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Haunted This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

What did she expect me to do, after she sobbed out my name over and over and over again, banging her forehead on the rock? Did she want me to leave her alone? To ignore her? You don't call out in the night if you WANT to stay in your dream. And I don't let a friend stay in a nightmare.

 

We agreed, before any of this ever happened, that we would be friends long past the end. We would break whatever universal laws we needed to to find eachother. We were not so weak as to be confined by the fabric of time and space. We were better than that.

 

So after we were split apart, I kept watching her, even when everyone else was terrified. When she showed up and all the others fled, I stayed. I listened to her cries of my name when her mere presence struck fear into the hearts of the world at large. I hung around, still and silent, when a few brave souls claimed that she and those like her didn't really exist at all.

 

But I got impatient with waiting and watching. It happens to the best of us. She screamed my name until her throat was raw, until she was breathing and crying blood. Not to mention the fact that she was following me. She couldn't see me, not anymore, but she could feel my spirit alight in the house, and even when it scared her, she followed it. The others, my new friends, saw her stalking me and kept their distance. Who would blame them? She was horrifying.

 

I thought I knew better than they did. I thought maybe, just maybe, I could do what no one else had done before. I could reach her, and she would see me. Then maybe she would finally stop her looming in the shadows of my house, screaming in the night and rattling the chain link fence around the cemetary, desperate to get to me on the other side. If I could reach her, then maybe the others would see that there had once been a time when she and I were the same, that she wasn't that scary after all.

 

I started small. I gently called her name out in the night, to stop those nightmare howls. Then I tried to touch her the best I could. But when my hand touched hers, she shivered. When I caressed her shoulders, she sobbed. When I kissed her face, she screamed out for help, but no one was there for her but me.

 

Eventually, she left the house, which was a relief to the others. But she came back with more of her own kind, all shivering and shaking and sometimes screaming like she did. It was strange but it was true. THEY were as scared of US as WE were of THEM.

 

When we tried to calm their screaming with coos and hugs, they only yelled louder. "Eek!' they screeched, "Oooh!" And that was enough to scare some of us away, of course. But I stayed, because I was not going to abandon her, not now. I called her name ever louder, and wrapped myself around that strange form of hers. 

 

And once again, she screamed. "GHOSTS! GHOSTS! Believe me, I'm telling you, this house is haunted by GHOSTS!"

 

The shrieks scared most of my new friends away, and this time, I followed. We whipped our airy selves over the hills and skirted our transparent forms through walls, leaving that comforting chill in our wake. She and I had promised we would stay together, that even the Other Side could not keep us apart. But no sensible ghost would keep living in a house haunted by humans.






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