Bridge Over the River Winter
a Beetlejuice fanfic
C. "Sparky" Read

Chapter One

Lydia unpacked slowly. It had only been one day and already she missed her new friends Barbara and Adam, who, being ghosts, were forced to remain in the house in Winter River they were under contract to haunt. Lydia's stepmother, Delia, however, had decided after a scant two months that the novelty of living with ghosts had finally worn off and she had moved the family to the neighboring town, Peaceful Pines, in order to exist specter-free. Lydia, of course, had promised to visit her friends, and they had promised not to try to scare any prospective buyers away - so long as they were 'decent people,' as Barbara had put it. Adam, however, was convinced no one would want to buy a house designed the way Delia had left it.

Unfortunately, the move did not give Lydia the chance to go to a new school - the Winter River Bridge was still within easy biking distance. Delia insisted that Lydia remain in attendance at Miss Shannon's School For idea Lydia detested. It wasn't the private school uniforms that Lydia hated so much (although they could have used some improvement in Lydia's opinion). It was the company. Lydia made a face just thinking about Clare Brewster, the resident snob, and her band of trendy, slack-jawed followers. Besides that, Lydia just couldn't seem to make any friends at all there.

"Lyd-iaaaa!" called Delia cheerfully, poking her head into the room, "Don't unpack too much, dear! The decorators will be here any minute now!" She vanished from view.

Lydia sighed. The worst thing about moving was that Delia insisted on bringing Otho's interior design - well, most of it - along with them. Delia intended to have this new house look pretty much identical to the one in Winter River.

The girl rifled through the box's contents some more, until she finally found what she was looking for - her camera. Her ultimate opinion on the redecoration issue was: As long as I still get a dark room.

o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o

Beetlejuice unpacked quickly. Clothes, papers, and various junk flew in every direction as the ghost tossed things over his shoulders. He hated having to move, but, then again, he was so used to being evicted that he had this pack/unpack thing down to an art. He threw a handful of socks in the air. They landed opon the skull and shoulders of a skeleton who happened to poke his top half into the room.

The skeleton sighed. "Be-eteljuice," he said with a heavy French accent, "you still do laundry the same as always."

Beetlejuice barely glanced around. "I call it efficiency, Jacques," he responded. "Everyone else calls it sloppiness." He stood up. "Well?" he asked.

Jacques pulled an envelope out of his culottes. "'Ere is your copy," the skeleton said.

Beetlejuice took it. "Thanks buddy," he said, idly stuffing the envelope into a pile of trash. "I couldn't have moved into this dump without you."

" are welcome, I think." Jacques frowned at the room. "Are you going to keep this room this way?"

"You know I am."

Jacques nodded. "Just asking," he said.

"This place is a mess!" complained a large rose-colored spider, carefully sidestepping a glob of a suspicious-looking substance as she walked in. "I knew it would be a bad idea to let Beetlejuice rent in the same building as us, Jacques! It's already starting to smell!"

Beetlejuice sniffed and brightened.

"Come on, Ginger," prompted Jacques, shooing the spider out of the room, "let us allow our new roommate to settle 'imself." The spider and skeleton left.

Beetlejuice threw himself on the couch and stared at the ceiling. What a month he'd had! After that Maitland fiasco, and that shrunken head thing, he had been sent before the nastiest judge in the Neitherworld, the hanging Judge Mental. Mental had taken one look at Beetlejuice's record and basically dismissed the case in disgust. Instead of that turning the event in Beetlejuice's favor, however, his landlord had put him out on the street immediately. The ghost had been living out of his run-down car all month. It was only a stroke of luck that his old high-school buddy, Jacques, knew of a room to rent in his own building, and was even willing to cosign the rental agreement. All Beetlejuice needed to do now was dig the money out of his bank account.

Beetlejuice thought it was hardly worth it. The building was a dilapidated structure on the edge of the Neitherworld Superhighway. Some Superhighway though - practically no one actually ever took that particular route past the building.

Well, at least it's quiet, the ghost thought just before the stillness was broken by what sounded very much like a buffalo with its head stuck through a guitar.

"What's that?" demanded Beetlejuice, rushing outside with his hands over his ears. He happened upon Jacques and Ginger, who were doing the same.

"Be-eteljuice!" Jacques shouted back, wincing. "I think it is time you meet our neighbor!"

Beetlejuice blinked.