Before Mrs. Partridge could answer, Cassie felt bile building in her throat. She took a step backwards and knocked into a kitchen chair. All eyes turned to her. She blushed. “I’m sorry. Do you have a bathroom I could use?”
“Sure.” Mrs. Partridge pointed past her. “Down the hall. Last door on your right.”
Cassie fled the room. As soon as she made it to the bathroom and shut the door behind her, her stomach erupted and she found herself puking into a stranger’s toilet. As terrible as she felt, all she could hope for was that no one heard her.
After she’d emptied her stomach of the day’s contents, she flushed the toilet and washed out her mouth with water from the faucet. The sour smell had dissipated, and now she only smelled the onions, along with the pleasant aroma of sauce.
Cassie closed her eyes and shook her head. The pungent odor had come and gone just as quick, but it had been enough to send her running to the bathroom. Was something wrong with her, or with the house?
She looked to the mirror, hoping she didn’t appear as sweaty and pale as she felt.
She wasn’t alone.
Cassie whipped around and met empty air. When she turned back to the mirror, the figure stood just over her shoulder. She was a slender woman with dark hair and vibrant eyes. She did look just like Tamara.
“Susanna?” Cassie whispered.
The woman smiled.
Cassie looked over her shoulder again, but there was still no one behind her. She turned back to the mirror. “Why are you in there?”
Fair enough, Cassie thought. The ways of the spirit world were still unknown to her. Ghosts could show up in a myriad of ways. They could communicate in the strangest of fashions. It was hard on some days, but she’d learned to accept what came.
“You want me to tell your sister something?”
“Can you speak?”
Susanna opened her mouth and moved her lips, but Cassie couldn’t hear a single word. The mirror, for whatever reason, was a barrier between them. The woman on the other side frowned.
“I don’t suppose you know sign language?” Cassie shook her head. “Not that it matters. I don’t know sign language.”
Susanna paused for a moment, and then she slowly and deliberately held her stomach and looked like she was in pain. Cassie felt the echo of her upset stomach before it vanished again just as quickly.
“Is she sick?” Cassie’s eyes widened. “Oh my God, is she pregnant?”
Susanna leveled her with a glare.
“Right, right. Too old for that. So, she’s sick?”
“Something to do with her stomach?”
Susanna nodded again, but this time looked annoyed.
“Just want to be clear.” Cassie wracked her brain. “Ulcer?”
A shake of the head.
Susanna froze. Then she slowly nodded her head.