Just one bolt; that's all. One measly, stubborn, little piece of iron had single-handedly brought the job to a screeching halt. It didn't seem rusted or bent; there weren't any damaged threads. What the hell... The repairs had gone without a hitch so far but this puppy wasn't budging. That left him with two options: either grab a hacksaw or beat the living crap out of it. He had to get it out soon though, because the late night hour was just around the corner.
CJ hammered the bolt with one massive blow and it finally came out of the mounting; sending the tiny fastener flying through the air and the speaker plopping down on his shoulder, where he balanced it the best he could from high on the ladder.
Just as he got his footing, a freezing draft came out of nowhere and blew against his body. The breeze tickled the hairs on his forearms and shattered his sense of balance. Then he saw something move out of the corner of his eye as it scurried across the ceiling.
He took a peek at the big wall of mirrors—on the far side of the showroom. There was a young man standing beside the ladder just below him.
Dammit...never look into a mirror. He knew that.
He balanced the loudspeaker in his arms and headed down the ladder; nothing new—until the ghost grabbed his ankle and sent an ice-cold, stabbing pain rushing through his bones. Before he could toss the speaker to the side, the semblance bellowed-out a high-octave shriek and the lights began to flicker. CJ lost his balance and tumbled down to the ground.
The semblance strolled over and looked down on CJ, seeming to be pleased with his prank; he held his stomach and let out a wicked laugh. The apparition leaned in close and smiled but just as he flashed his pearly-whites, his teeth began to drop from his head and bounce on the floor next to CJ. Then his hair began to fall out in strands and weightlessly land on CJ's feet. Within a single beat, his youthful skin shriveled into a hide of gray wrinkles while his lips curled inward and turned black in color.
CJ shuffled backwards on his butt as fast as he could but the semblance was suddenly standing behind him, peering down with a set of lifeless eyes.
The ghost reached down and slashed his fingers across CJ's cheek, piercing his face with a freezing, inhuman pain.
It was on...
CJ reached for his tool bag and the phantom made a dash for the lounge.
Not the lounge! Crap.
CJ had no choice but to follow, knowing the semblance would be ruthless...but even worse; he had no way of warning the patrons at the bar.
CJ went inside and tread carefully under the sapphire-colored lighting. He searched the lounge with an eagle eye; where one could easily be misled by the ice-blue silhouettes and glowing torsos of humans, instead. The semblance could be safely stirring among them...creeping around with ease. CJ peered over the sea of necklaces and pinstriped suits, raking his eyes over the translucent haze as he maneuvered through the crowded nightclub. Sleek, nickel barstools and modern, silver sconces popped in and out of sight as people stirred and moved about.
After CJ had made his way deep into the crowd, the semblance emerged at the far end of the bar, casting an ominous presence and wearing colorless clothes...his black hair blended-in with the shadowed walls behind him.