Escorting Ghosts

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
Fifteen-year-old Zoe Zach has an unusual job. She escorts lost ghosts into the afterlife. Awarded first place in Chloe McGarrett's Halloween contest.

Submitted: October 28, 2014

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Submitted: October 28, 2014

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The full moon had already risen on this Halloween eve; not that it made any difference to Zoe Zach. Possibly the moonlight would make her a little more visible to the dead but not by much.

Either way, tonight was always her busiest time of the year because on Halloween the lost and wandering spirits of the dead were at their peak and it was her job to see that they successfully found their way into the afterlife.

Although Zoe was only fifteen years old, she had been a spirit guide for over five years. She was born into it. For generation after generation, her entire family were guides. Tasked with the job of contacting the deceased, who were either too confused or too defiant about moving on into the light.

So now here she was sitting in the back seat of her family’s black van beside her little brother, as her Mom and Dad sat up front and scouted the locations for this years spiritual vortexes. They consulted the new guidance manual they had just received the night before from an Angel messenger that had flown in to personally deliver it.

“Tab,” Zoe’s mother began to address Zoe’s twelve-year-old brother, “we’re going to drop you off by the grade school playground. You’ll find a small vortex forming behind the tether ball poles. A school bus crashed nearby two days ago and a couple of kids were killed, so you should have your hands full tonight.”

“Okay, Mom,” Tab replied, as he continued to play Angry Birds on his game pod.

“Zoe,” her mom continued, “you’ll be over by the high school. There’s at least two spirits there that have reportedly been wandering around for awhile.”

“Auto accident?” Zoe asked, as she stared out the van’s window at all the kids walking down the streets dressed in their various Halloween costumes in a quest to obtain all the sweet treats this night promises.

“One auto accident and one suicide,” her mom answered.

“One suicide?” Zoe wanted to confirm, as her mom nodded.

Zoe let out a frustrated sigh, for she knew suicides were the hardest to convince. She always considered that fact rather strange since someone, apparently for what ever reason, wanted to die but once they did they always seemed to find it hard to accept the fact that they were now actually dead.

Soon the van pulled up to a street corner, as Zoe and Tab quickly hopped out.

“You guys got your night shades?” their Dad quizzed.

“Yep!” they both replied.

“How about your magnetic wands?” their Mom asked.

“Right here,” Tab replied, as he reached into his back pack and took out a black steel tube.

“Okay, remember to be firm with the spirits but always remain gentle and polite,” their dad advised, “and call us if there’s any problem. We’ll be rounding up some lost souls over by the mall, so we won’t be too far away.”

“Okay,” Tab replied, but before he turned to head over to the playground he playfully addressed his sister.

“Hey Zoe! Bet I guide my ghosts into the light faster than you do tonight!”

“Bet not!!” Zoe replied.

“So when I win,” Tab continued to taunt her, “you hafta buy me a Big Mac at Mickey D’s!”

“You’re on, kiddo!!” Zoe laughed.

“Alright guys let’s keep focused, okay?” their Dad interrupted, “Time’s a wasting, so do your jobs and guide those ghosts.”

Zoe and Tab both nodded. Then their parents waved goodbye, as they pulled away in the van. So as Tab headed towards the middle school’s playground, Zoe made her way over to the high school.

Her job was very basic. Using the night shades, she could detect and locate any dead spirit wandering the night that otherwise couldn’t be seen by a normal living being.

Once a spirit was detected, Zoe would approach that spirit and introduce herself and announce what she was there for. Zoe amusingly used the same kind of approach that waiters used in restaurants.

“Hi! I’m Zoe and I’ll be your guide into the afterlife tonight.”

Most of the time it worked, but sometimes the spirits were still confused. Especially if their deaths had been sudden.

Hopefully, since she would be dealing with those around her own age, it shouldn’t be too much of a problem. Usually a guide was assigned to escort a spirit close to their own age group.

Psychologically, it seemed much easier for a spirit to relate to a peer. That was why Tab was assigned to contact the lost spirits of the recently deceased children over at the middle school, while Zoe was to guide confused teenage ghosts at the high school.

Some ghosts took more convincing than others, but once they came to the realization they were no longer amongst the living, then the guides could take them to where a vortex of light would form and have the deceased walk towards the light to complete their journey into the afterlife.

And if some spirit would still refuse to move on and/or become angry and resistant, the guides would take out the magnetic wands which, when activated, would surround the spirit with an inescapable field of electro-magnetic energy. The guides would then lead that spirit over to the vortex and “place” them into the light.

As Zoe walked down the sidewalk towards the school, she passed some more living trick or treaters. Some were dressed up like your typical vampire or zombie but, to Zoe’s amusement, a few were dressed up like ghosts.

She reached the school and began to wander around the football field. She slipped on the night shades and adjusted the contrast. Almost immediately she spotted someone.

Over in the end zone, standing beside a goal post, was a young girl. She had long blonde hair and was dressed in jeans and a white blouse. She seemed lost and confused and Zoe could hear muffled sobs as she approached. The girl was crying.

“Hi!” Zoe greeted.

As the girl turned around at the sound of Zoe’s voice, Zoe could see she was once a pretty girl, but her face now had severe burns with several deep gashes across her forehead and neck.

The auto accident victim, Zoe realized.

“Where am I?” the girl nervously asked.

“What’s your name?” Zoe asked sweetly.

“Amanda,” the girl replied.

“Well, Amanda,” Zoe began, “what was the last thing you remember?”

Amanda thought for a second, “I don’t know. I was on my way home from work. Then I felt something hit my car and…and.. I can’t remember anything else. Now, I don’t know what’s going on.”

Zoe nodded sympathetically, “Well, Amanda my name is Zoe and I’ll be your guide tonight. If you’d come with me, I’ll take you to a place that will answer all your questions.”

“I still don’t understand,” Amanda suspiciously said.

“Come with me and you will,” Zoe smiled, as she held out her hand.

Amanda reluctantly took a hold of Zoe’s hand, as Zoe gently led Amanda towards the end of the field where a vortex would soon be opening up. Sometimes just taking a hold of their hand or using a gentle touch on the arm or shoulder was all that was needed to get the deceased to walk into the light. Zoe always figured that most spirits subconsciously knew they were dead but just needed time for it all to sink in.

Happily for Zoe, Amanda was a perfectly behaved spirit, as she was easily led over to a bright vortex that rapidly formed behind an old oak tree.

Zoe led Amanda right up to the Vortex’s edge.

“Okay, Amanda,” Zoe instructed, “all of your questions will be answered on the other side of this tunnel. Just step on through and walk into the light.”

“But…. I’m…. so…. scared,” Amanda haltingly stated.

“I know you are, sweetie,” Zoe comforted, “but they’ll be souls on the other side who will greet you and welcome you. Maybe even some loved ones you thought you’d never see again.”

Amanda stared into the light then looked over at Zoe. Despite her severely injured face, Zoe could see the sudden realization in Amanda’s eyes.

“I’m dead, aren’t I?” she sadly asked.

“Yeah, Hun. You are,” was Zoe’s short and direct answer.

Amanda nodded.

“Will Sparky be there?” Amanda asked.

“Sparky?” Zoe replied.

“He was my dog,” Amanda explained, “he died several years ago. I’ve missed him so much ever since. He always loved to play fetch.”

Zoe nodded, “I’m sure he’ll be there. So go on through. I’ll bet Sparky’s eagerly waiting to greet you and soon you’ll be playing fetch with him for all of eternity.”

Amanda smiled satisfactorily, then took a few steps into the vortex. Soon the light became so bright that Zoe had to avert her eyes, but further down the tunnel Zoe could hear the sounds of a dog barking and Amanda happily cry out “SPARKY!!”

Zoe knew Amanda had successfully arrived.

Zoe then turned around and continued to wander the school grounds. With her nightshades at full contrast, she suddenly spotted a young boy sitting all alone about halfway up the bleachers.

She walked towards him but suddenly stopped when he called out.

“Stay away from me!!” His voice sounded scared and angry; a common combination for the recently deceased.

“I just want to talk to you!” Zoe called back.

“No!! I know what’s going on!!” the boy cried out.

“Then you tell me,” Zoe replied, “ what IS going on?”

“I’m dead,” the boy matter of fact answered.

“Yeah, you are,” Zoe confirmed.

The boy gave her a quizzical look.

“I am?! Really?!” he asked seemingly in surprise.

“Well, you said you were,” Zoe replied.

“But I don’t “feel” dead,” the boy added.

“Of course you don’t,” Zoe teased, “”that’s because you’re dead, so you wouldn’t feel anything anyway, would you?”

“Yeah, I guess,” the boy lamented but suddenly perked up, “Hey! Who are you?”

“My name’s Zoe. What’s yours?”

“I’m Brandon. So if I’m dead are you like my guardian angel or something?”

“Or something,” Zoe replied, “so Brandon can I come up there and talk to you. I promise you I won’t bite.”

Brandon was silent for awhile until he nodded his head. Zoe then walked up the bleacher aisle and sat down one seat over. She noted how cute Brandon was despite the gaping hole through his left temple. Obviously, he was her suicide spirit.

“So now what?” Brandon reluctantly asked.

“Well, basically,” Zoe explained, “I take you over to a bright light. You walk into that light. Then you enter eternity.”

“You mean Heaven?” Brandon earnestly asked.

“I can’t say,” Zoe replied.

“It can’t be Heaven,” Brandon started, as he stared at his hands that he nervously wrung, “cause I commited suicide. Suicides always go to Hell.”

“Why did you take your own life?” Zoe asked.

Brandon continued to stare at his hands as he answered.

“I just got tired,” Brandon explained, “tired of school. Tired of all the bullying. Then I spotted a girl I really liked kissing some jerk, so I just had had enough. So I went home, took my dad’s gun and well... here I am.”

“And here you are,” Zoe confirmed, “so how about we take a walk.”

“Where we going?”

“Over to a sort of tunnel,” Zoe explained, “where you can continue on with your journey.”

“You mean my journey into Hell?! No way!!”

“Brandon,” Zoe smiled, “I don’t know if you’re going to Hell or not, but I’m sure there are circumstances that may tilt the final decision as to where you do end up.”

“What kind of circumstances?” Brandon wondered, as he glanced over towards Zoe with a skeptical look upon his face.

“Oh, circumstances like the bullying,” Zoe tried to explain, “that wasn’t your fault and as for that girl…..”

“What about her?”

Zoe slyly smiled, “Well, she’s a dolt for not noticing that you liked her.”

“True,” Brandon smiled. Zoe noticed how cute his smile was.

“So what about it?” Zoe continued, “Walk with me?”

Brandon sat in silence for awhile before answering.

“Could I ask you a question, Zoe?”

“Sure, anything.”

“Do you think that if I was still alive and if I’d gotten up the nerve to ask you out, you would of gone with me to a movie or something?”

“Sure! Why wouldn’t I?” Zoe answered.

“I don’t know, that’s why I’m asking.”

“Of course I would.”

“Bull!!” Brandon suddenly replied, “You’re just saying that to get me to walk with you over to whatever you want me to walk into!”

“I'm not lying to you, Brandon,” Zoe said, “you're cute and I would’ve gone out with you but there is just one problem.”

“Let me guess,” Brandon wrly stated, “you have a rule that you don’t date dead guys?”

Zoe laughed, “Well, yes there’s that but I’m fifteen and my parents won’t allow me to go out on single dates yet.”

“Just my luck,” Brandon laughingly lamented.

“So what do you say?” Zoe continued, “Take that walk with me?”

Brandon slightly nodded, as Zoe reached over and took a hold of his hand to lead him down the bleacher steps. They walked hand in hand towards the vortex until they both stopped short of the entrance.

“So what do I do now?” Brandon softly asked.

“You just walk into the light until you reach the other side,” Zoe explained.

Brandon, still holding Zoe’s hand, turned towards her.

“Could I ask you to do me a favor?”

“Sure. What?”

“Would you allow me to give you a kiss goodbye?”

Zoe nodded, as Brandon leaned over and softly kissed her. His ghostly kiss felt ticklish on her lips.

“That was sweet,” Zoe said, as Brandon bashfully smiled.

“I now know I really messed up,” Brandon began his confession, “I was so selfish in taking my own life and I’m gonna so miss my mom and dad and my little sister.”

Tears then began to form in Brandon’s eyes.

“You’ll all meet again in the afterlife, Brandon,” Zoe stated, “we all will.”

“Then I’ll make you a promise,” Brandon declared, as he tried to wipe away his phantom tears, “Whenever your time comes and you come through that tunnel, I promise I’ll be waiting for you on the other side.”

“Is that your awkward way of asking me to be your afterlife girlfriend?” Zoe teased.

“Yeah, I guess it is,” Brandon smiled.

“Okay, it’s a deal,” Zoe replied, “so you’d better be on your best behavior over there, you hear me?”

“Yes, maam!”

“You ready?” Zoe gently asked.

Brandon nodded, as he let go of Zoe’s hand and slowly stepped into the vortex. She noticed Brandon glance back one last time to give her a subtle wave goodbye just before he became engulfed by the light.

“Have a great afterlife, sweetie,” Zoe softly called after, as she wiped away the real tears that began to form in her own eyes.

 


© Copyright 2019 Nikki Evans. All rights reserved.

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