IN MY TIME OF DYING
"So you will not do anything about it?" I asked him once again. I had been asking him the same question since the past two weeks. But now it feels like the last time I am ever going to ask him this question. It feels final. Because I'm standing in my wedding gown and looking at a man only I can see.
"What can I do Amy? You know it ain’t impossible." he said flying across my room and holding my face in his palms and making me look right into his eyes. His blue eyes. The only thing about him that was still human, his eyes. His deep blue eyes made me want to give up everything, give up my status, my home, my palace and my fiancé.
Here I was on the day of my wedding with Baron Geoffrey Davis. There were at least three hundred guests waiting downstairs for the wedding of Lady Mary Anne and Lord Albert Harper's daughter to the Baron. My wedding. Amelia Harper's wedding. And I was in my room, in my wedding gown begging for a ghost to stop me. Begging him to do something so that I could marry the man I love and not the man I was forced to. Begging him to do something so that we both could be together.
"We can run away Winston. No one has to know about us. I can see you Winston. I can feel you. You can feel me. We do not need anybody else in the world. We can run away and make a world of our own. We can be happy together no matter where we are. Just...just take me away."
"Amy. Amy. Shh. Look at me love. You know it is not possible. I'm...I'm dead. I'm not real. Only you can see and feel me. To the rest of the world I do not exist. But you exist. You live, you breathe, you grow. And you will get married to this human. You shall grow old with him and have his kids. You'll make your parents happy. You'll send your children to school and watch them play and watch them get married and have their kids. You have a future with him Amy. With him. Not me. I can't give you anything. So you will walk down the aisle and not look back. You shall never look back Amelia Harper. Go and be happy."
"So this is it? Your final blessing?!"
"Yes Amelia. You shall see no more of me. This is my vow to you."
"Fine. We shall not see the other ever again." I shouted out loud, finally letting the tears fall down. He tried to wipe them away but I hit his hand. He had no more right over me.
I carefully brushed the tears away and re adjusted my make up before opening the door and calling out for the maid servants.
"Go and get my sisters Luca." I wanted to be done with this quickly.
"But Miss Amelia, there is still time. Do you want me to get any maids to adjust your dress, your make up?"
"Just call my sisters!"
"Yes Miss Amelia." she said and hurried away.
"Amy-" he started to say.
"Do not speak!" I shrieked and turned away from his pleading blue eyes.
My youngest sister Margaret came running in in her baby pink and blue gown. The tiny ten year old with curly brown hair looked like an angel.
"Where is Sarah?" I asked her.
She pointed at the door and just a few seconds later my younger sister Sarah came running. She was breathless and was still adjusting her dress.
"What is it Amy?" she asked looking at my red eyes.
"I want to start. Can we go down? Is everything ready?" I asked eagerly. The only way to get through this was to get through it quickly.
"You know Amy we can't go down for another twenty minutes." she said. She was only a year younger to me and much more lady-like than I could ever be. She sighed at my impatience.
“Either you go see downstairs if everything is ready or I shall walk downstairs already.” I said.
“Fine. Luca! Luca where are you?” she shouted out to my servant. She appeared on the doorway in a flash.
“Go and see if everything is ready downstairs. And inform our mother that Amelia is ready.” My sister ordered.
Sarah sat me down in front of the mirror and worked on my hair and clothes. Margaret played with the flowers that adored every inch of my room. While Winston just stood behind watching me, invisible to the rest of the world. He was getting what he wanted, then why was he still staring at me with anger and betrayal in his eyes? Tears threatened to form again in my eyes. But I could not let them form again. I have a wedding to be at!
Luca came back and whispered something in Sarah’s ear. Before I could even ask what in the name of god was she whispering so secretly in my sister’s ear, Sarah spoke up,
“Mother said everything shall be in order in the next five minutes. Margaret and I shall leave you now. We will wait on the outside. You have a few minutes to say your final goodbye to your room, your house. Will you be fine alone Amy? Is there anything you would like? You look really pale.”
“I’m…I’m fine. Just call me whenever you get the message to start.” I told her and they all let me be.
“Will you not even say goodbye?” I finally asked him. It was only a matter of seconds now before the call came.
I had known the consequences of falling in love with a ghost would not be colourful. I had known that it was next to impossible of having a future with him. I knew it was criminal to even think about it. But what could I have done? Love has its own ways. How could I have fought it?
I knew him since the day we had moved into this house. I was sixteen. The moment I entered my room I opened my huge windows to look outside at the changing England and the new machinery industries that had been set up only very recently that were responsible for the change, when suddenly the air around me chilled. I hugged myself and closed the window. It still felt cold. The room was furnished just the way I had wanted it, yet this place, this room had not seemed right. I turned around to find a man maybe in his early twenties sitting on top of my closet and staring at me with his piercing blue eyes.
“Ahhh!” I shouted. His brows burrowed as if he was confused. Sarah was in my room in a flash along with two maid servants.
“What is it Amy?” she asked holding me. I was holding my breath. I finally released it and pointed out to my closet. But he wasn’t there. I looked around frantically. But he wasn’t anywhere.
“What is it?!”
“I…I thought I saw a mouse there.” I said.
Had that man really been there or was I seeing things? Sarah shook her head in utter disappointment at my unlady-like shouting and freaking out and left the room. The two maids just bowed and left my room too. That day I didn’t see him again but the next morning when I woke up, I found him staring at me again. I pulled my cover tightly around me and removed the knife I had always kept with me under the pillow.
“Who are you?” I asked him trying hard to keep my tone steady.
“You can see me?” he asked in this deep husky voice. Somehow it didn’t go with his face. His face was boyish. His blonde curls were unkempt and there were freckles over his face. His brows furrowed in confusion again. And his blue eyes. His blue eyes seemed to shine with confusion. But the rest of him looked sick. His skin looked really pale. Even his blonde hair seemed really dull. As if it was dead.
“Of course I can. You are sitting right on my chair and staring at me! Now tell me who you are before I shout out for the guards to come and arrest you for entering into the room of a Lord’s daughter. So who are you?!”
He just laughed at that. “Well maybe you can see me, but no one else can. I tested that yesterday after our little…umm incident. So call whoever you can, but you shall be the one to be called mad.” He said.
“Whatever do you mean mister?”
“Ohh Miss Amelia. I wish it was that easy to explain. You see, there is only one person in this house who can see me. Only one. And that person happens to be you. To the rest of them I do not exist.”
“What..what do you mean? And how do you know my name?” I asked suddenly feeling scared.
“What I mean is Miss Amelia, I’m dead. And no one alive can see the dead but for some unknown reason you can see me. And I’m dead but I can still hear perfectly well.”
“You…you can’t be dead. You look real!” I shouted.
“Well of course I do! Do you expect ghosts to look like monsters?!”
“No you aren’t a ghost. You are-“ I started to say but I was cut with a knock on the door.
“Is everything fine Miss Amelia?” My maid Luca asked.
“Yes. Umm no. Umm I don’t know. Can you hold on a minute there?” I asked her getting up.
“Don’t move an inch. I’ll show you how wrong you are and then you can enjoy your time in prison for breaking into my room.” I told him in an undertone and opened the door.
“What is it Miss Amelia? We heard you shouting.” Luca said. Another two maids stood behind her.
“Umm why don’t you come in?” I asked her and pulled her into the room before she could reply. I placed her right in front of the so called ghost. I expected her to freak out. But Luca just looked at me with confusion.
“What is it madam?”
“Umm there.” I pointed at his direction. He just stood there laughing and waving at Luca. But she just stared back at me with confusion and fear.
“Oh well nothing! I think this room needs cleaning. I can see too many bugs in here. Make sure my room is cleaned by evening.” I said pushing her out of my room. And then he started laughing loudly. Tears formed in the corner of his eyes.
“Oh it’s been years I’ve laughed like this.” He said.
Then on impulse I took the knife and ran towards him. He saw me and stopped me just as the knife touched his sick pale skin. It passed through hi, but my hand touched his. I could feel his hand.
“Are you mad?!” he shrieked at me. But he looked at me with confusion. Something I just did had confused him.
“What? If you really are a ghost then it should just pass through you.”
“And what really makes you on an expert on ghosts?”
“Umm well…. You need to get out of my room at this instant!”
“I shall not! This was my room you mad woman!”
“Who are you calling mad, you…you…filthy…liar!”
“I’m not a liar. I just proved to you my point, you mad woman. You should be in a mad house!”
“And you should not be here.”
“Well too bad for you, I shall stay here just as I have for the past thirty eight years after my!”
“But you…you don’t look older than twenty.”
“That’s because I was killed when I was twenty. Since then I’ve always looked this way.”
“Ohhh. Umm….Why can’t the others see you?”
“Like I said before, I don’t know.” He said sounding utterly frustrated. Well I cannot deny that I dai not enjoy his misery.
“Umm are there more of you?”
“Yes! Of course stupid woman. People die all the time and not all souls reach the other side!”
“Well don’t shout! How would I know how the dead work?”
“Oh god! You should be the one who leaves. Such stupid people are an abomination on my land.”
“Umm sorry Mr Dead but when you died the property was naturally handed over to someone who is seen by everyone!”
“It’s not Mr Dead you stupid female. It’s Sir Winston Warren!”
And we continued like that every day, all the time. Since that day I don’t remember a time we did not fight. Every day we fought over something or the other. We didn’t even need an excuse to fight. Many times I thought I was going mad, but he would come around and throw things at me making it seem all real once again. I can’t remember a day when I didn’t have to be careful. I could not talk to him in front of anyone else. I just had to stare at him as he made mischief in front of other people and irritated me. He did everything he could to make my life miserable. He could walk through air and pass through things. But he could move things around because he could control the wind around him. Often he dropped things on me. Everyone could pass right through him. Except me! He always unexpectedly popped in front of me banging hard against me. And then he laughed his life out. Only anything I did felt real to him. Only I could touch him and hit him hard. Somehow for him I was everything real.
But during those fights something more happened too. Something more than either of us expected. Sometimes when we wrestled we ended up falling in the other’s arms. Sometimes when we bumped into each other, our faces ended up closer than necessary. When he was not around my thoughts were filled with concern. Where was he? What was he doing? Did something happen to him? And then he would pop out from somewhere and irritate me and make me forget any single nice thought I had ever had towards him.
The most awkward were moments when I had to change. I always had to plead him to get out before I could undress. But in the end he always left. He could never handle tears. I knew his weak points and I exploited them well. And I’m sure he never tried to peep in. Because he was a gentleman like that. Maybe he would always irritate me and call me mad but he never took advantage of me. He could’ve done anything he wanted with me. After all he could only ever touch me. But he never did. Deep down I knew he was a nice man who just pretended to be bad because it was more fun that way. The unintended touches and awkward positions always made my heart race.
I had seen his nice side too. Whenever I cried he sat down beside me so that I lean on him. Whenever I was sad he tried his best to distract me. Whenever I was sick he stayed up all night just to watch over me. He denied he ever did that. But I knew he cared for me. Just like I cared for him too.
I knew I was falling for him. And I told myself not to. I kept telling myself not to. For an entire year since we moved into this house, I told myself not to. But two weeks back when my father decided to get me married off to the Baron to improve his position in the society, I kept asking him only one question. “Will you not do anything about it?”
And he only shook his head saying he couldn’t do anything about it. We were way past the point where we had to admit our feelings. We both knew what we really felt.
“I…I don’t know what to do Amy. I don’t want to let go. But I have to. You are alive and you have a future ahead of you. While I will still be stuck here. I will still be in this place, stuck between the dead and the living. Tell me what can I do my darling?” he asked snapping me back to the present. Tears threatened to spill from his eyes too.
“Find a way to be alive.” I said as soon as I heard the knock on my door.
“It’s time.” Sarah said linking her hand in mine.
“We’ll see each other again. Don’t make that face as if it’s the end of the world.” She said after looking at my face. She started dragging me. I just paused and stared behind for a second. But I was a second too late. I could see the last bits of him disappearing in the air.
“Come on. You were the one being impatient.”
I took a deep breath and walked ahead. Towards my future.
As I walked down the staircase, I thought about everything I knew about ghosts.
A violent death makes them ghosts. Unknown reasons of death can make a ghost. And too much attachment to a person or an object makes them a ghost. Winston had told me about the other ghosts he had known. We could see each other but never feel each other. I could only feel Winston and he could only feel me.
Winston was killed along with the rest of his family in the war at night. His entire family passed on but he was stuck. But why was he the only one to be stuck? It was a violent murder, but his family had found a way to move on. Then why him?
He has to be attached to something. There has to be an object that is still holding him to this world. But I don't want to destroy that object. I would break the last string that is still keeping him alive for at least me. I still have to find this object.
But what will I do with it even if I do find it? I racked my brains for an answer. Quick Amy! Quick! You know everything about ghosts. Come on Amy, you know the answer.
And then the music started and people stood up. My father came and took my hand from my sister’s and we walked down the aisle. At the end of the aisle stood Geoffrey Davis with a big smile on his face. And before I knew it I was standing right across him. I looked around and found Winston standing just outside the door, barely visible.
“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to witness the holy matrimony of Baron Geoffrey Davis and Miss Amelia Harper. Today is the day that these two souls shall be bound in unbreakable ties of marriage in front of His Holy Lord Almighty. This marriage in front of gods will be pure and faithful. With this holy water I cleanse the man and the lady of any evil that surrounds them.”
The priest showered some holy water on us and said a prayer. And just then I felt something. Something painful piercing my heart. Then I heard him scream. I turned around quickly to look at him. I could see him disappearing. Not like the way he used to. But literally dying as the priest continued with his cleansing prayer. He…he was cleansing my mind, my life of Winston unknowingly. Winston was really dying. Right in front of my eyes. His blue eyes were turning pale. He was shaking violently.
“Nooooooo! Stop it!” I screamed.
Everyone stared at me but I continued to only look at him. His shaking had seized. He stared back at me with color returning to his eyes.
“Amy?” people kept repeating my name. But I only looked at him. He got up and moved towards me. I held my breath. I had made a plan. I was going to run with him. It doesn’t matter if I have a future with him or not, as long as I have him nothing else really matters.
He pushed Geoffrey away with the winds he controlled. He took my hands in his and kept looking into my eyes all the while.
“We now become man and wife.” He said and leaned in. I closed my eyes and leaned in too. I felt his lips brush mine. I felt happiness in my heart and I felt everyone else in the room gasping. And then I saw bright light. Light that blinded me for immeasurable time.
I woke up in my bed. My body felt stiff, as if I had been sleeping for years. The sun was shining brightly. And there he was, staring at me anxiously.
“Good morning, my love.” Winston said. The first thing I saw was his bright blue eyes. They seemed to shine more than usual His skin seemed to have lost that sick pale look. He seemed a little tanned, his freckles shone against his skin and his curls were shining in the sunlight.
“Good morning.” I said looking around. I…I’m in the same gown that I had worn the first time I had seen Winston. But…but the last thing I remember was that I was wearing a wedding gown. I was getting married to the baron. I was…I was kissing Winston and then….
“What happened Winston?”
He looked down as if in shame. I pulled his face up by his chin but his eyes refused to meet mine.
“I…I killed you. That was the only way we could be together.” He said looking guilty and sorry. But his eyes held so much love.
“I…I…” I was at loss of words. I was…dead!
And then I realized, I didn’t really feel my weight. I was lying on the bed but it would have felt just as same as flying in the air. I could feel Winston but nothing else.
I was a ghost.
“Well if it helps, being dead suits you just as well. You still look beautiful as ever.”
I smiled at him. And pulled him closer.
“We were married, right?” I asked him.
“Well we did kiss in front of the priest….”
“Then we are now dead man and wife. Forever.” I said and accepted my fate. I don’t know about eternity, but right now I have what I wanted.
And just then outside I saw a beautiful rainbow and unicorns running over it! Now that was bizarre!
“What was that?” I asked him.
“Well welcome to the world of dead my beautiful wife.” He said taking my hand and flying across the air into the horizon.