As he walked along the balcony that overlooked the street, Grant Joche tested the railing by gripping it and pulling on it. It seemed secure.
"This is a beautiful place" he commented. The woman walking behind him, stepped to his right, and leaned on the railing, looking down. The real estate agent was professionally dressed with a power suit on. Diamond earrings adorned her ears. There were several people walking along the sidewalk and coming in and out of various stores. A little boy rode his bike, directly under Grant.
"That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you," Loretta Martin said. "You’d be a fool not to take it."
"This is the perfect place for me. I’ve been out of the area for awhile, and I am just getting back, you know? I left in such a hurry. Family matter. I just picked up and left, and have just now returned to the area. I love this town."
"Well, you should definitely love this place. Equal distance from the university, and downtown Charlottesville, this is a great location. The local transit goes right in front of this place, twice an hour."
Well, this is what I want to know." Grant said, turning around, and leaning back against the railing. "With such a great place, and a killer price why is this place still on the market? I mean it’s been up for what, three months?"
Loretta sighed. This was always the rough part, where everything fell apart and hopes were dashed.
"Well, it is a great place, and as you said the price is unreal."
"Well, a lot of people have been driven away because the place is reputed to be haunted."
Grant stared at her, his face betraying no emotion. "Really?"
"Yeah..I’m not sure if it’s true, and it might be just a bunch of garbage, but it’s supposedly been haunted by the ghost of a woman that died on her honeymoon."
"Hey, I’m not saying it’s true, that’s just what I’m told. And when people ask, I have to tell them, otherwise it gets out that I’m not a truthful real estate agent. And my rep is all I got, you know?"
Grant clicked his tongue and nodded. "In a world like this in which you can’t trust anything, your word IS all you have. I’d like to hear about this ghost business a bit, if you don’t mind."
"You’re not buying are you?" Loretta asked, her voice already sounding sad.
"Never fear, I don’t make snap judgments. I want to hear all of the case, before laying out my verdict."
Loretta walked with Grant back into the loft and shut the balcony doors. "Well, it supposedly happened, like, ten years ago. A couple had just gotten married, and had come back here for their wedding night. The guy had everything planned out, from what I hear. Candles were lit, the oversized mattress on the floor, rose petals, soft music, the works."
"Wish I could find a guy like that," Loretta lamented. "So, they came back here and apparently surprised some burglars. They walked in, him carrying her and there are these guys going through their belongings."
"That had to be an uncomfortable meeting." Grant said.
"To say the least. From what I was told, the guys attacked the groom, and left him near death in a coma. The woman they had their way with and then killed her."
"Why leave the guy alive? I mean, a comatose witness is still a witness."
"I don’t know, I just know what I’m told. The guy was in a coma for nearly six months. His wife had been buried shortly after the incident. The guy wakes up and freaks out. He starts attacking anyone he can grab. Of course after six months in a coma, the guy wasn’t much of a threat. They tie him down, and after a week ship him to Eastern for some thorough studying if you know what I mean."
"So he can’t accept his wife’s death. He doesn’t believe it, he thinks she’s still out there at home waiting for him, or something. The doctors of course realize this guy is nuttier than a fruitcake and decides he needs to have some vacation time. On them. So he’s admitted and from all I know he may still be there. If he hasn’t died, I hear weird stories about what goes on in those places."
"So this couple gets married, before they can consummate their relationship he’s beaten half to death, she’s raped and killed and now her ghost haunts this place? What, does his ghost haunt Eastern?"
"Look, laugh all you want, I hear it’s true. I hear she walks around here and scares the bejeezus out of the last four or five tenants. One guy didn’t even mind. I hear they played cards together, or something. If that’s even possible. Supposedly it’s always at eight pm she shows up."
"Eight pm every night? At least she’s punctual. So what happened to the guys? The attackers I mean. Did they catch them, or did they skip free?" Grant asked.
"Well," Loretta said, "I think two of them had been arrested, and the third guy killed himself before they could get a hold of him. Seems he didn’t want to go to prison."
"Well, hopefully they don’t have bars on his suite in Hell."
The two sat there for a few moments not saying anything. Grant looked around and sighed.
"Look," Grant said. "I’ll take the place. Do I get a ghost rate? I mean you can’t sell this place to save your life. How bout throwing in a toaster or something?"
Loretta smiled, "Not a chance Grant. Take it or leave it. I know you want it. I can tell it by looking at you."
"Yeah, I want it. It’s nice, great location, hell of a good price, and let’s face it…ghosts are hard to come by."
They chuckled a bit at that, and then Loretta stood up. "I’ll draw up the papers and bring them by in the morning." She reached into her bag and pulled out a manila envelope. "Here are the keys, and some information about the area. Little something to help you get around, you know?"
"Much obliged, m’lady."
"No problem. I’ll see you in the morning." Loretta said, walking out the door. Grant heard the door close and sat back on the sofa. He stretched his legs out and exhaled. He looked at his watch. 6:30. Beside the watch, he noticed the white plastic band that bore his name and a seven digit number after it.
He stared at it for a few minutes, before pulling a pocket knife out and slicing it off. He held it up and looked at it before tossing it in a garbage can that sat beside the end table. He then rubbed the red mark around his wrist where the band had been for the past six years. It was good to have it off.
Another hour and a half. He exhales again, as he begins to sing. "Reunited, and it feels so good."