The Wraith Poses Question  Zoe’s Cue:  QUESTION

When the rain and thunder subsided on the day she found the small brass key, Zinnia, exhausted from her inner emotional storm, fell into a hard sleep on her lumpy sofa—only to be wakened at periwinkle dawn as the tap-tapping returned, along with strains of melody from the antique music box.

Weary to her marrow, she refused to open her eyes; perhaps if she learned to ignore the insanity which made up the ambiance of her new home, it might eventually disperse…slip out a partially opened window on the freshening April breeze.

But the tap-tapping increased in tempo, volume, and the music box tune began to sound familiar—could it really be “Recuerda Me” (Remember Me)?

The beautifully haunting love song’s plea—too recent to have been crafted with the antique box—played in stark contrast to the exigent tap-tapping; and yet, pondering the context, she perceived a possible…dizzying…connection.

Rising from the couch, walking toward the kitchen, she bumped her hip painfully against the bookcase—which caused the tap-tapping and music to cease abruptly.

Stifling a curse in the blessed silence, she realized her hip action had caused a bottom drawer to come unstuck, revealing a peek of folded onionskin stationery…Zinnia cautiously reached for it, smoothed it open, and read a single bold-typed question:  WHAT DO YOU SEEK?

© R L Cadillac, 2017 ~ All rights reserved.

Image ~ Pixabay

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Speaking to the Shadow, Key  Zoe’s Cue is KEY


After removing the books and more fragile-looking objects, Zinnia dragged the cumbersome dark bookcase down the hallway from the bedroom, into the living area—and all the while, rain poured and pounded thunderously against the windows.

“Sheesh”, she said, breathlessly, “is this storm part of the deal, have you been holding it captive inside your bookcase?”

She grabbed a cold diet Coke from the fridge, pressed it to her cheek, and fell backward onto the lumpy couch she’d covered with a laundered 50’s-era-turquoise chenille bedspread.

Her eyes pricked with tears as she studied the looming shadow of the bookcase—“you’re not exactly a comforting ghost, if that’s what this scene’s about; making me feel I’m losing track of my last vestige of wandering sanity, while I haul your furniture around.”

She brushed roughly at her eyes, struggling to contain her emotions—“maybe you had a hard life of troubles and an uneasy death, but my life’s been no summer bar-b-q, just so you know.”

Shaking her head, she felt anxiety’s stallions galloping in the back-forty of her mind—then she heard a soft yet distinct sound, something fallen from a nook in the bookcase…there, on the flat gray carpet, lay a tiny brass key.

© R L Cadillac, 2017 ~ All rights reserved.

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Entrance to the Stranger’s Mystery  Zoe’s Cue:  ENTRANCE

In recurring dreams was an entrance to a cave—or old stone tomb; whose, Zinnia wondered, and why draw her repeatedly as she slept?—not an augur malevolent…more a sensed disaffection, alienation.

She woke parched, fatigued from too much pondering the stranger who’d exited Life in these small rooms she was trying to spin—like Rumpelstiltskin’s straw—into a gilded semblance of home; though it felt like brass cage, and she the unhinged bird amidst wraith’s tap-tapping…

Popping her wake-up diet Coke, she surveyed the bedroom mess—her paltry wardrobe, few possessions, spilled from torn boxes and Glad garbage bags—time to make order of chaotic transition.

Sliding open the closet door, she found another legacy of the late tenant—on moving in she’d paid no notice to what appeared as merely rear wall, or a wood plank door, stored and forgotten; now she saw it was the backside of a bookcase, pushed in tight to accommodate hanging clothes.

Pulling and pushing, Zinnia managed to turn the heavy piece toward her, carefully urging it from the closet; gauzy with dusted cobwebs, it held books and peculiar objects, surely meaningful to ‘he-who’d-succumbed’…if he’d placed it back there, still-life secreted, there was a reason, however obscure.

Sharpening Intuition whispered…this shadow-stained weighty bookcase would likely contain something specific she was meant to discover; perhaps another enigmatic message revealed, like that beneath music box:  “Nobody’s Fault”…sweat prickling above her lip and at temples, she shivered, entranced.

© R L Cadillac, 2017 ~ All rights reserved.

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Nobody’s Fault


…When she took her rent check to the manager, Zinnia allowed her curiosity out of the cage—“What did the man die of, the guy before me, B-9?”

“Oh,” the woman shrugged, clearly not personally involved with tenants whatsoever, “heart or liver, something—it was nobody’s fault.”

To Zinnia, that closing phrase seemed 6 blocks past ‘odd’, and lacked any semblance of reassurance, if that was intended; since nothing further was forthcoming, she took her raised eyebrows and backed out the door, smiling awkwardly.

Dead-bolting herself within this strange little world, her apartment, she made a tuna sandwich and turned on the Weather Channel.

Her coveted wind chimes played lightly, a kindly sound to encourage the heart as she pondered bus-ing to the library or thrift shop…but the TV meteorologist confirmed rain, now beginning (as if on cue) and quickly gathering vehement force; decision made—she’d stay indoors.

Again the music box silently beckoned…hefting it carefully, she viewed the underside…and read aloud the words printed with indelible black marker:  “nobody’s fault, not your fault.”

© R L Cadillac, 2017 ~ All rights reserved.

Image ~ Pixabay

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Point the Way, Wraith

Zoe’s Cue is POINT



Gratitude for the apartment had waned somewhat in her weariness; the dark lingering odor of the previous, newly deceased tenant closed around her in an oppressively pointed way—though not like a period which signifies the end of one life, but rather a disturbing parentheses…as if to include Zinnia somehow.

As buzzards circling over carrion, it was impossible for her thoughts not to return to the stranger; a curiosity induced by the hovering emptiness of his spirit filling shabby corners where lace of pewter cobwebs clung adamantly, despite her determined cleaning.

The peculiar tap-tapping (of still unresolved source) had been replaced by briefly haunting strains of music playing in her half-sleep.

She was certain the sounds didn’t emanate from her one luxury purchase, wind chimes fashioned from various materials…too chilly yet to leave windows open at night.

When she woke again and shuffled to the fridge for a can of eye-opening carbonated caffeine, her focus pointed toward the antique music box which beckoned her to take a second, closer examination.

It was the only object of presumed value the man had left behind, and unlike everything else, was oddly unspoiled by aged grease, grime; she lifted the pristine lid expecting to hear melodious notes—but stern silence reigned.

© R L Cadillac, 2017 ~ All rights reserved.

Image ~ Pixabay

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Tap-Tap, Ye Wraith Unnamed

Cue:  TAP


What the H..OTEL was that tap, tap-tapping—like something reminiscent of Poe??

One-day homeless had been sufficient to make her shake with muffled gibbering gratitude for this vacant and odorous apartment of a newly-deceased man of mystery (and no doubt, misery).

Landlord—vapid insecure woman, transparently lacking in credibility—had offered a first-month’s-rent discount for “as is” condition; meaning no cleaning had been done and maintenance requests were addressed without promise… Zinnia had been just desperate enough to enthuse:  “Sounds spectacular!”

She’d spent most of her check on industrial strength cleaners, and within 3 days the place appeared only half-shabby—much of the furnishings still looked and smelled dubious—maybe next month she could hit the thrift stores.

After popping a can of warm Coke, she wiped a smear of grease off the old TV and sat on a cushion she’d covered with her own laundered towel; exhausted, she’d doze off in a sec—but for that damn tap, tap-tapping…

It wasn’t rodents or roaches; didn’t seem to come from walls next to neighboring units; no faucet dripped, nor was it raining against windows; the chipped, indelibly stained toilet was silent…then she spied the antique music box.

© R L Cadillac, 2017 ~ All rights reserved.

Image ~ Pixabay

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Of Will and Wills… 

Cue:  WILL

No will left, he whispered to no one; nor wish, or ‘want to’…hardly strength to wave farewell.

He hadn’t updated his Will, written and filed somewhere…forgotten, just as he’d mislaid his last named beneficiary…

Certainly it was someone he’d shut out of his life, no longer communicated with—an imperfect situation, as legalities (and matters of the heart) go.

What the heck, everything he owned was pretty much crap, regardless.

Leave it for the next tenant, maybe they will have need of it—the impoverished view any gift as blessing.

Hopefully they won’t inherit the curse, Will thought, and closed his eyes on a sigh.

© R L Cadillac, 2017 ~ All rights reserved.

Image ~ Pixabay

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