The black seaman’s trunk thumped heavily as Tinnae Jean hauled it up the narrow staircase. She paused for a breath and gazed at the trunk. It was dull and scratched; not much to look at on the outside, she thought. The beauty was what was inside. With a quick sigh, she resumed her ascent.
“TJ! Must you make such a racket?” her mother bellowed from the kitchen.
“Mom! How am I to get it up without thwacking it?”asked TJ, annoyed.
Suddenly, her mother appeared at the bottom of the steps, startling TJ. “You could ask for help,” her mother snapped. When she caught sight of the bright purple bang over TJ’s left eyebrow, she groaned. TJ pulled the trunk up one more step and smirked when her mother’s eyes narrowed.
“Got it under control, Mom. Go bother Dad,” said TJ, ignoring the exasperation in her mother’s face. TJ tensed her muscles and pulled the trunk up the final step onto the second floor landing. She dragged it to the second door on the left and kicked the door open.
Hearing noise, Heather came back into focus and floated down through the floor just in time to see a female tugging a huge black box into what used to be her old room. Heather raged and flew straight at the female.
TJ screamed as she felt a searing coldness pass through her chest. Clutching her left arm, TJ slumped onto the bed. The coldness seeped away slowly. When her temperature regulated, she sat up and looked around, eyes sharp. Although TJ saw nothing, she knew she wasn’t alone.
TJ stood up, grabbed a silver skeleton key out of her back pocket, and opened the trunk. Inside, right on top, the black velvet robe and the moon and stars necklace gleamed. Taking a deep breath, TJ took the necklace out of the trunk and clasped it around her neck. Then she unfolded the robe and put it on. It was a perfect fit. There was one more item packed deeper within the trunk. It was wrapped in layers of cotton. TJ picked it up, wrinkling her nose at the stench as she unraveled it. “It’s not doing well,” she said softly out loud. The stench let TJ know it was decaying, fast.
Heather watched the young female go into the trunk. When the Heather saw the finger, she stilled. What was the young female’s story? Heather drew near and materialized using her scariest visage.
A feminine wizened bat-like creature appeared to TJ’s left. Refusing to scream, TJ nodded at the monstrosity, gulped but managed to speak in a confident tone, “I’ll make you a deal. I’ll be your host if you make sure this finger doesn’t completely fall apart. I’ve got a spell in mind for it.”
Heather hissed, “You dare try to petition me? What’s my name…witch.”
“Heather Sinclair. Died 147 years ago; drowned in the well. You gonna help me, or not?” TJ smirked.
The mist surrounding Heather condensed in anxious fury. The female witch had named Heather! No one had ever named this particular ghost before. Heather was now trapped!
“Murdana, ker a pluuktak un mentacularbaitaktak!”
Ephemeral chains shackled Heather and the ends floated over to TJ.
TJ tugged on the chains as Heather roared her fury. “TJ’s the name. Now, what about preserving this finger until I get all the rest of the stuff I need?”
Heather glared at TJ wondering how long she would be kept a prisoner…