genre: contemporary horror/fantasy
word count: 333
There's a ghost in Tyler’s bathroom.
He doesn't realize, that first morning—just wakes up to frosty condensation on the mirror above the sink, thinks that there's a leak in the pipes, something trickling in from the apartment upstairs—and he doesn't realize the second morning, either, hears the hollow, deceptively distant echo of high-pitched giggling, thinks the walls must be thinner than the building manager had intimated, that his neighbors just have loud little kids—and he doesn't realize the third morning, when the water heater stops working, and he doesn't realize the fourth morning, when the gray plastic cap to his deodorant goes missing, and he doesn't realize the fifth morning, or the sixth morning, or even the seventh morning, when the shower curtain mysteriously rustles, all on its own, and the lock on the lone privacy window next to the toilet snaps in half.
The eighth morning, though.
The eighth morning is what really fucks him.
He's not ashamed to admit that he screams when he finally meets her.
"What the—fuck, shit, fuck balls, where did you—who are you?" Tyler demands, grappling for his towel. Ice-cold water drips mercilessly into his eyes, briefly blinding him. "What the—"
The ghost heaves an enormous, long-suffering sigh, and—waves her fingers, maybe—and the shower abruptly turns itself off.
And Tyler swallows, and then shivers, and then finally remembers to wrap his towel around his hips. He should move, probably. Shake the water out of his eyes. Get a good look at whatever—at whoever—has decided that haunting him is a perfectly reasonable way to spend the afterlife.
"Are you done?" the ghost drawls, sounding kind of alarmingly impatient.
Tyler blinks, and his vision clears. "Oh, shit," he blurts out. "You're hot."
The ghost wrinkles her nose. "I'm also dead." She pauses. "Possibly."
"How are you only possibly—"
The ghost winces and offers him a plaintively sheepish, sickly-sweet grin. "You're really not going to like my answer to that."