Saturday, October 18, 2014

Nightmare Fuel, Day the Seventeenth: So you Decided to be a Ghost

I don't write many ghost stories, but I perhaps should. Ghosts are inherently interesting. What would you want to see, do, or experience if you could reach past the veil of death? What would it mean to the living?

In some ways ghosts could be more interesting than vampires or zombies, the latter of which I find especially boring. 
One side note: today's prompt comes from fellow participant Erin Vataris, who has written on some of the same prompts as I have this month. See her work here for a glimpse as to how a different writer can see something else in the same image.

For now,  Read on!


So you've decided to become a ghost.

IT isn't easy; death isn't what you expected. Oh, there was the predictable anger at leaving too young, but there were no pearly gates, no lake of fire, not really much of anything you'd have expected. Death was like a giant mute button. One year for Halloween you'd actually dressed like a ghost, with a semitransparent hood covering your head. Death was amusingly like that; the world was there, but everything was muted, darkened, far away. You could almost see, hear, smell, but just barely.
Image Courtesy of Erin Vataris

You could go anywhere, but you choose to go home. Through the haze of death you can see her, of course. Still muted, but less than the rest of the world. If you squint, you can almost see her face.


She's like a hint of a beacon in what is otherwise darkness, but no matter how you yell - that you love her, that you miss her, that you're still there -  she doesn't hear you. So you wander.

In some places, the world seems a bit closer. Cemetaries. Churches. Baseball diamonds. Wandering to and from these places, you learn something. You can move forward and back, left and right, as you always did, but there's something else now. You think of it as to and from; back towards the world, and ... away from it. Towards the next step? Towards oblivion? You don't know. But you learn the feeling.

You exercise. It's like it had been to hit the gym, except that the ache isn't in a muscle group. It's all-over, as if you'd done every body part plus your brain in one go. It hurts, but you don't mind; it's the only time you feel anything.

You push through hard, and can sometimes see other people. Once you watch a whole inning of a baseball game, as if through a haze.

You feel ready. You go back home.

You push through, feel the ache through your ghostbody and arms, and soul. It mainly hurts in your eyes, or what your eyes had been.

You pause.

No, she isn't with someone else, or back in love, or anything like that.

She's in bed, reading a book. You always read together, often going so far as to buy two copies. You were always a bit slower than she was, but she'd pace herself so you'd catch up at the end of the night, talk about what you'd just experienced. Then leave your two identical books with two matching bookmarks together.

Even at your strongest, reading a book is beyond you. Even now, the hardest you push, you can barely finish a page. You move backwards, away, until you see out the corner of your eye:

On what had been your nightstand, an identical book to the one she is reading, bookmarked midway through.

Straining against the membranes of the world, you push forward.

Maybe she'll tell you about it. 

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