“You’re going to pay big time for this,” I growled menacingly underneath my breath.
Ezra simply smiled at me. “And just how do you expect to do that, Emerson? You’re only a human that can see ghosts, after all.” He said sarcastically, his eyes slightly crinkling at the ends as he grinned even wider at me.
I simply growled at him once again, not sure of how I should respond. He chuckled at my response, and then sat down on my couch, trying to adjust himself in a comfortable position so that the throw pillow wouldn’t meld into him.
“Just a mere mortal,” He murmured, unaffected by my presence as he tried tossing the throw pillow back and forth but it constantly kept slipping between his translucent hands.
If I wasn’t bothered by a ghost that wasn’t as cocky and really, really good looking as Ezra, my life would be fine, it could – and probably would - revert to being perfectly normal once again.
But no, I just had to come back from the dead after almost dying and going to heaven (surprisingly, to me) and to my disdain, I start seeing dead people walking around everywhere.
It was serious madness once they emitted me out of the hospital. Back then, I was still with Darren – also, back then I still had enough respect and love for him to call him DJ – and as soon as we were outside the hospital, I saw this guy in an EMT uniform helping the other EMTs from the back of the ambulance.
It didn’t look too out of place, but when they started rolling the person in a gurney through the doors, he passed right through them instead of actually opening the doors and going through like a normal person.
I was sure that I was just seeing things, but then when we caught up with everyone at the bar, since I was still a bartender then, I saw this large guy at the end of the bar, drinking shot glasses all night long; they just kept refilling themselves over and over again.
I walked over and asked him if he needed anything, and he looked shocked for me to actually be saying anything to him.
Then my boss that owned the bar, Tate, walked up to me and asked why I was talking to empty space, and I looked back to the guy, and saw that he was gone, along with his shot glass.
Turns out it was just an alcoholic ghost that ironically died from liver failure. I don’t work at the bar anymore, but every time I go there to pop in and see Tate and the rest of my friends, the big guy is always three, drinking that same automatic-refilling shot glass.
But the most frightening things I’ve ever witnessed since my whole reviving back from the dead accident has been imprints left by people who’ve died.
Sometimes, when a person has a strong enough will to live even after they’ve died, they leave an imprint of their death where they died— or, when they were killed.
I was at the cemetery, putting roses on my deceased grandfather’s stone, when I heard a commotion behind me. I turned around, and I was frightened to see a guy in a hooded sweatshirt repeatedly stabbing a man hunched up in fetal position.
I’m glad I didn’t call 911 before rushing over to the scene, because I was in shock as I watched the two of them in front of me.
The guy with the hoodie – who was trying to be inconspicuous but was completely failing because he was wearing a hoodie in the middle of the freaking day – stole the wallet from the guy in fetal position and ran away at the speed of light.
I ran over to the guy and kneeled down, asking him as if he was alright, but it was like his eyes passed right through mine. He was staring up at something in the sky, far away that I couldn’t see. I was confused as my hand passed right through his arm, and that’s when I noticed that he was translucent— just a little less visibility than opaque.
A shining blue appeared on top of him, and then he slowly arose to his feet by an act of seemingly backwards gravity as he slowly drifted up into the sky, towards what looked like a blue, elliptical space in the dark, gray sky that day.
I was out of breath and in shock, my hands shaking back and forth and my fingers twitching. I fell back onto the ground, too phased to think or say anything.
I flinched when I saw the man magically reappear in the same exact position that he had left in, and the hooded man was back, repeatedly stabbing him in the chest before taking his wallet once again and making his dashing escape, neither of them ever making eye contact with me.
I don’t know how long I sat there, amazed, and completely frightened by what I was seeing. It happened again and again— the man would get stabbed, the other man would run away with the wallet, and then the stabbed man would look away far away into the sky, and drift into the heavens.
I see imprints of deaths and murders just about every day, mostly because I go around the same spots I usually do for my regular routes and see a couple along the way.
There’s the hobo that gets repeatedly hit by the Greyhound bus, another hobo simply coughing up blood on the sidewalk before ascending, and then, the worst one of all: a man walking off the edge of a building and splatting like a pancake against the ground, making blood splattering everywhere on the sidewalk.
After a while, I got used to it.
Which in itself makes me sound like a heartless bitch but eh, I guess that’s how life goes every once and a while.
Especially when death is so closely integrated with it.
Now, back to the present.
I scowled at Ezra and grabbed the pillow from between his hand and threw it back down to the couch. He narrowed his eyes at me and I simply crossed my hands over my chest and cocked my hip to the side.
“What do you want now, Ezra?” I said in a no-nonsense tone. “And don’t you dare bullshit me. Get right to the point.”
He rolled his eyes and heaved out a sigh. I tried not to notice his ridiculously long and thick black eyelashes batting against his cheek bones.
“I want to visit her again today,” He said, not meeting my eyes as he said so.
I harrumphed him, as he would say, and simply bent down to pick up the rest of the fallen papers from my easel.
“Pfft, and why should I help you?” I asked, putting the papers back up and straightening them out.
“Because,” He said, pursing his lips together and saying thoughtfully, “Because you’d love to help me out.” He drawled, trying to disguise his Australian accent.
Usually, when he tried to get on my good side, he tried to “American-ize” himself and make it seem like he was a good guy, like he grew up with same morals as I did as a child. But in actuality, he didn’t.
I first met Ezra when I was about 10 years old. Back then, I was living in my hometown of Long Beach, California, where, let me say, there are literally tons and tons dead people there. Dead people that have been there for so long that they’ve actually grown accustomed to each other, and try to play cards and poker games with each other.
I decided to move to Kalamazoo, Michigan. And I’m not going to lie, I moved here partially because of the name. I mean, it just sounds cool, and since it was about 2,000 miles away from my alcoholic father and desperate mother, it seemed like a pretty good place to move to.
But, of course, my instincts were completely wrong. Once again.
Just like the day I tried to kill myself.
Because, even though I lived in Long Beach, a place where, well, there’s a lot of crime, I didn’t have a clue what Kalamazoo was like, I just guessed it was almost kind of a country-townsy, small population kind of place.
But, no, Kalamazoo is a metropolitan area, meaning lots, and lots of people.
Which also means lots and of people have died there.
When I first moved, I had tons of people— actually, ghosts, I mean, floating in out of my loft, asking me to help them find their way into another afterlife or whatever, but I was only 18 years old, I had no idea what they were talking about. And, to be honest, I didn’t want to be bothered either.
I was a different person when I was 18. I may sound like I’m just a lack of lying, dramatic sack of bullshit as I say that, considering the fact that I’m only 22, but I’ve changed in drastic amounts since then.
In a way, I was kind of an emo-hipster, getting a bulk of tattoos out of nowhere, my short weed whacker hair with blue and gray highlights in it, and oh, the biggest thing: not to mention the fact that I had scars and burn marks all over my arms and back.
Let’s just say that my constantly abusive alcoholic father didn’t have that good of an “influence” on me.
But, back to the present.
Ezra followed me from Long Beach to Kalamazoo, complaining about how he wanted to visit his deceased wife’s gravestone. I was scared to death of this smoking hot ghost-guy in a somehow non-stereotypical leather jacket. But, after about a year of hearing his tantalizing Australian accent begging, I finally decided to take him to the cemetery he wanted to go to so badly.
It turns out, for some odd reason, Ezra was almost bound to my presence. There was a certain range of movement he couldn’t cross because of this boundary that enclosed us together. That’s why he needed me to go to the cemetery for him, since he couldn’t go too far without getting stuck and reverting back to the place he had arisen from— a burnt down house about a block down from my parents’ house in Long Beach.
While at the cemetery, Ezra was strangely tearful, instead of the usual cocky, but calm demeanor he usually carried. When he asked me to place the rose onto the gravestone, my hand brushed against his, and the strangest thing happened.
He turned completely solid, like a real human being, instead of a ghost.
We were shocked, it had never happened to us before. I mean, we never had a reason to touch. I mean, I did get the urge every once in a while to try to literally jump his bones and see if he would protest, but of course, I was too innocent and didn’t try to test my luck.
So, after that day, we were aware that when ghosts we’re around me, and I would make elongated physical contact with them, they would become a “real” person again. Like Pinocchio: if he would stop lying his ass off, he would become a real boy. And if ghosts hung out around me long and I made the first move for physical contact, they became a “real” human being again.
So when Ezra asked if he could see her again, I knew exactly who he was talking about.
But now, I wasn’t a little scared, 18 year old girl again, and his excessive good looks didn’t hold reign over me. Well, at least not that much of a reign, if we’re really going to be truthful, here.
“Oh, of course Ezra, I’m just dying to help you out,” I replied sarcastically. “Can you just get to the point already? Why do you really wanna go? I know it’s not your anniversary, or anything.”
His translucent eyes, still faintly hazel, glared at me, and I knew I had struck a nerve. He was always really uptight talking about Alisandra— his dead wife, who wasn’t a ghost. I’m sure that if she was, Ezra would still be head-over-heels in love with her, and trying to find some sort of way to have ghost-babies, or whatever.
“You know our anniversary is on Valentine’s Day,” He grumbled at me.
“Then what’s the problem, Ezra?” I sighed, crossing my legs as I sat in the chair adjacent from my couch. “What’s going on in the whole ghost realm up there?”
Ezra finally balanced out his “non-gravity” and took my snow globe from the coffee table in front of him, and balanced it between his fingers, careful to keep it on his almost non-existent fingertips before it could fall through his translucent figure.
“Apparently, angels and demons are having another war,” He said thoughtfully, keeping his eyes trained on me, as if he wanted to gauge my reaction.
“Another one?” I said drily, clearly uninterested. “Who started this one?”
“The archangels, surprisingly,” He said, his tone serious. “It’s only the second day and things are pretty vicious up there already.”
“Sheesh, isn’t this like the third one of year already?” I said, suddenly interested once he mentioned how violent it was. “Supernatural has a lot to catch up with, huh?” I joked, cracking even a little bit of a smile.
“What the hell is Supernatural?” He asked, sending me a seriously confused look.
“Ho boy,” I sighed, rubbing the bridge of my nose between my index finger and thumb. The entire integrity of the T.V. show Supernatural along with its hot inhabitants – including Dean, Cas, and Sam – was lost upon ghosts like Ezra, who died during the 1800s in medieval Australia.
“So, why are you so worried about this war in particular? What, you know some of your family that wasn’t banished to the underworld for beheading people and calling women wenches all day?” I joked sarcastically, expecting him to say something that was the complete opposite.
But instead, with an expression as serious as I had ever seen on his face, Ezra steely answered, “Because Alisandra is a part of the war, Emerson.”
My eyes went wide and seemingly almost popped out of my head. “What?” I gasped. “You’ve got to be kidding me! Why would they want Alisandra of all people? She died when she was 18 years old! What would they want with her?”
“Like you said, they’ve already reached the third one of the year, Emerson,” He enunciated, giving me a hard stare. “The most frequent intervals of having a war up there should be between a century or two!”
“Wait, wait, back up,” I said, holding my hands up like they were putting up an invisible shield of defense. “What does this has to do with me and you visiting her? That’s not possible for us; we can’t just go and...infiltrate heaven.”
He finally stopped focusing on the snow globe and set his hazel – green, now – eyes onto me, before saying in the quietest, softest voice I’d ever heard from him:
“I need you to revive Alisandra back from the dead.”
Word Count: 2,560