A Ghost’s Story: Chapter 6

A Ghost’s Story: 6

As I pass through the shell, my ‘body’ disperses as it did on my previous passages through my own home to talk to the Doc. Disintegrating into hundreds of tiny sparks of light; it filters through the surface of the globe. I reconstitute inside of a well-lit, uncluttered room. I see a wooden stairway against the wall to my right leading upwards with a small wet-bar built into the underside of the stair riser. There is a blacked out transom-sized window high on the opposite wall with a large round bed beneath it taking up almost half the room. I decide that it’s a cellar, an odd one, but it’s definitely someone’s basement.

The wall to my left is painted black with metal rings and belts hanging off it at seemingly random locations. There are at least a dozen small doors built into the surface, each with a small round silver ball for a handle. The floor is white linoleum imprinted in a grid-like square pattern; above me is a matching white grid acoustical tile ceiling. Standing in the center of the room is an attractive, middle-aged woman wearing a shiny black trench coat and matching patent leather pumps. I’ve seen the hair and style of makeup before but cannot quite place where. Her shiny long black hair is styled so that the loose curls hang past her shoulders with straight bangs dangling almost to her thin, equally dark, eyebrows. The black hair accents her pale skin making it appear almost ivory in comparison. I’ve definitely seen the look before; kind of turns me on a bit in a subconsciously primitive manner.

She’s looking right at me, almost as if she were expecting me.

“Hello,” she says in a deep but feminine voice. “Where did you come from?”

“Sorry if I startled you,” although I really don’t think I did. Doc gave me a script to follow that he said seems to work out the best in these situations. The telling someone they’re no longer among the living when they think everything’s just hunky-dory kind of situations. “I’m August O’Neill; my friends call me Auggie. I’m hoping we can talk a bit, do you mind?”

“Not at all Mr. O’Neill,” again in that sultry voice, it excites and scares me at the same time. “I’m game if you are.”

Odd thing to say to someone who just appeared in your cellar while you were… hell I have no idea what she was up to.

“What should I call you?” I ask warily. ‘Why am I afraid to ask her that?’ Something here has me losing my nerve. Not enough for me to bail and leave, yet. I have the option to just pop back out. the spirit inside will revert back to whatever she was doing before I arrived and not even remember me being here. That’s what Doc says will happen. In theory I can just fizzle back outside, come back in and then simply start this conversation at the top. No harm, no foul, GO TO 10 and rerun the program.

“Mr. O’ Neill,” she says deeply as she walks towards the bar by the stairway, “I think we need to get to know each other a little better before I start giving out personal information, don’t you?” Stopping with her back to me, she opened a satin black ice bucket sitting on the dark wood bar top.

I begin to speak, “I thin…”

Turning suddenly she silenced me by holding a deeply red polished fingertip up to her similarly colored lips. Satisfied I’ll hold my tongue; she gives me a smile and returns to her business. Using a set of small silver tongs, she picks out and drops several ice cubes into a pair of tumblers, places the utensil on a pure white towel on the bar, then fills each glass halfway with a clear liquid from an unlabeled triangular bottle.

Holding one of the glasses towards me she says, “Here you are Mr. O’Neill; it seems like ages since I’ve had a guest in my home.” I know she said home, but the word ‘lair’ pops into my mind. “What can I…,” pause…, long slow sip of her drink…, wry smile…, “do for you?”

‘Holy shit.’ I think. ‘I’ve walked into something really weird here.’

“Thank you for the hospitality, really,” I say trying not to sound nervous. I need to get through this. She’s got something in mind and I’m certain it will change when she finds out she’s dead. “Whatever you think I’m here for, I promise you, it isn’t that. I don’t know how else to say it given the current situation.” I look down at the glass in my hand; I can feel the coolness of the liquid in my fingers. ‘What the hell,’ I think as I drink the contents in one shot. “I-iii <cough-cough> Whoa, what the hell is in there?” I manage to croak out between hacks.

“Just a little, pick me up.” She says with a sexy wiggle of her body that seems to start at her leather clad feet and end with a flourish of her free hand’s crimson nails.

“Well no more of that thank you,” I say as I hand the glass back to her. I press on through the pain of the liquid burning up my throat. “Again, I’m sorry if I gave you the wrong impression. Look I’ll just say it straight out. You’re dead. I’m dead. We’re all dead here. This room is your final resting place for eternity unless I can convince you to come with me.”

OK, so I went off the script Doc told me use when explaining the facts of life, or lack thereof. This is not one of the scenarios we discussed before I came in here.

“I’m dead?” She says in a surprisingly calm voice, still low and seductive, but not unbelieving. Almost like an improve comedian would do if given an odd situation by an audience member for a sketch. ‘So we’re all dead, and in a post office, and we have to mail a camel to Alaska…’

“Yeah, you don’t believe me do you?” I ask.

“I’m not saying that,” she replies as she walks over and returns the glasses to the bar. I was ready to stop her from refilling them before she turned back to me. “But if I’m dead, why are you here? To help me, ‘move on’ as they say.”

“Not really,” I reply slowly shaking my head in an apologetic manner. “I’m a spirit just like you. If I had the ability to move us on, the Mrs. and I would be long gone ourselves. I need your help. We need your help.” I say with a thumb point behind me.

“We?” She asks looking behind me at that wall of her basement. “There’s nobody with you.”

“They’re waiting just outside the bubble; out there” I half turn this time and point towards the wall maintaining eye contact with her.

“Bubble? What are you talking about?” She sounds as if I’m starting to lose her. “Out there is my back yard with my garden and behind that is Spruce St. If they are out there I’ll just go invite them in. We’ll pour some more drinks, make it a real party.” She started walking towards the steps.

Moving further into the room I block her way, “Wait; don’t go up there. If you do we’ll have to start all over.” She paused, her expression switched to the confused look I expected when I told her that she was a ghost. “Look, your world, your ‘bubble.’” I used air quotes to emphasis the word, “Is this cellar. The place you were most comfortable in life, is where you are stuck when you pass on. That’s how we were able to find you. To spirits in the outside world, this looks like a big shiny ball in the middle of nothingness.  If you try to leave before you’re ready, you’ll revert back here without any memory of why you were trying to leave. Same thing would happen if I left the way I came in. We’d have a whole Groundhog Day situation. You’d be standing there, I’d introduce myself, you’d pour a couple glasses of lighter fluid, and I’d tell this story. Eventually I’ll figure out how to get you to believe me. Any chance we can skip all that and go right to the trust?”

“Maybe, we’ll see. I’m a very trusting person; have to be in my line of work.” She was eyeing me slowly up and down, deciding whether to really believe me or not. “Then why are you, a person I’ve never met before, here in my cellar in your pajamas?”

She had a good point about my attire; I actually thought she’d ask this sooner. I took it as a good sign because it meant she was following me. “I was in my living room with my wife and our pets in my home ‘bubble.’” Again I did the finger motions. “It was where we both were the most comfortable in life; so in death that’s where we ended up. I just happened to like watching TV in my recliner wearing old PJs.”

“Doesn’t explain why you’re here in my ‘bubble.’” She mimicked my air quotes using her long slender perfectly manicured fingers in a way I could only categorize as sarcastic.

“Well,” I scratched my head and shuffled my feet, “this is where the trust comes in. Evidently I’m special.”

“Oh, that you are Mr. O’Neill, that you are.” I was right; she was being full-on sarcastic. “Got your own special short yellow bus and everything I’m sure.”

‘Busting my balls, another good sign.’ I thought. “Please call me Auggie, everyone does, I prefer it really. And what should I call you? Or is that still too personal?”

“Rita.” She said smiling at the understanding of my reference to her earlier comment. “Just call me Rita, my last name is Stachelrodt. I had enough trouble trying to get people to say it properly when I was alive, I won’t put you through it now that it doesn’t matter to anyone.”

‘Acceptance, nice!’ That was actually easier than I thought it would be.

“Outside my little bubble of reality, how many other people are you wi…” she trailed off. “I mean ghosts, or spirits, or specters? I don’t even know what to call us.”

“There are three of us Rita,” I began. “And to answer the second part of your question; with the exception of the names, people or person, we use any of the above. We also use souls, beings, apparitions, whatever makes you comfortable. Not that there are written rules about it you understand, but we tend to reserve those other words for the living.”

I knew what would come next thanks to Doc’s tutoring. She asked me why she was here alone, where was her family, why weren’t they here if I had my wife, where was she if this wasn’t heaven or hell, what made me so special?… Every question I had a ready answer for. All except one.

“Can ghosts fuck?” She asked this as bluntly as any of the others in the standard 20 question game the Doc prepped me for.

“Yes, actually we can.” I answered the query in the same matter of fact tone she used to ask it. I knew this for a fact because Doc and I have had to walk away from Roger and Lucy on several occasions when one of them had an itch that needed scratching.

I continued, “We can touch and feel each other but not living people. Although when we walk through them out in the open; it feels warm, the only warmth out there actually. It’s like swimming through someone’s pee in a swimming pool to be blunt. There may be some of us that can feel the living, but none of our group. If you don’t mind me asking, I didn’t expect that particular question, why do you want to know?”

“Because I need to get laid Auggie; don’t you?” She asked this as she started unbuttoning her coat. “I’ve asked you a thousand questions that you obviously expected; your answers were all perfectly practiced and succinct. But you haven’t asked me why I’m in my cellar, why I’m alone inside my home wearing a rain coat. And why I was perfectly happy just standing around in a brightly lit basement. Aren’t you curious at all?” Her question ended with a sly smile, only the thick black belt around her waist was left holding the glossy garment closed.

“Ok,” I replied taking a step back in the direction of the wall through which I had entered. Not in fear of anything physical, but in anticipation of running back through the bubble. I was never good with sexual innuendo when I was alive; being dead didn’t suddenly make me the suavest dude around. Although at this point she probably could follow me and retain her memory of our chat, I’m a little out of my comfort zone here and I’m trying to not let her see it.

I asked slowly, “OK, you’re right, what and why to all of what you said.”

“I’m a professional dominatrix Auggie,” she let go of the belt and the coat opened to reveal a painfully tight black latex corset. The top of which crushed and pushed her breasts up into the cone shaped cups of a bra that were made from the same shiny material as the rest of the outfit. “Look around you. All these closets, a big bed, hooks in the ceiling and walls, none of this gave away the room’s purpose?”

I felt a little stupid; I hadn’t even noticed the ceiling hooks. It was kind of obvious now that she mentioned it.

“In my defense,” I replied as I walked in a circle trying to keep distance between us as she approached; her boob pyramids threatening to impale me in their mammoricious splendor, “I barely looked at the room when I first entered.” This was true, well tru-ish to be perfectly honest. “I didn’t really think about it, I wouldn’t question what makes a soul happy.”

“I’ll show you what’ll make me happy right now.” I was surprised that she didn’t pursue me around the room; instead she walked to a set of floor to ceiling double doors that were behind me the whole time. These I really didn’t see; I had walked right through that wall when I entered her basement bedroom, her baseroom…, bedment…. Now I was just getting flummoxed, didn’t know what to think.

Opening the closet exposed what looked to me like instruments of torture but apparently gave her quite a thrill. I watched as she caressed leather whips of various sizes and construction, silver chains with clips and latches, hand cuffs, both chrome and fur covered, ropes of different dimensions and textures. I was beginning to regret telling her we could feel pain inflicted by our own kind.

“Look, Ms. Stack, Stock, Sti…, look Rita.” I said trying not to sound nervous, “I’m not really into this kind of thing. And I’m married remember!?” I said pointing to the gold circle on my left ring finger.

“Marriage makes my best customers Auggie. Besides, we’re dead. Or did you forget the, ‘till death do us part clause’?”  She laughed as she picked up a brown leather whip with a fur covered handle.

<SNAP!> effortlessly, she unrolled the long string of leather and produced a sharp report that echoed in the cellar. Although I was sure the room had the same dimensions that it had when I walked in, it suddenly seemed much smaller.

“Hey, I’ve got an idea!” An obvious ‘out’ popped into my head, “let me introduce you to Roger and Lucy. You’ll like them and they will loooove you. All they do is screw, you three will get along famously.”

She pouted. “I really do scare you that much do I?”

“Nooo,” I held up both hands in protest. “I’m a ghost too, I’m already dead. What would I have to be afraid of?” Yeah, I was bluffing. If I could shit or piss myself I probably already would have. She seemed to buy it; good thing I couldn’t sweat either.

“A threesome you say?” Gently, she put one slender finger to her full lower lip, pulled it down and released it producing the most seductive little popping sound as she mulled over the decision. It looked very sexy but I had to put that thought out of my mind. The Ménage A Roger-Lucy idea did seem to intrigue her. “Ok, let’s do it. Can I bring a toy?” She was already rummaging through the full closet.

I sensed an end to this ordeal, “Sure, just one though, we have to travel light. Why don’t you button up your coat there and we’ll be off to meet the team.”

Unfortunately in my haste to depart I failed to ask, or even bring up, any of the details that Doc had made me swear I wouldn’t forget to find out before inviting her along. Little things really, insignificant in the grand scheme of our quest; things like how she died, what connection she may have to the demon we were pursuing, telling her why we had to stop him. In hindsight I really should have. It ended up costing most of our team their souls.

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A Ghost’s Story: Chapter 5.2

If you’re a follower of this story, you’ll notice I changed the name. I decided it isn’t just a story about ghosts, it’s the story of a particular one. Hence the name change. Hope you like it.

A Ghost’s Story: 5.2

Stopping next to a shimmering silver and grey bubble, Doc turned to me, “You’re up Auggie”

I looked at the ball, then at him. “Up for what?”

“Go inside.” Again as if I should have known what he meant.

“Inside that?” I said pointing at the orb next to us.

“Yes Auggie,” he nodded, “I believe you can.”

“Doc, when you were alive,” I said trying my best to not sound annoyed, “did people tell you to go fuck yourself a lot?”

He looked surprised that I would talk to him that way.

“Doc, didn’t I just say to you five minutes ago, or whatever passes for time here, to tell us anything we might have to know before we have to know it?”

“Oh is that what you meant?” He seemed genuinely perplexed.

“Yes,” I said exasperated, “I don’t think I’m going out on a limb when I say we don’t want any surprises.”

“Yes, yes of course.” He looked at Roger and Lucy, “no more surprises, I’ll try. But for now, we need you to go in there and talk to whomever you meet.”

Puzzled, and more than a little annoyed that he really didn’t get it, I asked, “Why don’t we just knock? Like Roger did for me?”

“We tried before we came to get you.” He said, oblivious to the fact that he continued to piss me off. “Whoever’s in there won’t come out and none of us can get in. We’d like you to try. ”

“What do you mean by whoever? Didn’t you conjure them up when you were alive?” I was still annoyed but curious.

“I did make the attempt,” he said, “but I couldn’t get a response. I think it was too soon.”

He paused only long enough to notice the grimace I was directing his way.

“Oh sorry, by that I mean that the person passed away recently. I don’t think spirits can communicate when they are just becoming acclimated with their new reality. ”

I guess berating him was beginning to pay off.

“So how do we know someone’s in there that we need to talk to?” I asked.

“Simply.” He began what turned out to be anything but simple, “I was the one who discovered the murder scene. I figured out where the demon was going next but I unfortunately arrived too late. I discovered the body and called the Police. Before they arrived I tried to contact the victim to no avail. Of course I didn’t know it at the time but he was still here. The killer I mean. The whole time I was calling out to a spirit that I didn’t even know the name of. I never got the chance to talk to the victim or the Police for that matter. He killed me before I could find out any details about the crime.”

Now my curiosity was piqued, “So you tracked him here but you were too late to help the victim. You knew the where and when, but you didn’t know the who?”

“Exactly.” He explained, “I was able to deduce his next kill by following clues I got from interviewing his past victims. There is a pattern to the locations and approximate times. If I had known about Lucy’s zodiac theory… Well I may have been here in time. Unfortunately I arrived too late save them. I still don’t know how you are all connected personally to the killer, but you are connected.”

I looked at the bubble in front of me. “So you have no idea who our ‘who’ is in there do you?” I asked apprehensively.

“That is correct Auggie. With this reality,” he said, “I don’t know who’s in there.”

“OK then,” I replied. “As you said, I’m up aren’t I?”

I walked around the bubble, looking for an obvious entrance. Finding none I stuck out my hand to touch the surface. There was no resistance, my arm disappeared to just past my wrist.

It’s one of those odd cold but not painfully so feelings. Like fishing for a cold brew in the bottom of a water and ice filled cooler. Withdrawing my arm, I watched as it reintegrated into the shape I was familiar with being one of my appendages. Gold and silver sparkles floated around at the end of the stump created where I stopped pushing my hand in. It took a few seconds but did merge back together.

“Spooky man, it was hard as a rock when we tried.” Roger said quietly. Well as quietly as a giant of a man can speak. It was the volume of my normal speaking voice.

“Spooky Roger?” I asked rhetorically. “You’re a ghost dude, you’re spooky. We’re all spooky. That was just plain fucked up.”

He nodded and shrugged in agreement.

“OK Doc, I’ll do it.” I said resigned to the fact that it was necessary. “Is there anything I should know?” I asked trying to drag out anything he might have inadvertently held back.

“You should be prepared for the questions that first contacts always ask.” He said surprisingly giving up information without me have to berate him again. “There are stock questions I’ve learned through experience that I’m asked when I talk to a spirit for the first time. We’ll run through them so you’re prepared.”

“Sure thing Doc.” I said. “But I’m not doing the seance voice alright?”

I was kidding, he didn’t get it, neither did Lucy. Roger had to bend over to whisper in her ear and explain what I meant. She laughed while the Doc still looked puzzled.

After running through questions that I was familiar with, after all I had asked them when I first met him. And then some that didn’t fit me but did make sense since I really didn’t know who I’d meet in there. When both Doc and I felt I was ready, I stepped towards the bubble.

“Well, wish me luck.” I said as I took a full step onto a chain of events that even the brilliant Dr. Bukowski could never have seen coming, and walked through the shell of the bubble in to meet the unknown.

Ghost Story: Chapter 5.1

Ghost Story: 5.1

The big twin’s deep repeating thump echoed off the brick facades of the warehouse district.  Reflected neon flashed off the wet street as the big Harley weaved its way down the pothole riddled dead end.

As the lone witness stood as still as a cemetery angel watching over ancient graves, he studied the large patch on the rider’s cut as he rumbled by. Sandwiched between ‘Dead Horse MC’ on the top and ‘Passaic NJ’ on the bottom rocker was the club’s emblem, the silhouette of Fredric Remington’s ‘End of the Trail’ sculpture. Barely perceptible through the dense night, the corners of his thin mouth curled up in a grim smile; his prey had arrived.

The dark man didn’t move as he watched the chopper pull up next to the entrance of ‘Dolly’s Bar-No Grill’. This was Dead Horse MC’s clubhouse and front to lauder the cash made from their trifecta of illicit activities, liquor, drugs and sex. He stood and watched; there was no hurry, everything that was to happen had been preordained. His only compulsion was to complete his portion, his blood soaked and savage part in the future history of this place.

The bartender, prematurely aged and thin from years of substance abuse, looked up as he heard the raucous sound made by the heavy metal door’s rusty hinges. He watched through perpetually bloodshot eyes as the immense biker stooped as he passed through the doorway more from habit than necessity. When the invisible beam of the electric eye guarding the entryway sounded its electronic chime, the bartender calmly snuffed out his butt and stuffed a half empty fifth of Jack Daniels into his back pocket.

The big man sauntered up to the bar, and as the two men exchanged a few short words, the grizzled barkeep handed the larger man a thick envelope. His nightly duties complete, he picked his threadbare denim jacket from a hook by  the end of the bar, staggered to the door, and accompanied by the sensor’s chime and screech of the door, checked out from his final shift.

Outside Dolly’s, the night’s cold fog enveloping him, he pulled a familiar red and white box from the breast of his coat and a scratched Zippo from the change pocket of his worn and faded jeans. As he lit the cigarette and inhaled that first long pull of a fresh stick, a cold thin blade sliced open his throat. He didn’t see the stranger standing by the doorway waiting for his departure from the bar, didn’t hear the man move silently out of the shadows and step up behind him, nor did his dulled senses alert him the danger, the death waiting to release him from this world and move him into the next. He wasn’t as fortunate as others that passed on by this same dark mechanism of death; there was no safe and cozy place for him waiting in the ether, he was damned. His destiny was sealed many years before; he just didn’t know it until this dark and damp night.

Inside, as a freshly lit cigarette was sizzling itself out in a pool of dirty water and blood, Roger looked across the room at the small dance floor positioned behind the dark wooden bar. Lucy was staring at him, waiting to be noticed, this was part of their nightly ritual. To the club, he was their Sargent at Arms and treasurer; she was just another dancer and whore. To each other they were soul mates; fated in this life and the next to be together. His nightly visits were part of his responsibilities with DHMC, being able to see Lucy every night she was working was an added bonus. Truth is, he would find another reason to ditch his old lady and head down to the bar, such was the pull she had on him.

He smiled, this was her signal that they were alone and it was safe for them to be together. She scampered across the small dance floor, jumped up onto the bar and leapt into his massive arms. He didn’t even flinch, her tiny body weighed less than a third of his; he caught her in mid-air and pulled her to him, their lips met. They had no way of knowing this would be their last mortal kiss.

Behind them, mere seconds after the thin, grey haired barkeep left, the normally noisy door opened silently, and the electric eye chime didn’t chirp as the cloaked stranger walked in and approached the couple locked in a lover’s embrace. As they parted for breath, Lucy opened her eyes. Before she had time to comprehend what the small black box being raised to Roger’ neck was and warn her love, the taser jolted the big man. As his arms went rigid and Lucy began to fall, she smelled Roger’s flesh burning beneath the jittering weapon. As she hit the floor she saw the tiny red dots, like LEDs in the darkness, emanating from the caped man’s skull.

She wouldn’t remember any of the next twelve hours until years later; the night a nerdy Doctor called to them from beyond Dolly’s black door.