Ghost Born

The young girl, maybe 12, dressed in the tattered, too big, remnants of harlots' finery, stood in front of him. Brown hair tangled in the wind, and she glared at him with fierce grey eyes, too thin, skin tanned by the elements, all knobby and scraped knees and elbows. Behind her, the ghosts of Harlots' Rest faced him down.

'She needs the living...' He had to strain to catch the words. 'We raised her best we could, but she needs the living.'

"Why me?" He spoke to the shades as if they yet lived.

'You, Jabin Olander, are a good man for all you make your living slaying monsters and laying the dead to rest. You will keep her safe.' The shade in the lead held the misty form of an old woman, tall, severe looking. Behind her, another shade wept, wailing occasionally, and wafting forward to touch the girl. 'Teach her your trade. Tia Josephine will come with her, in a pouch of finger bones.'

Jabin glared at the girl, who glared right back.

"Get in the boat. We'll get you a horse in the next town. And some clothes." He turned his back on the ghosts. The crying ghost clung to the young girl, who paused, to kiss the air approximately where a cheek would be.

"Bye, mama."

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