When Numbers’s house had been modern, chic, and extravagant and No Name’s home had been comfortable, Angelface’s apartment was dirty, depressing, and dimly-lit. Kerra sat on an oily armchair across from her hostess who was sitting hunched forward on a folding chair.
“Out with it,” Angelface said, her voice tired and thin. “Why are you here? Her blonde hair was hanging limply down her back and over her shoulders. Kerra thought that the circles under her eyes were darker than usual.
“Of all the gang, you knew Shandi the best, right?” Kerra asked, unsure of how she should approach this or what she even wanted from Angelface.
She snorted, a sound that was strange coming from her skinny, delicate nose. “You could say that, yeah.”
“I’m coming to you specifically because of that.”
“Why do you need me? You’re her sister with the magic brain link. You should know her better than anyone!”
“She didn’t talk to me a lot. Probably not nearly as much as you figure.”
“Okay,” Angelface said.
Kerra struggled to find her words. “So this is going to sound crazy. And part of me thinks that I am going crazy. But you need to believe me.”
Angelface straightened and gave Kerra a look of passing curiosity. “Go on.”
She took a deep breath and said, “I think… I’ve seen a ghost.”
Angelface’s expression turned skeptical and annoyed, like she couldn’t believe Kerra would be wasting her time like this. “And?”
“Well, it was Shandi.”
“I think I see Shandi everywhere since she died. You’re not special. It was just someone who looked like her. Or a trick of the light. Or your own reflection.” Angelface’s voice was hard and bitter, and she’d looked away from Kerra into a dark corner of the room.
“It wasn’t like that though, it was a like a vision!” She didn’t know how to explain what she’d seen. With Maru and Drigg it had been so easy.
“She comes in my dreams too. Whatever Kerra. Are you here just to tease and torment me, or did you actually want my help with something?”
“No, no, I wasn’t asleep. My vision went all blue and she stepped toward me and talked with me. I talked to a couple friends about it and they think that it has something to do with the connection, and I don’t know why I came to you other than just the fact that you knew her too and I don’t know if I can handle seeing her again but she said she’d come back and-”
“Geez okay! Calm down Kerra!” Angelface said, cutting off the tumble of words. “You’ll be fine. Just breathe, okay?”
Kerra nodded and sniffed. She hadn’t realized that she’d begun to cry.
“Okay, yeah, maybe you saw some kind of weird connection vision. Okay, I’ll believe it. Maybe there is an afterlife after all. Color me surprised, but sure, yeah. Whatever. But I still don’t know what you want from me. Thanks for telling me I guess.” Angelface shifted in her seat.
“I don’t know either. I just needed to tell someone. Someone who knew her well. What am I supposed to say to her?” Kerra let out a laugh, which felt weird with the mood she was in. “Do I say like, ‘Hey sis, sorry you died and all that. What’s the afterlife like? Do they have snacks there?’ or what?”
Angelface gave a tight smile and shrugged. “Say whatever you want.”
“Yeah, I guess that’s the reasonable answer.”
Silence for a minute, then Angelface said, “I heard about your mom. I’m sorry about that. Although Shandi always went on and on about how awful she was, so I dunno.”
“Thanks for the condolences. And yeah, she and Shandi butted heads a lot, I guess.” Kerra stared down at the circuits running across her palms. Skinny little lines pulsing with the blue glow of Kerra’s life. Sometimes she wondered if they would keep glowing after she died.
“Hey,” Angelface said suddenly, “you’re trying to figure out who killed your mom, right?”
“Yeah?” Kerra said, looking up. She’d heard the tone of what sounded like an idea in Angelface’s voice.
“Well, maybe, if you really are seeing Shandi’s ghost in the afterlife or whatever, maybe, just maybe your mom is there too!”
“Huh, yeah, maybe,” Kerra said. “But I doubt she’d be able to speak with me. I think it’s just because of the connection that Shandi can speak with me. Otherwise everyone would be seeing ghosts all the time, right?”
“Well, I did say that I am, but yeah, you’re right, that’s different.” Angelface gave a dark laugh. “No, what I mean is that you could talk to Shandi and ask her if she could talk to your mom. Ask her how she died and stuff! That would solve your mystery easy as pie!”
“That’s a good idea, but…” Kerra’s expression darkened.
“But?” Angelface pressed.
“But I doubt that Shandi would even agree to do that,” she finished. “She really hated Ruth. You said it yourself. Why would she be willing to talk to her in the afterlife?”
“Maybe death changed her perspective on her relationships?” Angelface said hopefully.
“Maybe,” said Kerra. “She also probably doesn’t even know that Ruth died. Ruth didn’t know that Shandi died. They’re oblivious of each other’s deaths. They wouldn’t even know to look for each other without me.”
“Huh, yeah that could be a problem,” Angelface said.
“If the afterlife is crowded, which, I’d imagine it must be, right?”
“Then I’d imagine that they’d never bump into each other accidentally either.” Kerra thought over the predicament. “Yeah, I think you’re right, Angel.”
“When am I not?” she said with an exhausted but wry smirk.
“When Shandi comes next time, I’m going to tell her mom died, and ask her to look for her.”
“When do you think she’ll be back?” Angelface asked.
“I have no idea. I just know that she said she would, and I believe her.”