Rip rolled over, not quite ready to wake up. The bed was so comfortable, and it was all his…
“Mornin’,” she said.
He had almost convinced himself he’d dreamt it, but he opened his eyes and found Serissa lying partially in the sheets beside him, wide awake and wearing that same black outfit. She walked her fingers across her other hand as she gazed at the ceiling.
“You’re still here,” Rip said.
“I left for a while. Did some sight-seeing. When you die, if you’re like me, you need to go for a flight through the night sky. Absolutely gorgeous.”
She punched her own palm. The impact made no sound. “Yes, we fly. Well, not all. Some ghosts are really miserable. Weighs them down. It’s a lot like Peter Pan.” She punched it several times in a row and inspected the results. No redness. Pale as ever.
Rip regretted setting the bed flush against the wall. To get out, he climbed around Serissa, avoiding eye contact. “I need to, I need to get going…”
Serissa followed him through the living room and into the kitchen nook.
“So, what’re you doing today?” she asked.
“I’m, uh, I’m working. Have to take pictures.”
“Oh, I saw you doing that at the old church site. You vaguely resembled a zombie.”
Rip stopped. “So that was you? You were lurking?”
“I don’t lurk. That’s for creepies. No, I was trying to poke you. Like this,” she said, shoving a finger at his chest. It passed through his shirt and touched skin. “But you got scared.”
He pulled away from her touch. “Hey, hey—let’s respect the boundaries of clothes here, and, just, you know, personal space.”
Serissa draped an arm across his shoulders. As she leaned, her skin sank through his shirt—as his skin went through her long sleeve. He wondered what her clothing was actually made of, since, presumably, clothes didn’t die.
“Sorry, only you get to be solid,” she said. “Your clothing’s not you. FYI, a dead person thinks your skin is really cold.”
Serissa sniffed his shoulder, which he would have found awkward if not for an even more alarming notion.
“Zombie,” he said. “Do I have to worry about zombies, too?”
Serissa shrugged. “I never met any.”
“Not really the firm answer I was hoping for.”
“I’ve only been dead a couple of years. What am I supposed to be, the Encyclopedia Brown of death?” She paused, doubting herself. “Was that the correct usage of Encyclopedia Brown?”
Rip launched himself toward the kitchen. “I’m just going to hope there are no zombies.”
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