A story I was working on a while back and lost interest in. I want to re-read it and maybe re-write it. Tell me what you think, would it be worth my time? Or is the idea a pile of dung?
Jennifer Lew. That’s my name. Was my name. Ooh I’m still not used to being dead. I look down at my little sister, Jamie. Jamie has her head in her hands and I can feel her tears. She’s been upset ever since I died last month. I gently float down to her side…
Wait, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me explain why I’m still… here.
In life, my sister and I were inseparable. Best friends. We shared everything, even secrets. We became even closer a year ago, when she was twelve and I was fourteen, when we moved from New York City to Richmond, Virginia, thus, leaving our only friends. Our new school was like a close knit family, not accepting of others, so our constant attempts to fit in and make friends failed.
Since we had no friends at school, we had only each other to talk to, sit with at lunch. Eventually, we also lost contact with our old friends, Mom and Dad had gotten new jobs and were never around. There was a point in time when we became depressed, ignored everyone, didn’t talk to anyone other than each other, and lost focus on our future.
For about a month, we were in our own little shells. We were failing, dressed dark and sad, and were basically living death. We stayed like that until Mom quit her job to be with us. Then we started to get back to normal.
Actually, we finally recovered about a week before my death.
Anyways, when I died, I remembered a promise I’d made Jamie a long time ago. That I would never leave her. Sure, it hadn’t meant that much at the time, but as I lay there, dying, it suddenly meant so much more.
So when the time came, I knew what I had to do. I sat up, straight out of my body, and looked right into the light before me. The urge to go to it was so strong, I almost forgot what I needed to do. An arm reached out to me from the light, and I knew that I was supposed to hold the hand, let it guide me away, but I didn’t. I would rather linger on earth for all eternity than break a promise to my sister.
That will, that love, was what enabled me to fight the pull of the light.
I didn’t know then what I would be getting myself into. I knew there would be consequences, but I didn’t care. It would be worth it. It is worth it.
OK, so back to reality, I float down to Jamie’s side. She looks up as if she can sense me, which is entirely possible, considering our close relationship. As I hug her, the crying stops.
She turns to face me, “Jen?” There is a hint of recognition in her voice.
“Yes, yes it’s me!” I cry, ecstatic.
She waited a minute, “Must’ve been my imagination,” She obviously can’t hear me, as all hope washes from her face.
I sigh. I should have known not to get my hopes up.
We sit there for a while, both crying our eyes out.
Yes, as a ghost, I do have eyes. I look exactly like I did before I died. I still have all the needs I did when I was alive, to eat, breathe, drink, etc. My organs still function, the only difference is that I can float and go through things. Oh yeah, and the minor glitch that nobody can see me.
But that’s the price I’m willing to pay. Growing bored of just lying there, I float through the wall separating Jamie’s room (my old room) from our parent’s room.
The T.V. is on, my parents sitting on the bed, not really watching. In attempt to get their attention, I hover next to the T.V. and try to draw in the energy and shut it off. Concentrating hard, I pull in the energy, and it shuts off. My parents look up, startled. Now that I have their attention, I use the energy and try to manifest anything to show them that I’m here. I settle on making a dove, my favorite animal. With my eyes closed, I picture a dove. I see its lovely white body, its beautiful structure. I feel the soft, white feathers brush beneath my hand. When I open my eyes, I see that it worked. The dove I’d manifested walks sloppily on the soft carpet. Turning to my parents, eager to see their reaction, I see that they have left the room, probably to call an electrician. Since I’m new at being dead, the dove disappears, as cliché as it is, right when my parents come back in, phone in hand. Having used all my energy on the dumb dove, I don’t try to make another.
Mom holds the phone, crying too hard to dial anything, so Dad takes it from her and punches in a number he reads from a notepad in his hand. He presses send and I hear it ringing. But I know that when the talking starts, I won’t hear anything.
Normally I don’t like to eavesdrop like this, but this time is different. It seems serious. I land on the floor and run up the stairs to the attic, where we keep our house phones. I grab one and press ‘send’. The person just answered.
In a kind, friendly voice, a man speaks, “Hello?”
My dad pauses, and then responds, “Hello. I’m John Lew. I am calling for your services. We think we may have… a poltergeist.”
I gasps, insulted. Why don’t they think it’s me?
“Mr. Lew, when, may I ask, did this start happening?” the man asks.
“Well, it started right after my… after my daughter died.” I hear mom start to cry harder in the background.
“Oh, I’m so sorry for your loss.” The man says, gently, “Not to be insensitive, but I think I know what’s going on..”
He knows! My heart speeds up, beating hard in my chest.
“Yes?” my dad chokes out, obviously fearing the worst. Which would be that I am stuck here. At least, I think that’s what he thinks.
“When you daughter passed on,” I feel the hope rush out of my heart, wishing I hadn’t gotten my hopes up, “A passage from this world to the next opened and something slipped through the cracks, something very likely evil.
Dad’s surprise is audible over the phone, displayed as a sharp intake of air.
“Sir, just a question here, is the activity ever experienced by more than one person at a time? Preferably non-family?” The man asks.. I still don’t know his name. Maybe he introduced himself earlier.
“No, but Mr. Jorne,” Right on cue, my dad says the man’s last name, “What does this have to do with anything?”
“Well, if it were each person individually, and nobody outside of the family, then it may just be your minds creating a ghost of your daughter, wishing that she were still here.” Mr. Jorne replies, “Now, could you describe to me the type and frequency of the activity?”
“Well, it’s all been harmless so far, and it happens about once every day to each family member. Our youngest daughter, Jamie, claims that she can feel Jen’s presence.” Dad answers.
For a second, I hear nothing. Then, “When can my crew come out and investigate?”
“Soon, please. Would tonight work? I just have to know what is going on.” Dad’s anxiety shows in his shaky voice.
I hadn’t realized how much pain I was causing them by staying, not letting the move on. I didn’t realize my presence would only cause them pain…
“Of course,” he says,” again, my condolences.”
Dad gives him our address and they both hang up. I’m left feeling empty, only hearing a ring in my ear for comfort.
“wait, “ I say to myself, “this could be my chance to let them know its me!”
I’ve seen shows about ghost hunters, so they should be able to hear me, or detect me in some way.
I sit here like this for a bit, thinking about everything and nothing.
When I come back down to earth, I hear talking downstairs. Curious, I close my eyes and imagine the living room. The white, plump sofa Church’sMiddleSchoolFellowshipmeetstonight 715-830pm.
AnyoneinmiddleschooliswelcomejoinusattheRiversideoffice 20 PidgeonHillDrive #109, nexttotheregaltheaterinCountryside. HighschoolseniorBarbaraRionwillbesharingwiththegroupandwehavesomegreatgames, videos, food! Wewillbeannouncingachallengefornextweekaswell! (let’sjustsayitamiestanduppushed against the clean white wall, the fireplace, the TV, so ordinary, so plain. I’d never really appreciated it until I died, I guess. When I open my eyes again, I’m in the living room. Mom and Dad each sit on one end of the couch, with Jamie in the middle, talking. My feel, with a mind of their own, lead me closer.
“Honey, we know you have been experiencing some things… abnormal.” Mom’s soft, gentle voice echoes through the quiet house.
“Paranormal.” Jamie corrects, not looking up from her Nintendo D.S.
“Jamie, we understand that you miss your sister, but creating an imag-“
“No,” Dad interrupts Mom, “Jamie is thirteen, and we should trust her. Anyways, we’ve experienced it too.” He turns back to Jamie, “Anyways, we’ve called a group of paranormal investigators to come out and check it out, so that we can finally get some rest.”
I choke back a sob, because now I feel so guilty, yet even if I did cry, they wouldn’t notice.
The look of horror on Jamie’s beautiful face makes me flinch. Gently, I move around the coffee table and sit next to her, putting my arms around her, holding her. She shivers, and looks at Mom.
“Do you feel that?”
“Feel what, honey?”
“That, that cold spot, right next to me.”
Mom waves her hand next to my sister and passes right through my head. We both shiver, but hers is the only acknowledged one.
“Yes, actually, I do,” Mom replied.
Dad, curious, stands up and waves his hand right through my belly.
“Ah.” He pulls back, startled.
“See?” Jamie pushes.
“Jamie, stand up.” Dad orders, faking calmness.
“NOW!” Dad interrupts, uncharacteristically losing his cool.
Reluctantly, Jamie stands up. “Just, please, feel the shape of the cold spot.”
“Fine,” Mom says. She gets up and traces her hand all around me. Stunned, she falls back onto the couch.
Dad rushes to her side, “What? Are you okay?”
“Yes… it was just…” Mom shivers.
“Honey, tell me, it was what?” Dad begs.
“It was the shape of a human..” Mom manages to utter.
“Jen…” Something lights up in Jamie’s eyes.
“Whats that?” Dad asks, having not heard Jamie the second before.
“Nothing..” Jamie mutters, backing off into her own room(my old room).
I follow her, since she is the only one who actually considers this ‘poltergeist’ being me.
She sits on her bed, looking up, “Jen?” She whispers.
I fling myself to her. “Yes, yes its me!” I cry in a different kind of happy that only I can hear. I hug her anyways.
“Jen… I can feel your presence, please let me know you are here. Do something, move something. Wow, Jen, I feel like a ghost hunter in one of those shows we used to watch together. But I hope you are easier to see than the others.”
I float to the overhead fan that I used to look up at when I was alive so many times, and, using all my energy, pushed it to spin. I only realize how much energy it took when I’m done, and I’m so out of it that I fall down onto the bed next to her. I close my eyes.
“Oh, God. Jen, I missed you sooooo much!” Jamie cries, looking around the room in desperate attempt to see me. But she can’t
Since she cant hear me, I simply scoot over and wrap myself around her, both of us crying until we have no tears left. When the door creaks and Mom comes in, I jump. She looks at Jamie, sympathy in her eyes.
“Baby, we didn’t mean to upset you. Look, if you want to go to a friend’s house… hotel,” She corrects ( Jamie still doesn’t have any friends) “tonight, if it would be easier for you, then I will take you.”
“Nuh,” Jamie mumbles between sobs, “ I wanna help. Wanna talk to Jen.” She wipes her eyes and looks at Mom.
Mom sighs, “You don’t actually believe… sweetie, its not your sister. Jen is in Heaven right now, watching over us, and probably not liking the fact that you aren’t moving on.”
“Mom, I cant move on when she hasn’t.” Jamie coughs, “Now please, get out of my room.”
Exasperated, Mom gets up and storms out through the door, slamming it shut behind her.
“Jen, if you’re still here after all that, you might want to leave for now. I think Mom’s calling for reinforcements, if ya know what I mean.” Jamie sighs.
And I do know what she means by reinforcements. Dad. Whenever we don’t listen to Mom about something, she calls Dad in and expects him to make it all better. Which usually works. Just sayin’.
After giving Jamie one good-bye hug, I close my eyes and focus on the Winchester house, my new favorite hangout. Its full of doors and stairs to nowhere, empty rooms, like a maze. It’s a ghost’s paradise. I picture the large, old, wooden house, and concentrate. When I open my eyes, I ‘m there.
Out of the corner of my eyes, I see two figures rush up to me. Turning to look at them, I shout, “Hey!”
The figures speed up and hug me. On my right, Alisa, and on my left , Baylee, my two best ghost friends, grin. Alisa, with her perfect blond, straight hair, and blue eyes, died about a year ago at age fifteen. Baylee, brunette with brown eyes, died in a car crash at age seventeen about ten years ago. When I first died, Baylee was my guide. She found me wandering around the streets, confused, and helped me. Same thing with Alisa.
When Baylee noticed how lonely the three of us were, she invited me to the Winchester House, and then, we met, and all became BGFFs. Best ghost friends forever. Forever being the key word. Because, as Baylee says, since we made the choice to stay, we can’t cross over. Ever. Stuck on earth together forever.
But everyone we knew died; we wouldn’t be lonely, because we have each other. We know it won’t be the same, and were fully aware of what we’ve given up, for various reasons.
Baylee stayed on earth because she had been in denial when she died. She ignored the calling of the beyond and, very persistently, I might add, convinced herself it was a dream, and that if she actually moved on, she would really die when she woke up. At least, that’s what she says is the only reason. But I, Jennifer Lew, self acclaimed psychologist, think there’s more.
I think she was scared, mad at herself. See, earlier that year, when her mom died, she was so mad at her, that she made herself think she hated her mom, that it was her fault she died. When she died, she realized that her Mom’s death was inevitable, and, in an attempt to punish herself for being so stupid, she decided that she didn’t deserve to move on, to be with her mom. But that’s just my theory.
Baylee’s pretty much an open book. She tells us everything about her and her past. Alisa and I usually keep quiet about our pasts, giving into on a need-to-know basis. Whenever the subject comes up, Alisa and I try to veer from the topic.
Baylee, thank God, doesn’t push. She understands how we must feel, and lets us, no, wants us, to open up to her in our own time. When you’ve been dead for a decade, she usually says, you learn to be patient.
Which I understand completely. Imagine; nobody knows you, nobody can see you, hear you, you have nothing to do and nowhere to go. Now imagine nine years of that. That’s what Bayle went through before she met Alisa, and then, me. Alisa and I got lucky, not having to go through what Baylee did. So, of course, we both are as impatient in death as in life.
Actually, most ghosts are all alone, forever. They don’t realize that you don’t have to just haunt one place. That you can go anywhere that you want. A lot of them don’t even know that there are more of us. Poor things, they think they are all alone, cursed to be lonely for all eternity.
That’s what we’re trying to stop, Baylee, Alisa, and I. We are a ghost hunting team of our own. We go to haunted places, and help the ghosts there. We tell them they’re not alone, and that if they come with us, they will be surrounded by their -our- kind. We take them to the most haunted places, where all the ghosts are, like, the Winchester house, the Titanic, and your basement. Well, not actually your basement, but you gotta admit, it was kinda funny.
Anyways, once they’re there, we see them off and try to help someone else. Sometimes, we run into a bad spirit, and we have to get rid of it by sending it to Alcatraz, the only place and evil entity can’t escape. The places we go to look for bad spirits are places like jails, murder scenes, and persecution areas, like places of hangings.
“So, what happened today?” Baylee asks, making me lose my train of thought.
“Well,” I start, “My parents called a ghost hunting team, and my little sister finally realized that it’s me haunting the house. “
“Aww that’s great!” Alisa gushes, a tiny bit jealous.
“It is, but a ghost hunting team? Are you going to be there when they investigate?” Baylee seems worried.
“Yeah, it might be the only way to prove to my parents that I’m still here.” I answer.
“Oh, “Baylee says, “just be careful, they might think you are a bad entity and try to… exorcize you.
I gasp. I didn’t realize that they might want me gone. Oh, and to exorcize a ghost is to forcefully make them cross over. Yes, it is the only way for a ghost to go to heaven or whatever, but there’s a catch. You have to find your way there, no help, nothing. Once you find your way, though, the reward is worth the time spent.
But the journey there is long and treacherous, from what I hear. It's like a maze, hidden forever in the shadows, spirits that never made it through. When you venture into the maze, there is no guarantee that you will ever make it out. Just luck.
Nothing like what you would expect to see on your way to move on or whatever. It's not happy at all. Oh, everyone has to go through the maze, but most just flash through it with help from the higher powers.
Reason I say things like, 'move on' and, 'higher powers' is that even though we're dead, we don't know what happens when we, for lack of a better term, move on.
Anyways, everything, well, almost everything we know about the path are rumors, theories. We know so little about it because once you enter, there's no going back. At least, not since The Flood. The Flood wiped out everything, a new start. Before that, spirits could come and go as they pleased. Some kept journals about the path, but most have been destroyed or lost. The only one left is Joan Wyner's, a dateless journal, so we dont know how accurate it is.
Joan described it as an endless labyrinth, full of twists and turns, doorways to nowhere, kinda like the Winchester House, except for the tiny fact that you can't flash out. She told of the lost spirits, forever huddled in the shadows, with no escape.
When humans think of forever, eternity, they think their whole life. Because, to them, that's all it is. But for ghosts, we can see the real power of forever, so the idea of being stuck in that maze forever is more real to us, since we are truly endless.
I look at Baylee, then to Alisa. Their mutual worry warms my heart, “Guys, I'm not leaving you. I promise to be careful.”
Ever so slightly, the sides of Alisa's lips curve upward. But only for a second. She isn't big on showing her emotions.
“So, what do we do now?” I ask, changing the subject.
“Ah,” Baylee says, “ I heard there are ghosts-children- in a house a few blocks from you.”
“Really? I never noticed any old creepy houses..?” I comment, confused.
My family lives in a small neighborhood, and in the time I'd lived there, we'd seen each house enough times to recognize them.
When we first moved in, we had gone exploring, driving around town. There hadn't been much to see, Lowen really is a small, quaint town.
There is a [art of the town for houses, and another for shopping and entertainment. If you call a small park with one baby playground, entertainment, that is. The park's really beautiful, with flowers everywhere, and the tall, natural oak trees providing shade from the sun. A really great place to sit and write. But most of the citizens don't see it like that. Actually, when I was alive, only two of the 751 people population did, me and my sister. Now, its only one.
There's a small shopping center, with a Target and a few fast food restaurants.
Then, the houses. All the houses are in one single neighborhood, and of all shapes and sizes. Not like New York.
“That's because you weren't looking. This house is in the abandoned part of town. Nobody goes there anymore.” Alisa informs me, excited to be the one answering.
“Ok, let's go!” I grin, eager to get my mind off of what would be happening tonight.
“Yeah, there's more...” Baylee says sheepily, “The kids are stubborn. They were students at an all-girl school, which is where they died. They died in the year 1957. Many groups like us have tried to help them, but they still think that if they leave, Ms. Gordan, the headmistress, will whip them. And she will. She's a ghost. They all died in the same fire.”
Silence. “Lovely,” I break it. I don't question how Bayle knows all this. We never do.
“Mmkay, let's go. I'm sure you dont want to miss the investigation, Jen, now do you?” Alisa smiles.
I nod, grabbing Baylee's and Alisa's hands. “Im ready. Now, take us there.” I close my eyes.
For a second, I feel like I'm floating. Just for a second. Then I feel like hitting the ground. I lose grip on my friend's hands, and fall to the ground.
“Oof.” I grunt, opening my eyes.
We're in a forest, on the dirt. I sit up and look around. Not much to see, but there is an old house or building that did look burnt.
Alisa extends her hand to me to help me up. I grab it, and she pulls me to my feet.
“Thanks,” I mumble, looking at my feet.
I look up, but Alisa and Baylee are already at the old building.
“Hey wait up!” I shout. My voice echoes through the empty forest.
Baylee turns around and glares at me, “Quiet! We don’t want to scare them.”
I flinch, and Alisa takes Baylee’s hand. She looks at me sympathetically. I speed up to catch up with them, reluctance slowing me down. I walk past Baylee and stop next to Alisa.
“So, what do we do?” I ask.
“Well, we walk in, and look around, wait for the ghosts to show up.” Baylee answers. She runs up to the burnt, old door and holds is open for us.
“In there? It could cave in on us at any second?!” I cry.
Alisa and Baylee just look at me. “Oh, yeah, we’re already dead. D’uh.”
I follow Alisa into the house and look around. Really dark. I hear Baylee shut the door behind us.
Once my eyes adjust, I look around the small, dusty room. The floor is covered with ash, the ceiling burnt through in some areas. There isn’t much to see, but there are a few things. In the corner, a broken old chair sits, untouched for years. Next to it is a table with all sorts of knick-knacks on it, and an old picture that I sense has great meaning to it.
For some reason, I feel drawn to it. Gently, I step toward the table and pick up the photo. Dust covers the picture, so I softly blow it off.
There are twelve girls, all about ten or so years of age. On the left of the group stands a fierce, scary looking woman, who looks to be in her thirties. She must be the headmistress.
“What’d you find?” Baylee asks from behind, startling me.
“Oh,” I jump, “its this old photograph, with the students you described, most likely taken in 1954, about three years before the fire. I would say this picture was of great importance to someone.
Baylee and Alisa gape at me. “What?” I say.
“How on earth and beyond,” Alisa says, bewildered, “would you know all that?”
“I…I don’t actually know.” I hadn’t realized that what I knew wasn’t common sense…,” I just… knew. Knew when I touched it.”
Alisa stares at me, then grabs Baylee’s arm tightly, ”It’s her.” I hear her whisper.
“You don’t mean..?” Baylee replies so quietly that I don’t hear the last part.
“Yes.” Alisa replies.
“What’s going on? What are you talking about?” I say, frustrated with being left out.
“just a theory we have. Ok, so we’ve been in here for abour half an hour, and still haven’t found anything. Lets test out theory. Remember that picture? Well, hold it, and imagine those girls standing right next to you. Will them to appear.” Baylee instructs.
“Ok, I don’t see how this will do anythingto help, but whatever.” I reply slowly.
I trust my friends, so I do as Baylee says. I imagine the sweet, innocent, little ten year olds. I imagine them in the room, their uniform, beige and a cute little military jacket, with their angelic braids and non-smiling faces, right next to me. I feel all the pain they must have gone through and I feel the urge to make those faces smile, for them to be here for me to do so.
I’m still imagining when I hear Alisa gasp. My eyes snap open, and I see the girls. They all stand behind one girl, hands on hips, glaring at me. The girl in front, obviously the leader, steps forward.
“Who are you to summon us?” she growls
I spin around and look at my friends. They look just as surprised as me, but I can feel its not the ghosts appearance that surprised them. No, it was me.