Thursday, June 01, 2006

The Resident - short story

Brief intro - this is true. As far as it goes. Obviously I have had to imagine what the ghost is feeling. He doesn't speak to us that much....


I stand here, and they don’t see me. I move and they do not look up. I know I am here, I don’t know why. I walk across the floor towards one of them – nothing, no response. They turn and pass straight through me. I am gutted – empty and hollow. I mean nothing, I am nothing. It is cruel.

I know time has passed. The light in the room is different. She comes in and she stops dead – looks across to where I am. Does she see me? She’s looking right at me. She speaks. She knows I am here – she senses it, but she cannot see me.

She talks to me! I hear sound, I know it is me she is speaking to. But the words are like the language of whales – their meaning lost upon me. I am saddened. Time passes again.

Now it is dark, and I am here again. I know this place and yet it is not the same. It is not as I knew it; it feels familiar and strange, comfortable and discomfiting. I see him standing. I go to him and stand next to him. He turns and is startled. His face is pale and he leaves the room, glancing back at me. Straight at me. He is gone.

I move. I am a shadow and a memory. I am here and they know me – but the light that passes through me hides me from their eyes. Their cat looks up at me. Disdaining even to hiss, it walks around me – leaving the room.

The Family

“Jeezuz!” Bryan came up to the bedroom, having finally cleared up the kitchen after our party.
“What’s up?” I said. He looked white as a sheet.
“I saw Maurice again. Standing right next to me, at the sink.” There’s not much I can say – we both know about Maurice, as we call him – he’s here and we know he’s here, but we don’t often see him. I never see him, I just kind of know when he’s around. The room is just – well, just different.
“I nearly leapt out of my skin,” says Bryan. “he was standing right next to me. He’s this tall..” he holds his hand up just above his own head height.
“Did you see what he looked like?”
“Not really, he was just there.”
Nothing more to say really, this is just one more episode. Maurice is harmless enough – benign. We don’t know why he’s here, we don’t know that he’s actually Maurice, but it’s our best guess, and probably not a bad one.
Bryan is highly sceptical of things ‘unexplained’ – yet he is the one who has seen Maurice most often. He is the one whose perception of the presence is far more acute than anyone else. Other people have seen shadows, I’ve seen a passing presence from the corner of my eye. But Bryan has seen Maurice – in full.

“MUMMY!” Two girls waiting at the door for me to come home – my daughter and her friend. Tearful and distraught! Why? The plates have come crashing down in the kitchen. No reason. They just came down. Precariously balanced perhaps.

“What’s that hand by the door? My god, that’s freaky!” says my son’s friend.
“Oh, it’s just Maurice” is the casual reply. Nonchalant, accepting. Unbothered.

“Damn,” I shout, as the glass herb jar crashes to the floor. Why? Sitting on its shelf, content as a herb should be – safe and dry in its glass world. I clean up the glass. Still picking bits of plate up from the other day too. Everything smashes on this tile kitchen floor.

“I reckon its steam from the dishwasher,” says Bob, open to believing but always looking for a rational explanation. I agree, highly likely. But the dishwasher has been broken for weeks, and there is that vague distortion of the air again – that change in the fabric of perception that is so slight, yet so distinct. He likes blowing up kettles too – I’m sure of it. We’ve been through at least three.

Residual

Can I move things, if I try? Can I change the balance in the world just enough? There, if I forget I am not here and think what I would do – what I could do – then I can almost touch. Ahhh …

Time passes. I know it must. I don’t know what lies ahead or behind, or why or how. They come in and look at me, but they do not see me. I am underwater – I am deafened by space and time that wraps me like a thick fleece.

I move again. Sometimes the energy is like a voice I can hear. I can touch it – I can move it. Why am I here? Where should I be?

Conclusion

Before we bought our house, it had been empty for a while. The previous occupant had died and not been found for two weeks. I don’t know where, but I have a pretty good idea. I think its Maurice that’s still here somehow. Whether a memory or a spirit, a playback or projection – something of him, of someone anyway, is still in this house. It does not harm us, it does not un-nerve us. Sometimes it is not discreet. Sometimes I want to blame it for things that happen. Sometimes I don’t believe, sometimes I wish I did. Poor Maurice, I wonder what the truth really is? None of us will ever know.

The Cat

Cat looks up at the figure. “If only you could open tins. Bird! Hear bird – outside. Kill. ” Cat is gone. Shadows play, spirits dance, the light bends around the air like a wave around a stone.



(C) 2006 Carrie Sheppard. No part of this work may be reprinted, quoted or otherwise published without the express permission of the author.
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