pan. They both looked shocked.
“Woah, ghosts huh?” Michael said, instantly realizing he should have said something cooler to the attractive apparitions.
“Yeah. Ghosts… This is really embarrassing. We totally screwed up.” said the ghost with the red hair as Michael threw his shoes at the girls, watching his sneakers sail harmlessly through the couple. She followed up, “Are you sure Hailey isn’t here?”
“Yup” said Michael “She said that she was going to crash at her friends house. Dylan? Doug? I don’t remember.”
“Who are you?” asked the other ghost, a brunette who wore a large triangular hat.
“Oh me? I’m Michael. I had to move out of my apartment yesterday and I need a place to crash so I’m staying here. And like, I don’t know what beef you have with Hailey, but I don’t really know her. I’m just friends with her roommate.” Michael paused and tried to remember if he’d ingested any hallucinogens that night. “Who are you guys? Should I go?”
“We used to be friends with Hailey back in the day. I’m Jessica and thats Jen.” said the ghost in the hat. “And we’re supposed to be here to give her a warning about the three spirits that come to visit her tonight. Ya know? Kinda like that thing from that Dickens’ book.”
“Kinda? Thats exactly the plot from ‘A Christmas Carol’.” noted Michael aggressively. “Thats either really pretentious or really lazy. I can’t decide which”
“Listen asshole” said the suddenly-not-so-kind Jen. “We have this whole life-changing night planned out. The wheels are already in motion. There’s nothing any of us can do to stop this. So don’t whine and just go with the flow.”
Michael shrugged and Jessica continued, “It’s not a big deal, kid. You’ll just have to wait out the night and hang out with some spirits. Even if you don’t learn anything, you’ll have a really kickass ghost story to tell.” She thought for a moment. “I mean, no one will believe you, so you probably won’t bother telling it. But still, its a once in a lifetime opportunity. Okay?”
“Yeah alright” he mumbled while the girls walked around the room.
The ghosts gave him some space and looked through the dvd collection next to the television.
Michael continued after a moment. “Fine… Wait, aren’t you a little young to be dead? Not that like, young people don’t die, but…” Michael decided he wouldn’t ask anymore questions.
Jessica laughed and smiled. “No, don’t worry. People usually open conversations in the afterlife by asking how you died. I ate some bad pizza. Make sure you always check the expiration date!” she said with a grin.
Jen poked her head up from a magazine she was flipping through. “I was hit by a train.” Michael wondered how she was holding a magazine.
“Oh!” said Michael. “Thats horrible”
“Nah, Its way more common than you think. Trust me, thats how you’ll probably kick the bucket too”. Jessica said with some gloom in her tone.
“Thanks, I guess.” Michael felt awkward and hoped that the ghosts would leave. “Well, I’m guess that I’m all set for the rest of these spirits…”
“Sure thing, seeya Michael.” said Jessica as Jen gave a noncommittal nod.
“Bye guys, have a good night or whatever.” Michael coughed as the pair disappeared in a very dramatic puff of smoke. Michael drank a glass of water as the rain lightly plinked on the roof.
“This night is going to suck” sighed Michael to himself. And lo, the night did suck.

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