There are times when Ben has to ignore the dead; ignore the lost and confused who have passed when there eyes scan his and ask questions. If he wouldn't in moments like this he could be mobbed by the ghosts and followed. It happened a few times before when Ben was first developing his abilities. As he remembers the day he first realized he could talk to the deceased it floods his mind after parking outside the Pittsburgh morgue. The day that sparked it all.
It doesn't always rain during a funeral but the mood was still set with precipitation still falling from many eyes in the church. Two days after Karen's death her friends and family and her boyfriend Benjamin pay their last respects. Ben's nerves are shot. By now he has cried all the tears he could, though what made things worse for him is that he was the last one to see her alive. He did not witness her death but he still blamed himself as did most of Karen's family.
"Karen Vaughn was taken from us too early. A beautiful, hard working, passionate young woman who had a promising future. She had not an enemy that anyone knew about. She simply just wanted life to be what she put into it. Karen was one of the most amazing friends a girl could ask for. Today, I, Jennifer Cudgel am representing not only myself but also Oliver High school class of two thousand and four. During or graduating ceremony we will fly our school flag and the American flag at half mast. We would like Karen's mother, father, and her boyfriend Ben to accept her honorary high school Diploma on her behalf next Saturday on graduation day. God bless Karen as she as blessed everyone who was lucky to know her." Jennifer, a close friend of Karen's walks off the stage after her speech at the podium.
Ben sinks in his seat in the front row. He looks around momentarily and feels the anger piercing his back. The Vaughn family knew that Ben had taken her to a party after prom and something went wrong. Something or someone killed their Karen. At this time the investigation is still underway. Her body was found in an alley way the morning after and right now Benjamin is a suspect in her family's eyes. Luckily, he did have an alibi to prove him innocent later. He was with his friend David Long searching for her. If it wasn't for a few video tapes from convenient stores in the area as they showed her face on a cell phone he would be locked up.
"Ben. You should say something, man," David nudges him.
"I-I can't. It's too hard. I loved her," Ben replies.
"So did everyone else here. It's okay," David pats him on the back.
Ben sighs and looks at his friend and stands up. He sheepishly walks up into the stage and looks around the room. He looks to the left and sees Karen's body laying lifeless and his heart rate rises fast while his skin tone changes five shades away from white.
"Uh..." Ben coughs "I want you all to know that I loved Karen Vaughn very much. I feel like I've let her down by leaving her out of my site and for bringing her to that party." He grabs his stomach as it begins to ache. "I can't begin to describe how much pain this event has brought to me. And, I don't think I'll ever know the weight of losing a daughter like Karen. She was... She..."
He keeps coughing and trying to hold back from puking. He could see Karen's father staring at him both with sadness and anger. All Ben could feel now was the weight of guilt pulling him down as if gravity had suddenly shifted. Ben collapses on stage, hitting his head on Karen's casket and knocks himself out cold.
Next thing he knew everything faded in and out of reality and a dream like state. The doubling effect of pyschogenic shock and smashing his head earned him a trip to the emergency room. Though, at the moment he didn't know a thing. I felt some pain and then it was gone. He heard voices and sound of sirens and some flashing lights but nothing reached a point of cognition in his mind. That is, until he heard her voice.
"Ben!" Ben see's Karen standing by him. The room becomes clearer and it is apparent that he is in the care of a local hospital.
"It's going to be okay. I'm okay. Don't be sad. I will be with you always." It's all he heard her say to be followed by a moment of nothing and suddenly a fast jerk in response a few days later in his hospital bed. He quickly sits up breathing heavily and sweating.
"Karen!" He shouts. No answer. This event leads Ben into a heavy period of research to hear and see Karen again.