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The Future is Deadly: A Supernatural Sunglasses Story © 2018 by Foxglove Lee

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system.

This is a work of fiction. Names, places, characters and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to any actual persons, living or dead, organizations, events or locales is entirely coincidental.

Cover design © 2018 Foxglove Lee

First Edition January 2018

The Future is Deadly

A Supernatural Sunglasses Story

Queer Ghost Stories

By Foxglove Lee

Chapter One

“My Aunt Margaret meant a great deal to me,” Nancy-Ann said as she picked up her purse, ready to leave. “You’ll get the best prices possible on all her belongings?”

“Most assuredly,” Tucker told her. He was always super-formal with clients until he got to know them a little better. If he got to know them a little better.

Often their clients were surprised when two black guys in their twenties showed up at the door. Was this some kind of scam? Bait and switch? One client had gone so far as to say, “You didn’t sound black on the phone.” Of course they’d done such a top-notch job, that client had set them up with no fewer than five new leads in a single calendar year, and they were still getting phone calls from people who’d been referred by the man. So you never know.

“Everybody says you’re the best,” Nancy-Ann went on. “You and—Bobo, is it?”

“Boo-Boo,” Tucker corrected her. “Like from Yogi Bear. You remember that cartoon?”

The blond woman laughed, tossing her head back for emphasis. She had lots of crinkly lines around her eyes that made her look older when she was happy than she did when she was sad.

I remember that cartoon,” she said. “Of course I do. I’m surprised that you remember it. Goodness, I have shoes older than you are, darling.”

Comments about his youth always got Tucker a little huffy, and Nancy-Ann must have noticed the change in his demeanour, because she quickly said, “Boo-Boo—he’s your… your partner, you mentioned?”

“Partner in business, partner in life,” Tucker replied as he walked her to her car. “Been together since we were seventeen.”

“Well, isn’t that nice?” Nancy-Ann said, though her smile seemed a little plastic. “Oh! I almost forgot: I had a spare set of keys made for you so you can come and go as you please.” As she fished them out of her purse, she asked, “You’re sure you’ll be able to organize an entire estate sale in a week? Aunt Margaret had a ton of belongings. There’s so much to sort through. Goodness, I’d be at it forever and a day.”

Tucker shrugged. “This is what we do for a living. We’re experts in our field.”

“No arguments here,” Nancy-Ann said, her smile warming as she opened her car door. “You feel free to call me with any questions you might have. Okay? I mean it, any day, any time. And if I don’t hear from you before the weekend, I’ll at least see you at the sale.”

“We’ll handle your aunt’s belongings with the greatest care and respect,” he assured her.

Nancy-Ann had just started yanking her seatbelt across her chest when that sentiment seemed to hit her head-on. She stopped, staring blankly through the windshield. She then snapped the seatbelt into the clicker and looked up at Tucker.

“Thank you,” she said, looking almost perplexed. “Thank you. I believe you will take care. The greatest care.”

He gave her a slight nod before closing her car door and stepping back. She gave a wave, he gave a wave, and when she backed out of the driveway, Tucker nearly jumped out of his Gucci Ravello derby shoes.

Why did he jump? Because of the lady hanging out by the fence.

On the other side of the fence, that is. Not standing on Aunt Margaret’s lawn. This woman was in her own front yard, both arms folded casually between the tall pickets, both hands crossed on one point, her chin settled quaintly on her knuckles. Head tilted, smiling faintly, eavesdropping shamelessly.

Tucker hadn’t noticed her there while he was chatting with Nancy-Ann. It was like she’d appeared out of thin air.

She had the kind of hair you don’t see too often these days—not on white ladies, that’s for sure. One of those styles that required sleeping with a multitude of curlers attached to one’s head. Gave her an old-fashioned air, making Tucker feel like he was communing directly with someone from the fifties.

Clutching his chest, he said, “Sorry to have jumped, ma’am. I didn’t see you there.”

“Clearing out Margaret’s place, are you?” the neighbour lady pried.

“Yes, yes I am. The name’s Tucker. My partner and I operate a business called Tea and Bee Estate Sales. We come in after a relative has died and allocate items to various markets. For instance, there are some things we know we’ll get a better price for online, and so we’ll create an online listing. On occasion, a well-respected auction is the answer. But that process is very time-consuming. That’s why we rely on a good old-fashioned—not to mention expertly marketed—estate sale to clear out the majority of the physical assets. Here, have a card. That’s my cell on there. We’re always accepting new clients.”

Waving it away, the lady said, “Oh, I don’t know anyone who’s died lately.”

“That’s the thing about death,” Tucker went on, approaching the fence with his business card in hand. “Sometimes you don’t see it coming.”

Still, the lady wouldn’t take it. “I’m sure the family would handle all the clearing out. You all probably charge an arm and a leg, anyhow.”

“Our fees are surprisingly reasonable, when you consider the expertise we bring to the table.”

The lady smiled serenely. She wouldn’t take the card. But Tucker somewhat understood. Some people felt it was inauspicious to take any steps at all that involved dealing with death. Even things like writing a will. Some people felt it was bad luck.

So he gave up the push, but he did ask the lady, “Did you know Margaret when she was alive?”

“Oh yes,” the woman said, brightening considerably. “Nice enough lady. Kept to herself toward the end, just her in that big house. But I remember, when I first moved in here, all sorts of people stopping by. In the nighttime, if you catch my drift.”

This information piqued Tucker’s interest tremendously. “Are you saying Aunt Margaret was a… fille de joie, shall we say?”

The lady behind the fence squinted. “Well, I don’t know what you mean by that, but I’m saying she had folks around for séances and such.”

“Oh!” That’s not at all where Tucker’s mind had naturally gone. Working with dead people’s earthly belongings, you’d think he’d have some experience with the supernatural, but that wasn’t the case at all. And, in truth, he wasn’t all that interested in reflected on the afterlife.

“Not that I was ever invited,” the neighbour lady went on. “I was just a young bride at the time. Wouldn’t have interested me anyway.”

Just then, a bright red hot rod came zooming down the quiet residential street, making enough noise to wake the dead. Tucker wasn’t sure what kind of car it was, only that it was from another era.

His eyebrows must have gone up, because the lady across the fence said, “There’s a man two streets over fixes ‘em up, old cars like that. He’s always racing by, all hours of the day and night.”

“I’m not what you’d call a car guy,” Tucker replied. “I think the only car I could recognize would be a pink Cadillac. But I’ve got to admit, there’s something intriguing about the older models.”

The lady didn’t respond, except with a slight “harrumph” under her breath.

“Are there any items of Margaret’s we should keep an eye out for?” Tucker asked her. “Anything you would have liked for yourself?”

“Nah, I ain’t got no use for much of anything, these days.”

“All right, then. I should see how my partner is making out. Nice meeting you…?”

“Betty,” the woman said.

He was about to extend a hand, but she’d already backed away from the fence.

“Nice to meet you, Betty.”

“I’ll be seeing you around,” she replied as she headed toward the house.

Chapter Two

Boo-Boo was hard at work in the basement. Despite his fear of spiders and other creepy-crawlies, basements were always his favourite place to begin. That’s where the treasures were stashed. In the case of Margaret Dumas, an antique roll-top desk, quite a few impressive oil paintings, and a magnificent marble urn so big you could hide a body in there.

Tucker joined him in listing and tagging items, but basements gave him the heebie-jeebies. And not just because of the spiders.

“I think I’ll try my luck in the bedrooms,” he said.

Boo-Boo raised a pierced eyebrow. “Oh you will, will you?”

With a smirk, Tucker replied, “Let me know when you get hungry. We’ll order in.”

“I’m good for a couple hours. Then I’m thinking sushi?”

Tucker took leave of his partner in work and play, climbed one staircase and then another until he found himself in Norma Desmond land.

He loved this sort of bedroom, bursting with Art Deco furnishings and design elements. Everything here was from days gone by, even the jewellery set out on the mirrored dresser. He picked up a set of pearl cluster earrings—clip-ons!—and tried them out on his fleshy lobes. Not a bad look! The rings were too small. All he could do was fit them onto his pinkies. But a string of beads fits any neck, and Tucker didn’t hesitate giving those a whirl. Same with the silk turban, something that would have been terribly chic in the thirties.

How old was Margaret Dumas when she died? She must have lived to be a hundred!

Tucker slipped a pair of sunglasses from the mirrored dresser. He’d never seen a pair as old as these: gold-rimmed, thin frames, dark round lenses. What would these babies go for on the open market? He’d have to put a call in to Frederique, their contact in the film industry. A costumier, to be exact. A former lover of Boo-Boo’s to be even more exact. But he was incredibly knowledgeable and they wound up selling him a decent amount of vintage rhinestone jewellery. The money aspect helped to keep Tucker’s jealousy in check.

He put on the glasses to complete his impressive ensemble, but they weren’t terribly comfortable—poked him behind the ears, actually. They looked a little strange, more the sort of specs you’d see on a mad scientist, and unlike anything you’d find today. But collectors loved the unusual, and these were certainly that.

Turning away from his reflection, Tucker crossed the darkened bedroom. The drapes were open and afternoon light filtered in from outside, but these sunglasses really cut it down to size, made the room feel mystic and moony.

Hadn’t the neighbour-lady, Betty, said Aunt Margaret used to conduct séances in the home? He’d have to poke around, see if he could dig up any of the accoutrements that went along with such things. Although, who knows? They might have all held hands around a table while burning candles. You didn’t really need a lot of stuff to hold a séance.

Or it could just be neighbourhood gossip.

Tucker stared out the bedroom window, feeling like he was very high up in the air. What a tall house this must be. That, or the sunglasses had altered his perspective somehow. It had certainly altered his ability to see colour. When he looked out into the street, the world seemed almost black and white, with only the slightest tint of green to the grass, the slightest tint of blue to Betty’s dress as she stepped out into the street.

Tucker waved, but she obviously didn’t see him. She was facing the other way.

And then out of nowhere, another old-fashioned car came tearing down the street. Despite the black-and-whiteness of the world, he could make out the tint of pink in its paint. A pink Cadillac… speeding down the street!

“Betty!” Tucker cried out. He banged on the bedroom window. “Betty, look out! It’s coming right at you!”

Screech, thud, crash!

The Cadillac collided with Betty hard enough to send the poor woman soaring into the air. Her legs flew at an angle, more like a crash test dummy than an actual human. Her torso smashed the windscreen before rolling off the far side of the vehicle, but that didn’t stop the driver from speeding away, leaving Betty’s body in a tangled heap at the side of the road.

Tucker couldn’t see her face from this angle, but he didn’t need to see it. Dark liquid pooled like oil beneath her head. Her body was so contorted he knew she couldn’t possibly have survived the crash, and yet a part of him must have held out hope because he sped from the bedroom.

Why was this hallway so dark?

He struggled out of the sunglasses before chancing the staircase.

“Boo-Boo!” he cried as he ran downstairs. “Boo, come help! Call an ambulance! Call the police! Get up here, come help me with—”

Tucker tore open the front door and saw… nothing.

No body in the road.

No pool of fresh blood.

No Betty.

He stepped outside in Aunt Margaret’s finery, and walked across the lawn while Boo-Boo rushed through the door. “Whazzamatter, Tuck? What… what… what are you wearing?”

Tucker turned away from the road, and then quickly turned back in case the vision was somehow playing hide-and-seek with his vision.

Still nothing.

Boo-Boo’s amusement turned to concern. “What happened to you? Looks like you’ve seen a ghost.”

Opening his hand slightly, Tucker glanced at the sunglasses lying on his palm. “Worse than that,” he told Boo-Boo. “I think I just got a glimpse into the future.”

Chapter Three

They both agreed it was time for a break. Tucker was shaking too hard to handle delicate materials, anyway. So Boo-Boo brewed a pot of tea in Aunt Margaret’s kitchen. Tucker hugged his cup tight while he told his partner what he’d seen: the crash, the smash, the roll, the result.

“I saw all that with the sunglasses on. And then when I took them off… nothing. It must be the glasses. They must be psychic or something.”

Boo-Boo gave him a dubious look.

“Yes, it seems crazy. I know it seems crazy! But this neighbour lady, Betty, she told me that Margaret used to have people around for séances and stuff. Maybe… I don’t know. It sounds far-fetched, I realize that, but I know what I saw.”

Boo-Boo nodded slowly over his cup of tea, then turned his attention to his tablet. “You want to start thinking about dinner? I’ve pulled up the local delivery service.”

Tucker shook his head. He’d taken off the turban, the earrings, the jewels, and he felt strangely frail without those accoutrements. “You don’t believe me, do you?”

“I do believe you,” Boo-Boo countered. “Tuck, you’re the most sensible guy I’ve ever met. You wouldn’t make stuff up. Who knows? Maybe you did see the future, but I doubt it has anything to do with a pair of old sunglasses.”

“So you think I’m just naturally psychic?”

With a small shrug, Boo-Boo said, “I believe everyone is naturally psychic. Some people are just more attuned to their abilities than others.”

Tucker wasn’t sure what to say. He felt like he was gearing up for a fight, but it’s not like Boo-Boo had said anything hurtful or offensive. Even so, he struggled to keep his emotions in check. He could feel himself swinging on a pendulum from anger on the one side to deep sadness on the other. It was so strange. Almost like the feelings weren’t his own.

Tucker and Boo-Boo worked through the night, as usual, catching forty unanticipated winks on Aunt Margaret’s big satin bed around six in the morning. When they woke up it was nearly 10:30.

“We should get out of here for a couple minutes,” Boo-Boo suggested. “Remember we passed that breakfast place on the way in? Let’s head down there, grab some eggs, a plate of fruit.”

Usually Tucker would have suggested getting back to work, but not today. “Getting out sounds good. Coffee sounds even better.”

Boo-Boo smirked, then found his shoes which he must have kicked off in the night. Black rhinestone high-tops. Tucker always thought they were a little much, but Boo-Boo went in for the bling.

“Sunny,” Tucker said as they stepped out the front door.

Boo-Boo handed him a pair of sunglasses and Tucker put them on without realizing this was the pair, the sooth-seeing pair, the sunglasses belonging to the late Margaret Dumas.

The first indication was the poking sensation behind his ears.

The second indication was the vision of Betty lying dead in the street.

Shrieking, Tucker tore out of the glasses and handed them back to Boo-Boo. “Why would you give these to me?”

“I thought you wanted to keep them!”

“No! I never want to see these things again!”

Boo-Boo had already locked the front door. He placed the glasses in the mailbox. “That’s not what you said last night. Last night you couldn’t stop talking about these things.”

Was that true? Yes, he supposed it was. Tucker vaguely recalled telling Boo-Boo he felt it was his duty to inform the neighbour lady about his vision. Boo-Boo had encouraged him to at very least wait until morning.

Well, it was morning now.

“Wait a sec, okay? I just have to run next door.”

Without waiting for a response, Tucker made his way to the neighbouring house. A quaint little bungalow. Nothing like the towering two-storey gothic mansion beside it.

Tucker knocked at the door, rehearsing what he’d say when Betty answered: “You’re going to think I’m crazy, but hear me out…”

Thing is, Betty didn’t answer the door. Nobody did. He waited and waited, knocked again, and finally Boo-Boo called from the SUV, “She’s not home. Let’s just go to breakfast. You can try again later.”

True enough. It was a work day, after all. Not that Betty looked much like the kind of woman who held a job. Looked more like a housewife from the 50s, if anything. But who knows? Jobs came in many shapes and sizes these days. Just look at Tucker’s. He’d worked through the night in a dead woman’s house.

Chapter Four

Tucker tried again when they came back from breakfast, but nobody came to the door.

Enough of this silliness.

He needed to get his head in the game, get back to work. He’d been staring at a Red Rose tea figurine for a matter of minutes, until Boo-Boo noticed and brought it to his attention.

“That thing’s worth fifty cents and you know it. Put it in the cheapo bin and move on.”

Tucker focused on what he was holding in his hand. A lemur? And not a very attractive one, at that.

“Sorry,” he said, placing the figurine in the box.

Boo-Boo sighed heavily. “This isn’t like you, Tuck. You’re always so focused. I’m usually the scatterbrain. We can’t trade roles now. We’re in too deep.”

With a smirk, Tucker said, “Sorry. I’m just having trouble concentrating, that’s all.”

“Yeah, no joke.”

He picked up a handful of tiny tea figurines and placed them all in the box. What next?

“I just can’t stop thinking about it,” he told Boo-Boo.

Boo-Boo didn’t have to ask him what he was talking about. The answer was obvious.

“If you’d seen what I saw… wait, maybe you should try on the glasses too! Where are they, still in the mailbox? Try them on and see what you see.”

Boo-Boo’s eyes bugged. “No thanks! I can’t even handle blood and gore in the movies. I don’t want to see it through a pair of sunglasses.”

Tucker replayed the vision in his mind while Boo-Boo went back to work in one of the spare bedrooms: the car, the crash, the crumpled body twisted in the road. It was all so horrific.

Just then, Tucker heard a rumbling sound off in the distance. It was coming this way.

He recognized the noise. He’d heard it yesterday while he was out from talking to Betty.

Rushing to the window in Margaret’s bedroom, Tucker just managed to catch sight of a cherry red hot rod racing down the street.

Betty had mentioned there was a man two streets up who restored old cars. If Betty was going to be hit and killed by a vintage vehicle, one guess who the driver would be.

If Tucker couldn’t warn Betty about the danger she faced, he needed to take it to the source. He needed to find Mr. Hot Rod himself.

“I’ll be back in a bit,” Tucker told Boo-Boo as he rushed down the stairs.

“Are you taking the car?” Boo-Boo called back.

“No, I’m on foot!”

Sticking his head out the spare bedroom’s door, Boo-Boo said, “Don’t be too long, though. We’ve got Frederique coming over in an hour to look at rhinestones.”

The mention of Frederique’s name was somewhat sobering, but even the thought of his boyfriend alone in a gothic mansion with an ex-lover wasn’t enough to keep Tucker from his task.

“I won’t be long,” Tucker assured Boo-Boo as he fled the house.

And he honestly believed that, when he said it.

Two streets up. That’s what Betty had told him. Easy enough. He walked along Margaret’s road until he arrived at a bustling cross-street, a busy enough route for there to be a bus stop on the corner. From there, he walked north two streets and the investigation began.

Could have been like finding a needle in a haystack, but as it turned out, Tucker figured the task of finding Mr. Hot Rod might not be so challenging. A cursory glance at the old houses on this street told him that they were missing something most people took for granted in newer houses: a garage. All he had to do was find the house with the garage, and he’d be set!

He walked the whole street from end to end. Not a garage in sight.

Maybe this was the wrong street?

And yet, he noted, there weren’t many cars parked on the road. Did the people who lived here simply not own cars?

As he reached the end of the line, a very young woman and a very old man turned the corner. The man was white, hunched over a walker. The woman was Asian and wearing a nurse’s uniform.

Tucker stopped them to ask, “Sorry if this sounds strange, but do you happen to know where people park their cars around here? I notice none of these houses have garages.”

The man gauged him suspiciously. The woman simply opened her eyes wide.

Should he ask again?

The old man gave a cough and pointed north, then stumbled and grasped his walker. “They got carports out back,” he said, wheezing the words. “Hidden alleyways between the streets.”

“That’s enough talking,” the young nurse said. “You need your strength for your walk.”

“Hidden alleyways,” Tucker repeated as the woman wheeled the man forward. “Thank you. Thank for the… information.”

For an old man with a walker, the guy could really move.

At the residential cross-street, Tucker headed north. He’d only walked a couple steps before he realized what the old man meant by “hidden alleyways.” There was a driveway between the backyard of one house and the backyard of another. Except it wasn’t a driveway, not really.

Tucker crept into the alleyway, feeling the sharpness of gravel through the thin membrane of his leather soles.

Overhead, ancient trees blocked out the sun. It was dark, yes, but not quite dark enough to erase the carports the old man had mentioned. Their doors were all painted in bright colours, probably so residents could differentiate between them. Otherwise, how would you know which one was yours?

This alleyway didn’t seem the safest place to be. It’s not that he worried about being mugged or beaten, not in this neighbourhood, but he was very aware that there wasn’t enough space for both humans and vehicles along the alley. The path was quite narrow.

He followed the sound of tinkering to the only open garage door. Inside was the red hot rod he’d seen on the street. Under that was a pair of legs in blue coveralls.

“Hello?” Tucker said warily.

The man in the coveralls slid out from under the car like he was on wheels. Oh, in fact he was on wheels. Or, at least, he had his back on some kind of wheeled board.

“Hi,” Tucker said when the grease monkey looked up at him. He’d expected someone younger. This guy had grey in his beard, though strangely none in his hair. Probably had a bunch of tattoos under those coveralls, but that was pure conjecture. “Sorry to disturb you. I can see that you’re working.”

“Let me guess,” Mr. Hot Rod said. “You’re going to ask me if I’ve accepted Jesus as my personal Lord and Saviour. As it turns out, I have, so you can just keep on marching, string bean.”

Tucker glanced down at the suit he had on and let out an insecure laugh. “Oh, no, it’s nothing like that. It’s just… I saw you driving your car around the neighbourhood and I wondered if I could ask you a few questions about it.”

“Fully insured,” Mr. Hot Rod said. “Whatever you’re selling, I already got it.”

“I’m not selling insurance. I’m not selling anything. I really just wanted to talk to you about the car.”

Tucker saw a twinkle in the bearded guy’s eyes, like he was keen to discuss automotives with any interested party.

But Tucker had to burst his bubble, saying, “I noticed how fast you were driving…”

Mr. Hot Rod set both feet on the concrete floor, looped his elbows around his knees, and rocked threateningly back and forth on the wheeled board he was sitting on. “How’s that any business of yours?”

Oh God, this guy was going to bash Tucker’s face in for sure.

The only way to get out of this situation alive was to be totally honest, even if he sounded like a lunatic.

“I had a vision,” Tucker said, spitting out the words.

Mr. Hot Rod stopped rocking. He raised a brow. “What, are you some kind of psychic or something?”

“No,” Tucker replied. “It’s just—”

“Because I’ve always been intrigued by that sort of thing: psychics, extra-terrestrials, demonic possessions…”

Tucker chuckled uncomfortably, but at least he could use this man’s interest to his advantage. “That’s great. Anyway. Yes, I suppose you might say I had a psychic vision.”

The bearded man shivered, then sat a little straighter. “Ooh, I just got a tingle right down my spine. So this psychic vision of yours, it was about me and Hilda?”

“Hilda?” Tucker asked.

Mr. Hot Rod lovingly tapped his car’s bumper. “Hilda.”

“Oh. No, it wasn’t about Hilda. It was about another car, a pink Cadillac.”

The guy in the coveralls burst out laughing. “Then your vision wasn’t about me, matey. I wouldn’t be caught dead driving a pink Cadillac.”

“But you might possibly work on one for somebody else, right? Do you do that sort of thing? Work on other people’s cars?”

“Sometimes,” Mr. Hot Rod reasoned. His brow lowered, eyes flitted. “You’re saying stay away from pink Cadillacs?”

“I would, if I were you. And if you come across anyone else driving one, any or your friends or anything, you should tell them, too. Tell them to be careful, take it slow. I don’t want anyone to get hurt.”

“Well, yeah, me neither.”

Tucker wasn’t sure what else to say, so he nodded and backed away. “Thanks for your time.”

“Wait,” Mr. Hot Rod called out. “Your vision—what happened?”

The words were hard to say, but Tucker forced them out. “Someone was killed.”

“By a pink Cadillac?”

Tucker nodded and took off down the alley, toward the busy street to the east.

After he’d gone, he could hear Mr. Hot Rod calling out, “Wait! Do you do readings?”

Chapter Five

Tucker popped out of the alleyway and onto a bustling sidewalk, feeling like he’d just crossed over from one world into the next. He had to admit, he felt pretty proud of himself. That hot rod guy was definitely on board about avoiding pink Cadillacs.

Betty would certainly be safe now.

He sauntered past a bus stop just as the city bus pulled up. For a moment, he wondered if perhaps the bus was stopping to let him on. He’d have to tell the driver he wasn’t waiting for the bus, only walking by. But, as it turned out, the bus wasn’t stopping for him at all. It was stopping to let passengers off: a man with a newspaper, a mother with a young daughter, and then another woman—someone he knew.

“Betty!” he called to her. “There you are! I’ve been dying to have a word with you.”

The woman with the young daughter turned long enough to shoot Tucker the evil eye, then hustled her little girl quickly down the sidewalk.

“What’s her problem?” Tucker asked Betty.

“Oh, who knows?” she said, pressing the grooves of her white gloves tight between her fingers. “People these days!”

Betty had on the kind vintage dress Frederique would have paid a pretty penny for. Her hair, her shoes, her whole look was a blast from the past—a blast from a time before Tucker had even been born.

“Are you heading home?” Tucker asked her. “I’ll walk with you, if you don’t mind. I’ve been knocking on your door all day.”

“Oh?” The poor woman looked a little nervous to hear that.

He’d rather she think him crazy than feel threatened, so he told her the absolute truth: told her about the sunglasses, told her about the vision, told her about his conversation with the hot rod guy.

“He said he wouldn’t be caught dead in a pink Cadillac, but that just means the driver could be somebody else,” Tucker told her. “I want you to be extremely careful crossing the street, hear me? Look both ways, all that stuff they teach you in kindergarten. I don’t want to see you get hurt.”

“Sounds to me as if you already have,” Betty said nervously.

She quickly changed the subject, chatting about the gardens they passed by, gossiping about the neighbours, anything to get Tucker off-track. Clearly, she didn’t want to think about the vision he’d had of her death. But, then, who would? Death was a tricky topic. Predicting someone’s death wasn’t exactly good times.

When they arrived in front of Betty’s house, Tucker stopped abruptly and said, “You will be cautious, won’t you?”

Betty’s lashes fluttered. She seemed embarrassed by his concern. “Don’t you worry about me, young man.”

Now it was Tucker’s turn to feel embarrassed. He hated being called “young man.” But he cared about Betty enough to let it go.

With a wave, he made his way back to Aunt Margaret’s darkened house, expecting to find the place quiet, maybe the sound of Boo-Boo’s singing voice wafting from somewhere upstairs. Boo-Boo often sang to himself when he thought he was alone.

What Tucker found instead was a French costumier leaning back on a kitchen chair, eating udon teriyaki with both feet on the table. He swept them onto the floor when Tucker walked in the room, and said, “Hey, look at this! It’s Boo-Boo’s psychic sidekick!”

Tucker could feel his eyes popping out of his head. “You told Frederique about the glasses?”

“Are you kidding me? I sold him the glasses,” Boo-Boo replied.

Turning his face to the heavens, Tucker muttered, “Save me!”

“Boo-Boo did not just sell me sunglasses,” Frederique went on with a mouth full of thick wormy noodles. “He selled me the story, and the story is just as good as the glasses! Now sit with us and eat this food.”

Tucker had to admit, it did smell good. He wasn’t sure how he felt about Boo-Boo selling Frederique the glasses, thought. He felt, in some way, that they ought to be his. He’s the one who had a vision, looking through them.

“Did you take a look at the collection Boo-Boo put together?” Tucker asked. “Lots of rhinestones, a bunch of Bakelite.”

“After I eat, then I shop,” Frederique said.

This guy was not Tucker’s favourite person, but he would pay good money for costume jewellery. Ultimately, their responsibility was to Aunt Margaret’s heirs. They were going to earn a fortune for the family, not to mention find great homes for her belongings.

Boo-Boo had laid out his score of vintage jewels on the desk under the window in the front room. Among the items was the early pair of sunglasses he must have extracted from the mailbox.

Slowly, Tucker lifted them off the desk and opened them up. Without properly placing them around his ears, he looked through the tinted glass, out the window, and across the street.

She was still there. Betty. Bleeding from her head. Dead as a doornail at the side of the street.

He’d convinced himself that, by speaking to Mr. Hot Rod, he’d managed to change the future, but the sunglasses said it all.

Betty was doomed to her fate.

Chapter Six

“Bye-bye, Boo-Boo!”

“Grand merci, Frederique!”

From the study, Tucker imitated the ex under his breath: “Bye-bye, Boo-Boo, and a Bibbity-Bobbity-Boo to you too!”

Some businessman he was. He couldn’t even be bothered to walk out with the man who’d paid them handsomely for costume jewellery.

Tucker watched him drive away. “Good riddance to bad rubbish.”

Why was he so threatened by a stupid smarmy French guy? Frederique was only a man, and Boo-Boo had chosen Tucker long ago. He needed to get his emotions under control.

Anyway, Frederique might not have Boo-Boo, but he did have those sunglasses. May they bring him nothing but bad luck for as long as he lived.

Clapping his hands together, Boo-Boo asked, “Well, what now?”

“We should probably get started on this study.”

“True,” Boo-Boo agreed, snapping on the table lamp to brighten up the dark room. “I’ve been putting it off because of the books.”

“I know they’re not your favourite things to deal with.”

“You make me sound like a know-nothing moron. I like reading books, I just don’t like sorting through other people’s libraries. All these old volumes, I bet some of them are nearly a hundred years old, and even so they’re worth next to nothing. Might as well use them to wipe our—”

“I get the point,” Tucker cut him off.

“Geeze, what climbed up your butt?”

“Nothing,” Tucker snapped.

Inching a little closer, Boo-Boo said, “Maybe that’s the problem…”

Tucker ignored his boyfriend’s salacious tone and started pulling books down from the shelves, stacking them on the desk by the window. “I’ll just see if there are any stand-outs in the collection. For the ones that aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on, I’ll call up Ariadne, see if she needs more old books for that art installation she’s working on.”

“Good idea,” Boo-Boo cooed, wrapping his arms around Tucker from behind. “My boyfriend is the smartest boyfriend.”

Tucker rolled his eyes until Boo-Boo’s warmth crept through his clothes and heated his heart from the outside in. All this jealousy wasn’t doing anyone any good. He gave in and allowed Boo-Boo to cling to him like a child while he kept on grabbing books off the shelf, setting them on the desk.

“Wait, what’s that?” Boo-Boo asked, grabbing one of the books Tucker had just placed on the desk.

“What’s what?”

“Looks like old newsprint,” Boo-Boo said as he opened the blue linen cover.

He was right. Someone had tucked an old news story from a very old newspaper into the front of this book. It looked like it had been there for decades. Tucker didn’t even want to touch it for fear the paper would crumble in his hands.

“The print is so small,” Boo-Boo said. “What’s it say?”

“If you’d only wear your glasses, you’d be able to read it for yourself,” Tucker replied, his voice teasing and soft. “It’s an article about… no, it can’t be. That makes no sense.”

“What makes no sense?”

Boo-Boo squinted, reading over Tucker’s shoulder.

It was an article about a car crash. “Mrs. Betty Turtle of 345 Willowcreek Road was struck and killed just outside of her home… on May 17… 1956.”

“Willowcreek Road?” Boo-Boo said. “That’s this road. Is that this house?”

“No,” Tucker said. “It’s next door.”

He carefully unfolded the yellowed newspaper, revealing the rest of the article as well as the black-and-white photograph of a face he knew only too well.

“What’s wrong?” Boo-Boo asked. “You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”

Tucker shook his head, back away from the photograph. “It can’t be. It isn’t possible.”

“What’s not possible?”

Pointing, he said, “That’s her. That’s Betty. That’s the woman next door, the one I saw hit by a car.”

“Struck and killed,” Boo-Boo said, his eyes widening in terror. “Just like it says in the article.”

“But that happened in the fifties!”

Boo-Boo and Tucker both stared at the yellow newsprint, as if they were expecting a genie to rise from the words and explain what was going on.

“Unless…” Boo-Boo began.

“Unless what? Unless what?”

Boo-Boo gripped Tucker’s arms, shook him a bit. “Maybe what you saw in those sunglasses… maybe it wasn’t the future. Maybe you were seeing the past.”

Tucker gave those words a moment to sink in, then shook his head. “No, no, that’s impossible. Because I saw this Betty woman. I talked to her. She lives next door.”

Boo-Boo’s words kept ringing in his ears: “You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”

Was that true? No, it couldn’t be. She’d looked so solid, so real. Nothing faint or phantom about her.

And yet her clothing, her hair, her general sense of style… she certainly looked like someone locked in the fifties.

“This is crazy,” Tucker said, taking a seat across the room. “It’s impossible. How could I have been talking to a lady who’s been dead for, what, sixty years? Plus, she was on the bus! Ghosts don’t ride the bus. Why ride when you can float?”

Boo-Boo picked up the book with the article still resting inside it. “Hey, listen to this: The only witness to this terrible crime was Betty Turtle’s neighbour, a Miss Margaret Dumas, who reported to police that she saw a blue Chevrolet speeding away from the scene of the crime. The lady who lived her was the sole witness! Maybe that’s why you saw the accident when you looked through her sunglasses. She must have been wearing them at the time of the hit-and-run, and the sight was so alarming it imprinted itself on the lenses.”

Tucker hated to admit it, but what Boo-Boo was saying—it made a lot of sense.

“Wait a minute,” Tucker said. “What was that bit about the blue Chevrolet?”

Boo-Boo squinted and read it again: “…reported to police that she saw a blue Chevrolet speeding away from the scene of the crime.

“No,” Tucker said. “That’s wrong. It was a pink Cadillac, not a blue Chevrolet.”

Boo-Boo launched him a dubious glance. “Are you sure about that? You’re not exactly Mr. Car Guy.”

“Maybe not, but I know the difference between a pink Cadillac and a blue Chevrolet.”

“Well…” Boo-Boo’s shoulders fell. He couldn’t seem to make sense of the situation either.

“I saw her, Boo. I saw this Betty woman her get hit by a pink Cadillac, not a blue anything.”

“I wonder if they ever caught the guy did it,” Boo-Boo mused.

Tucker launched himself from his chair. He couldn’t just sit there.

He marched from the house, down the lawn, and around the fence. Betty had to be home. He’d walked with her from the bus stop. Maybe it was Betty’s grandmother he’d seen getting hit by a car. That would explain the similarity in their looks. Maybe the house had stayed in the family.

There had to be a reasonable explanation.

He knocked at Betty’s door and waited on the stoop. Waited. Waited. But he could hear someone moving around in there, so he knocked again. “Betty? I know you’re in there! It’s just me, Tucker, the guy who’s clearing out Margaret’s house. Would you open up for me, please? Betty?”

The door swung open, but it wasn’t Betty who’d opened it. Tucker recognized the Asian woman in the bathrobe, hair in a towel. He’d seen her somewhere before.

“You again,” she said. “What are you, some kind of door-to-door salesman?”

“Me? No.” Now he knew where he’d seen her. “You’re the nurse. With the old man. I saw you two streets up from here.”

“Yeah, and if I don’t jump in the shower first thing when I get home, I spend the whole night smelling like humbugs and ointment.”

Tucker glanced over her shoulder. “And you live here all alone?”

“Me and my husband, but he’s not home from work,” she said, and then corrected herself. “Oh, wait, I’m supposed to say we have a big attack dog. Ruff, ruff! Hear that? He’s a killer.”

The smirk on her lips told Tucker she just might be flirting with him. He always found that odd. Could women not tell that he was gay, or did they just not care?

“I mean… do you have a roommate, maybe? Does a woman, Betty, live here? That’s who I’m looking for. Betty.”

The girl in the bathrobe shrugged. “I don’t know what to tell you, bud. There’s no Betty here.”

“Are you sure? She’s your height, maybe a little taller, blonde, curls in her hair, dresses like it’s the fifties?”

The young woman shook her head. “Sorry. No Betty here. Only Veronica.”

Tucker flinched. “Your name’s not really Veronica.”

Rolling her eyes, the girl said, “What do you think?”

“Okay, well, thanks.” Tucker backed away from the house. “Sorry to interrupt your shower.”

As he made his way across her front walk, she called out to him, “Did you find the alleyway you were looking for?”

“Yes,” he said, and for clarification, added, “I’m not casing the neighbourhood, if that’s what you’re thinking. I run a business, my partner and I, Tea and Bee Estate Sales. We’re clearing out the house next door, used to belong to Margaret Dumas.”

“Oh,” she said, looking slightly puzzled. “Then I’m surprised you didn’t already know about the carports, because there’s one at the end of the old lady’s yard. Doubt she’d used in fifty years, but it’s still there.”

As the girl next door closed her door, Tucker gazed across the fence dividing her property from Margaret’s. The backyard was expansive and planted with numerous established trees, but when he strained to see what was at the very end of the yard, yes, he could just make it out: a dilapidated shack. Looked like no one had been over back there in ages.

It called to him like a siren’s song, drawing him perhaps to danger, perhaps to doom.

But he had to find out for sure.

Chapter Seven

“What do you think is in there?” Boo-Boo asked, sticking close to Tucker’s side.

“I guess we’re about to find out.”

The old shed, carport, whatever you’d call it, obviously hadn’t been accessed in years. There was moss growing on the low roof and climbing plants blocking access. The door didn’t need to be locked, what with all those vines growing across it, but it was locked nonetheless. No problem for Boo-Boo. After shearing the vines with poultry scissors, he put those rhinestone high-tops to good use, kicking in the old wooden door.

It was dark inside. No electric lights. No windows, even.

But that’s what flashlights were for.

A number of rusty old tools hung from the walls, but Tucker was more interested in the car-shaped object draped in a tarp.

“Did the niece tell us about a car?” Boo-Boo asked.

Tucker shook his head. “I doubt if she knew about it.”

Boo-Boo clutched Tucker’s shirtsleeve as they stood together, staring at the car. Tucker felt locked in place. He wanted to approach the vehicle, but something held him back, a force he couldn’t name. He’d never felt anything like it.

“Do you feel that?” he asked Boo-Boo.

“Yeah,” Boo-Boo said. “What?”

“That… I don’t know. That heavy feeling.”

“That? Yeah, I feel that.” Clinging tighter to Tucker’s clothing, Boo-Boo said, “I feel it in my heart. Ache. And over my eyes, it’s like a dark shroud.”

Tucker nodded slowly. “We need to lift this tarp.”

“You first,” Boo-Boo replied with a tense laugh.

They stood together a moment longer, staring at the car-shaped mass in the middle of the shed. Tucker remained still as water. There was a fear that went beyond trembling, and that’s where he was at. Boo-Boo too, he would guess.

“Enough!” Boo-Boo announced, breaking away from Tucker. “This is ridiculous. We’re afraid of a tarp?”

The word “Noooo!” came soaring out of Tucker’s throat as Boo-Boo threw down the tarp. He didn’t know where it had come from. He didn’t mean to say it. And when he saw what was beneath the tarp, he was silenced by the sight. His knees felt weak, like the world had been yanked out from under him.

“A pink Cadillac,” Tucker said, flashing back to the vision he’d seen while wearing Aunt Margaret’s glasses.

Boo-Boo grabbed his hand, and they both shone their lights on the vehicle as they crept toward the front end, which was pointed at the set of chained up stable doors. You’d need bolt cutters to get through that mess.

And talk about a mess! The front end of the pink Cadillac was pretty busted up. Not as bad as it would be if the driver had smashed into a light pole. More like if she’d collided with a neighbour lady crossing the street.

Clinging to Boo-Boo, Tucker said, “It all makes sense, why Aunt Margaret told the newspaper it was a blue Chevrolet, not a pink Cadillac. She wasn’t just the only witness, she was also the driver. Aunt Margaret killed her neighbour in 1956, and she lied to the police to cover it up!”

The shed seemed to grow darker as he spoke.

An eerie mist crossed paths with their torch lights.

Boo-Boo clutched Tucker tighter. “Did you see that?”

Tucker was too scared to answer. He had that feeling in his chest, the one Boo-Boo had described like an ache in his heart.

Without delay, he grabbed Boo-Boo by the arm and pulled him from the claustrophobic shed, out into the light of late afternoon.

There was a pinkish haze on the horizon when Tucker and Boo-Boo stepped out among the ancient trees in Aunt Margaret’s backyard. But another light drew his gaze across the fence, and what he saw in the adjacent yard stopped him in his tracks.

Pointing over the fence, Boo-Boo stammered, “That’s… that’s… that’s the lady from the newspaper!”

“That’s Betty!” Tucker said, rushing toward her.

There was the neighbour lady, dressed all in white, head to toe, like a Christmas angel. Her sweet curls wafted virtuously across her shoulders as she turned away from the laundry she was in the process of hanging. White sheets fluttered and flapped in a breeze they couldn’t feel, could only see.

“Betty!” Tucker called to her across the fence. “We know what happened. It was Margaret who killed you. Margaret and her pink Cadillac. They never caught her, did they? She lied to put the police off her scent.”

When Betty met his gaze across the fence, her smile brightened his heart, driving out the ache and making it feel warm instead. Boo-Boo clasped Tucker’s hand, and he felt a tingle right through his body.

As they watched the neighbour lady, her skirt flapping gently against her thighs, something strange started to happen. Her whole body grew whiter. Not just her clothing, but her skin, her hair. She wasn’t even a colour anymore. The whiteness was pure light, so bright it should have hurt their eyes, and yet they couldn’t look away. They stared at Betty as her body dissipated into… what? Nothing. Everything. Until all that remained were the white linens fluttering on the line.

“Tell me that didn’t just happen,” Boo-Boo said, still clinging to Tucker’s hand. “Tell me we didn’t just see a ghost.”

Tucker held on tighter. “I can’t tell you that, because we did. And we both know it.”

The funny thing, strange thing, was that rather than feeling afraid by the experience they’d just shared, the vision of Betty’s physical form disappearing into thin air put Tucker at peace. There was warmth in his heart, love in her smile, and that brightest of lights.

Tucker had never felt so calm in all his life.

The End

Also in the Queer Ghost Stories series:

The Witch of the Winter Woods

By Foxglove Lee

Ghost Gallery

By Foxglove Lee

Ghost Radio

By Foxglove Lee

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By Foxglove Lee

Want to stay up late with a spine-tingling supernatural story? This chilling new collection includes two teen novels featuring strange small towns, historical hauntings, and lesbian main characters!

In Tiffany and Tiger’s Eye, it’s the summer of 1986. Rebecca meets Tiffany: a water-skiing blonde who dresses like Madonna, makes her own jewellery, and claims to see auras. Strange things happen when the girls get together. Everyone thinks Rebecca’s the one setting fires and destroying property, but she’s convinced the culprit is a creepy antique doll!

Sylvie and the Christmas Ghost transports us to December of 1994. Sylvie's spending Christmas in the creepy old house her father grew up in. The place is haunted, according to local lore. When an unusual girl named Celeste convinces Sylvie she can communicate with spirits, will they unearth ghosts from the family's past... or is something far more sinister going on?

Every family has its ghosts, and they’re out in full force with two supernatural lesbian novels by Foxglove Lee!


Foxglove’s fiction has been called SPECTACULAR by Rainbow Reviews and UNFORGETTABLE by USA Today.

Foxglove Lee is a former aspiring Broadway Baby who now writes LGBTQ fiction for children, teens and young adults. She tries not to be too theatrical, but her characters often take over. Her debut novel, Tiffany and Tiger’s Eye, is set in the 80s and features an evil doll! Other books by Foxglove Lee include: Truth and Other Lies, Sylvie and the Christmas Ghost, Rainbow Crush, Rainbow Elixir, Top Ten Ways to Die, You Can Never Go Home Again, plus children’s titles The Secret of Dreamland and Ghost Turkey and the Pioneer Graveyard.

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