There was no shortage of otherworldly concerns in Blight Harbor, mainly because it was the seventh most haunted town in America (per capita).

Nearly everyone had a ghost living in their house or knew someone who did. And we all steered clear of the pair of seats in the movie theater that were always taken, and the streetlight on Derry Road that flickered if you stood under it at night and told a lie. There was the mirror in the town hall foyer that refused to reflect anything, which worked out just fine, because we were all pretty sure the mayor was descended from a long line of vampires on her maternal grandmother's side (although the mayor's husband was a regular guy named Steve). There were a hundred other things about Blight Harbor to worry about if you weren't used to them, but most of them were basically harmless. Most of them, anyway.

Which is why it was so strange that the only things bugging me this morning were the ordinary kind-as in (a) how late I was going to be to my summer job volunteering at the library, and (b) how completely frustrating my aunt Desdemona was acting over breakfast.

It wasn't as if we didn't both have places to be. Aunt Des had ghosts to dispel or poltergeists to ward off or something, and I had to get to the library. But she insisted we sit down for eggs and toast, which meant we were both going to be late. Being late was on my list of things that made my hands get all sweaty and my leg bounce like it had a mind of its own. I mean, it was nowhere near heights, but lateness was somewhere between tight spaces and public speaking. Since I didn't like sweaty hands and fidgety legs, I was pretty much never late for anything.

So I sat waiting for the toast to pop, steaming just like my eggs under their fogged-up frying pan lid, and opened Friday's newspaper to the third page of the Community section. There it was: top right-hand corner, like clockwork: Dear Desdemona: It's Not a Ghoul, It's a Gift. Aunt D's advice column had been running for a couple of months, and almost immediately it had expanded from space available to twice weekly. Even after living their whole lives in Blight Harbor, there were still plenty of people who couldn't figure out how to solve their supernatural problems on their own, which meant there were plenty of letters and emails coming in for Aunt D.

Over the top of my newspaper, Aunt D finally handed me toast, soggy eggs, yogurt, and a cup of tea, all balanced on a china plate that felt like it might fall apart if a bell rang too loudly. At the sight of the weak tea, I sighed dramatically. "Can I please have coffee?" Not that Des ever actually let me drink coffee, but it didn't stop me from trying.

Aunt D shook her head without even looking at me. "Evelyn, tea is much more interesting than coffee. A good cup of tea makes you more centered. Coffee just jangles your nerves and makes you unpleasant." Aunt D put a hand on my bouncing knee to calm it and raised a See what I mean? eyebrow at me. "Besides, you're too young."

"Well, you're like, fifty, so you shouldn't drink coffee because it will keep you up past your bedtime." It wasn't my best comeback, I know.

The Clackity, Lora Senf