What a Ghoul Wants
“She’s
that
strong?”
    I knew what he meant. Heath was six feet of solid lean muscle. He was young and powerful
     in his own right, and a great swimmer, as we’d both watched him do lap after lap to
     get some exercise in the pool at the hotel we’d stayed in during our recent trip to
     Dunkirk. “She is,” I told him. And then something else quite troubling came to mind.
    “What?” Gopher asked, reading my expression.
    I bit my lip. “I don’t think Heath was her first victim of the morning.”
    Gopher cocked his head. “Meaning?”
    “You heard about the clerk who’d checked us in, right? Merrick Brown was found drowned
     this morning, his body floating in the moat.”
    “Yeah. . . that was tough to hear. I mean, he seemed like such a nice guy.”
    “Well, I saw him.”
    “You saw him. . . where?”
    “I saw him chained to that hag on the bridge inside the castle wall overhanging the
     moat. Merrick had this metal collar around his neck, and he was attached to that awful
     spook that tried to drown Heath.”
    Gopher squinted his eyes at me. “Come again?”
    I sighed and was about to explain when the curtain was pulled aside again and a hospital
     worker entered the area with a tray of food. “Here we are,” she said merrily, setting
     the tray down on one of those sliding bedside tables that scoot over the gurney and
     allow you to eat.
    Gopher got out of her way as she slid the table into place near my waist. “You’ll
     want to eat all that up, miss. Your body burned a few extra calories this morning
     and this will help set you back to rights.”
    With that, she gave us both a bright smile and exited. I lifted the plastic dome covering
     the dish and discovered a steaming bowl of oatmeal with a side of toast. Next to that
     was a dish of fruit and rounding out the meal was a fresh cup of tea.
    Quite suddenly, I was famished. Diving in, I explained to Gopher what I thought I’d
     seen. “I think she drowned Merrick,” I said after taking a large bite of the oatmeal,
     which was slightly overcooked, but laced with enough cinnamon to make up for it.
    “After she let go of Heath?”
    I shook my head. “No, buddy. Before. I’m positive it was his ghost on the bridge with
     her.”
    Gopher’s mouth fell open. “No way,” he said, and I could see the gears working as
     he thought that through. “We’ve got to get some film of him!”
    I leveled my gaze at my producer. “We’re
not
doing that.”
    Gopher looked affronted. “Why not?”
    “Because it’s unseemly, Gopher! I mean, the man
just
died and you want to go shoot his ghost like it’s some sort of circus act? Jesus,
     what the hell is wrong with you?!”
    “M. J.,” Gopher said, in that way that suggested I was about to get a lecture, “getting
     footage of ghosts is what we
do
, remember? And if we don’t get something really good to show the network brass soon,
     then neither you nor I will be
doing
much of anything for a while.”
    “What about his family?” I protested. God, could Gopher really be
that
insensitive?
    “No one said they had to watch the show, M. J.”
    I shook my head in disgust. Apparently he could. “You’re a piece of work, you know
     that?”
    “Oh, well,
excuse me
for trying to keep us all employed,” he shot back testily. He then got up from his
     chair and moved to the curtain. I’d struck a nerve. “I’ll be in the waiting room,”
     he said tersely. “Have the nurse call me when you’re ready to head back to the castle.”
    He left in short order and I let out a sigh. I knew that Gopher received a daily phone
     call from one of the network execs wanting to know how our shoots were coming along.
     Gopher had fought like hell to get our first two episodes released from the original
     network that’d hired us, but so far, they were holding on to the rights pretty tightly,
     which meant that we’d been filming for a few months now and had only a precious few
     good episodes under our

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