“I didn’t realise I was a ghost until my writing started to fade.”
The Ghost Writer
“I didn’t realise I was a ghost until my writing started to fade.”
The Ghost Writer
She possessed a haunting, lilting voice. Hard to age by ear or eye, I watched as she took centre stage in every aspect of its meaning. The other singers became as statues, their faces unobserved, voices unnecessary, the lavish set as nothing other than a backdrop to her. For me, it was the diva’s first and last performance.
Not long after her magical rendition as Cho-Cho-San in Madame Butterfly, the diva who shall remain nameless, for to name her is to undermine her mystique, developed that most awful of human conditions referred to by its initial alone to which there was no cure; it stole her voice and lessened our souls.
I thought how cruel it was for that earthbound angel, for her audiences, for her legacy and worst for the world, to have lost so much whilst still in her prime. I even told a friend of my feelings. She smiled in her own demure way and said, “The world has lost nothing just grown less vivid.”
I spent many years thinking my friend wrong, harsh even, but now as I pass into eternity, the diva’s voice whisking me away on lyrical currents, I suspect it was destiny. She has eased the burden on my departing soul as she did the day she stole it.
Every raindrop was a memory of her, the dripping of fresh blood on the tiles. As the clouds poured forth their anger and dismay, I mused, looking beyond the window glass, beyond the yard, fence, fields to somewhere less distinct. She awaited me there. Somewhere in a distant reality displaced from my own, she lingered. I heard her fingernails scratching the storm clouds, her sneers in the gusting wind, her rage in the thunderclaps. Beyond the beyond she grew tempestuous, and I struggled to make her wait.
I placed the knife back in the kitchen draw, folded down my sleeves and left. I’d be back. I always came back. And she’d be waiting.
The darkness surrounds us a thick, unctuous soup of warm nothingness. I nuzzle into the night, deeper and deeper, until it coats my every sinew, every atom, every thought. The girl’s hand is clammy, even slippery to one with a lesser grip; I am not one with a lesser grip. We push on between the dreams, the pitch-black imaginings, the harsh reality of monotonous life.
Dawn is reluctant to rise in this place. It’s as if we tromp through gigantic caverns of moist night air with such a crust of earth between us and it that the sunlight will come to us only in our nightmares. I apologise, to the girl it would come as a dream. I forget these things. It has been so long.
A fury of fluttering wings sends sparks of sensory awareness echoing around this place I call home; the bats have returned and with them my children. I hear their chittering as though eager to be told another tale of eternity and the cosmos. I would, but my heart lies elsewhere this eve, stone-cold though it is.
We ascend, or descend, I forget which? The unmistakable clip-clop of feet on stone stairs echoes around the tight confines of the tower. It is a good job I do not suffer from claustrophobia, not that this is the tightest realm of my daily routine.
A sharp slap to the face as of cold air, a gust from the outside world, brings a smile from me and a gasp from my companion. I am almost home, I smile, as a sliver of pinprick stars filters through the absolute obsidian. The girl sees it too; I feel her fingers contract.
It is light here, almost too much so for one with eyes as sensitive as mine. My companion releases my hand and rushes to the window to gaze out across eternity. I did so too the first time I saw it.
“It’s so high!” she gasps. “Is this heaven?”
“Not quite,” I say, as I hold her close and look out at the moon. I love La Luna, as some call her, her austere perfection, milk-white skin; her reliable interactions with my evenings.
The girl’s neck glows with a luminescence only my kind can see, if any others still exist, that is? I allow dagger talons to caress her jugular; the girl purrs in response.
“So beautiful,” she coos.
“Yes, you are,” I reply.
I hear her smile, the upturning of her lips creaking in the still air. I enjoy these small details in a way I would never have before… before it happened. A brief flash of what might have been sunlight flickers across a centuries old memory as something trickles down my cheek.
“Can we stay like this forever just you and I?”
“Yes,” I say, drawing back, then striking forward to the shlep of punctured skin. I drink and weep, drink and weep, then drink some more. I finish with a sigh allowing her body to tumble from my mirador home to the valley floor so far, far below. It must be two miles or more but the sounds of her dead bones cracking on the granite rocks still gives me a migraine.
“Time to sleep,” I say to myself for no apparent reason, and turn to my bed.
The ruby velour squeezes me like a second skin. It provokes a slight diminishing of the guilt, but not much. And, as I close eyes that have closed an infinite amount of times already, I breathe out for what seems the first time in hours. I do not need to, but somehow it feels apt.
I hear the flittering of my children as they enter the room to hang from the window frames, curtains and more. I smile. Perhaps, I am not as alone as I think? Perhaps, more so? One day the truth will come to me. One day. But not yet. I still have so much to do.
Never The End.
I saw Her in the Moon, felt Her in the stars. As night fell each evening, a smothering cocoon of darkness pulling me beneath its obsidian comforts, I took a deep breath and dived into immortality. Every night the same. Every night unwanted.
The bane of forever weighed heavy on my heart. I sought death with the same determination as a seed the light, courted it even. Courage, however, was a trait I lacked, and although a smiling blade would have returned me there, another’s, or my own, the trickle of life running through me refused to succumb. Pathetic, I know, but the truth.
Fate was a fickle mistress. One moment she taunted, next, cheered, leaving the fated to surf her undulating waves alone. My fate began the day She turned me. Only She could ever take that fate away.
I stood on the cliff overlooking the ocean as I was wont to do. The undulating Atlantic soothed my soul, so to speak, and eased my torrid thoughts. I often imagined my lover in those unblemished vistas: Her skin, the polished waters; Her smile, the changeable horizon; Her eyes, the moon and its reflection. A step would have ended my pain. Even I could not have survived the plummet. She knew it. She wanted it.
Her voice came as a midwinter whisper, a tickled goodbye in my ear. I turned, stumbled, fell.
There was no pain, no hurt, no kiss of jagged rocks on ancient flesh, only an impaled farewell.
I died with a smile on my face and Her laughter written across my soul. I didn’t care; it’s what I wanted. It’s what She wanted too, but for different reasons.
There is blood in the air and fear on the streets, the city reeks of it. I bathe in this feral disruption like all predators must; it does no good to show fear in the face of the enemy. Society pools about me in terror and tainted thoughts, I smile politely at each in turn. This is not how it should be. This is not right.
The sun tips a few more degrees to port unleashing its crimson juices upon the universe. I watch through darkened goggles whilst other eyes fry even enjoying the view. It is not often one witnesses one’s own demise and certainly not in slow motion.
Blood. It reminds me of blood pouring away from a once live host. Our sun is dead but just doesn’t know it. I am dead but just don’t know it.
Why cast my thoughts into a temporal bubble and set them loose on the oceans of time? Perhaps a warning? Perhaps a lie? You don’t know me. I could be mad? Then again, what if I’m not?
I fade away with a crimson smile. Goodbye, my friends. Goodbye.
She came as a ghost in the depths of the night, her nightgown billowing like a windblown shroud of intangible white. Her feet glided over the hall carpet without ever touching the pile, her bare toes pointed down like a spectral ballerina.
I thought myself dreaming and rubbed hard at my eyes, too hard. As the water ran over my cheeks to plop onto the duvet, I imagined she thought me crying. Perhaps, she even thought me repentant?
She parted long, lank hair from her face like drawn curtains and tilted her head to one side. The angle was acute and uncomfortable, but she was beyond pain. There she appraised me as my non-tears fell. A bulbous tongue clacked against her small, impressive teeth. Her fingers twiddled as though restless. I watched on disbelieving.
She came closer then, ever closer like an onrushing tide. There was no time to even hide beneath the sheets, so swift was her passage. She didn’t stop. Like the net curtains she resembled blown by my open window, she disappeared out into the night. I sniffed.
I thought I’d got away with it then, imagining all I’d have to do was mop the carpet where the seawater had run off her transparent form. In death, she was powerless, or so I presumed.
When I patted the duvet and lay back down, my head turning towards what for months had been her empty pillow, she was waiting.
“I die for seven hours each day.”
One never expects to be told they’re dead not even by God himself. Is it not supposed to be a quick transition, a passage from light to dark to light again? Yet there I was lying in my hospital bed when a figure dressed head to toe in flowing black robes bent low and whispered those very words. To say I was taken aback only scratched the surface of my indignation.
“Oh, am I?” I’d returned, then felt more stupid than a goat eating chicken wire.
The figure nodded to a cracking of bones, scooped me in his steel-like arms and carried me out of the place; nobody saw us go.
Once unconstrained by roof or wall Death, for it had to be he, sailed into the sky like an obsidian schooner. I closed my eyes until I thought us stopped.
It was odd to see Death floating there. He hung like a pinned rain cloud whilst I fell away. There was no such sensation as speed, for I was beyond such things, just him getting smaller and smaller and smaller.
As I levelled with the mountains, then trees, then long grass, a cold voice cut through my madness. It said, “You weren’t dead enough.” Then I hit the ground and knew I was.