The August Ghost

Linda Maye Adams

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The cold blast of car air conditioning didn't seem to bother the ghost at all. Nor did the fact that I was half Korean, half Caucasian, which I thought would have at least shocked his nineteenth-century sensibilities. No, what bothered him was my name.

August Clarke sat straight and proper in my passenger seat, sun beams streaming through his body. He wore a kerseymere coat in a deep burgundy that brought out his rosy complexion—I didn't know the material; I'd had to ask. I wished I could touch it to see what it felt like.

"But you already have a beautiful name," August said. "Why ruin a perfectly good name with Tibby?"

The tobacco smell that came with him was starting to give me a headache in the closed-up car. It was like the smell didn't quite have all the parts to it, and my senses kept searching for the rest of it. I punched my window button to let in a crack of fresh air.

"Grandfather, please. I like my name." I'd become Tibby in the sixth grade, because there were five of us named Elizabeth. The worn-out teacher couldn't be bothered to remember who was who, and called us by numbers. I hated being "Five," and I definitely wasn't a "Liz" or a "Beth."

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