by José Pablo Iriarte
José Iriarte is a Cuban-American writer and high school math teacher living in EPCOT with his wife Lisa and their two teenage kids. His fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Strange Horizons, Fantastic Stories of the Imagination, Penumbra, and Fireside Fiction. Learn more at his website: http://www.labyrinthrat.com.
Ray LaSalle paused outside Aunt Liz’s room with his hand on the knob. Time for the old lady to start earning her keep again, stroke or no stroke.
“Right through here,” he said to the reporter from Spirit of Hereafter. “When you see what we can do, you’ll tell your readers that Asheville’s most famous medium is back.”
He swung the door open and led her inside. Late afternoon light filtered in through the lone window and fell on the bed in bright orange bands. He pulled a matchbook from his pocket and lit a number of candles about the room.
At the reporter’s raised eyebrow, he shrugged and said, “Candlelight seems more appropriate for a séance. Even one as … unusual as this.”
It also helped hide the shabbiness of the furnishings.
The reporter — Sharon Something-or-other — didn’t seem inclined to notice anyway. She clutched her purse to her body and turned in a slow circle, taking everything in as though she were in a shrine. Her gaze finally came to rest on the bed against the center of the far wall.
“I can’t believe I’m standing in the same room as the Elizabeth LaSalle,” she murmured.
Ray bit his lip to keep from grinning.
“Is it just the two of you living here then?”
“Uh huh.” Ray nodded absently.
“Does she know we’re here?” Sharon asked.
Ray glanced at his aunt’s inert body. “Absolutely.”
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