The Virgin Ghostess
By Ogunsola Ayobami Samuel
Once it sinks in that kate has just given her permission to possess her, Julia bounds over to give Kate a giant bear hug, squealing in delight. Kate stands there stiffly with her fists clenched, while Julia lifts her up and calls her pretty, and declares that they should be friendly now: “Call me aunty !”
Julia shows her Dad’s restaurant from across the street and says that it might not look like much now, but used to have lines of cab drivers out the door every day. She sighs that if she’d known she’d die so young, she would’ve done more, had a boyfriend, lived like everyone else.
Kate asks why she died, but Julia doesn’t know since she has no memory of her death. Julia asks in turn why she suddenly changed her mind, and Kate admits that she used to be satisfied just watching julius from far away, but now she wants more.
Julia encourages her to keep wanting more from life, and to stop holding everything in: “Live like a person, Kate !” She says that they’re one body now, and eggs kate on to be more assertive.
In the morning, it’s definitely Julia inside kate’s body, because the first thing she does is sidle up to julius and ask, “I read this in a magazine somewhere—is it true that a man is most… vital between ten and eleven in the morning? she actually looks right at his crotch while asking the question. He hurriedly crosses his legs, which just makes her convinced that it IS true.
Bella is mortified to remember her impulsive drunken kiss with julius as she heads to work, and julius picks up his phone to call her, but hesitates.
The restaurant will be closed for the next two days, and kitchen staff excitedly discusses their vacation plans. chef Mike seems at a loss for what to do, not that he lets on—he keeps asking what the others are doing, wanting to tag along. Julia is happy to learn that they have vacation days, and when she pushes Mike out of the way, the boys decide she’s back to being weird.
Mike calls his buddy and erupts in a whiny tantrum when his friend says he can’t get the next two days off to hang out. The others listen warily and agree to avoid Mike before he invites himself along on one of their vacations, and it works… until he goes straight to julius to suggest a staff retreat.
The others are horrified at the thought of spending their precious days off with their boss but can’t voice their dissent now, and agree through gritted teeth. Julia chirps that she thinks it’s a great idea, and at that, julius says they’ll go.
Julia watches intently as julius answers a call from Bella . She says she’ll head over to his neighborhood for a chat, and when he heads out to meet her, Julia trails after him thinking she’s being stealthy.
He calls her out from behind a potted plant and tells her to go home, and she swears that she wasn’t following him, but going to the neighborhood restaurant to see her friend (dad) . He makes her walk ahead of him then, and she grumbles.
Bella looks nervous as she starts to mention last night, but julius jumps in to say that she must’ve had so much to drink that she can’t remember a thing. She looks partly relieved to be let off the hook but mostly disappointed.
Julia brings drinks over to Dad and ignores little bro Alex’s complaints about the last time that she pretended not to know them. She makes sure that Dad is still exercising and says she can’t go for the next few days because of her retreat.
Alex suddenly reacts like a jealous boyfriend, worried that she’ll be spending nights away with a bunch of guys, and tells her not to bare too much skin or put on lipstick, and to call him every night so that he doesn’t worry. Julia just looks at him like he’s got a screw loose.
Julius calls his brother-in-law John out for a drink, and sighs that he wished Lisa would join them on the retreat. He wanted to insist she come along, but she didn’t want to be a burden. Julius remembers how much she used to love going on trips, and asks if it’s too late to hope for any progress on her hit-and-run case.
John says too much time has passed for that, but assures julius that Lisa has him now, so it’s okay. Julius is appeased by that, and John lets his smile fade for a split-second when julius isn’t looking.
Julia steps out of kate’s body that night so that she can update her on what’s going on, and kate is a little shocked at Julia’s plan to seduce julius at the retreat, but quickly starts throwing out ideas for how to get it done.
Kate says she’ll have to get a separate room and she’ll go buy a new slip to wear, and Julia stares at her in shock. They high-five, giddy with excitement.
The Sun staff arrives at the lakeside pension, where the owners greet them warmly. Their young daughter(prissy) joins them and points over at Kate and asks, “Why is there another aunty inside that aunty ?”Julia plays dumb, and the parents hurry the girl away.
They start to unload the cars, and Mike stacks so many boxes in julia’s arms that she can’t even see over the top of them. Felix takes them from her and complains that Mike is treating her badly.
Mike gets mad at Felix for daring to talk back, and asks if he’s kate’s boyfriend or something. Felix: “What, are boyfriends the only ones allowed to talk back? Fine, I’ll be her boyfriend then!”
Julia gasps and skips off after him, calling him “Boyfriend,” and playfully declaring that today is the first day of their relationship. Julius pretends like it doesn’t affect him, but he suddenly looks so glum.
They grill out by the lake, and julius suggests a survival cooking game where the winner gets to put a dish on next month’s menu and gets two days off. They all make a mad dash for ingredients and start creating their dishes, and when Julia gets praised for her knife skills, julius puffs up to hear her say she has a really great teacher.
Julius announces that the finalists are Felix and Mike, and the others clearly favor Felix ’s dish because they recognize that Mike’s is almost identical to something they serve at their restaurant.
They drumroll as they wait for julius’s verdict. The outcome seems obvious, except when julius sees Julia chanting Felix name and cheering for him so affectionately, he calls out Mike’s name instead as the winner.
Everyone except Mike is confused, and even julius knows he’s talking out of his ass when he explains why Mike’s dish was better.
The mood is lively after many rounds of drinks, and julius heads out to go buy more liquor when they run out. Julia sneaks off to join him, and says she’s here to protect him from virgin ghosts. Julius : “Who’s protecting whom? You’re the most dangerous thing here.”
He’s confused when she insists on taking a bicycle, and the ghost-seeing girl(prissy) watches them from around the corner with a mischievous look in her eye. It’s doubly confusing when Julia gets so frustrated at his slowness that she takes over, suddenly riding a bike like it’s no big deal. Him riding in the back makes for a funny visual too.
It’s dark by the time they’re heading back, and Julia says that it used to be her dream to move to the country and open up a tiny restaurant. Julius says she could still do that, but she says it’s too late, refusing to elaborate on why.
She notices that his shoelace is untied, so she stoops down to retie it using her special knot that never comes undone. He gets all quiet and awkward while she does it, and agrees that it won’t come undone easily.
She links her arm through his and declares their sneakers couple shoes now, and refuses to let go knowing that he has his hands occupied walking the bike. He tells her to stop crawling up on him, so she actually starts climbing him like a tree, which is when Bella suddenly calls out to them. What? Okay, you are officially a killjoy now .
Bella says she was in the area on a location scout and thought she’d drop by, and julia makes no effort to hide her distaste for her, muttering loudly that companies sure are lax on their employees these days.
The guys are happy to see Bella and welcome her eagerly, much to Julia annoyance. It turns out that Drunk Felix is like the Cookie Monster but for liquor, and has to be put to bed before he embarrasses himself further.
The girls have to share a room after all that, making for a very tense night. Julia wonders passive-aggressively why Bella came all this way just to join in on someone else’s work retreat, and Bella counters that she can’t understand why she (referring to Kate still posssesd by Julia) lives in that storage room in the restaurant.
Julia : “Why are you so interested in where I sleep?” Bella : “Why are you so bothered by my being here?” They lie down in a huff, then spend the bulk of the night making sure the other one doesn’t sneak out, and trying to stay awake and outlast the other.
The night wears on, and Bella finally falls asleep first, giving Julia the chance to sneak into julius room. She goes straight for his bed and snuggles up in his arms, and though she startles him awake, it’s not like he makes a move to un-snuggle her or anything.
When he drags her up again, she asks loudly if he has some kind of prejudice against sex, and he clamps a hand over her mouth and wonders if he needs to take her to the hospital again.
They head outside when they hear the pension owners calling out for their daughter, who’s gone missing. The mother says that she’s not right in the head (insane) and worries that she’ll cause trouble again. Julius and Julia help search for her, and Julia finds her in the woods, talking to someone (an invisible someone) about finding the kids.
She takes off in a run and Julia chases her all the way to a cold storage warehouse, where the little girl locks her inside because she’s a ghost. She skips off back to her parents, and then julius goes off in search of her .
Julia decides that they can’t just sit here and freeze, so she ejects herself from Kate and tells her that she’ll figure something out. She passes through the wall and tries to focus all her energy on lifting the lock, but can’t manage it because it’s so heavy. But then she notices the firecracker and lighter that she dropped on the way in, and succeeds in picking up the lighter.
By now two hours have passed, julius gets everyone else up to help look for Kate. Mike complains about being dragged out in the middle of the night, and julius snaps at him that one of their family is missing.
He’s at his wit’s end, when suddenly the firecracker goes off in the distance. Julius knows right away that it’s Kate and takes off in a mad dash. He finds the lit firecracker but no one around, and Julia dashes back into the warehouse to get back in kate’s body and call out for help.
He pries the door open and grabs her in a fierce hug, awash in relief. She’s startled and says she’s okay, and the other boys all dash in behind him. Julius suddenly barks at her, all of his worry coming out in one long angry rant: “Are you crazy?! Were you thinking at all? What are you doing in here? Why would you come in here? I told you not to be so careless! Why don’t you listen to me?!”
She starts to make excuses, but he tells her there’s no way she’s okay after being trapped in here for two hours, and takes off his sweater to put around her shoulders. Felix suggests getting her out of here and offers to piggyback her, but julius stoops down to put her on his back first, and carries her out.
He mutters that her body is too cold for her to be fine, and the rest of the guys trudge along behind them, wondering how that firecracker went off by itself and why julius is so mad. Mike speculates that he must’ve been upset about the possible hospital bill, while felix looks over at julius and Kate with a knowing look.
Bella paces outside waiting for news, but when julius returns, he just walks right past her. They pack up and say their goodbyes in the morning, and the little girl waves goodbye to the Julia -inside-the-Kate , and Julia tells her not to cause any more trouble. Bella asks julius for a ride to the broadcast station, and finally gets some time alone with him.
At the police station, john’s colleague asks when his birthday is, because he might have a really great present for him. He announces that he found a top-notch technician to take another stab at fixing the broken CCTV from the time of Lisa’s hit-and-run, and John looks taken aback. He stops the other cop from calling julius and says he’ll call directly, and the friend heads out to go pick up the hard drive.
Julius drops Bella off at work, and she finally asks if he isn’t curious why she came all the way to his retreat. She guesses that he is curious but just afraid to ask, because he already knows what she’s going to say. She asks if the reason he’s drawing a line between them has anything to do with Kate , and when he hesitates to answer, she takes it back, regretting having asked.
John’s cop friend picks up the repaired hard drive, and then finds that his car suddenly won’t start. He gets out to look under the hood, when someone attacks him from behind, knocking him unconscious (or dead?), and smashes the hard drive underfoot.
Julia paces nervously, wondering if Julia is taking so long to get back because Bella is up to no good. She’s relieved when he returns, though less excited when he wants to go right back to the kitchen for more cooking lessons.
She complies for a while, but when she starts to complain about not feeling well, julius is worried enough to stop their lesson. He tells her to clean up, and she brightens up immediately. She stops to ask him why he got so mad last night, and he tenses up to be asked so openly.
She asks again but he can’t say anything in response, and he finally blurts that he didn’t want her causing accidents at the pension too. He snaps at her to clean up and stop asking questions, looking rattled at his own feelings.
Julia comes back with the hose but loses her grip on it when more water shoots out than she expected, and they both get doused before julius runs out to turn the water off. It’s not the most inventive trope, but now I see why Mom warned him to stay away from water.
He grabs towels and tells her to come closer so he can dry her off. With his arms around her and almost no space between them, the air shifts, and Julia actually gets a little shy and backs away.
Julius stares at her intently for a long moment before yanking on the towel around her back, and pulls her in for a kiss.
He kisses her again and again, and then suddenly… julia takes a step back, out of kate’s body. Kate eyes widen to find herself mid-kiss with julius , as Julia backs away from them.
To be continued……
Ogunsola Ayobami Samuel is a blogger, writer, poet, and teacher. He attended Baptist High school from 2010-2013 and graduated from Kinsey College of Education Ilorin 2018, still hoping to have his first degree in English.
He sees writing and teaching as the best channel to reach out to the world.
The Virgin Ghostess is his first story to be written, though he had written different poems such as
The peaceful war
This too shall come to pass
We are African
Why did he
Tribute to Adeleke Rachel Tioluwani