Here is the conclusion to my short story, “Spring Spirit.” If you missed parts 1 and 2, you can read them here:
Spring Spirit, part 3
When Dahlia returned to her home, Laura was just bidding farewell to another gentleman caller. He was still a bit drunk, and was protesting that he’d like to stay until morning, but Laura was insistent. Dahlia rolled her eyes as she watched the man stumble into the dark. And then she had an idea.
Before she could think too much about it, she went inside, careful to remain invisible. She’d noticed that now, as it got closer to spring, if she really concentrated her energy, she could appear to Laura. She’d done this a few times for fun, appearing in the mirror behind Laura and that sort of thing to give her a start.
Now, she had something different in mind.
She followed Laura up the stairs. Laura seemed to sense something. She tilted her head back for a moment as if listening, pausing, but then she continued. Just as she reached the top step, Dahlia grabbed her ankle and pulled hard, using all her energy and will. Laura tumbled down the stairs hard, and landed on her neck.
There was a moment of sickening nausea for Dahlia, looking at Laura as the life drained out of her, thinking of what she had done. But the moment passed.
It wasn’t too long before Laura’s breath ceased to come and her pulse stopped. Then, a familiar ghostly form rose from the crumpled corpse.
“You idiot!” Laura shrieked. “Now we’re both ghosts. Well done. Did you think you would get your life back this way?”
“No,” Dahlia said. “I didn’t. I would never do what you did. I’m not going to kill someone who doesn’t deserve it.”
“So high and mighty,” Laura said. “Still a murderer, though, whatever you may tell yourself.”
“I can live with that—or, I suppose, I can exist with it. Looks like we’re going to be roommates.”
Laura glared at her.
It took some time for the body to be discovered. Eventually, the house sold cheaply to a young couple just starting their lives together.
Laura did all she could to disrupt their lives, and Dahlia was there to thwart her at every turn. It drove Laura crazy that Dahlia could, at any time, choose to try to coax someone into performing the ritual, and could get her body back. Dahlia was certain she never would, but though she didn’t admit it to Laura, she did take satisfaction from the fact that she could, one day—especially if she found someone who deserved the consequences.