Kayla sat in the corner of Dilly's Diner, rocking her empty coffee mug back and forth as she stared at the Formica top of the table. Her thoughts were drifting as she recalled previous hunts. It had been a long time since she had been excited for a hunt. Like the call center, very little pushed her limits recently and she didn't how or where to find something to break her malaise.

It would be different if she was like @TheRealHunter who had the charisma and charm to run his own business related to ghost hunting. He didn't mind the newcomers with their glassy-eyed stares and occasional gasps. They were excited about everything; she wasn't.

For the countless time, she wondered if she would ever find someone that excited her as much as staring into the haunting eyes of an apparition in the mirror or thrashing the icy-cold grip of a ghost trying to strangle her.

She smiled to herself as she tried to focus on the sensations of having the claws squeezing her throat, crushing down until the cartilage began to crack and black spots swam across her vision.

Underneath the diner table, she clenched her thighs together. She had masturbated to that memory so many times it no longer thrilled her like it used to, but she still remembered the rush when she first broke free.

“Still with us, hon?” asked the waitress. Her name tag said her name was Mabel. She was an older woman, maybe in her fifties, with a more honest smile than Tony and an easy of a life-long service worker.

Kayla blinked and then nodded. “Time for another order?”

Mabel's eyes flickered down to the stack of fives on the edge of the table. Kayla didn't order much, but she had been putting a five down every hour she had waited ever since she showed up at midnight.

Kayla shrugged and pulled out another five.

“Order something, please?” asked the woman with a pleading tone. “You've only been drinking black coffee for the last four hours.”

Kayla shrugged and checked her phone. She only had another hour to kill before eight, then she could head over to the home owner. “I've done worse and for longer.”

“Pie? We have apple? Banana cream?”

She shrugged. “Sure, a piece of banana cream and another coffee.”

Mabel took the order and walked back, but not after giving Kayla another look. There was concern and something else.

Kayla ignored the look. Instead, she unlocked her phone and checked the social network. It was the only thing that vaguely seemed interesting, though it was pretty dead after midnight. Fortunately, the world was getting up and she had to scroll through a few posts in idle amusement.

A man and woman in the booth behind her got up to leave. The muscles in her back tensed as she focused on her phone but let her peripheral vision drift to watch them.

As the man walked past, he casually reached out for the stack of five dollars.

Kayla slammed her fist down on the back of his hand, crushing it against the table with a bang that caused everyone to jump. She heard something crunch underneath.

“You bitch!” he bellowed as he tried to pull his hand free. She noticed that his fingers were digging into the bills at the same time.

Kayla slowly looked at him with an impassive look. “Good morning,” she said in her best call center voice. “This money is for Mabel, my waitress, and you appear to be taking it. May I help you?”

“I'm not trying to steal your damn money!” he said as he reached down to rescue his hand. He tugged at it.

Kayla only had to lean slightly to keep him pinned. “You say that,” she said in her cheerful yet dead voice, “but there should be no reason your hand would be over Mabel's tips when you passed. If you were to relax your hand, I'll be glad to let up.”

The door to the diner rang out. A young woman, maybe in her early twenties, came in with wet blonde hair and a canvas bag over her shoulder. She looked at the drama before heading to the opposite end of the restaurant.

Mabel came up. “Is there is something wrong?”

“N-Nothing!” belted the man. He tugged at his hand.

Kayla sighed. She relaxed her hand to grab his wrist and then forcibly turned it over. A handful of crushed five dollar bills tumbled out of his grip. Two of them remained in his grip, caught between his fingers.

Mabel cringed. “I'm sure it was just a mistake.”

“Y-Yeah, you fucking bitch, it was—”

Kayla tightened her grip on his wrist, squeezing down until he stopped bellowing. Then, still in her false cheerfulness, she looked directly into his fear-stricken eyes and said, “I'm sorry. I'm sure a mistake was made.”

She released his hand.

He lurched forward, dropped the bills, and then rushed out of the room. His companion ran after him, her cheeks red.

Mabel gave Kayla a hard look. “That was excessive.”

“It wasn't his money,” she said, her voice returning to her more comfortable tone. She sighed and pushed her phone to the side to make way for her pie and coffee.

Mabel only tsked and then set down her meal. Wiping her hands on her apron, she headed over to the newcomer.

As Kayla dug into her meal, she listened to the two speak.

“Good morning, Bailey.”

“Morning, Mabe. Think I could get some breakfast?”

“Talked to your father?”

“Won't answer his phone. I tried.” A pause. “I swear, I called. Do you want to see my call history?”

“No, hon. I'm sorry. Willing to take out the garbage and do dishes? Scott isn't in for a few hours, so it would be helping me.”

Bailey nodded. “Of course, nothing else to do.”

“A girl like you should be in school.” Apparently Mabel had opinions on a lot of people.

“A girl like me used to go to a college that doesn't approve of her choices. So, I'm stuck until I can find a job.”

The conversation drifted off and Kayla stopped paying attention. At least until the hairs on the back of her head rose up. She peeked up from her phone to see Bailey staring at her.

As they met eyes, the young woman looked away.

Kayla returned to her phone, but it was only a few seconds before the feeling came back. She glanced up to see Bailey staring at her again, a strange look of curiosity on the blonde's expression.

With a sigh, Kayla set her phone down again and took a bite of the pie. It was too sweet and bland at the same time, but she needed the energy.

As she ate, she saw Bailey approach.

“E-Excuse me? Are you Kayla Summers?”

A prickle of fear and concern flooded through the ghost hunter. She tensed as she struggled with her response, then slowly lifted her eyes to stare at Bailey.

Bailey looked terrified, nervous, and excited at the same time. “I-I think I saw you before, in an article from Ghost Hunters International. You are Kayla, the one who banished the Ice Horse up in Minnesota?”

Kayla said nothing, just stared at her as she waited. Usually people gave up after a few moments.

Bailey cleared her throat. “I follow your account on the hunter net, I'm @LezSpecterGirl.” The name didn't register a bell.

“I… I've been following you since you joined the net,” she said again. She clutched her belt as she glanced around and then back to Kayla.

Kayla stared at her as she struggled with a sudden feeling of exposure. No one had ever recognized her in public before. There were barely any pictures associated with her passion. Most of them were from the early days, back when she was more vocal about hunting down beasts during her weekends.

Bailey worried her lip. She had a heart-shaped face that did little to hide her emotions. The hesitation and fear was there, a reminder of the days when Kayla saw the world as new.

Kayla looked over to the car that Bailey came in. It was packed full of clothes and supplies. Judging from the underwear peeking out underneath a laundry basket, it looked like she had shoved everything in the sedan in a hurry.

“Bailey!” snapped Mabel in a loud whisper. “Don't upset the customers. I can't keep helping you if you upset Scott!”

Bailey jumped and then blushed. “S-Sorry, I thought I—”

Making a decision, Kayla interrupted her. “Sit.”

Both of the women looked at her in surprise.

“W-What?” asked Bailey.

“Sit and order breakfast. My treat.”

Mabel held out her hand. “Sorry, she normally isn't—”

Kayla turned her stare to Mabel. “My treat.”

Bailey blushed as she sat down, her eyes lingering on Kayla's pie for a moment.

“Your usual, Bailey?” asked Mabel with an annoyed tone. She didn't look back at Kayla.

Bailey peeked at Kayla who shrugged. Then she looked up bashfully. “Stack of pancakes, some sausage, and a glass of OJ?”

Kayla held up her finger. “And another slice of banana pie.”

Mabel noted the order with pursed lips and then strode away.

The young woman stared at her and then turned back. “Thank you. I promise, I'll pay you back—”

“No, you won't.”

“No, I—”

Kayla gave her a hard look. When Bailey stopped talking and blushed, Kayla spoke. “You don't have a lot of money and I said I would treat you. There will be no paying back or talking about giving me money. You are just to enjoy your breakfast.”

Looking nervous, Bailey looked at Kayla again and her expression softened. “Why?”

“You ever pick up a hitchhiker in the middle of the night? Say a woman in a white dress who needs a ride home?”


“You just help. Don't try to take advantage of her, don't ask for money, and don't try to have sex with her. You just listen and drive her home.”

“I…” Bailey's cheeks blushed hotly. She was obviously clinging to the thought of having sex with the woman in white. A lesbian, Kayla decided, or at least bi and horny.

Kayla looked up the ceiling. “It's only happened thrice for me. The first and last time, I don't remember letting her out of the car. She was just gone.”

“And the second?”

“She was upset and just needed to talk to a stranger.”

The blush grew hotter. “Did she try to seduce you?”


Bailey squirmed. “Was she pretty?”

“Didn't matter. Humans aren't my thing. We just talked until morning and then I took her home, beat the shit out of her cheating husband, and then dropped her off to a motel to cool off.”

Bailey snorted and then ducked her head. She was still blushing.

Kayla smiled to herself. It was a fun night. Jennifer still called on occasion, just to talk and invited her to dinner but Kayla never came back.

“That doesn't really answer the question.”

With a shrug, Kayla pushed the pie over to Bailey. “You just help. Sounds like you have a lot of crap going on and I have the money to treat you. So, you are like the hitchhiker right now. I'm just helping.”

“And you won't try to have sex with me?” Bailey's cheeks blushed. There was a longing in her voice, a desire that the answer was anything but what Kayla had to give.

“You're human.”

Bailey looked disappointed before she looked away.

Food arrived. Bailey dug into it as if she hadn't had a hot meal in days.

Kayla watched impassively. There was a rawness to the young woman, not to mention a few hungers judging from how her eyes peeked up at Kayla and her blush kept returning. If Kayla was into women, it would have been hard to resist a star-struck fan with pretty green eyes like Bailey's.

Soon, the food was gone.

Bailey sighed. “Thank you. It's been… a while.”

“No problem.” Kayla fished out forty more dollars and dropped them on the pile. Then caught Mabel's attention before she tapped the money.

The old woman nodded in acknowledgment.

Turning her phone over, Kayla looked at the time. “I need to go soon. Are you going to be okay?”

“Where are you going?”

“A house on the north side of town. It's suppose to be haunted—”

“Oh, Rotten Apple Lane?” That was one of the names gives on the social networks. Everyone came up with pithy sounded names for hauntings but for Kayla, it was just 202 Apple Lane North.


“Can I come?”

Startled, Kayla stared at her.

“I've always wanted to actual go to a haunted house. I mean a real one, not like the ones they have on the TV shows or by the corn mazes. If you are going there, that means they needed a specialist.”

“People got killed in there.”

Bailey glanced at her car. “So?”

“@TheRealHunter lost his foot.”

“Gary also said you were the best at Scorned Lovers.” Kayla vaguely remembered @TheRealHunter giving his real name, but she always preferred his handle.

Kayla hesitated. “Listen, I'm not a great person to be around. I creep people out already, I'm somewhat of a psychopath, and I'd probably just use you as bait.”

Bailey shrugged before licking off her fingers.

“Are you sure?”

“What else am I going to do? Wash dishes for the rest of my life? Try to get a job when my damn family sqawks at every church meeting? Half the places I apply won't even let me in the door because my parents called them first. Even Allison won't even look at me now and I thought we were f-forever.”

Kayla didn't know who Allison was, but the look in the young woman's eyes suggested it was a previous lover.

Bailey's voice cracked. She sniffed. “It's just a matter of time before I'm living underneath a bridge and everyone knows it. Then one bad winter and I'll be a frozen Popsicle.”

She wiped her eyes with the back of her hand. “I'm fucked, so if I can have a chance to spend a few hours with a famous idol, then at least I'll have good memories of an adventure when I'm freezing to death. If the only way to do it is for you to tie me up and use me as bait, then it still better than what I have in my future.”

Kayla hesitated longer. There was something about Bailey that stirred something inside Kayla. It wasn't sexual desire but something else, a flame that reminded her over the old days.

She shrugged. “If you still want it when you finish eating, then I'll take you along. I'll try to keep you safe and probably with all your limbs intact, but no promises.”

Bailey looked frightened for a moment.

Kayla got ready to leave.

Then the young woman began to bolt down her food with a smile.