A Ghost’s Story: 8.2
I have a plan, not a great plan I’ll admit, not even a whole plan I’ll confess, but I have to get Rita away from my home, and give Doc some time to literally pull himself back together.
I begin by talking to Rita without any intent other than denying her the opportunity to interrupt, I side-step away from my bubble in the opposite direction from where we had come.
“I’m willing to help you but I don’t know exactly what it is you expect from me. I’m obviously out of my league here, and you have this all figured out. I’m just concerned with what would happen to my wife, Suzie. She doesn’t know anything about what’s going on out here.”
“I told you alread…” Rita tries to cut me off; I keep talking.
“Yes, I know how you feel about marriage and death, but she will always be my wife. After all we were put here together, just like Roger and Lucy were. That must mean something in the grand scheme of things.”
The mention of Roger strikes a nerve, she raises her blade. Quickly, I change the subject.
“It’s crazy here isn’t it? I never was a religious man, didn’t believe in life after death. Still don’t really, I mean this isn’t really life is it?”
I continue to talk, trying not to babble or repeat myself. I go on about her and her love, and how similar they are to Suzie and me. I talk about what it’s like for us in the bubble, being careful to leave out the details about how we got there. I don’t ask any questions, or say anything that will require a reply from her. Amazingly, it works and she follows me away from my home, and the slowly dispersing Roger and Lucy. Rita turns when I turn, walks where I walk. Somewhere along the way, her silver blade reverts back to normal and her demeanor lightens. Maybe all that time waiting for her unnamed lover made her lonely for some regular conversation.
Before she even notices what’s happening, we’re back by her bubble. I steal a glance behind, and as I hoped, Doc’s disjointed mass has followed us.
His pieces have come together to form a semblance of his normal shape. Although there are a few pieces that seem to have not found their way back in place, he has the overall look of a broken vase that had been glued back together, badly. Gaps between his extremities make it obvious where Rita’s sword had sliced him. His right eye, chin, and left bicep are missing; although the rest of that arm seems to be floating in generally the proper position. It also appears that several pieces of his legs are swapped onto the wrong side. They don’t seem to bend in the right directions, he appears bowlegged.
When Rita finally notices where we had walked, her reaction isn’t what I expected.
“Auggie,” she says with surprising calmness. “Are we back at my home?”
“Yes Rita.” I see no point in lying about it. “I brought you home. You were at peace in there don’t you remember? That’s all any of us want isn’t it.”
I try to stay calm, soothing. I need to maneuver her into a position near her bubble in order to get her inside. I have to convince her that she wants to go back.
Yet another glaring hole in my plan that has yet to have a plug present itself.
“Rita, do you remember how you were when I first met you?”
“Yes, I was waiting for a client. That person turned out to be you.”
“That’s right. I came into your home,” more like a lair actually. “And you greeted me as if I should have known why I was here. But what I meant was, how were you feeling? You seemed calm to me, happy almost, isn’t that right? You were serene.”
She thought about this for a moment before answering.
“Yes. Yes, I liked it in there.”
“And now that we’re all out here, you’re life, sorry, existence is in chaos. Don’t you want to be at peace?”
She appeared to be thinking about it, but it’s taking too long.
I glance sideways, trying to get a better look at Doc. I’m shocked to see him running towards us. At first I thinks he’s going to try to push Rita into her bubble, but at the last second he turns towards me!
“Doc! What the hell?”
I move just in time for him to miss me, he bounces off Rita’s home and falls to the side.
“You missed him Doctor!” Rita screams at him as he’s lying on the ground. I knew you were useless. Her silver arm is back, although this time it has the shape and size of a samurai sword. She easily decapitates the remnants of Doc’s head and kicks it away from his flailing body.
“His purpose has already been fulfilled, he delivered you to me. I kept him around in case he could be of some use, I guess I was wrong.”
Turning back to me, her arm revert to normal.
“That was a very nice speech, Mr. O’Neil. You’re right in that I was peaceful. But only because I am very patient; have been my whole existence. The anticipation of the fun we’d have together would rip me apart otherwise.”
“You knew I was leading you here, and you still came, why”
“I don’t know, just toying with you. I also wanted to see what that quack doctor would do. I’ve had him on my hook for thirty years. Wanted to see if he’s still loyal.”
She starting laughing at the fallen doctor. He managed to find his head and had placed it back in its proper location. He was trying to stand, but his mismatched legs weren’t cooperating. He slid around on the ground, each attempt at rising thwarted by his inability to get solid footing. His outstretched hand is floating in mid-air, reaching towards Rita for help. Disgusted, I walked over to him.
“Stop, where are you going?” Rita screamed.
“I’m going to help him. Whether his intention was devious or not, I can’t let him suffer like this.”
“He was going to end you. If he pushed you in, you’d be trapped.”
If she just wants to finish me, she could chop me up like Roger and Lucy.
An idea came to me. Everything I’d learned in this realm, told me she was wrong. Doc had been right about me being unique. I could enter and leave other bubbles, and still come back out. I had to call her bluff.
“Why does that matter Rita? Why do you want me locked in your home?”
She hesitated. It wasn’t a long pause, just enough for me to detect a line of bullshit was imminently approaching.
“Because that’s the plan, always has been. You get locked in there and I can go back.”
“Really, go back to the living? I don’t see how that’s possible. You’re dead, I’m dead, Doc’s all hacked up, but still dead. I think you’re lying Rita. I don’t think you want me in there, I think Doc went rogue, and you were just as surprised as I am that he tried to push me.”
I jumped in to her bubble. As I dissolve through the surface, Rita’s screaming confirms I made the right choice.
Back in the tidy basement, I’m not sure what will happen next. I decide I need a drink as I wait so I pour a shot of Rita’s firewater and sip the burning liquid.
I’m surprised when I hear Doc knocking and calling to me as he had when I sat in my own home with Suzie.
“Calling the spirit of August O’Neil. This is Doctor Jordan Bukowski, are you there spirit?”
What the hell is he doing? He’s knows I’m in here.
I stomp my foot once, same way that we started all our conversation back when I was in my own home.
“August O’Neil, come outside and see me.”
I have no doubt that this is a trap. I wonder if Doc’s whole face is back, or if his tongue is just flapping around in the ether. The only way I’ll be able to tell for sure is to go out there, and that’s not going to happen. But maybe I can take a peek?
I move closer to the wall, as I hold my hands and face close to the surface, they start to dissolve. As they begin to move towards the outside, I carefully shift my weight, I must maintain my balance inside Rita’s room.
I’ve always just stepped right through bubbles without pausing, this time though, I’m going to try to slide just my face through. If I’m right, I’ll be able to see what was going on out there.
As my eyes begin to melt through the swirling wall, I’m surprised that although my vision is blurry, I can still see fairly well. I hear the doctor’s voice calling to me as my view of the outside world clears.
The Doc is still lying on the ground, where he’d fallen when his attempt at knocking me into the orb had failed. He still didn’t have a jaw. The voice I heard calling to me was coming from Rita. She’s able to imitate the doc’s irritating séance voice perfectly.
Nice try bitch.
She continues to try to draw me out using Doc’s voice. Even though I can see her, she doesn’t notice that I’m here. The missing part of my plan finally presents itself.
As she moves around the bubble calling for me to come out, I wait for her to get close to where I’ve stopped moving through the thin wall between us.
When she passes by me on her way around, I reach out and grab her long overcoat by the lapels, and yank her back into the bubble with me.
She tries to struggle, but my surprise attack prevents her from stopping the momentum and she falls in on top of me. We tumble onto the cool linoleum. I slide across the floor ending up by the bar under the stairs; she stops with her back against the bed. We stare at each other as I wait in fear of her sword’s reappearance.
“Where are my manners? Would you like a drink handsome?”
Holy crap, it worked. She’s forgotten everything.
I quickly jump to my feet and rush over to help her up, hoping the gentlemanly gesture keeps her in the moment.
“No Miss, I have another engagement, thank you so much for the offer.”
I walk towards the stairs as I say goodbye.
“We’ve had a wonderful time; it’s been a very memorable evening. I wish you all the best.”
She tries to protest, to stop me, but I hurry up the stairs and back into the outside world.