The circulation desk got cold. Like the top of a refrigerator with a leak kinda cold. I lifted my hand up and wondered what the hell was happening.
She drifted out of the stacks. Her feet, or lack thereof, did not touch the floor. The green dress and pale skin fell slack on her bony frame. She said, "Do you have a bathroom?"
My hand shook as I lifted my arm and pointed with my whole hand, just like I was trained.
Her head followed my arm to the sign that said "Restrooms."
She nodded to the side, her neck cracking. The smooth motion of her floating away from the desk caused me to shudder with the unnatural lack of bounce. It offended my sense of reality.
The desk remained cold. I feared what would come next.
A small ball bounced toward the desk from the door. A small child with no head chased after it.
A dog walking on hind legs followed the boy, saying "Micah, don't do that inside!"
A small pool of blood formed over by the copy machine, the headless boy and the dog walking through it. As the ball bounced, it splattered small circles on the floor.
"Can you take your ball outside?" I said. My words felt hollow, broken. They had no meaning and were ignored.
The woman floated from the bathroom and behind her flowed a ghost of toilet paper, as if it had stuck to her shoe. The door to the bathroom clipped it off as if it had closed. She had never opened the door, though. Just went right through.
The headless boy named Micah fell. His knees made a squealing sound on the hardwood. His little fists beat the ground, anger apparent in his silence. The dog running after him, leaned down, paws on Micah's shoulders.
The dog said, "Get up now. I didn't raise you to cry all day."
The woman leaned over, her hands passing through the walking, talking dog. Her pale hands touched the headless boy and from his neck sprouted white blond hair, followed by a small face that lifted up. The finished head shone bright, the face streaked with tears. It faced backwards, the wrong way on the little body, but smiled.
"Thank you," Micah said. His voice rang like a bell surrounded by cotton.
The woman smiled. Then she pushed over the dog.
"Fucking ghosts," the dog said.
Micah took the ghost woman's hand and the ghost woman took the scruff of the dog's neck. She shook the animal and walked them into the stacks.
Gradually the circulation desk warmed.