The Ghost

Years she had been there, just more than three years. Three years in a foreign place with a single person she knew. They were friends sure enough, maybe a little more but maybe a little less. Almost a year they'd know each other before they left the country together, flying away from a place neither much cared for.

But it wasn't better, it was just another place, just more people. She'd never much had a taste for either. She tended not to like people, tended not to like places. She liked the girl she was with though, more than friends was apt here, but it hadn't been when they left.

Less than friends would have been better then, but so much had happened since, they didn't have much choice but to be more. Chase couldn't ever help but feel like she'd gotten the poor side of the world they found here. Delilah, admittedly, didn't like the place much more than her friend did.

But she hadn't ever been there, she hadn't been sober, hadn't been awake. She hadn't ever had to do things that Chase had had to do. Chase did them only for the girl she was with and that was why they were more than friends. Chase would have given her live to protect Delilah and the girl didn't even know it.

She was bitter and she couldn't help it, she couldn't ever get the images from her head, not even sleep offered the relief she sought, but, unlike her friend, she wouldn't seek refuge in substance. She would push her brain over the edge before she would drown it out.

Again Delilah was far from sober, admittedly she had done more in her time, worse even, and Chase couldn't bring herself to mind her inebriated friend, drunk as she was. Chase drank, drank in excess even , but she didn't do the things to her body that her friend did.

"Why would you keep a pool inside?" Delilah wondered aloud, face pressed against the glass.

They'd been wandering, which tended to involve finding out what people had in their back yards, sometimes even within their houses. That night there wasn't any thievery and there hadn't been any breaking before that.

"Why keep a pool in a glass house?" Delilah seemed to want an answer from her friend.

"I couldn't tell you," Chase admitted. "But I feel like we should free it."

Delilah grinned that grin she had. The smile that always told Chase it was a bad idea, but would be done regardless. Delilah picked up a nearby lawn chair and broke one of the many panels of glass the house appeared to have. They ignored the door as they carefully stepped over the glass and entered the glass house.

The pool looked refreshing, looked clear and cold. Chase dropped right in, ignoring completely the fact that she had a phone in her pocket. She could get a new one, she figured, if she ever did come across some more money.

It seemed at that point to be totally irrelevant, it didn't matter that her phone would be ruined, didn't matter either that she didn't have any way to get the phone numbers it contained back. She could, of course, ask, but it didn't matter.

Delilah dropped into the water beside her, her long hair coming free from the loose ponytail she'd tried to put it in. Chase ran a hand through the dark hair and marvelled at its length as she often did, she loved that girl's hair.

Delilah grabbed her by the back of the neck and pulled her close, mouth aggressively pressed against hers. Chase kissed the girl back, suspecting that she tasted just as strongly of alcohol as her friend, she found herself unconcerned by this.

They sank into the water, neither breathing with the hunger of this kiss. They did so from time to time, it was like a challenge, the first to breathe lost. This time it was Chase, the taller of the pair, who had to push them to the surface for her friend to breathe.

Delilah grinned that grin she had and Chase knew what she wanted.

"We aren't doing it," she informed her friend, firmly.

"Please," Delilah pleaded. "I've never done it in a pool."

"Do you know why that is?" Chase asked. "Because you don't know anyone who is willing to do it with you in a pool."

"But…" Delilah took herself a moment to figure out what Chase meant. "We're all alone here."

"How do you know?" Chase asked her. "What makes you think no one is coming here right now, shotgun raised?"

"Americans and their guns," Delilah complained. "We could be quick," she suggested, then thought about it. "We couldn't be quick, could we?"

"We aren't quick," Chase confirmed. "I'll make you a deal, we ever own a pool, we will have sex in it."

Delilah grinned her childish grin, Chase knew what she would say before it was said. "You said sex," Delilah felt the need to point out, as she often did. For someone who had as much of it as she did, Delilah was surprisingly immature on the topic of sex.

"Get out of the pool," they were instructed by a gun wielding young man

Delilah sighed and swam to the edge, Chase was a little slower. They both climbed out and held their hands up. The young man looked at Delilah they way a lot of young men did and Chase resisted the urge to disarm and murder him, not sure she would be able to manage it properly. She was pretty drunk.

"We're sorry," Delilah said, not looking it. "But I'm pretty drunk and the window got broke and we couldn't just leave the pool in here. It was lonely, you know?"

She gave him a look that tended to turn Chase to water, and appeared to work on the young man just the same. Chase prepared herself to get the gun from him. It wouldn't have been the first time she had had to do so for Delilah's sake, but, as always, she hoped it would be the last.

But suddenly it was just too late. Another man, slightly older looking, walked out the door through which the young man had come, looked at the man standing there and pulled his own gun. He pushed the young man out of the way and shot Delilah right in the chest, right where the heart was, Chase just died, right there, watching her friend's mouth open and shut in surprise.

Delilah fell to her knees and the older man shot her in the head and turned. "Take care of the other one," he said, leaving Chase and the younger man alone together.

Chase was unable to do a single thing but watch as the body of the only person she knew in that country fell backwards into the pool, drifting slowly away as the colour slowly changed. She was unable to do more than stare at what had become of the most beautiful girl she had ever met.

She didn't notice the gun placed to her head, didn't notice the shaking grip, didn't notice the young man try his best to steady himself. Had she noticed any of these things the man wouldn't have lived quite as long as he did.

"You'd better get out," he told Chase, taking the gun away and firing a shot into the ceiling.

The gunshot snapped her out of it but she was still as the young man turned and walked back into the building. A deep breath and she was on her feet, creeping after the men who killed the only good thing in their country.

She could hear voices upstairs, the older man's and another. The young man waited at the foot of the stairs like a good guard dog and Chase was forced to actually sneak to get from the back door into the kitchen. From there it was a touch easier.

Knife racks are one of the most convenient things to have in a house when you feel that burning desire to murder people. Chase had had some previous experience with this phenomenon but this time it was she who would be using the knives she found for murder.

She tried again to be quiet as she approached the young man who hadn't killed her and, with that label for him in her head, did not reciprocate. She didn't feel any regret at the notion of killing this boy who hadn't killed her.

He spied her as she rounded the corner and the gun started to come back out of its holster at the mania he surely saw in her eyes, or possibly the knife in her hand. But he was too slow, much too slow and found it rather difficult to verbalise his pain when Chase hit him, knife straight into his throat.

She took his gun, but instead of ditching the knife she made sure the safety was on and stuck it down the back of her pants. She had, until this point, forgotten that she was soaking wet. It didn't bother her but she felt that perhaps that wasn't the best environment for her knife.

She tried not to let it bother her s she dragged the young man's corpse away from the stairs, his blood dripped onto the floor, leading anyone and everyone to her hiding place. She tried not to be too paranoid about the notion and instead listened intently.

The voices were much quieter now, it was hard to be sure they were still there past the beating in her ears. But then the voices stopped and there was a call down the stairs. "Boy," was shouted by a voice Chase hadn't heard before. Obviously he didn't even warrant a naming.

Chase wondered what to do, but already it was too late. The lack of response, apparently, was a giveaway. Either that or the older man was rather paranoid or had decided to fetch the boy himself, rather than letting the man have a moment to respond.

Chase heard him reach the top of the stairs and suspected he had found something wrong as he charged down and turned towards the kitchen, where she hid with the corpse. But instead the man went out to the pool and, finding no one there, called again.

"Boy, where are you?" he called into the small house.

"What's going on?" the third voice was rather authoritative, the leader of whatever this operation was.

There was no reply as Chase heard the older man come back into the house and almost felt him find the trail of blood that revealed her hiding place. Chase panicked for all of a second and then her time was up, the man was in the doorway with a gun aimed at her.

She tried her best to get to the other door from the room before being shot, but was not so lucky. The shot only grazed her shoulder, but regardless of the insignificance of the wound it still hurt, and it hurt enough to bother her. She was in the hall and the man was following. Another two shots rang out but both missed their mark.

Chase didn't even bother with the gun, she knew how to use one but she had no skill with them, in the time it would surely take her to aim at the man she would likely die, at least once. So instead she hid, clasping the knife firmly in her right hand. The gun was in her left hand, she knew she would only be able to use it point blank, and left handed was good enough for that.

She was in a bedroom, she had time to register that before the man entered the room and she was forced to dive for the only cover she could find. The bed didn't seem like the best cover, but it would involve the man either going around or over, either would bring him within her range. Luckily, incredibly luckily, for Chase it was one of those beds that touch the floor.

He did neither, of course, not being an idiot he went around to the other door, forcing Chase to scramble to her feet and dive over the bed. This time the bullet grazed her leg, it was deeper than the shoulder but still far from the worst injury she'd ever received.

She dared to check if he'd moved again and found that he had indeed exited the room. She was quicker this time, and as quiet as she could be. She got and stood by the door, waiting for the man to enter so that she could exact her revenge for her friend.

He did not do what she wanted him to, instead diving through the door , gun aimed where she would have been, had she stayed still. The bed took a bullet but seemed no worse for it. Instead of some logical intelligent feat of strategy, Chase dived on the man, dropping her own gun to make sure his was not pointed at her.

The gun fired another two shots as they wrestled on the floor before the man abruptly stopped wrestling. Chase turned the knife and the man groaned, not quite the reaction she had wanted, but none the less an expression of his pain. With a knife in his gut he seemed to be having trouble moving or holding onto his gun.

He had almost stopped moving altogether when Chase wrested the gun from him and shot him, and shot him, and shot him, and shot him, and… nothing. There was nothing left in her gun and nothing left within. She was out of energy, drained. She didn't need to do anything more.

"What is going on down there?" the third voice had been forgotten in the gunfire.

She didn't want to have to do more, but it seemed like she would have to. It had sounded like the man was still where he'd started, upstairs somewhere. She got up, aware that now, instead of water, she seemed to be dripping blood.

She stooped to pick up the first gun she'd abandoned and passed the doorway to a loud noise and the worst pain she'd ever felt. It hurt, it hurt too much, but it didn't hurt enough, she was still alive despite it.

She didn't have the energy to dive, so she fell instead and crawled as quickly as she could from the view of the last man with a gun. She tried to take a deep breath and think through the pain but she couldn't seem to manage it. Couldn't breathe in, couldn't think.

She didn't hear him descend the stairs, didn't notice him approach, gun levelled. She didn't notice him until the warm barrel touched her head. She tilted her head up to look at him, a thin man wearing fancy clothes that didn't suit him. She tried to stab him but found that her arm wouldn't move, the knife was gone regardless.

He stood there a moment with the gun to her head before muttering something irritated to himself.

She tried to stab him with the other hand and managed it, despite being knifeless, she still had the gun. Instead of just shooting her, which surely would have been the best option, he decided to look down at whatever was poking him in the leg, in the process the gun in his hand shifted.

Chase leaned forward and squeezed the trigger. His gun went off almost immediately, hitting the wall where her head should have been. He shifted to shoot again, but instead collapsed when Chase fired another round into his leg.

This put them at roughly the same height, giving Chase the advantage, as she had the gun raised. He toppled backwards, a surprised expression on his face as the third round passed through his chest, not necessarily his heart, but close enough.

And then she was done, she didn't need to bother anymore, she was done, they were gone. They'd dared to rid their country of the only beautiful thing therein and now they were all gone. Chase couldn't keep the darkness out any longer.