Ghost Story: Double-Edged Sword


Mike Spera

"What'cha doin'?"

The Artificer looked away from his work and down at the soot-stained little girl that stood next to him, barely as high as his hip. She stood with a smile on her face as she looked at Miguel, waiting for the answer.

Miguel quickly searched his brain for the name of the new Guild member. She was... Sherry. No, Shirley. She was a brand new recruit that made dolls mostly, an innocent little girl that was unaware of how dark the Shadowlands could be. Her smile was a beacon of light in the bleak existence of the Underworld, her happy-go-lucky presence was like a gift from God to make anyone's afterlife a little more carefree.

"Well," he said, answering the girl's seemingly unyeilding curiosity, "Right now I'm working on something that a Harbinger brought to me. It's a special sword."

Shirley's eyes widened in awe. "Wow! Can I see it?"

Miguel carefully took the sword out of the fire by its hilt and lowered it to the girl's eye level so she could see. "Careful, sweetie, it's hot, so don't touch it."

The girl gave no response that she had even heard the man's advice, she was too fascinated by the 4 foot long double-edged sword.

"Wow," Shirley mouthed, but was too stunned to actually say the word. "Where did you get it?" She asked, looking up at Miguel.

"A Harbinger brought it to me. He wants me to fix it up for him."

"Where'd HE get it, then?" Shirley inquired. She was a very curious child.

"Somewhere in the Tempest. He was going somewhere and just saw it floating around the air with all the other junk the Tempest throws around. He almost didn't see it."

"So you're fixin' it for him?"


"When's he gonna pick it up?"

"Well, when I finish it I'm bringing it back to my haunt. He's going to meet me there later tonight and pick it up."

She turned her eyes back to the double-edged sword. "It's a good sword. I wonder if it belongs to somebody."

Miguel shrugged as he lifted the sword up and placed it back in the fire. "Well, my friend found it, so it's his. Anything that anybody finds in the Tempest is finders-keepers."

"What is someone's lookin' for it though? What if they lost it and they need it?"

"Well, I guess they'll just have to get another sword. If you lost one of your dolls and couldn't find it, would you keep looking or just make another one?" Miguel asked.

Shirley pouted as she thought for a moment. "I guess that they could get another one, but taking other people's stuff isn't nice, Miguel."

Miguel knelt down eye-to-eye with the girl. "Shirley, people lose things. It's a fact of life. You're young so might not understand, but when you lose something, it's gone. You should look for it, yes, but you shouldn't look for it forever. Eventually, if you can't find it, you just get a new one. If the person that lost this really needs a sword, I'm sure he wouldn't gotten a new one by now. So the lost sword would belong to whoever found it."

"I guess," was all Shirley said. "Well, I gotta go back to makin' my dolls. I just wanted to take a break and talk to someone."

Miguel got back to his feet. "Well, it was nice talking to you. Come back to talk anytime, sweetheart."

Shirley just smiled at him, blew him a kiss, and scampered away and back to her own work space. She scuttled past all the other people hunched over this or that. She had all ready talked to them, but they didn't have what she was looking for, Miguel did. Shirley went to her own workspace, arranged everything so it would be nice and neat when she returned the next day, and headed out the door.

Shirley ran down the street as fast as she could, and entered the playground that she called home. There was a darkly dressed man sitting on a swing, the sound of the rusty chains screeched and squeaked through the windless air. The little girl ran up to the playground, then slowed down as she walked across the sand. If she ran, she would get sand in her shoes, and Shirley hated that.

The dirty little girl walked up to the man on the swing and smiled. "I found it." she said. The man immediately stopped swinging and stood up.

"You did? Where? Where is it?"

"There's a man named Miguel in my guild workshop. He has it. He says that a friend of his found it in the Tempest and gave it to him to fix up. Miguel is gonna fix the sword up, then meet the Harbinger at his haunt and give it to him there."

"When?" asked the man impatiently.

"Miguel's fixin' it now and he said his friend is gonna stop by his haunt tonight and get it."

"You know where his haunt is?"

"Yeah. You know on the street next to this one?" Shirley asked as she pointed west.

"Uh-huh," the man said, nodding.

"Well, it's on that street. It's the house that burned down a long time ago. Number 7, I think."

"Yeah, I know which house you're talking about. Thanks kid. Here. Here's the gift that I promised." The man reached into his pants pocket and withdrew a tiny black dress, a red skirt, and a bikini top.

Shirley's eyes widened as she saw what was in his hand. "Wow! I can have these? These are awesome!" She took the clothes out of the man's hand. "Now my two naked dolls have clothes! Wow, thanks a ton, mister!"

Shirley giggled with excitement as she took the clothes and ran off and under the slide, where she kept her dolls hidden and played with them.

The man watched the sweet, innocent youth run off the play with her toys, and smiled to himself. Happiness like that was rare in the Shadowlands. After admiring the joy of the little girl for a moment, he turned his gaze west, towards Park Street. He started off of the sandy playground and towards the house that had burned down in the early 90's. The man was truly grateful that he knew an insider, a double agent, a girl that was sweet, but at the same time not as naive as she seemed.

In a way, he had two double-edged swords.