A Helpful Haunting

"I think I'm haunted."

Lacey stared at Mags after they made that statement, then blinked.

"By what?" Lacey sipped her mocha. The two of them worked in a coffee shop near the college. It was an odd lull, probably because there was a protest on campus, and a lot of looky-loos had gone up there to see if the Neo-Obstructionists and... everyone else, came to blows.

"I don't know. I'm not scared of it." Mags continued cleaning the espresso machine, a luxury they rarely had time for during the day. "It's just always... there. It's kind of reassuring, actually." They wiped down the surfaces.

"Well, that's good." Lacey leaned on the counter, watching Mags work on the machine. "Has it always been there?"

"No. I was lonely a lot when I was younger." Mags looked over at Lacey, frowning. "But one day, after I got here, there it was." She shrugged.

"Does it do anything?" Lacey started emptying the bus tub into the dishwasher.

"Yeah, kind of. You remember what I looked like when I started here?" Mags blushed.

"Little House on the Prairie meets Walmart? Yeah, I do." Lacey laughed. "You look a lot happier now. I mean it."

"I always wanted to cut my hair off, and wear boy clothes, but thinking about how my parents would react stopped me. Then one day this voice whispered in my ear, 'You're never going back there anyway. Do it.' So I went out and got my hair cut off. Then, you took me to the second hand store, and your friend Trey gave me one of their old binders, and yeah. That's about when it started."

"Well, then, I approve of whatever it is haunting you." Lacey smiled at Mags, and eyeballed the dishwasher, trying to decide if they should wait for a few more cups and plates or run it now. "Thank you, haunting thing, for helping Mags discover who they really are."

"You're welcome..." floated through the air on the hiss of the steam from the espresso machine's stems.

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