For an anonymous prompt.
It started with her late Aunt Tansy’s attic of mysteries.
The ghosts couldn’t, it seemed, be released from the objects Tansy had bound them into. What the woman had done, Ruan still didn’t know, but the ghosts were trapped. The best that could be done was to give them a one-mile “leash,” so that they could wander from their prison.
That led to an uncomfortable house full of disconsolate ghosts, however, and, with Ruan still trying to figure out the traps laid in the un-ghosted objects, they were a distraction she really didn’t need.
She called on her Aunt Elenora, who was willing to take one of the tethered ghosts – Imogene the mouthy, who settled in happily to a life as Auntie El’s hat. Elenora spoke to some of her friends, managing to contact a friend’s sister’s second daughter, who took the cranky banker in a tie tack off of Ruan’s hands.
The daughter knew of a guy who worked well with the otherworld, and he (Johias) was more than willing to help Ruan work on the mystery of her Aunt’s trapped objects. He was also willing to take Willard-the-cigarette-holder off her hands, and, she noted, was also very handsome, and not without his own charm.
Resolving not to introduce Johias to her sisters, Ruan arranged a number of “safe” meetings with him where they could discuss the matter of Tansy’s collection. He had some innovative ideas about the traps, and they worked on testing them and putting them into practice, but, now and then, another object in the attic would start screaming angrily, as, somewhere, someone died and was sucked into their own personalized ghost trap.
That meant more ghosts to place, or more ghosts wandering around the house throwing things and tantrums and refusing to admit that sulking did nothing to help the situation. Ruan spoke to her aunts, and her aunts’s friends, Johais spoke to his family and friends, both of them to former teachers and former associates.
Finally, having exhausted aunts, cousins, and three-times-removed relations, Ruan and Johias began advertising discreetly in certain publications that catered to a certain audience: Free to a good home: Lost spirits.
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