Psychic medium Jenny Caddel was nearly asleep, when a clanging noise startled her. She quickly got up, put on her robe and moved across the floor, into the laundry room, where she switched on the light. She was stunned to see the dryer door had come open and a woman was curled inside.
“Can you help me get out of here?” the woman asked.
Jenny rushed to the woman’s aid. She pulled her out onto the floor. The woman quickly stood up. She was middle-aged and extremely thin. She was dressed in an old T-shirt and faded jeans.
“Do you have a cigarette?” she asked.
Flustered, it took Jenny a few seconds to respond, “No. I’m afraid I don’t smoke.”
“Darn!” the woman exclaimed. “I’ve wanted one for so long.” She looked around and then smirked when her eyes fell on the dryer. “That makes sense.”
“What?” Jenny asked.
“I worked as a Laundromat attendant for the last fifteen years of my life. If I was going to come back, then that would be the place to come through.”
Jenny thought for about five seconds and then said, “Of course! I’ve been working out of this house for many years, with the spiritual presence constantly growing. I always thought someone would eventually materialize. That your portal was something that played such a big part of your life makes total sense.”
The woman moved by her.
“Where are you going?” Jenny asked.
“I’m sorry, lady,” the woman responded. “I have to get a cigarette.”
Jenny shook her head, though the woman wasn’t looking at her. “You’re probably bound to this house, or at least the nearby area. I’ll go out and get your smokes.”
Just then, there were several more clanging noises, this time from above. Jenny ran past the woman and up the stairs. She switched on the light in the kitchen in time to see a man in a long apron coming from the oven. He got out, situated himself, and then looked at Jenny and said, “I was roaming around like I always do, and then I felt an attraction. I moved toward it, and now look at this, I got my body back.”
Jenny smiled at the man’s enthusiasm and then asked, “Were you a chef in your life?”
“No,” he scoffed. “I was a baker.”
Jenny laughed. “Of course.”
A swishy noise and then a plop came from another room.
“Stay here!” Jenny said. “I’ll talk to you more when I get back.”
“Are you still going out for my cigarettes?” came in a shrieking voice from downstairs.
“Of course!” Jenny yelled back.
“And I would love to have a Cheese Danish,” said the baker.
“Yes, whatever you’d like,” Jenny said as she moved through her house, toward the next disturbance. She saw a dark silhouette in hall and switched on the light.
A man in soaking wet coveralls stood there.
Jenny couldn’t help but laugh. “I’m sorry. You were a plumber in your past life, weren’t you? And you just came from the toilet.”
The man, who had a stunned expression on his face, nodded.
“It’s okay,” Jenny said. “I’ll be able to help you out, somehow.”
The plumber looked around and said, “I’m just worried about my wife. She’s been with me the whole time we’ve been dead. She was right beside me coming here.”
Just then, pain exploded in Jenny’s midsection, and she fell to her knees.
The man came over and placed a hand on her shoulder. “Are you okay, miss?”
“No, my stomach feels like it’s about burst out of me! What did you wife do in her past life?”
“Oh crap!” the plumber said.
“That’s not reassuring!” Jenny screeched. “What did she do?” Her stomach was growing rapidly, and she was certain she would die. She barely heard the man’s answer.
“She was a gynecologist,” he replied.
Joshua Scribner is the author of the novels The Coma Lights and Nescata. His fiction won both second and fifth place in the 2008 Whispering Spirits Flash Fiction contest. Up to date information on his work can be found at joshuascribner.com.