“Haunted” by Amy Shepherd from Glitterwolf: Halloween (October, 2014). Edited by Matt Cresswell.

I’ve read a few stories now in which a ghost is one of the central characters, and this is a great one. I really liked the main character, Heather, a veterinarian who is able to commune with the deceased. The ghost, Tristan, was equally intriguing. I wasn’t as crazy about Stacy, the girlfriend / ex-girlfriend, but she had a lesser role. Unlike Heather, she can’t see and speak with Tristan.

I liked that Heather was forty-one and Tristan frozen in time at seventeen. Their respective voices and reactions to things seemed entirely believable, and it was a great device for allowing Heather to ruminate on growing older and the many things she’d learned along the way.

It’s rare to find a story that’s funny and moving in equal measure, but this one is. Heather and Tristan begin as rivals and end as friends, and I wanted Heather to find a way to make the situation work indefinitely. The fact that she doesn’t makes it a bittersweet story, but then again, so is life. These characters were so realistic that if the doorbell rang right now and I found them standing on the stoop, I wouldn’t be surprised.

I’d be overjoyed, but not surprised.