“Come on,” Harold insisted. “It will only take a few minutes.”

“I’m at work,” she replied, then looked left and right. “And someone might notice.”

“But I know I can do it, and I can do it now!”

Trust a ghost to learn it has developed a miniscule ability to affect the real world at the most inconvenient time. He’d been claiming he could perform telekinesis for months and had nothing to show for it. So far, his so-called ability was only ‘active’ when the main air conditioning came on.

Nora was more interested in data from Mali. She was trying to get more information on Tuareg movements in the Tanezrouft from her contact in the Foreign Legion. They’d moved Tasmin and Dr. Burnes again. She needed to know where they were now. Maybe the satellite could catch a glimpse of something.

“Let me prove it to you,” he said, voice now coming from off to her left.

She felt a light touch, like fingertips touching her cheek and lips. The sensation made her sneeze.

“Gesundheit,” she heard Frank yell across the room, and then felt suddenly totally self-conscious.

“I think you need to stop,” Nora insisted.

“I can help you,” Harold offered.

“Help me how?” she asked, curious and suspicious. Making her sneeze was hardly a help.

“I’ve been listening to you all talk about the new guy,” Harold said. “It isn’t going to work out like you think this time. Crossing into an interstitial is dangerous.”

“And you’d know?” she asked. Harold hadn’t been around, hadn’t even been deceased when they’d tried to fix a hole like this one before. “Is there something more to this hole, then? Has Flores been talking to Palantine about it? Does Frank know something?”

She’d helped out with the last two searches. It had been weird, yes, but hadn’t seemed that dangerous.

“I know lots of things,” Frank called back. “Just try me.”

“I met a guy downstairs. He said his name was Monroe,” Harold offered. “He doesn’t like Gary’s aura. Says he’s increasing local entropy, just by being here.”

“Entropy?” she asked.

“Monroe was a physics teacher,” Harold explained. “Before he became an actuary for Allstate.  Told me all about how Allstate screwed him over. Twice.”

Allstate owned the three floors beneath them. Nora wondered what they had on site that would allow a haunting.

“And what did he mean by entropy?” she clarified.

“Says two other ghosts on site had just faded away,” Harold warned. “Told me it happened in the last week!”

Or maybe they just got tired of haunting and went into the light. Harold had always been an alarmist. Just the other day he’d said that Angela’s tuna fish sandwich would kill her. When it didn’t, he amended with not knowing exactly when it would kill her.

So Nora wasn’t immediately sure whether that made him a useful tool for valid information or not. Still, if the building’s ghosts were bothered Gary, then that proved he was what they needed. But that left the concern over how exactly to deal with him when they headed to the upper peninsula.

But, she did decide to allow offer Harold some permission in trying out his ability to touch on her, as minimal as it was. Sure, she knew she shouldn’t really be encouraging him with anything, but despite his paranoia, he was nice enough, and did seem concerned about her state of mind. And if she didn’t allow him to do it with her, he might eventually try it out on someone who wasn’t so aware as she was. And that might end up not so good at all. Besides, she had his tie to this world. It wasn’t like he was going to dare abuse his ability on her, given she was the one in possession of his ashes. And she wasn’t about to let him go. Not yet.

As such, she was a little late for the weekly meeting, and a little flushed.

“Glad you could finally join us,” Frank quipped.

Go to Chapter Twelve

Go to Chapter Fourteen