by Iain Ryan
From the little I knew of ghosts, we were supposed to haunt places. That’s what a ghost does: it hangs around. But Roxy and I never went in for that. We didn’t stay in the same house. We weren’t waiting for revenge. We got around and the days passed quickly, without purpose, almost like a second childhood.
Roxy had her cigarettes. Her eternally replenishing pack was the most supernatural thing about us. Every morning, she’d shake the same ten smokes around in the same crumpled packet and offer me one.
‘Here. Smoke up Rosie,' she'd say. 'You can’t die twice as far as I know.’
She thought that was pretty funny.
We talked a lot about those cigarettes. It seemed like no coincidence that she had them. Why does an inanimate object pass over with us? Was there a ghost somewhere with a car or a television or a book? Do we bring the things we love with us? The central parts of us? All I had was Thea, my undead corpse.
For reasons neither of us understood, Thea followed us around. It was as if she were haunting us. Thea came and checked in every couple of days and it was always the same deal: she’d try and kill us both, clawing at our arms and faces, her mottled hands passing through us. Then, she’d shuffle off.
‘What would we do without that ratchet bitch?’ said Roxy. ‘Honestly. It’d just be us.’
‘Yeah,’ I said.
Roxy liked Thea but she hated what was left of her own body. It was out there too, walking around. We saw it once. We were sitting on a grassy hill, watching a hoard shuffle past in the distance. What was left of Roxy moved slowly, behind the rest of the pack.
‘This is so embarrassing. Look at me! I look fucking terrible. I can’t believe…’
What was left of Roxy had obviously been in a scuffle and now she was naked from the waist down. She also carried a crowbar.
‘What’s with that?’ Roxy stood up and yelled down at the infected, ‘Hey Roxy, nice ass. Try not to brain yourself with that thing.’
In all, Roxy and Thea were pretty good company. Roxy could be brisk and Thea was dead but all the same, I never had a lot of friends when I was alive.