By: RebekahWSD

Some people have a knack for finding strange things. Strange things always seem to find Zane Legends. And Zane hadn't meant to come back to this little backwater town in the middle of nowhere, but it was the only place that might have any information on the ghost that was said to haunt part of the Hudspert Cassia trail. The ghost never seemed to enter towns, or so he hoped. He was hoping the clerks office in town would have written accounts of what people had seen. Maybe it could give him some edge on the ghostly abomination.

And so he had sneaked back into town, despite the fact that they might be looking for him, given that the last time he was in town he had broken out of jail. And his current time in town he was going to break into the clerks office.

Stealing his nerve, he quietly jimmied open the window, slipping into the darkened office. He was quietly thankful that the new moon was out, hoping that it would make it harder for anyone to spot him while he was busy finding papers.

Carefully he pulled out a match, lighting the small oil lamp that hung inside the room, pulling the curtains shut before he did so. Looking around slightly nervously, he began to open up the old cabinets, searching through them.

He was surprised to find the handwriting on the folders was neat and legible, not something you always saw with these westerners. His eyes went wide as he pulled one of the folders entitled “Supernatural Phenomena” and placed it on the desk, pulling the light closer as he sat down.

Just as he opened the folder, the light in his lamp flickered out. Sighing, he lit it again, going to open the folder.

It flickered out again. The hair on the back of his neck stood up as he lit it a third time, staring around. Frowning, he looked at the empty room, willing the light to go out again.

The lamp went out, and he could swear he saw a flicker of a hand snuff the flame before retreating. Quickly lighting it, he sighed.

“Who's there? What do you want?” he said as quietly as possible. If it was a ghost, he didn't want to alert the whole town.

“Forgotten my help already?” a voice said. Turning, he recognized the homeless man who had helped him escape from jail the last time he was here. Unfortunately, it seemed that either time or some other nefarious deed had caught up to him, because he was but a wisp of his former self.

“I could help you again, but my help has a price this time,” the ghostly gentleman said, form flickering.

Zane sighed, rubbing his forehead. “What price would that be? And do you even know what I need to do?”

The ghost chuckled, making the flame flicker slightly. “Of course I do. All apparitions know what others are up to. You need to banish one because it's gotten a bit too...deadly, don't you? Not all of us are deadly. Some of us are just too stupid to go to the afterlife,” he said, grinning at Zane.

He paused, tapping his fingers against the wooden table before realizing they just were going through the dark wood. He smiled faintly. “Bad habit. The best way to banish a ghost is to give them something they loved in life. I'm sure with your research already, you can figure out where to look for that to banish the ghost you wish to banish. As for the price of that information...find my daughter, wherever she has gone to, and tell her I've passed on,” he said with a sigh before dissipating into nothingness.

Zane stared at the place where the ghost use to be, before placing the folder back into the cabinet. While the information was useful, he was always having a new job. But best to get out of town before anyone saw him.

Slipping out the window after dousing the lamp, he quickly mounted his horse, spurring her away. And not a moment too soon, as he heard the distinct sound of the warden walking the beat, his heavy footsteps stuck in his mind from the last time he had seen him.

Zane sincerely hoped that the ghost's daughter was far away from this town, so he could truly say he'd never come back.

Genre: Western
Setting: In a government building
Character: Supernatural being