Once Haunted, Twice Shy - H. P. Mallory

Being possessed isn’t exactly a walk in the park.

Granted, I’ve only been possessed for a few days, but they’ve been a very long and exhausting few days. As to how I became possessed and who is taking up residency in my body? Well, luckily for me, it wasn’t like I was taken against my will. It was nothing like the Hollywood histrionics you see in movies like The Exorcist. Instead, I actually permitted the ghost of Drake Montague, a twentieth-century French Creole policeman, who also happens to be the biggest Casanova I’ve ever encountered, to share my body.

“Ma minette,” Drake’s voice sounded in my head. “Please tell me we will venture outside the confines of our home today? I believe this ceaseless imprisonment shall cost me my sanity!”

Oh, and one other thing: Drake has a flare for the dramatic. “Really, Drake?” I mentally replied as I busied myself with painting my toenails “Feelin’ Hot-Hot-Hot!” pink by OPI. “You’ve been stuck inside this house for, oh, the last ninety-five years and you haven’t lost your sanity yet. What difference could another three days possibly make?”

Our conversations usually went exactly like that—like two voices in my head, only one of them wasn’t mine. At first, it was sort of weird—having a random, disembodied, masculine voice periodically spouting off in my head. But, after a day or so, the novelty wore off and I was left mentally arguing my viewpoint with a very obstinate, stubborn man who seems set on nothing more than getting his own way.

If I close my eyes and concentrate, I can actually see Drake, and that makes our conversations a little more normal because then he isn’t just an ethereal voice. As for the rules on how all of this ghostly stuff works? I’m not really sure. I wouldn’t exactly call myself an expert when it comes to things that go bump in the night—or getting possessed by things that go bump in the night, as the case may be. Basically, whatever visual I get of Drake is whatever visual he chooses to send me. That is to say, when I close my eyes, Drake is the one who creates the scene that unfolds behind my eyelids. One thing I can say, though, is that it usually involves him in some state of undress; he’s oftentimes missing a shirt or appears in his chonies. One time, he even had the gall to appear completely naked, causing me to immediately open my eyes, thereby shattering the visual. And, of course, he got an earful for that one. Drake, in general, is pretty self-impressed; but what’s even more frustrating is that I can’t deny that seeing him in the near buff makes my breath catch and my heart race . . . at least a little.

Although I don’t know much about how the possession ritual worked, what I have learned is that despite Drake’s spirit sharing my body with me, my spirit predominates. Even though I’m possessed, I ultimately have control, because it’s my body. So when there are times that I’d prefer he not see and hear what I see and hear (like when I’m getting dressed or using the facilities), I can shut him out just by thinking those exact words.

“This is quite different, ma minette,” Drake continued, calling me by my pet name, which means “my pussycat” in French.

“How is this any different?” I railed back at him, pausing from painting the little toe on my right foot. I leaned back to admire my paint job, while trying to maintain my balance and keep from falling off the bathtub lip. As to Drake, it was difficult not to get irritated with his constant complaining. Sure, I wasn’t exactly providing for his needs. I mean, he had been shut up in my house (well, what once had been his house) for nearly one hundred years, haunting it. And now he had the chance to experience life through me, so of course he was eager to get on with the adventure. But, on the other hand, it had only been a few days since Christopher, the warlock, and Lovie, the voodoo witch, performed the ritual that allowed Drake to take possession of my body. And to say the whole ritual exhausted me was an understatement—I’d basically had to sleep off the fatigue for at least a day or so. Even now, I felt as if I were just getting over a terrible flu.

“How is this different?” Drake repeated, obviously put out.