The Funeral Home: Part 4- Our Very Own Slimer
I expected hell fire. Or spirits of witches past. Or the room to shake. I expected something big to happen, but nothing did.
We sat quietly at Althea’s funeral listening to a priest talk about Althea’s good deeds and her commitment to the holy.
“She was a model of propriety” The priest said.
He removed the photo of young Althea holding the “DEATH TO WITCHES” sign. Behind it was a photo of the old woman dressed in a black robe with a white cloth over her hair.
“She was a nun?!” I whispered just low enough for Kyle and Melinda to hear.
“Duh” answered Melinda.
“You could have mentioned that!” I whispered back.
“Seems like an important detail” Kyle chimed in.
“My little cuties, you should get out of here.” A now familiar motherly voice said from behind.
Directly behind us, sat the ghost from the casket room. She smiled kindly. Kyle, Melinda, and I eyed each other just to confirm we all saw the same thing. The mourners seated around the ghost were none the wiser of the phantom, though they were somewhat aware that we were staring at the empty seat near them. An old man stared at us and tisked with a look that screamed those young people.
Tiny mushrooms began to pop out of the carpet beneath the ghost. The putrid smell took only seconds to waft into the air. The mourners looked uncomfortable. One held a hand to their nose, whispering to their companion that someone must have farted.
“Althea knew how easy it is to be swept up in unholy things. She devoted her life to stomping out witchcraft . . .” the priest said.
“Meet me outside.” The ghost said with a wink. And then she was gone.
Kyle stood up on command. The priest stopped talking and the whole room stared. Melinda stood up slowly. “He’s just really moved.” She said, elbowing Kyle in the ribs. “He needs a minute.” Kyle’s eyes glistened with tears of pain. The priest nodded and a woman behind us commented on how moving the service was. We shuffled out, heads down, toward the small Catholic cemetery in the back of the funeral home. (Our own cemetery with our club house was in the protestant cemetery- something I hadn’t realized until today.)
It was downpouring.
The ghost sat a few yards away, in a private mourning area that had to have been paid for by an uber rich family. It was a small fenced in area with a gazebo, a golden crucifix and a giant tombstone. Flowers and shrubbery decorated the perfectly manicured space.
I snagged an umbrella from the w\rack by the door and we trudged out toward the ghost, Kyle rubbing his ribs. The rain was so loud, I couldn’t hear anything else. Not my own thoughts; not even my footsteps. We huddled together, a mass of black cloth floating toward a phantom.
Melinda’s fear washed over me in a wave. I reached out and squeezed her hand. She squeezed back weakly. Kyle stared straight ahead, with his ever-present puzzled expression. I wondered if he’d finally acknowledge ghosts, seeing as one was now talking to him too . . .
“Hello, darlings” The ghost woman said. We’d approached the metal fence surrounding the memorial. Kyle clicked open the gate and we stood just inside the private area, our back to the exit. “I really should introduce myself. You can call me Birdie.”
“Hell . . . o.” I said, shakily. Until now, I hadn’t taken the time to really look at Birdie. In my mind she was a ghost lady, she didn’t need descriptors. Without the ominous messages and rotting mushrooms, I finally really saw her. She looked like a judge from The Great British Baking show. Utterly prime and conservative, dressed in a floral print flowy dress with short billow sleeves. Her skirt went down to mid-calf and she wore tasteful nude heels. She looked about 70 years old and was wearing an old lady fro.
"They’ll be coming out soon.” Birdie said, motioning to the funeral home. “It’s important that you stop what you’re doing, Melinda. No more spells.”
“Why??” Melinda asked, breaking free from our huddle to approach the ghost.
“Have you ever heard of a witch hunt?” Birdie said coyly.
“It’s 2019. We don’t burn witches at the stake anymore.” Melinda replied, annoyed.
“Oh, but you are in Clancyville dears.” Birdie said with a wave of her hand and a wink.
Melinda had a look on her face that screamed ‘I’m going to do whatever the hell I want.’ “It’s OGS now . . .” Melinda muttered under her breath, pointing out that Clancyville hasn’t been the name of the town in decades.
“Head my warning, little witch. Dark times are coming.”
“And Kyle love, I really am dead. It’s not an illusion, sweetheart. You really must stop with the magic trick research. No one is trying to trick your little team. It’s quite the waste of time.”
Kyle went sheet white, his caramel colored skin turning a pale grey. “Buttttt . . . I” He said, stuttering. He reached out and put a hand through Birdie’s head. She giggled as his fingers passed through her old lady fro. “Dear God!” He whispered
“Morgan, Morgan.” She said turning her attention toward me. I’d stepped a few feet back, closer to the gate. “I’m afraid you aren’t going to like what comes next.”
“What comes next??”
Birdie eyed me, her eyes crinkling as she looked me up and down. “I’ll be seeing you all real soon. Count me in to your little Undead Society club. It’ll be a hoot.” Birdie said with a giggle and vanished.
The doors to the funeral home swung open, a procession of men carried Althea’s casket on their shoulders.
We slinked out the back of the cemetery, through the yard of the Catholic church, back to Melinda’s Jeep.
What comes next??
“I need a drink” said Kyle as we piled in. He was still pale.
“Me too” said Melinda.
“Me three” I echoed, slamming the Jeep door shut.
“Slimer . . . Is that the name of the ghost in that show? The sidekick?” Kyle asked out of nowhere.
“What?” I asked.
“Are you talking about Ghostbusters?” Melinda asked with disbelief.
“Yes, I watched it. I’m tired of not understanding your references, Melinda.”
“Yes, it’s Slimer.” Melinda said, surprised.
“Seems we have our own Slimer” Kyle said matter-of-factly. He cracked a sly smile.
We all shared in a much-needed laugh. I laughed so hard I started to cry.
“Where are we going?” I asked as Melinda backed up the Jeep.
“The club house of course. I put beer in the mini fridge.”
“Of course you did.”
Come back next week for anther short story. Things are getting weird in OGS!