If killing me was to be her first goal, I couldn't have denied it at the moment. Briony drove the narrow winding roads as if she was in a racecar. Her Mustang could handle it, but still, I was not looking to die today or anytime soon. My right hand gripped the handle on the door as she whirled past the thick trees of the forest surrounding us. "Briony," I called to her, my voice strained almost like a whimper. She laughed and glanced at me then back to the road. "What Kyle? Too much for you?"
I nodded slowly then said my voice still weak, "Just a little." She threw her head back and laughed harder that time. She was smiling so widely that her dimples showed on her freckled cheeks. "Kyle, you are seriously telling me that driving fast is worse than fighting ghosts? I swear that we were born in opposite bodies or something. You're such a girl." I grunted this time, not happy to hear those words. "Yes, I prefer fighting the dead than almost getting killed by my best friend's reckless driving skills. I'd like to see you fit in my shoes for one day and see how it feels. You can't give me the excuse that you've known me since kindergarten, that doesn't count because you don't know Briony. I'd rather not die by my best friends hands." My arms crossed over my chest, signaling the end to our argument. I realized that she stopped talking and that she also drove slower, still over the speed limit but not so that the car would flip on the next turn.
Her silence lasted longer than I thought and I had realized that maybe I'd hurt her feelings. "Briony-" I started. She held up her hand, one finger in the air, silencing me. I shut up. Her tongue wet her lower lip. A habit she had when she was about to explain something important or was really nervous, or both. I waited. She put her hand back on the steering wheel and let out a deep sigh through her nose. "I thought I was more than just an accessory Kyle." She started and immediately put her hand up again, knowing my habit of interrupting. "I haven't been your best friend all these years because you just needed to know you weren't alone.
"I saw the suffering that you had from seeing ghosts. I remember the other kids picking on you because you were different. And if you would stop being so selfish and remember that it happened to me too, because of who I am, not only because I was your friend." She paused to take a breath. I stayed silent, letting her words sink in before she spoke again. "If you remember, they threw rocks at me too. They teased me for being more like a boy than a girl. They rubbed mud in my hair, stuffed frogs in my overalls, just like you Kyle. I didn't sacrifice myself just to be an accessory. I may not know what its like to actually see the ghosts or hear them, but I'm here to help you. And I do not appreciate the fact that you would accuse me of not understanding Kyle."
I finally sucked in a breath of air. I didn't realize that I had stopped breathing. Her words hit hard, but not as hard as the memories. Our childhoods were the same, we were treated the same, even though she didn't have my abilities, she was still different, which was why we were friends in the first place. I turned in my seat, stretching my arm over her seat and touched her arm. "Briony, I'm sorry. I remember all those things, I can't forget. I think that this most recent sighting is starting to bother me, because I don't want to lose you. You're all I have Briony." I dropped my hand back into my lap and turned forward again. She slowed the car even more then let out a heavy sigh. "It's okay Kyle. I understand." She finally said.
We spent the rest of the car ride to the library in silence. Only the gentle rumble of the engine broke it. She pulled the car into the parking lot and slid gracefully into a space. We got out and headed inside. The library was modeled by old Grecian architecture. Thick columns held up an imitation balcony over the front oak doors. The story was that it was an old plantation house, and then the descendants of the original owners sold it to the city to become a library. The city had the interior reconstructed, opening up the center of the house. The second floor was now an open balcony with pillars as support beams. The walls had all been knocked out, plumbing removed except for the bathrooms in the back and the employee break room. Bookshelves lined the walls and floor space like all libraries. Long tables and chairs were placed between them for readers and a front desk was centered a few feet to the left of the door. A grand staircase split the sight of the first floor, leading to the second. The carpet was maroon; it was originally red according to the books. Yes, I read all about this place. I had a good memory for architecture; it was more of a passion. I think that if I wasn't trying to fend off ghosts, I would go to school for architecture. Maybe one day I could.
We were greeted with wide smiles by the staff that had come to know us very well. One woman with white hair in fluffy short curls came up to us. Gladys was her name. She said hello to Briony and commented on her blond hair, like always. Then she smiled at me and asked what we were looking for today. "Something about the witch trials perhaps," I said to her. Her eyebrows rose with interest, "Witch Trials, eh? Have another essay for history class, Kyle?" I nodded. "Yeah, something like that." She nodded, the smile returning to her pale, wrinkled face. Without another exchange of words she led us off to the history section, grabbing book after book until we had to take them from her for the pile was getting to heavy. We set the books down on a long table with a thud. The stack surprisingly didn't waiver but stood straight and still. Gladys left us to return to the desk, probably to gossip about Briony and me again. "What do you think she'll say today?" Briony asked, pulling out a chair and taking a seat. I pulled out the chair next to her and sat down with her, then shrugged. "Who knows? Maybe it's that we should just get married and have kids."
My comment had stunned her. Briony wasn't the mom type, or so she said. I didn't believe it. She could handle her brother and sister better than her mother could. It was amazing. I looked at her expression and laughed, louder than I wanted. Thankfully the only people here this early in the morning, were the librarians who were too engrossed in their old person banter to even notice. Briony blushed slightly then let out a nervous laugh. "That'll be the day pigs fly Kyle." I chuckled again then grabbed books from the stack and started sifting through them.
By the seventh book each of us we were on, we were slumping in our seats. Maybe we were getting too ahead of ourselves in the mysteries of my ghost sightings. Maybe I was truly just going insane. I was just about the close the book when a drawing caught my eye. I sat up in my chair and pulled the book closer. "What is it?" Briony asked, noticing my motions. She scooted her chair closer to mine and leaned over my shoulder. I stared at the image for a long while, and then read the caption. "It's him," I whispered. "What?" she asked looking from the book to me, then back again. "The ghost I saw, it's him." I read the caption again, but out loud. "Giles Corey, an 80-year-old farmer from southeast Salem was accused to be in allegiance with the witches, like his neighbor John Proctor. Corey had failed to enter a plea during his trial and was sentenced to suffer the torture of peine forte et dure, where stones were lowered onto ones body until they were dead." I sat back in my chair and lowered the book. "It's him alright. I remember his chest; it was dented like it had been crushed by boulders."
"But what does it mean?" she asked, touching my arm. I shook my head and closed the book. "I don't know. I probably won't know until tonight." It was a habit now that once I saw a ghost, no matter what time of day; they would come back that night in my dreams, giving me memories or tasks for me to take care of. For some reason still unknown to me, I was the one they were drawn to. If they were here for revenge on someone's descendant, they still came to me instead of haunting them. It was really quite annoying. Thankfully, most of the ghosts I knew had history, and most of it was in the library. I snapped out of my trance when I saw the glow of Briony's cell phone as she flipped it open to check the time. It was 3-o'clock in the afternoon already. School was letting out and I would have to be back home in time for my driver's test by four. It took half an hour to drive from here to home, but it took forty-five minutes from the school to home. We would have to dawdle for a little while. "We have fifteen minutes to hang out before we really have to leave and make it seem like we didn't skip school." I told her, leaning back in my chair. It creaked, so I set it back down on its four legs, not wanting it to break under me.
I caught the eyes of the librarians at the front desk, staring at us. I also noticed that the library had filled up some since the morning. Students would be filing in soon to do research for papers or wait for their parents to pick them up. It was time for Briony and me to go. With one look from me she stood, pushing in her chair and grabbed the last book she was reading. "What is that?" I asked her, standing up and pushing in my own chair. "I found it a little interesting, so I'm going to finish reading it later." I smiled at her and ruffled her hair playfully. She laughed and slapped my hand away then turned around, her ponytail whipping me in the face as she marched off. Gladys smiled at her when she got to the check-out counter. Carefully she scanned the book then stamped it and handed it back to Briony. "Enjoy my dear and don't bring it back late!" Briony just smiled and walked off. "Thanks Gladys, have a nice evening." I told her as I followed Briony out. Gladys just waved her shrunken bony hand at us as we left.