“I’m sorry,” said Ruby Florence. “Everything I know, I learned from a ghost next door. We would speak through the walls. When the hotel burned, he disappeared. I haven’t had contact with anything since. It’s been almost fifty years.”
Harper bit her lip. She stole a glance out of the window. “I understand,” she allowed. “Maybe it was too much for me to hope for that we’d stumble across some magic bullet.”
“If we can delay the crew until five, they’ll go home for the night. That’ll buy us some time,” said Harper as she turned away from the window.
But movement outside caught her eye. She ducked back towards the blinds and peered through. “It’s the police,” she told the ghost. “Gretz wasn’t kidding.”
“They’ll come in,” said the ghost. “They’ll come in and drag you out.”
It appeared that the ghost’s words were correct. Soon there were several cruisers parked outside the store, and Harper watched as a line of officers approached the building.
“I need to hide,” Harper told Ruby Florence.
“We can do that,” the ghost confirmed with a grim smile. “Follow me.”
Harper was led upstairs to a small room that had been used as an office. A large cabinet dominated the space.
“In here,” Ruby Florence directed, pointing with the same hand that held her head. “There is a secret compartment.”
Harper ran to the cabinet, but the ghost moved to block her path.
“No,” said Ruby Florence. “Tap twice on the floorboard in the far corner.”
Harper followed the instructions and a section of the floor dropped down and slid aside. There was a space underneath, just big enough for a person. Harper wasted no time climbing down and replacing the hatch. She looked up through a small knothole and saw the ghost’s face directly above her.
“They won’t find you there,” said the ghost. “But I intend for them to find me.”
Then she disappeared.
“Wait!” Harper called. “I thought we were in this together!”
There was no reply from the ghost, and Harper heard the police break through the downstairs door.