Thanks to Coffee Time Romance for hosting the ghost stories today. I live in Albuquerque, NM where the sunset across the mountains holds a mystique rich with colors and possibilities. Please enjoy the view as you join Stephanie and Bruce on a casino rooftop as the sunset conjures a ghostly pueblo:Â
Stephanie couldn’t hold the gaze he gave her as he spoke the words. She looked towards the Sandia Mountains and caught her breath. The crest was rimmed in a pink that raced into a flush across the whole mountainside. As the color deepened, the outline of a pueblo village spanning northward on the mountainside appeared. She jumped up and stepped to the rail of the balcony as she heard drum beats and gourd rattles accompanying a rich, baritone voice. Outside of the village, dancers swooped in and out of complex formations with trails of watermelon light spreading out behind them.
Bruce stepped up next to her and caressed her arm from her shoulder down to her hand. He entwined his fingers in hers and said, “Do you hear their song?” She nodded, not wanting to turn away from the scene of melancholy and longing. “Why do you want to die? I promise I’ll fix your violin.”
She started to answer him, but a flash of cantaloupe orange below her caught her attention. Leaning over the rail, she saw the smoky woman from the store beckoning to her from beneath the balcony. Vapors swirled between the woman’s fingers until the shape of a violin appeared. She needed that violin. She leaned further over the balcony, holding out her hand to try to reach the offered gift. Bruce gripped her shoulder and pulled her up; she was so far over the rail, a tilt the wrong way would’ve sent her down.
“Who was that?” she asked. The sky dulled and the village faded until the mountain was a mass of gray rock. She shrugged his hand off her shoulder and bent over the rail to see if the woman was still there, but she was gone along with the pueblo. Stephanie whirled back around and said, “Where’d she go?”
“Where’d who go?”
“That woman with the violin.”
“What woman? I thought you saw the dancers.”
“I saw them too. What the hell is going on?” Her chest tightened as the gray came back to her vision.
HisÂ looseÂ hairÂ fellÂ inÂ frontÂ ofÂ hisÂ face.Â HeÂ flippedÂ itÂ backÂ butÂ remainedÂ silent,Â flickingÂ hisÂ eyesÂ fromÂ StephanieÂ toÂ theÂ mountainsideÂ asÂ ifÂ heÂ wereÂ tryingÂ toÂ decideÂ something.Â WhenÂ theÂ waiterÂ calledÂ themÂ toÂ theirÂ table,Â StephanieÂ grabbedÂ herÂ purseÂ andÂ keptÂ walking downÂ severalÂ flightsÂ ofÂ stairs,Â throughÂ theÂ ringingÂ slotÂ machineÂ roomÂ andÂ outÂ toÂ theÂ parkingÂ lotÂ untilÂ sheÂ reachedÂ herÂ car.Â She churnedÂ theÂ contentsÂ ofÂ herÂ purseÂ overÂ andÂ overÂ andÂ dumpedÂ itÂ outÂ onÂ herÂ carÂ roofÂ inÂ searchÂ ofÂ herÂ keys.Â MetalÂ clattered,Â butÂ before sheÂ sawÂ theÂ keys,Â twoÂ handsÂ turnedÂ herÂ around,Â andÂ BruceÂ said,Â “I’mÂ sorry.Â IÂ meantÂ toÂ helpÂ youÂ tonight–I’mÂ notÂ goodÂ withÂ people.”
She stared at him, stared at the asphalt and mumbled, “I’m not either.”
He pulled her to his chest, but instead of pushing away, she sighed. “I just want to know what’s going on.”
He smelled like sweet smoke and sawdust, and the calluses on his fingers sent streaks of warmth down her arm. “I wish you didn’t see them. You can trust me to fix your violin, and then they won’t bother you anymore.”
StephanieÂ pressedÂ herÂ headÂ intoÂ hisÂ chest,Â wantingÂ toÂ knowÂ moreÂ butÂ realizingÂ thatÂ wasÂ allÂ heÂ wouldÂ sayÂ aboutÂ it–atÂ leastÂ tonight.
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