No Rest for the Wicked – Chapter 2 Teaser

Here’s a taste of Ch 2 of No Rest for the Wicked. Read the Ch 1 Teaser

“I’m going to go get my horse ready while the coffee’s brewing.”

The ghost turned to face Vi again as she cinched her belt. “Any chance you’ve got two horses?”

“No, I’ve only got Smithy.” The poncho she pulled over her head muffled her voice. “But even if I had another horse, you can’t ride.”

“How would you know?” he whined. “I did fine on my mule.”

She shook her head and the room swam. It was hard to keep her annoyance out of her voice with last night’s excesses pounding inside her skull, but she tried to treat his inane question with patience. “It’s not personal. It’s spiritual, er, or scientific, or something. I don’t really know, but you must have realized you can’t touch things, right?”

“Well, of course. If I could dig up the gold myself I wouldn’t need your help.”

With a jerk of her chin, she grabbed the lamp and went outside, the ghost trailing behind. A lazy barn slouched a few paces away, as perturbed by the earliness of the hour as Vi. The only one happy to be awake was Smithy, and he nickered a greeting when she pushed the barn door aside. She favored him with a pat and a smile before checking the tack. Though no stranger to riding, she’d only learned how to take care of the equipment herself when she’d come out West. Now, the soft feel of the oiled leather and the clean glint of the bit in the lamplight gave her a swell of pride.

She tested the cinch and gave the straps another tug for good measure, then gestured to the waiting saddle. “Okay. Hop on.”

With a sniff, Tobias walked into the stall and reached for the pommel. Inevitably, his hand passed right through it. Next, he tried a stirrup, but his fancy, posthumous boot slipped past. He toppled through Smithy and onto the ground at Vi’s feet.

The only thing stopping her laughter was the pounding between her eyes. “I’ll keep the ‘I told you so’ to myself, shall I?”

The only thing stopping her laughter was the pounding between her eyes. “I’ll keep the ‘I told you so’ to myself, shall I?”

The ghost got to his feet, his head sticking up through the saddle just enough to see the surprised expression in his eyes. The horse gave a twitch at the strange sensation of having a phantom pass through him, and Tobias took a step backward to look at Vi across Smithy’s back rather than through it.

“What about those stories? The ones in the monthly. Ghosts knock on walls and move things. And people can see them!”

She shrugged and took the bridle from its nail. “The longer it takes you to cross over, the more likely you’ll figure out how to touch things. Not that it would be a good thing if you could, mind.”

“Why not? That seems like a pretty good consolation prize to me. I could write messages or do something else if I can’t hold a pen.”

Vi sighed. “Honestly, it doesn’t happen often. Getting yourself seen by the living without some help is even rarer.”

Tobias stroked his small, neat mustache. “What kind of help? I’d give anything to say goodbye to my Bonnie.”

“Some ghosts learn how to crawl inside of objects,” she evaded. “Heirlooms and the like.”

“Could I do that? Haunt something and then you carry me?”

Vi gave an exasperated, theatrical shrug. “Like I said, none of this is common. Most ghosts just sort of wander about.”

“It’s difficult then? All the things from the stories?”

“I wouldn’t know. Never tried it myself.” The bit gently rattled against Smithy’s teeth as she put it in his mouth. She rubbed his velvety, gray snout with one hand as she looped the bridle over his ears with the other.

“Are you sure I have to walk all the way back out there?” the ghost whined.

“Well…” She smirked. “You could always run instead. It’s not like you’ll ever get tired.”

“Good to know death has some advantages.”

“Absolutely.” She winked. “Think of all that pesky eating and belching you won’t have to do anymore.

Read the previous excerpt or the next excerpt from No Rest for the Wicked


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