When I take the train, the first thing I usually do after finding someplace to sit, is to find something to distract myself with for the duration of the ride. Unfortunately for this time, the battery of my MP3 player had just run out, so I could not use it.
I was just "unplugging" my earbuds when I heard a mutter beside me. I lifted my head to look for the source of that murmur, and immediately noticed the presence of a teenage boy sitting on my left, close enough for me to take a good look at him.
He seemed to be fighting against it, but failing miserably, for I soon also noticed, after a few seconds of observing him, that his entire body was trembling.
I am not of the kind to stare at strangers without a good reason, but if my ears did not fail me, I had caught a shaky "They don't -- they can't exist," and my cusiosity had already gone loose.
And so I kept looking at this strange boy, trying to decode the message behind his body language: his head lowered, his eyes tightly closed, and this painful expression on his young face. I felt like asking him "Are you okay?" but I did not dare. I am quite shy with strangers; especially with odd strangers.
So I kept observing.
Until he noticed I was looking.
About time he did, I guess?
I quickly turned my eyes away and lowered my gaze, but his eyes were now incessantly upon me, and with good reason. I decided to confront him.
When I looked again, there he was, still staring at me. Then I thought I sensed his annoyance, but I could not be sure. It also appeared like he was not trembling so much anymore.
"Um... I am sorry about that, but... you looked like you were not feeling good at all?" Not really sure of what to say, but I went on. "Er... If I may ask, are you okay?"
The boy did not utter a word. His stare was beginning to make me nervous.
"Anyway, I think I heard you say something like 'They can't exist'... And I was wondering what you meant by that?" Ugh... Why can't I just shut up? I do this with frequency, especially when I am nervous.
Surprisingly for me, the boy's expression suddenly changed, and I am sure he was about to say something, but then he closed his mouth again and lowered his head once more. Then, after a few seconds, he finally spoke. "... You heard that?"
"Uh, yes. Sorry..." I kind of felt like I was invading his privacy, and I probably was.
I decided not to say anything else, and hoped for him to trust me enough to tell me what that was all about. I waited for a few minutes, but nothing happened. The boy did not speak to me again, and I was left curious, at which my mind could not help but wander off to who knows where...
And that's how I began to imagine what that strange boy could have meant by those words. The first thing that came to mind was -- Wait, elves? No way! How could it be elves? That's pretty stupid.
So I thought it over...
Well, at least it sounds better than elves. More realistic, you know... Or could it be aliens? Yes! It has to be either ghosts or aliens!
Could it be that he actually saw some UFO or something that resembled a ghost? The boy was trembling, so it was probably a ghost, after all. I don't think I would tremble for a UFO sight myself, but for a ghost...
Case solved. It was a ghost. But now, how did it happen? Was he at some old Victorian house, or maybe a hotel? Or maybe he went to a cemetery to visit a relative, and he encountered a spirit? Or maybe he was playing some prank with his friends and it went all wrong? How interesting!
The most likely scenario seems to be the latter. Yes. He was probably out with his small group of friends last night, and decided to test each other's courage by going to the cemetery. Being dark and everything, it would be like an adventure, they thought.
One of the boys in the group is very cowardly, and the others suddenly came up with the idea of scaring the hell out of that kid. So when it was the cowardly boy's turn, one would make eerie sounds, another would surprise him from behind a tree, and so on.
But it was the strange boy who was surprised. Once in his position behind one big statue, and waiting for his call, he started feeling a sudden, chilly breeze rush by him, followed by the unexpected touch of a cold and strong hand resting on his right shoulder. As soon as he sensed this, he turned around, only to find himself face to face with a whiteish shadow that was slowly taking a human-like form.
The boy was frozen by horror for a moment that seemed to last an unbearable amount of time. He could not move. But as soon as he regained control of his body, he bolted out of his place and towards where one of his friends was hiding.
But of course, none of his friends would believe what had just happened.
"Do you believe in ghosts?" Suddenly, a now vaguely familiar voice broke through the movie in my mind. It was that boy again, and in the short span of that question he had just made, I noticed his tone change from emotionless to shuddery as it reached the word "ghosts."