The Live Haunting of Misses Barnabas and Clastor. A story idea.

She made the coffee with half her attention worrying away at the problem. The kitchen had been dark, and when she turned on the light, it had been immaculate. Cynthia Barnabas was neat, but she wasn’t that neat.

She could not explain it. When she came down this morning, her usual routine was disrupted by a plate of blackberry-lemon scones and her copy of Oliver Twist on the kitchen counter. Mariah never baked, and her literary tastes were quite different Cynthia’s. What was the meaning of this?

This was the third time this month that dishes were neatly washed and stacked in the drain board, counters wiped, pots scrubbed. It was the second time mysterious baked goods were left, neatly wrapped over with a tea towel, on the kitchen bar. And she’d been finding her books in odd places for at least six weeks. Yet, all the doors and windows were locked, just as they had been the night before.

She turned from the window and addressed the scones, since Mariah would not be up for several more hours.

“Who made you, I wonder.” She prodded a scone. It was still slightly warm and oozed a bit of lemon curd down its craggy side. “Are we being haunted by a particularly talented poltergeist?”

She shook her head. That was simply ridiculous. And yet. That “and yet” taunted her. It was not as if it was a terrible thing, a ghost that arrived, made delicious things from scratch, and cleaned up after itself.

But Cynthia had always needed to know. The fact that she no longer taught fourth grade did not absolve her of her quirks. And she would perhaps enjoy the company of a ghost that shared her tastes in books, even if those books were sometimes left on a stair or in an awkward corner she would not leave her reading materials.

She poured a cup of coffee and helped herself to a scone. Whoever was responsible for the baking B and E had certainly gotten her penchant for sweet things right, whether they were a corporeal being or a specter. But she meant to find out.

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