If I Had Skin

by Banned Library in

When Kiera walked in the library with her dumb red hair and stupid boots on, I jumped out of my skin. If I had skin. I might have skin. Might not, and if not, it's because Kiera killed me. Or was there when I became a ghost.

    Or something. What I am is up for debate. I had been spending the day trying to knock things over. Rattle things. Ghost shit. I was all filled up on Brenda's drama. She was worried about talking to Freddy about doing drugs, going over the speech a dozen times. Even the greeting. "Hello Freddy." "Hiya, Fred." My favorite was ""What up Free D?" I had no idea she talked to herself and liked her just a little more for it.

    When the children's librarian who was there when I became incorporeal walked in the door, I was ready for something. Anything. Kiera would mention me not being there, or someone would ask "Hey, where's the library director you disappeared with hours ago?"

    Kiera walked to the children's section and right to her desk. I watched as she checked her email and otherwise went about her day. It was frustrating in its normalcy. Nothing on her planner said "Kill the boss." She sent no email to some dark website. Just a few messages to the company that does the graphics and an email to parents bringing snacks to story time.

    "The fuck did you kill me for?" I said into the silence, nobody not even Kiera able to hear me.

    She kept right on working, humming a Ruby Soho by Rancid, a punk song I had grown up with. Had she not made me into a ghost, I would have kept on thinking Kiera was a cool person, what with her hair and clothes and "who gives a shit" attitude. I was going over her better, non-murder-in-the-woods attributes that I did not notice Freddy walk over.

     "I need more," the library page said.

    Kiera gave him a smile. "Not here," she said.

    Freddy paced back in forth, two steps left and two right. "But I had my last and I need more. Just a little now. I have the money." He pulled from his jeans a small folded pack of bills, twenties and fives.

    Keira kept up the smile, the same smile all library staff use when a patron is about to lose their shit over something stupid. She moves slow, leaning back without giving ground. Freddy is in some attack mode and to go defensive would only agitate. This is true for people who are not often predators, but think they are when moved by something. Freddy's need for whatever he was smoking behind the diner was pretty strong.

    She said, "I'm sorry, but as I said, I don't keep things here." She put a hand on the left side of the desk, one on the right. "Library. Other things. Catch up to me after six today, down at the Fitz. We'll talk then."

    "You know I can't go in there no more," Freddy said.

    "Then wait outside."

    Freddy and Kiera stared across the desk.

    He shook his head. "I… I don't even want to."

    "Then don't. It's a nasty habit."

    "That's not fair."

    "Who said this was fair?"

    "I have friends now. Powerful friends. They could stop you and stop all this."

    Keira laughed. "Dear heart, this has already started. The snowball is halfway down the hill. I get you want to jump off. No ill will, but don't threaten me or mine."

    "What the fuck does that mean?" Freddy said, voicing my own thoughts.

    Kiera waved her hand. "Let's get some work done."

    "I'll go to the boss. Say what you do."

    "I think the bossman is a little too busy for that," she said, using the nickname she had for me. "And he would side with me. There's been a lot of changes."

    "The hell I would," I said, but no one hears.

    She continues. "Now, just out of curiosity, who are these friends you're going on about?"

    "They… I… It's a secret. A club or something," Freddy said.

    Kiera brought her hands together in a small clap. "A secret club. Do you have a tree house? Can girls join or is it just you fellas?"

    Freddy's face went hot. His eyes grew wet. Kiera's mocking hit the wrong button and his fists bunched and he leaned over the desk.

    Keira kept her ground, saying, "Not so fast. Don't you want to talk to the bossman first?" She raised a finger to the front door.

    I screamed. My self, my ghost form whatever wailed into the void of whatever I was. What walked through the door confused and terrified me, causing me to back up. Swirling thoughts were all that I was.

    I walked through the front door. My body. And it was laughing.

To Be Continued…