I didn’t give a damn if it was in the middle of a war zone, I was going to that spa. I’d been there the month prior, before hostilities had broken out. Who ever knows what those little countries are going to do?
It had been relaxing, rejuvenating, refreshing — one of the last places in the world where you can get still highly trained piranhas to nibble off your thigh fat. I got the full French Colonist package.
When I left, I felt lighter. I didn’t notice anything was amiss at first, but I soon had trouble sleeping. What I’d mistaken for a spiritual lightness became a nagging emptiness. I was up late one evening in the great room and that commercial came on — the one with Sarah Machlachlan and the malnourished dogs — you know it. And I felt nothing. Not even when I could count their furry little ribs.
I realized it then: I’d left the spa without my soul. I remembered them taking it out for a freshening; they’d promised it a past life makeover, a little sprucing up for the 17th century Belgian servant girl that was in there somewhere. But in the whirlwind of packing up, my soul was never returned. Honestly, it’s a little embarrassing to admit that it took me so long to notice, but at this point, I had a charity event a month out and I needed it back.
The State Department was no help, of course. They’ll go in after a naïve hiker or an overzealous missionary, but one upwardly mobile lifelong American citizen leaves her soul behind and “there’s nothing we can do, ma’am.”
So I arranged what I suppose you’d call a mercenary to accompany me. We reached the spa with little conflict, only to find it abandoned.
The Soul Wall was horridly disorganized, 200 tiny drawers in the wall without any clear markings of whose was whose. That was when the shelling started. Who knew they did that anymore? It felt so 1940s London, but without the vintage charm. I grabbed box 197 — I always trust in a high number — and we ran for the Range Rover.
As we ricocheted through the countryside along the deeply pocked dirt roads, the flare of explosives on both sides, I couldn’t help but find the whole thing terribly romantic. I reached for my mercenary’s right arm, thick with hair.
I don’t know whose soul I got, but it’s frisky.
Front page image by Anita Carril.
GHOST WRITER is a project by Tracy Danger Mumford. New sections are released every other Sunday. If you’d like to receive email alerts—and that’s all you’ll get, a short email—saying the new one’s up, sign up here: