The Ghost of Light

What struck the Reavers first was the perkiness of Miss Julia’s chest, the inhabitants of which seemed to resemble Stepford breasts more than real ones. But in their respective perkiness they were no match for their owner. Miss Julia was nothing if not perky.

The houses they were looking at were not. When a young social worker and science teacher aim to buy in a swish real estate market, they have only a limited number of choices–rent, buy a postage stamp condo, troll for foreclosures, or…

They had reached the dark underbelly of “or.” abandoned Quonset huts? A row house or two with boarded facades in downright creepy neighborhoods. And yet throughout the horrors and disappointments, Miss Julia remained cool and cheerful and a little detached. After all, she did not have to live there. If she felt any pity or surprise, she kept these emotions to herself.

The young couple began to get a little nervous. They knew they would need a place to live soon. Tom was starting his fall semester in a week and Resa needed to have a haven of some sort in the busy world of home studies, caseloads, and hearings.

Have we seen them all? Asked Resa with a hint of panic in her voice.

Julia rifled through her papers. Hm. There is one more. Her brow tried to crease into a worry line, but the miracle of neurotoxin injections kept her brown soft and invulnerable to signs of worry. She bit her bottom lip, flipped a page up, flipped a page down. She took a swig of Tab.

Um, yeah, I don’t know if we should even go into this one…

Why? Bad neighborhood? Too expensive? They searched her face for signs, clues.

Um, no. Great-ish neighborhood, here. Check it out.

They heard themselves ooh and ahh. It was amazing. Why was this house so cheap? Well, it would not hurt to see it, right?

Julia raised her flawless brow. O-kay. It is not occupied currently so we can go there now. Great! They chimed in unison.

They were charmed. The neighborhood was idyllic. Not flashy–just quaint older homes with immaculate lawns, small children on the lawns, older people rocking gently on the porches. Too nice. Too far outside their budget. They reined in the strong desire to hope.

Well, this is it, Miss Julia waved as she steered her champagne colored SUV to the curb in front of a gingerbread house. Not really, of course, but that is what Resa thought when she saw it. Cute. Pristine. Charming.. She had been reading too many zillow listings.

Tom thought, why in G-d’s name is this in our reach? A shiver of fear ran down his spine unbidden.

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