Patricia Ramos is brand new to being possessed by ghosts, but she feels like she’s been adjusting rather well. As Shifting Borders, Part II continues the story, she quickly starts to wish for the good old days when she only had to worry about hosting Marco….
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Button-up blouse, dark blue skirt, warm tights, sensible flats: Patricia dressed for work. She wound her thick, dark hair into a bun at the nape of her neck, then leaned into the mirror, scrutinizing her face for signs of Marco’s ghost.
Her eyes looked a little bloodshot, and there were maybe a few more crow’s feet, but that wouldn’t seem out of the ordinary; her coworkers thought she had been home sick. And she had been, hadn’t she? In a matter of speaking.
Marco shifted — could he feel her thinking of him? — then settled into a feeling of fullness below her sternum. Patricia had realized with some horror last night that she’d started thinking of that place as “his spot.” She thought she saw a flicker of something alien in her eyes and tore her gaze away from the mirror.
She stuffed her small makeup bag into her purse. She would finish up on the bus.
Ava was still in her room, coloring at her desk. “Ava-bean,” Patricia said. “Grab your coat, sweetheart. We’re leaving in a few minutes.”
She glanced at the clock. Just enough time to pack a lunch.
Normally she loved the morning ritual of walking Ava to her friend’s house, where Ava would wait for the school bus and Patricia would catch her grown-up Metro bus to work, but this morning Patricia was finding it hard to shake the feeling of dread. Just get this week over with, she told herself. They would figure out what to do with Marco soon enough.
Patricia was tiptoeing through the kitchen when the form on the couch stirred.
Valeria had refused to go home last night, and though she’d told Patricia it was to keep her safe, Patricia doubted that very much. If Valeria had wanted her to be safe so badly, she’d have stayed here the other nights, too.
Patricia nearly dropped her yogurt cup. The quietly intruding voice in her head still startled her, even after two days of living with Marco’s presence. Sisters worry. Was he chiding her? Patricia rolled her eyes at him, and felt a twinge of annoyance back.
:didnt know: Marco drew up a brief flash of memory, a chair sailing through the air to splinter against the front door.
No, Patricia granted. The other nights Valeria hadn’t known that Marco was manifesting, throwing chairs, moving objects, and even trying to physically control Patricia — yesterday he’d nearly pulled her out of her chair at Toby’s office.
She and Valeria had had a long talk last night after the kids had gone to sleep. Just the three of us, Patricia thought wryly. Just me, my sister, and a ghost.
And maybe ignorance actually was bliss, because before last night, Patricia had only her imaginary fears. Hearing her sister’s take on what Marco should and shouldn’t be able to do had only doubled what Patricia was worried about this morning.
Ghosts can’t manifest like Marco had been doing, Valeria had said. She’d never seen it, never heard of it. Sure, if you got a particularly nasty ghost it could “go all Exorcist on you” (Valeria’s terribly comforting words), but it wasn’t likely.
Valeria had waved an impatient hand. “It’s even less than your chance of being killed by a
shark, which is like one in 250 million.”
“How do you even know that statistic?”
“I looked it up because Marco—” Valeria had stopped then, fiercely blinking away tears, her voice on the verge of breaking. And Patricia had caught just a glimpse of a memory that was not her own: steel-colored waves crashing on a beach, the sky bright through a veil of clouds. Westport, a cold wind gusting on a July afternoon. Valeria in her wetsuit with curling strands of hair plastered to the side of her face, she was grinning, and Patricia didn’t want to go—
“He didn’t want to go surfing with you.”
Valeria’s eyes had been glassy with unshed tears — but there was more than grief in her expression. There was fear.
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