My eyes. They were sore.
I awoke with them incredibly sore, and when I thought to myself, Why are my eyes so sore? It made me think of the time when I fell asleep with my contacts when I was a teenager, and my dad was so pissed that he “accidentally” chucked the rest of my contacts against the wall, scattering them, and his knuckles caught my jaw as he threw them.
“I think I saw her eyes move…” A soft voice said, almost like it was from far away, but still loud enough for me to hear. “Emerson? You awake, hun? If you are, would you mind opening your eyes for me? Just for a second?”
I don’t think I want to open my eyes…I thought to myself sullenly, blocking out whoever was speaking from my mind. But, why are they closed in the first place?
“She’s faking it,” I heard another voice cut in, and I immediately knew that it was Adrian, he had a distinctive voice, considering the fact that out of the six of us, he was the only one with a southern accent since he was from Bay Springs, Mississippi.
“Stop being a dickwad, Adrian!” I could hear Rei’s voice practically growl. “Give her a minute. Not everyone blacks out at a bar—,”
There was a collective silence as everyone seemed to dawn on Rei’s stupidity.
“Oh shut up, you know what I mean!” She protested. “And what I was going to say was, not everyone blacks out at a bar and hits their head on the counter in the process.”
“After finding out their boyfriend that they’re apparently still in love with is missing…” The first soft voice that had spoken to me – which I now knew was Ami – added in to the conversation .
I let out a whimper, and suddenly, everything came rushing back to me. I had been at the bar, and then I saw that news broadcast, and then I started to bawl like a baby. But when they said that DJ was presumed dead, I freaked the fuck out and passed out, but apparently, I must have hit my head instead of just fainting and waking back up after a few seconds.
My eyes flickered open in uncertainty, and I winced from the bright, luminescent lights flooding them.
Wait a minute, that’s my ceiling; not the bar ceiling.
I heard a shocked gasp coming from - presumably – Ami as my eyes opened. I felt a chill wrap around me, engulfing me in coldness.
“I-I’m cold,” I whispered quietly, trying to keep my teeth from chattering together.
Everyone scattered like ants after letting out a triumphant cheer like when NASA landed the rover on Mars, glad that I had finally woken up and wasn’t dead.
Like DJ…, a part of my mind seemed to gently remind me, but I ignored it and focused on the cold wrapping itself around me.
“I’ll go get extra blankets!” Ami immediately offered, dragging Rei along with her.
“I’ll…go get water!” Steven said, sounding unsure, and then sent me a sort of reassuring smile before running off.
“I know this doesn’t have anything to do with what just happened,” Adrian started off, “But I need to take a piss.” He gave a shrug and then walked off towards the bathroom.
“Okay,” I said quietly, averting my eyes to avoid contact with his.
The lights were so bright in my face, that the only thing I could see blurry shapes and colors as they had all crowded around me. Now that they were gone, and weren’t hovering over me, my eyes started to adjust to the lighting.
I had gigantic, bright lights that they used in school and office buildings installed in my little ‘showcase room’ as I liked to call it, to accentuate all my art pieces that I kept in the room. But now that the light was shining in my eyes, I wanted to tell them to fuck off— even though, you know, they were inanimate objects.
“Why would they bring to my house?” I asked aloud, as if the walls would whisper back some sort of reasonable explanation.
I sat up, even though my back was screaming in protest, and gravity pulled on my head with a tug. I felt like my head was just swimming with water, and I was about to pass out again.
The familiar cold wind blew across my bones again.
“Cold,” I whispered, rubbing my bare arms up and down with my hands. “I looked down to the floor, and there was my black and white striped jacket. I bent down and shrugged it on, curling in on myself to try and muster up some body heat.
When the slotted curtains in front of the window on the south side of the room parted and a transulcent wind started to blow in from it, I felt another chill creep its way up my spine.
“I should have known,” I muttered to myself as the wind seemed to collect into a tall, translucent funnel right next to me.
In place of the wind appeared Ezra, looking pissed off and mean as ever.
“What happened to you?” He said gruffly, raising his eyes and giving me a scornful look as he took the seat at the end of the couch.
I suddenly felt guilt build up in my chest when I remembered that I had turned him into stone. The first time it happened, it had been on accident.
I was cutting myself in the bathroom, trying to stop feeling so sad for myself, when he had chanced upon me. He tried to touch me to revert to his physical form, but when he touched my blood, he was encased in stone for a few hours or so.
Since then, I hadn’t really done it— probably only once or twice, but I broke that exception today, when I obviously did it on purpose.
“Ezra, I’m so—,”
I was cut off as he interrupted angrily, “Oh! I’m sorry! I would have known if I wasn’t frozen like a statue for three hours!” He literally growled at me.
“You didn’t give me a choice!” I yelled back, frustrated and annoyed that his deep, booming voice always overpowered mine. “And we both know the real reason you’re mad— because you want me to revive Alisandra.”
He tried to set his face into a neutral expression, but I could tell from the way his eyes seemed to slowly shift back and forth meant that I had hit it right on the nose. And that was the only reason he’d wanted me to stay.
Un-fucking-believable. I thought to myself, feeling the hurt build up. I resisted the urge to throw a fit, and instead, crossed my arms over my chest and put on a stony face.
“Nice to know that you care about me, Ezra,” I said sarcastically, staring right at him, feeling smug when the guilt visibly appeared on his face.
“I do care about you, you know that,” He seemed, seeming uncomfortable already on the account of talking about his feelings and thoughts. “But you don’t understand, Emerson. If you die by the hands of an angel, archangel, or demon in hell or heaven, you’re either literally gone or, you become a poltergeist, like me.
“And I don’t want Alisandra to end up like me— a hopeless poltergeist that can’t even remove freely because I’m tied to some random girl for an unapparent reason.”
I don’t know why, well, I know why, but I don’t really want to admit it to myself, but when the words ‘random girl’ were uttered from his mouth, I felt like I had been literally crushed, squashed, like an ant on a sidewalk.
Don’t ask why I have feelings for Ezra, because I don’t know why myself. You know how fucked up it is to be in love with a poltergeist? After all, they’re supposed to be evil.
But Ezra’s not evil. He may be stern and serious, but he almost has an innocent, unwavering sensible air about him. But when it comes to Alisandra, he doesn’t let anything get in his way.
That’s what frustrates me the most: his undying love for Alisandra. Yeah, I get it, that’s pretty sweet and all that he’s loved her for how many years or whatever he’s been dead and everything, but yet he’s still not over her.
But, I guess I’m one to talk. I’ve been in love with Ezra for a long time; I think maybe even when I was about 14 years old. There was that one night, though, when he had made contact with me and became solid and let me cry while he just hugged me and pressed against my hairline, declaring that I was “too beautiful” to cry.
And then we kissed and everything, but things didn’t go any further— I didn’t want to experiment and see if a half-ghost, half-human baby was even remotely possible, so instead we settled for sleeping in the same bed together, me still wrapped up on his arms as he whispered sweet things in my ear to ease me to sleep from the abuse of my father.
Those sensitive moments that Ezra and I endured together are what I cherish. They keep me going in the darkest of times. But still, he can’t get over Alisandra, and when I was with DJ – er, Darren, or whatever the fuck I’m supposed to call him now – I was still in love with Ezra, but he didn’t give a damn. He never does.
But I guess he most have noticed the hurt in my eyes because he hurriedly assured me, “I didn’t mean random girl. I just meant that it’s odd that I’m bound to you. It’s just weird, that’s all.”
“Yeah, sure,” I said in a quiet, sarcastic voice. A sudden headache had appeared out of flying fucking nowhere and was settling down in my head, making it hard to even remotely think.
Both of ours heads whipped to the right when the sound of shoes scuffing across the carpet suddenly filled the room. Ezra sent me a look, full of uncertainty, and almost a pleading glare in his eyes before he vanished into thin air, his translucent figure washing away in the air.
“Did you say something, Emerson?” Steven asked me as he walked back in, a glass of water in his hands. My eyes lifted from his dark blue Vans that had been scuffing against the carpet and alerting me and Ezra of his presence.
“Um, no,” I said quickly, shaking my head back and forth. I reached out for the glass and he handed it to me slowly. He gave me a reassuring smile and I smiled back at him, weakly, so he wouldn’t dwell on me.
“So wait, why did you guys bring me here after I fainted at the bar?” I asked, sitting the glass down on the coffee table near the couch.
“Well, not to sound like Adrian, you know, a douche,” He joked feebly, rubbing the back of his head nervously, “But you were scaring away a bunch of the customers. So we just decided to take you home so that you wouldn’t wake up and freak out again.”
“Oh,” I said simply, taking it all in. “So did you lock up the bar and everything?”
“Yeah, we left a note for Benji so he that he’d open it back up later,” He said.
I felt a blush wash across my cheeks as he mentioned Benji. What had gotten into that guy lately? Just outright telling me that he basically wanted to climb me like a tree after that drunken mishap involving that make-out? That dude worked like Quagmire from Family Guy: fast.
“Hey Emerson,” Adrian said as he walked in the room with Rei and Ami. “You got a text message.”
“Really?” I asked in surprise. Everyone knew that I didn’t really text that much. If I wasn’t working on one of my paintings or sculptures, I was usually working on 3D art on the computer, so I just IMed and Skype a lot of people.
He handed to the phone to me, and everyone seemed nervous as I accepted it with shaky hands. Hesitantly, because I had this weird feeling creeping up my spine, I slowly opened up the messages folder and looked at who it was from.
“A-Anal Johnson?” I said, reading off the screen. All nervousness disappeared when what I had just said registered in my mind. “Oh, what the hell, Adrian?”
We all whipped around to him, sending him leering glares.
“Yeah, what the hell, Adrian?” Rei asked accusingly, sticking her finger in the middle of his chest. “Why would you put that name in Emerson’s phone?”
“Hey, it wasn’t me!” He immediately said, sending a worried look towards me. “All I saw that you had a new text message, and that’s when I handed over your phone— I swear, I didn’t do anything else.”
“Then who the fuck is ‘Anal Johnson’?” I asked, confused. My fingers started to involuntarily tug on my spider bite piercings as I moved my thumb over to the ‘OPEN’ button.
“Oh, wait!” I cried in relief, and everyone else seemed to jump. “It’s not Anal Johnson; it’s Analiese Johnson. My phone cut off the rest of her name. Sorry Adrian.” I added.
He raised his eyebrows up at me as if to say, “Told you so”. The rest of my friends looked at me expectantly, waiting for me to open the text, but I wasn’t sure if I even should open the freaking thing. The name – Analiese Johnson – sounded familiar, but I couldn’t really remember who she was.
“Just open it!” Rei cried, like me just sitting there contemplating was putting her in agony. “God, I feel like we’re living in a freaking soap opera or something!” She whined.
I smiled sheepishly, and then hovered my thumb over the green button labeled “OPEN”. Everyone seemed to hold their breath as Steven, Rei, Ami, hell, even Adrian (and Ezra’s translucent figure hovering behind me) as I opened the message.
I know things may have recently changed, but please call me at this number when you get the chance. – Analiese Johnson.
“She told me to call her number,” I said, announcing it to everyone, a confused look over my face. “But I have no fucking idea who she is.”
“I know who she is,” I heard Ezra whisper in my ear.
His breath brushing against my ear (even though it didn’t really seem like it could happen— since, after all, he was dead, but somehow, he still breathed) made me shiver, but I played it off by carefully avoiding touching him and brushed my growing layers behind my ears.
“Okay, don’t pay attention to her first name,” Steven suggested, trying to be helpful. “What’s her last name? Johnson? Who do you know with that last name?”
A lot of fucking people. I thought sarcastically in my mind. That was like 2/6 of my high school, maybe even an 1/8 at the university I went to, but then again, why would any of them want my number?
“You don’t know what you’re in for, Emerson.” Ezra hissed at me. He purposefully put his hands on my shoulders, sending a huge chill down my spine that sent me spazzing out all over the couch like there was ice running down my back.
“Ah, shit!” I yelped, the cold sensation running down my back like it was tormenting me. Of course, Adrian, Steven, Ami, and Rei just stared at me like I was being schizophrenic, which in a way, I guess I was, except Emerson was an actual ghost and not a figment of my imagination.
“Um…,” I said, trying to think of an excuse and ignored the blush running up my cheeks, “I…need to go pee!” I suddenly thought of the excuse, making it sound like I was actually excited to take a piss and everyone just stared at me once again.
I got up and they all gave me reassuring smiles like they were trying to convince themselves that I wasn’t crazy, and walked down the little hallway to the downstairs bathroom.
I turned around a little, and just like I had suspected (and wanted), Ezra was silently following me. I walked in the bathroom, made sure he was in it, and closed the door behind me.
“Are you fucking kidding me?” I shout-whispered at him, reminding myself to keep my voice down so that my friends wouldn’t advise me to get a lobotomy and ship me off to an insane asylum.
He actually looked bored that he was having a conversation with me, and instead of answering my question, he said in a dubious voice, “Why are you standing behind the shower curtain? You’re not naked, are you?”
“Of course I’m not naked!” I shot out my legging-clad calves and thighs. “I just wanted to hide behind the shower curtain so that my friends wouldn’t hear me…” I trailed off, not entirely telling the truth.
“…And so that you wouldn’t accidentally touch me and turn me into my solid form,” He finished, crossing his arms and giving me a hard look. “Thanks for telling the truth, Emerson.” He said sarcastically.
Hey now, don’t try and make me feel guilty!” I protested immediately.
“That little ‘stunt’ you pulled back there, running your hands down my back and whispering something all evil-like? Yeah, I think I have all the more reason not to turn you into solid form right now.” I said, biting my tongue so I wouldn’t say something sassy that I would regret.
He let out a sigh and flared his nose, making me think of a dragon of some sorts. Hell, I half expected for him to breathe out fire, but instead, he just stood there pensively, stroking the stubble that had grown in from the last time he’d been ‘alive’ in his solid form.
Ezra’s eyes were hard as his lifted his gaze back up to mine. “Alright, yes, I’m sorry for that,” He apologized hurriedly.
My eyes opened wide and my eyebrows shot up, so high up I thought they were going to shoot off the top of my head. Ezra? Saying sorry? Too fucking good to be true. I cocked my head to the side and waited for him to finish, because I just knew there had to be a catch.
“But, in case you had forgotten, Emerson,” He said, taking a few slow steps to sit on the toilet and pull back the curtains to expose me a little more, “Ghosts are close to the Fates. Poltergeists, at that, even have a little…information, if you will.”
“Information?” I was barely even to keep myself from gulping in fear, looking like a dumb cartoon character as my “lady’s Adam’s Apple”* faintly bobbed up and down. “W-what do you mean ‘information’?
“Information like…,” He said slowly, looking nonchalantly at his nails as if this were just an everyday conversation for him, “I know who Analiese Johnson is, and why she’s calling.”
I narrowed my eyes at him; I thought he knew something valuable. “I’m sure that if I search my memory, I’ll remember who Analiese Johnson is, Ezra. Cut to the fucking chase.” I snapped.
“Maybe I’ll know even more about important people to you if you promise to revive Alisandra,” He said through his gritted teeth.
I rolled my eyes. I should have known. I scolded myself.
“I don’t fucking know how to revive her!” I said, and then took a deep breath as I realized my voice was getting louder and louder. “Listen, Ezra, I know it must be almost literal hell being stuck down here, not to mention the fact that she’s not here with you.
“But, sooner or later, you have to realize that you have to let go. I know that you loved her, and she was the only person you’ve ever loved, but sometimes, don’t you think it would be better for you to just move on? Maybe then you’ll get your Passing.” I said gently, knowing that Alisandra was a tender subject to probe about.
He didn’t seem to react, but I could tell from the way his lips twitched that he had some sort of feeling towards his Passing.
The Passing was something, that Ezra had explained to me, like when he had first learned about it himself in purgatory, was something all ghosts, wraiths, and poltergeists went through.
Ghosts are created when someone has some sort of wish they left behind in their past life so long ago that their souls are still attached to that wish. Ghosts can only be seen by psychics, and until they fulfill that wish, they’re stuck as a ghost.
Wraiths, on the other hands, are beings that are stuck behind because they were murdered or killed before their destined time. In turn, they have to wait around until their murderer or the reason they were killed (i.e., if they fell off a bridge, they would somehow have to influence the bridge being torn down) is killed and/or no longer exists. Wraiths have the ability to show themselves to anyone they want.
You have to be innocent to become a wraith.
…That’s why there aren’t that many, in reality at least that roam the earth, anyway.
And poltergeists are considered the “bad guys” of the entire world of purgatory, besides demons themselves. Poltergeists are created when someone who was pre-determined to skip the entire purgatory itself and destined to be banished to hell, but their soul is still strongly tied to someone else’s with love— whether that other soul is dead or alive.
Poltergeists have to finish the vendetta they have against someone, or else they forever roam around the earth. They can be seen by psychics only, and have unusual telekinetic powers. But from what Ezra and I have ever learned, no type of psychic has ever been able to “revive” a poltergeist as if they’re living besides me. We’ve also never found anyone else who’s ever been “tied” to a poltergeist and in turn, has a boundary line they can’t cross out of.
And since I’ve encountered ghosts and a few wraiths, and have touched them, and they haven’t come back alive, I know for a fact that I can’t revive Alisandra. Not only because of that, but for other reasons, too.
1., In order to try and revive her, I’m sure some sort of ritual has to be used, and that would be a problem either way if I needed her actual remains or would somehow channel her from heaven.
2. If for some reason, I actually did revive her and she was back alive down on earth, I’m sure that I would get some flak from the angels and demons fighting in the war, considering the fact that they don’t take an angel being yanked from heaven very lightly.
3. It’s selfish, and never in my life would I ever admit it aloud, but if Alisandra really was revived, I know for sure that she would take Ezra away from me.
Despite his sarcasm, our little bickering fights, and the way it sometimes seems as though he hates my guts, I need Ezra. He keeps me afloat. He’s been there for me since I was a teenager. He could killed me if he wanted to, so that he would be free to roam around whenever he wanted to and kill the reincarnation of his father, which was his vendetta.
But he didn’t. He stayed. For me. And even though he doesn’t say it that often, I know that he loves me. He just loves me in the “I’m your friend and would do anything for you” way instead of the way I love him, which consists of “I’m in love with you and I want you to stay with me forever and no one else” way.
“Alisandra is more important than my Passing,” He said quietly. I was a little startled, since I was definitely considering the fact that he would lash out at me.
“But…you’ve been wanting your Passing since the day you became a poltergeist,” I passed, stepping fully out of the shower, not caring about contact with him anymore. “What changes that now? You know a poltergeist and an angel can’t be together, Ezra.”
He looked up to me, and all I could see was sadness and a twinge of fear in his eyes. “She wasn’t always an angel, Emerson.” He whispered.
“She wasn’t?” I gasped, nearly having a heart attack. People don’t usually die and become angels, that in itself was a feat. But to be something else before becoming an angel? Completely unheard of.
“Wait, then what was she?” I asked suspiciously.
“She was a wraith,” He said solemnly. “And Emerson, I know it may seem impossible, but I just know that there’s some way that you can revive her. I know it. And I know you do, too. So please, I’m begging for you on my damned soul,” He said, bending down and grabbing my hand.
I was shocked by the sudden dramatic movement, that I opened my mouth to say something, but he gave a gentle tug on my hands, a signal for me not to say anything.
“Can you please at least try to revive her, Emerson? Just this one thing, this one thing, and I’ll be happy, and I won’t bother you anymore. I won’t even need to. Please, Emerson.”
I looked down at him, him begging me to revive the woman that he’d loved for nearly a hundred years. And here I was, being a selfish attention whore, contemplating whether or not to help him, just so I could keep him confined to myself. If I loved him just as much as I thought I did, wouldn’t I say ‘yes’ in a heartbeat to keep him happy?
Wasn’t his happiness supposed to make me happy in return?
“Yes, Ezra.” I mumbled softly, not even making the attempt to meet his eyes.
He seemed surprised that I had agreed, but the light that shone in his eyes was the happiest I’d seen him since the day I met him. He jumped up and embraced me into his arms roughly, while I buried my face into his chest.
I looked up at him, his arms still wrapped around me, and I tried to fight the tears that were threatening to fill my eyes.
He barely even noticed how wet my eyes started to look, and instead, bent down and kissed me on the lips; a quick, a scarce unnoticeable kiss that I barely even felt. But somehow, it still made me feel warm inside. It made me feel like he wanted me and not Alisandra, which I knew was just a lie.
He pulled away and actually smiled at me, still holding my hands and dropping his arms down from my waist.
“Analiese Johnson,” He started off, slowly reverting from smiling to his regular self, and said, “Is Darren’s mother. She wants to talk to you.”
I collapsed to the toilet with the lid down and descended into tears.
Word Count: 4,535