To See A Ghost

November 24, 2009
“That wasn’t very nice, Claire,” a thin voice chided. The tone was motherly, as if the person was used to taking care of others.

Another voice clucked. “No, not nice at all.” But the second person held back giggles.

A sigh. “What are you talking about? You know I’m very polite. I told him that I was sorry if he got hurt being dragged up the stairs,” someone said defensively.

“That’s beside the point, Claire,” said the reproachful first voice. “I know that you’re lonely, but you must understand that our circumstances don’t allow us to meet people. I thought I made it clear to stay hidden at all times. He’s going to have to go back, and I’ve heard it’s unpleasant for them.”

“She’s a little bad at following rules, Cynthia,” snickered the second person.

“Hush, Kitty. It was hard for us all when we first became… Well, you know. Claire, when he comes to, we’re going to have to decide whether or not to let him go.”

Peter groaned. A headache was blooming violently in his skull, pounding against the top of his head and pressing behind his eyes. His eyes were tightly shut, but he saw red sparks exploding again and again. Pain locked his mind in an iron grip. With an effort, he pried his eyes open, but saw only blurred and spinning smears of color.

“Oh nooo, he’s waking up, Cynthia,” said Kitty. Her voice was shrill, rude, and mocking, and clawed at Peter’s ears. “What are you going to do, Claire?”

“Can’t he be my friend?” asked Claire, but she knew that she was beaten.

There was a long pause as Peter blinked rapidly, wishing the distorted vision away. Where was he, and why did he feel so awful? Most important of all, who were the people talking?

Finally, his eyes cleared and focused, and he looked up to see three pale faces looking down at him.

Being a normal twelve-year-old boy who was not accustomed to waking up and finding himself in an unfamiliar place with a sore head where he was surrounded by strange people, Peter did the only thing that seemed appropriate at the time.

He screamed.

His voice cut through the silent air like a vicious knife, and rang in his own ears. He was deafened by himself for the brief moment that he was allowed to use his voice. Then the girl who stood in the middle gave a bored sort of sigh and waved a papery, white hand over his face. The scream was silenced instantly, though Peter’s mouth was still open and his throat was splintered by ferocious waves of rippling air that came from his gut.

He stopped trying to scream and writhed on the floor. A cold, thick length of rough material cut into his stomach as he squirmed, and he realized he was bound by damp, moldy ropes.

The littlest girl, who couldn’t be older than six, looked at him with large, black eyes. “I’m sorry for bringing you,” she said mournfully. Her voice was chilling; she sounded like an adult. “I wish the rules were different.”

The girl who had muffled his voice peered down at him. His headache was going away, dulled by the frightening and surprising situation that he had found himself in, and he focused on her face.

This girl’s deathly pallor was unsettling, giving her the look of someone who was extremely sick, but her movements and condescending sneer suggested otherwise. She had watery, washed-out blue eyes, an upturned nose, and a small mouth. Her hair was curled and rested limply on her shoulders, and her old-fashioned dress was filthy and in tatters. Peter’s heart froze when she spoke, for her tone was unfriendly and her voice blood-chilling.

“We can’t let this common human know the secret!” she shrilled. Her eyes bored into his head. “How could Claire be so foolish?!”

“Calm down, Kitty,” said the tallest girl, who was thin as a pencil, and very plain. She put a hand on Kitty’s shoulder, and the other girls relaxed. “You’re right. We’ll make him Misremember right away.”

“Fine,” she said grudgingly. She snapped her fingers, and Peter felt his voice fall back into his throat, as if it was a bird that had flown away for a brief time, only to decide that it liked its safe nest better than the wide world outside.

The tall girl—Cynthia, Peter guessed--, said calmly to Claire, “Now, be a dear and untie him.”

Claire sighed. “You’re just going to make him leave, aren’t you?”

“Why on earth did you want him to be your friend anyway?” sneered Kitty.

“As if you ever play dolls with me!” shot back Claire. Her eyes crackled, and Peter winced. The anger between them was almost tangible.

“Um… Can I be untied, please?” His voice was rough and hoarse, but it got the three girls’ attention.

Claire nodded, and the ropes faded away. He sat up and rubbed at his wrists. His entire body was sore as he started to remember what had happened:

He had been in his room, unpacking the last of his baseball cards, trophies, and favorite handheld games when he had heard the creak of the old floorboards, the sound of someone walking into his room. He had turned around and seen the little girl.

“Hey, how did you—”

“Please be my friend.” He had thought how the girl's big, brown doe eyes and smooth, round face didn’t match with her adult voice, which was knowing and wise. And then he had felt ropes binding his body and a gag stuffing his mouth.

Now, Peter’s eyes widened. “You stole me from my room!” he exclaimed. “From my house! Where am I?”

Kitty was leaving, going to the other side of the room where a moth-eaten curtain was pulled across a small, round window. She peeped through the window, and crossed the room again. “Don’t worry human brat. You’ll forget it all soon enough.”

Her feet didn’t touch the ground. She moved smoothly, like a summer breeze, eerily floating…

“This won’t hurt a bit, Peter,” said Cynthia. She took his hand in hers, and his pulse quickened at her icy touch. She started to chant soft words in a language Peter didn’t understand.

“Goodbye, Peter,” said Claire sadly. “I wish I was allowed to play with the humans… I only have Kitty and Cynthia to play with.”

“It’s only the Ghost Code,” Kitty said. She glared at Peter. “He would only tell someone about us.”

“Wait, what—”

Cynthia’s chant was finished, and all she said was, “Goodbye.”

Then the world went dark. Peter would wake up some hours later, and think it was all a strange dream.

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BelmaH said...
Dec. 21, 2009 at 6:35 am
This was really good! I loved your descriptive powers! I thought it might be cool if the ending was drawn out a little bit, like maybe if Peter and the girl ghost maybe ran away together...anyways, this was really good work and keep writing!!
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