A Ghost Story Part 11

Revis and I are back and things are getting explosive. That might be a bit of foreshadowing… Read on to see what I mean.

…….

“Dad?  Shouldn’t we stay?”

It felt weird using the word “dad.”  It wasn’t something he was used to saying.  Jake’s mom hadn’t talked about him much and growing up without him, not having a father was what he knew, so Jake never felt the need to ask a lot of questions. 

“You should run,” his father replied.

Jake studied the ghost next to him.  In their very short time together he had seen a lot of different emotions displayed on his dad’s face.  In that moment there was a look of determination.  But, the ghost wasn’t looking at Jake.  It was looking at the house.

The ghost began to slide forward and Jake asked, “Where are you going?”

“You should run,” his father repeated.

“That didn’t answer my question.  If I run, what are you going to do?”

“Hopefully nothing.”

Jake was getting angry now.  He was tired of the half answers.  He was tired of not understanding what was happening around him.  He was just plain tired, too.  He knew it had only been one night but it felt like he hadn’t slept in a week.

“I need to know what you are going to do!  I need to know what is happening inside!”

“You need to run,” his father stated just before the roof from the front half of the house exploded upwards in a blaze of black flames.  Timbers and shingles began to rain down on the lawn and street.

Jake dove onto his stomach, hoping for cover, but there was none to be had. Debris pelted him all over. He did his best to not cry out in agony. It was too much, however. A chunk of wood the size of a closed fist landed on his left thigh and he let out a shriek of pain.

“I know that last one hurt you,” his father began, “but can you please move? Now.”

He turned over to see his father standing protectively above him with his hand reached to the sky. Just above the outstretched hand was a much larger piece of the roof. This one was about the size of a small car. Jake almost peed in his pants at the sight of such a large object almost crushing him.

“I can’t hold it much longer!”

As his father said it, the light that made up his ghostly form dimmed once again. That was all the motivation Jake needed to snap out of it. He crawled as quickly as he could until he was no longer under the large piece of his house. His thigh protested with his every movement, but he didn’t care at that moment. All he cared about was that he’d made it to safety.

“Well, well,” came a deep voice from the direction of the house. “Look who I found.”

Out of the wreckage came his mother, holding the head of Marten Revulus in her right hand and the head of the other animated corpse in her left. 

“Jake, it’s going to hurt, and I’m sorry about that, but you really should get out of here.”

Jake was too stunned by what he was seeing to even acknowledge his father.  How do you behead a ghost?  What kind of madness was his mom into?  Was his mom even there anymore or was it all this demon she had summoned?

“Jake!” 

His father’s voice was urgent and startled Jake out of his thoughts.  Focusing again on his surroundings, he immediately saw that his mom had continued to get closer.  He scrambled back to his feet, pain shooting from his injured leg up his spine, causing everything in the lower half of his body to tremble and nearly sending him back to the ground.  He managed to keep his feet and began to shuffle away.

“Where are you going, son?”

Jake glanced over his shoulder.  The grin his mom was wearing wasn’t human.  He pushed through the pain and started to jog. 

“Don’t you want to thank me for saving you from the big, bad ghosts?” 

Her question was full of mirth and then she laughed. Jake picked up his pace further, turning his stumbling jog into a stunted sprint. 

It was like ice shattering.  The laughter.  The pain in his leg.  He’d only made it 4 doors down when he fell to the pavement. Jake looked over his shoulder to see her stalking toward him. He crawled forward, the only thing he could do to try to get away. When he looked back a second time, he knew it wasn’t enough. His mom, or whatever was inside her, would be on top of him soon.

His injured leg erupted again, but it was a new pain this time. Jake’s ankle burned as his mother grabbed onto it and pulled him closer. He twisted around, ending up on his back. She dragged him closer while his mind tried to not only think of a way out of the situation, but also wondered how a person’s touch could burn him like this.

“Back off!”

His mother’s face jerked to the side and she took a few unsteady steps backwards. It looked like she had been punched in the cheek, but he didn’t see it. At that point, Jake didn’t care. Whatever it was, it broke him out of her grip. He scuttled away from her as quickly as his injured leg would allow.

“You dare strike me?” she roared at the space in front of him. 

“You’re not taking my son,” his father’s voice proclaimed. For a moment, Jake wondered where he was, but then he saw him right where she was looking. His glow had faded so much that he was barely visible. 

“You can’t possibly stop me,” his mother laughed. 

“No, but we can.”

With that, his father’s spirit came right at him and entered his body, connecting the two of them together. 

Jake felt like screaming.  Every fiber of his body and mind tingled as the ghost entered him.  Before he could voice this discomfort and growing terror, his father’s voice filled his mind, “She can’t hear me so don’t worry about that.  And remember to breathe.”

Jake released the air he had been holding and the feeling of escalating anxiety he had been feeling started to ebb.  He filled his lungs again and felt even better. 

His dad’s voice continued, “Good.  Keep doing that and to set you at ease further, I am not a demon.  When I’m done helping you I will leave without a trace.  You don’t have to worry about me corrupting you like the demon that’s still controlling your mom has done to her.”

Jake thought, with a small spark of hope, “Is there a way to save her?”

“No.  She is beyond our reach.”

The hope ebbed just as his terror had a moment before.  He felt deflated and weak.  But then his father started talking again and that helped stabilize him.

“Your life, your potential, is more than who she has become.  Don’t let her destroy you in her downfall because her choices have already been made.  She is doomed.  There is still hope and time for you.  Let’s fight her together.  Let’s make that choice and then see what comes of it.”

His eyes focused once more. Before him, his mother still stood there laughing. “You have no more strength to give him,” her demonic voice cackled. “What you just did won’t even be enough to delay the inevitable, you sad, pathetic spirit. I’ll destroy the boy just as easily as I would if you weren’t in him.”

After seeing the diminished form of his father’s spirit, Jake was afraid that the demon was right. “Don’t worry,” his father’s voice soothed. “It’s not strength that I plan on giving you. You have enough of that on your own. You don’t need mine. What I’m going to give you is all you need to defeat this bastard: knowledge.”

The tingling in his body started all over again. Words recited over and over again in his mind. Jake mumbled them aloud even though he didn’t know what they meant. When he was done, he did his own laughing. The demon inside his mother stopped its mirth immediately upon hearing it. Before it could ask what Jake found so funny, he smiled wickedly and said, “Do your worst.”

A Ghost Story Part 10

We’ve made it to part 10. Dive in and enjoy.

33 Grams of Blog

Hey everyone! It’s that time again. It’s time for the next chapter in the story written by Matticus and I. We hope you enjoy!

The spectral hand moved closer and Jake prepared himself for the inevitable choking that was to come. That choking never came, though. At the last second, the hand veered away from his throat and touched the wound on his forehead from the door crashing into it. Jake thrashed as it felt like his head was on fire. His scream of pain echoed inside his skull. Then, as quickly as it came, it was gone.

Tentatively, Jake reached up and felt where the wound was. It was gone. His vision cleared, allowing him to see the ghost clearly for the first time. This one didn’t appear as menacing as the other ones did. In fact, he looked rather normal, kind of like the dead Jedi in the…

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A Ghost Story, Part 9

How are we up to this many posts already? Feels like we just started this tale, Revis and I. So it goes, I guess. Hopefully you are still enjoying reading it as much as we are enjoying writing it.

…..

“I’m bored of this conversation,” the ghost stated flatly.  It turned away from Jake and started drifting towards his mother again.  “My time here is growing short again, I’m going to finish what I came for once and for all.”

Jake thought he heard the ghost say, “And then I’ll finally be free,” under its breath.  It definitely said something but he hadn’t heard it clearly enough to be sure.

His mom needed more time.  He had to do something to buy her that time.  He still held the book in his hand.  He wasn’t sure what good it would do but it was the only weapon he had.

Jumping between the ghost and his mom, Jake brandished the book like a club, raised over his shoulder and ready to swing, and said, “You didn’t answer my question.  Why did my mom kill you?”

The spirit narrowed its eyes.  The nearly translucent orbs became slits of anger as it stared down at Jake.  “Remember the wall of rage I mentioned before?” It spit venomously.  “Get out of my way or I’ll turn it against you first, as Marten tried to do, and then I’ll kill your mom as well.  There would actually be something poetic about destroying your family’s legacy in one fell swoop.  I’m starting to think that Marten had the right idea all along.”

Behind him, Jake heard a low voice. It was too deep to be his mother’s. She was the only one in the house with him. Well, the only one in the house that was still alive, at any rate. Had another ghost come in and attacked her while he wasn’t looking? Deciding to risk it, he glanced back over his shoulder. 

His mother was standing where he’d last seen her, but she was different now. Her face was contorted in a psychotic grin. A black fog, almost like smoke but more translucent, floated around her. Most of it moved back and forth in waves, although a tendril of it circled above her head before shooting down into her eyes. They blinked rapidly for a few seconds as if she was trying to get the fog out of them. When they opened up again, they glowed red.

“You tired old ghost,” the deep voice said, coming out of his mother’s mouth. “Did you really think I’d let you take my favorite plaything away from me?”

The spirit possessed body flared in a firelike light. “Let me? I’d like to see you try and stop me!” The hand that Jake smashed on the ground shot up and attached itself to the stump. It could’ve been Jake’s imagination, but it looked like the body grew larger. “Now I’m whole! You can’t defeat me anymore!”

The book nearly slipped from his fingers. His fingers, along with the rest of him, had suddenly gone numb as a blast of air pushed away from the spirit.  He managed to hang on but wasn’t sure it mattered anymore, if the book had ever really mattered.  This crazy situation was rapidly spiraling completely out of control.

Jake shifted his gaze from his mom to the ghost and back again and then decided he needed to move.  Stepping back towards the kitchen counter he freed the space between them. 

His mom, in the same unnaturally deep voice, said, “I don’t need to defeat you.  Not on this plane, anyway.”

Jake had no idea what that meant but the ghost stopped its forward progress with a sharp intake of breath.  “It’s not possible.”

His mom, or rather whatever had taken over his mom’s body, smiled in response.  It was an evil, twisted smile that made Jake cringe away another step.  He tried to look away.  He didn’t want to see his mom that way.  But, he couldn’t.  Whatever happened next, he knew he needed to see it.

“It is possible, of course.  I can smell the stench of fear rolling off you.”  At this, his mom’s nose crinkled as she appeared to sniff at air in front of her.  “It will be a simple thing to pull you down with me.”

Then, surprising Jake so thoroughly that he called out in alarm, his mom lunged towards the ghost with her arms outstretched. The instinct of fight or flight took over Jake’s body. Flight won. Gripping the book tightly in his hand, he ran through the kitchen, cut down the hallway, and toward the front door. Just as his hand touched the knob, the door exploded inward. It hit his hand, sent the book flying, continued until it smacked between his eyes, and knocked him backward onto his butt.

Dazed, he looked up and saw another animated corpse. This one he recognized, though. It was the decaying body of Marten Revulus. Standing over top of him, Marten reached down and grabbed the front of Jake’s shirt. “Where’s my hand?” Revulus demanded. Jake was still slightly out of it from taking the door to the forehead and just stared blankly at the undead being. Marten slapped him across the face to knock some sense back into him. “Where’s my hand?”

Snapping out of it, Jake wanted to ask how Marten appeared as a normal human when he dropped the package off to his mother. Instead,  he tried to back away, but Revulus held him tight. “I don’t know,” he stuttered out. “It exploded.”

Marten picked him up off the ground as if he weighed no more than a bouquet of flowers. “You’re lucky that you may prove useful in the future.” 

With that, Revulus dropped him and started for the kitchen to join the battle.

 Jake scrambled to his feet and raced outside.  A jagged edge of the busted door scratched his arm in his haste to get out of the house.  He felt the stab of pain but didn’t stop to survey the damage.  His need to get out, to get away, to escape the madness within his house was too strong for anything else to get in the way of that solitary goal.

He made it as far as the sidewalk where, suddenly winded, he stopped to catch his breath by the mailbox.  He wondered if he was going into shock.  It didn’t make sense that such a short run would leave him gasping for air.  But the stitch in his side and the searing pain in his lungs told him that, like everything else from the past twelve hours or so, logic need not apply.

Something wet landed with a loud splash on the sidewalk at his feet.  Looking down it took him far longer than it should have to realize the steady drip falling into the growing puddle was blood pouring off his face.  He touched his forehead with a hand and it came away slick with blood.

“Help!”

It was his mom’s voice, ringing clearly in his mind.

Suddenly unsteady on his feet, Jake swayed and would have fallen over if the mailbox hadn’t been there to hold him up.  When the dizziness cleared, he found he was looking back towards the house, the broken door gaping like the mouth of some insane demon.  He didn’t think he could ever set foot in there again.

“Help!”  The cry came again.

Jake took a step back towards the house, but stopped before taking another. Not only was he still a little bit dizzy from the blow to the head, he was also wondering whether he should go back or not. First of all, he wasn’t sure how useful he would be in his current state. Second, even if he was completely healthy, he couldn’t think of a way he would be helpful to his mother. He was just a normal human teenager. There were at least two corpses inside that were possessed by spirits, plus whatever had taken over his mom’s body. Without any knowledge of how to fight those things, if he continued into the house, he’d probably wind up dead.

But, his mom was in there, possibly in trouble. Jake had to admit that what the spirit had revealed about her had shaken him. She had confirmed some of it, however that didn’t mean that all of the accusations were true. And, she was still his mom. Despite all of the things going on around him, he believed in his heart that, deep down, she was a good person. 

“I believed that too, at one point.” 

Jake turned around quickly, too quickly. His dizziness overcame him and he fell to the ground. Fighting through his swirling vision, he saw a man standing there. No, not a man. It was another ghost, a ghost who could read his thoughts. Suddenly the ghost reached out his hand to touch Jake and, no matter how much he tried to move, Jake found himself locked in place. 

A Ghost Story Part 8

More ghosts. More spirits. More stuff… That’s even a star wars reference in there. Check it out!

33 Grams of Blog

It’s that time, everyone! It’s time for the next installment of everybody’s favorite blog hopping story about ghosts and spirits…and stuff.

Jake looked at his mother, begging her to tell him that the spirit was lying, that she didn’t make a human sacrifice to gain some sort of power. She didn’t say a word. She did nothing to assuage his concerns. All she did was stare dumbly at the spirit. “Mom!” Jake yelled at her.

“The fire didn’t burn you,” she mumbled dumbfounded.

“Of course not,” the spirit replied. “I wrote that spell, remember? Did you really think I didn’t put in a safeguard to prevent it from being used on me…Vicki?”

Pure hatred replaced the dumbfounded expression on her face. “My name is Victoria,” she seethed.

“I know, Vicki.”

“The only good thing about all of this is that now I get to kill you again.”

It was Jake’s…

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Another letter to myself

Dear Jester,

Is it okay that I keep writing letters to you, to myself, like this?  Yes.  I’m sure you’ll agree it is fine.  I should know.  I’m you and you’re me.

Anyway…

I’m not sure how to go about this, so we might as well dive into the crux of the matter: It is seeming harder and harder to keep up with the speed of life right now.  And that was really brought into focus by the death of a friend last week. 

You had seen them struggling and you had mentioned to yourself that you should reach out and then you didn’t and now they are gone.

And why didn’t you reach out?  Because you hadn’t seen him in 22 years?  Because you were busy with chores and school and toddler tantrums and infant sleep and birthdays and the day to day grind of life in the kingdom?  Because you didn’t know how much he was struggling?  Because you didn’t know…

You didn’t know.  You didn’t know you wouldn’t have another chance. 

If you had known, you would have sacrificed something else to make the time.  One less thing would have gotten clean.  Or a little bit less sleep would have been had.  You would have made a different choice.  But you didn’t know.  And, there is no way to know that reaching out would have helped.  Would have been worth doing anyway.

So, dear Jester, I’m not sure what the point of this letter is.  I was grasping for some sort of philosophical piece on the speed of life but the words on the page keep failing that, in my opinion.  Very unlike me, I have started, stopped, deleted, and started over this letter four times now.  And this will have to be good enough.  I don’t have the mental energy to attempt it again.

I guess, I just hope you can set aside any guilt you are feeling, we are feeling.  Be kind to yourself.  Grieve. 

And maybe next time reach out…  Because that pile of dishes can wait.  Sometimes, reaching out can’t wait.  And you don’t know what you don’t know.

Sincerely,

Matticus