Ghosts, Love, Magic
| I never believed in ghosts, until I became one. One cold, rainy night in 1430 in Vienna. I am bound to haunt these walls in sleepless emptiness, destitute, and alone, except for the companionship of my phoenix, my love, my light, my poppet. Now there is a story to the reason why I haunt these hallowed halls, it all began while attending a masquerade ball, at the mansion on the hill. The exterior entwined with ivy and holly branches overlooking the sea on all sides. However, this is not the reason I am bound to this mansion, the necklace which adorns my person, well I stole it. I am a pirate after all, it is what we do. Unbeknownst to me, however, it was tainted with a substance absolutely deadly to pirates, fool's gold. After latching the clasp around my neck, I fell gravely ill, dying on the very spot which I stood. You know I was once quite beautiful to gaze upon, my gorgeous gray jacket boarded with gold scrolls and silver buttons, offset of course by my green eyes, but can I tell you, being dead is rather dreadful, its dreadful on your skin, your eyes—
Phoenix let out a loud cackling noise in acknowledgment.
“I know it was horrible for me too, your eyes rot out of your head, it's totally dreadful on your self-esteem don't you agree?” I answered Phoenix, but all he did was cackle maniacally .
Being stuck here in this mansion where it rains every day and every night, but as I looked at Phoenix brushing his silvery underbelly with my curled finger, I say to him, “You have to admit that every Hallows Eve when people come to visit, we do have the most fun.”
Phoenix continued to cackle and chatter as if he understood what I was saying.
I have been decaying century by century, I am 581 years old, now you might think that pirates only care about things like treasures, maps, gold and jewels. Things like fighting and bad language, drinking and bad manners, and you know what? You would be absolutely right. Even after 581 years, though, even the most hardened and horrid of pirates knows how to soften. Pirates are a very special breed for sure, feared by every seaman and country, every King, every Queen, every Emperor and Empress, fears the demons of the sea for sure. Now the reason why I tell you this is to warn you, it's always wise to know who your enemies are. If only the master and the lady of this mansion knew this very old warning things may have been different. It is here that begins our story. I am not your common pirate, no, in fact I possess the psychic ability to transport my thoughts and myself to another place in a ghost-like state, its called in some circles astral-projection, but for the sake of this story we will call it pure awesomeness, otherwise known as temporal-kensis.
Now you are probably wondering how my language got to be so advanced for a pirate not to mention one from the 1400's, well it is actually quite simple. Actually if you have not figured it out yet, then I have lost all in faith in your being able to follow this story, but for those who have been able surmise how I came upon using modern speech, bravo to you.
Phoenix interjected with a characteristic cackle and a loud squawk.
“Oh hush up you,” I sternly commanded shooing Phoenix from my hand.
Okay the above story is not true, I will admit, it just sounds better than telling every medium or psychic that summons my spirit, that I was a stupid idiot and could not tell the difference between something real and something fake. The true story is living inside this retched castle all these centuries, one picks up on a few things along the way, like modern speech.
“On our final tour this afternoon, we are about to visit Vienna Manor that belonged to some of the most influential Austrian regalia.” The tour guide started to say as they neared the manor. I could hear them all the way inside, that woman has a set of pipes on her for sure, yikes! God yet another tour, it's always the same, “this place is known to be haunted by one of the notorious pirates, who was able to blend into society and pass off as someone important” I mouthed to the words of the tour guide, since this is the 400th time I have heard the speech, with that knowledge I could lead the tour myself, except for the fact that you know I am dead.
Tourists, they are all the same, fascinated by history, but dont posses the brain cells necessary to appreciate it. This guy here is a genius, he is straggling behind on purpose so he can focus on the artwork and she said no pictures idiot.
“Oh sorry, I didn't mean to break the rules, its just that they are so beautiful,” the man said to me gazing at me from directly below the balcony I was standing on.
“Huh?” I gazed down at him in amazement
“What are you doing on that balcony, why don't you come join the tour?” the man inquired rather stupidly.
“Um, hello, does the word transparent, mean anything to you?” I gestured moving my hand up and down as to model my silvery and ghost-like appearance.
“Are you dead?” The man's eyes lit up as if it were Christmas morning and he just got that ugly sweater he always wanted.
“No! Are you serious, there is a dead guy in this house, where?” I mocked summoning Phoenix to my hand to perch.
I could tell just by the pure dumbfoundedness of this man, that he was quite the character, charming, but a little, oh how do I put this appropriately, um, stupid, is the best word I could come up with to describe him, he's pretty as long as he doesn't talk.
“That's a beautiful bird, I didn't know parrots were silver in color,” the man commented as he made his way up the winding staircase in my direction.
“Surprise,” I giggled motioning Phoenix to trail up my arm and perch on my shoulder.
As the man neared me, I could tell there was something about him, his aura so pure and innocent, yet slightly green in hue, which told me only thing, the reason why he could see me.
“Wow you have the most beautiful silver eyes, how are they that color?” the man gazed deeper into my eyes.
“Really? Do we need to have this conversation again? I am dead remember. Ta-da.”
At that moment I wished I had full use of my body, I would shake some sense into this man, but still his stupidity seemed rather genuine, and I have heard of hate crimes against those who can't defend themselves properly, so I will take a pass, I am too pretty to go to jail.
“So how did you die?” The man inferred with general interest
For a split second I started rubbing the necklace that was around my neck, flecks of silver encased in gold, rubies surrounding a jade insert, exquisite piece of jewelry. I slowly raised my head, gazing deep into the man's ocean blue eyes, taking me back to a time when I was in high regard and it meant something.
“My story is very simple, I was a pirate, not the stinky, badly dressed, purveyors of the sea, no in fact I was the one they came to when they wanted something extremely valuable stolen--” I was interrupted
“--Oh you were a cat burglar,” even in his infinite wisdom this man was hopeless
“No I am allergic, sorry,” my humor was apparently lost on this man, because all I got was a blank stare, not even sure if he was still blinking.
I hate telling the story of how I died, it makes me look like an amateur, unskilled and undervalued. I didn't want to tell this man that I stole a fake necklace, an exact replica of the one I was supposed to steal.
“I was asked to steal Marie Antoinette's wedding necklace, it was said to have given the person who wears it immortality--” again I was rudely interrupted
“--In retrospect though it really didn't do her any good either, she did after all lose her head,” the man added, his first coherent thought of the day. There may be hope for him yet.
“To make a long story short, I fell for the trick, they replaced the real one with a fake one and laced it with fool's gold, a deadly substance for pirates,” I told the man, but all he did was seem intrigued.
“Wow really, is that what killed you? The fool's gold?” The man asked with a fury of emotions.
“Ugh” I grunted pounding my forehead into my palm, thanking God I was already dead, because this man is making death seem like a blessing.
“Yes that is what killed me, a stupid amateurish mistake, I should have known that the real necklace has a emerald insert not a jade one,” I motioned for Phoenix to come off my shoulder and back on my arm, he is a heavy bird.
“I don't think it was stupid, we are not all perfect, even the best make mistakes,” the man said comforting me or trying to, I am still not sure how his brain processed that logic.
“Do you want to see a trick?” I asked trying to change the subject to avoid any real sentiment and noticing it was night-time and the tour had long since been over.
The trick only worked at night when the moon was high and glowing, a true convergence of power and energy.
“Sure!” The man giggled, repositioning himself as to get a better view of me standing in front of him.
I motioned for Phoenix to fly high, propelling him from my arm. All he did was squawk and cackle as he circled the man's head like a vulture going after his prey.
“Okay Phoenix, play dead,” I commanded
And like that Phoenix dissipated into a pile of ash nestled at the side of the man. His eyes widening and his face growing white, whiter than mine and I am dead so that is saying a lot about his facial features.
“Oh my goodness, what happened? He's dead,” the man scooted back in fear
“Give it just a second,” I said trying to concentrate
This was not an easy trick to perform. A few moments later, the ash pile began to rise, swirling around like a funnel, the man by this time was upright, grasped firmly on the banister of the balcony, eyes wide and in shock. I was rather enjoying seeing him in fear, but over the centuries I have become embittered with the sight of stupid lurking these halls day in and day out.
“Voila” my hands outstretched to receive Phoenix as he rematerialized and landed on my arm
“Wicked cool,” the man shouted
It was obvious at this point in the conversation that it took very little amaze and amuse this man, which can be both a blessing and a curse. I hadn't noticed it until we started walking around that he was not all that bad, and the hard time I was giving him was just embittered rage on my part. Most people would run at the sight of a ghost, partially because they are judgmental and don't possess the inherent knowledge that we are more afraid of them than they are of us.
“Names Bailey. Bailey Bach, like the classical pianist,” the man politely introduced himself, took him long enough, we had only been talking for 8 hours on a no name basis
“Yes I am familiar with Bach,” I retorted, “one of the joys of being dead, is that through the centuries you see people grow up, make something of their lives, and meet them once they die, all in an effort to make one feel human and alive again.” I stopped, lowered my head trying not to show my emotions.
“You never told me your name,” Bailey walked toward me trying to raise my chin, his manly hands, looking so calloused and worn, but the idiot forgot I was dead so his hand just passed through my apparition.
“You never asked,” I replied raising my head gazing into his eyes, finding it very easy to get lost in the oceanic swishing of his pupils.
“I am asking now,” Bailey sat on the chaise lounge nestled beside the bedroom door leading to one of the bedrooms.
I stared in admiration or pure lust however you want to read it, his chiseled figure semi-buttoned grey shirt, exposing specks of chest hair, his tall physique and dorky demeanor making it very difficult to stay focused on what he was saying.
“Huh?” I snapped back to reality, my eyes shifting from his lower body to his eyes.
“I asked for your name,” Bailey giggled, I knew I was caught looking, but he didn't seem to care.
“Brandon, names Brandon Jones,” I shuttered at the thought of letting anyone get too close.
Bailey stared aimlessly at me, his energy radiating pure sexuality, but I am still sure necrophilia is illegal. His dark brown hair, with flecks of gray starting to show made him all the more attractive, his insatiable appetite for all things ancient, God how I wish I could remember what that felt that. Being dead all these centuries takes a toll on the heart and soul, partially because they are no longer operational, but in the ethereal sense, a higher sense of transcendence is never accomplished. The destitute feelings I have every day and the struggle to understand why I have not crossed-over yet. Looking at the life essence Bailey exudes and how intriguing I am to him, gets me to feel a little more whole, I stare back, our eyes meet and lock tight.
“How is it that you can see me?” I ask, not sure if I want to know the answer.
“I have been seeing ghosts since I was fairly young, I inherited the gift from my grandmother,” Bailey explained sitting up from his rested position on the chaise. “Once I knew this place was haunted I just had to have it,” Bailey concluded, his feet spread apart, hands folded where he rested his chin.
“What do you mean had to have it?” I asked shifting my non-existent posture.
Now I felt like a stupid idiot, not able to follow quite simple logic, maybe the luster of his presence has stupefied me, it has certainly pacified me, and believe me it has been much to my delectation.
“I didn't leave with the tour group because I am the new owner of this mansion,” Bailey said with a deep sigh and a smile.
God that means I have to put up with his face for the rest of his life, which may not be so bad, I mean looking at that man everyday, watching him sleep so innocent and to top it off he can see me so I don't have to hide. Something strange has been happening since I met Bailey, in that moment I felt alive and human. An elder apothecary once told me, love in its truest form surpasses time and space, upon its declaration can revive even the deadest of hearts. Much like the ashes of the forlorn Phoenix, destined to rise again and propagate the world with mysticism, love too can soften even the troubled of souls from the brink of the abyss. But do I want to be alive again? Do I want to subject myself to the wares of everyday life? Just for a man? Or am I content being dead, knowing that he will join me sooner or later and our eternal love can transcend to the ethereal sense of realness.
Bailey sat on the chaise, contemplative and sullen. His sighs got deeper and his head began folding into his hands.
“Penny for your thoughts?” I moved in closer trying to touch his hand, but it passed through with no trouble.
“Is it going to sound weird, that in the time we have been talking, I have grown quite fond of you?” Bailey said with a slight chuckle as if the mere utterance of what he had just said sounded even more ridiculous than when the thought crossed his mind.
I thought for a moment, could what the apothecary said be true, could his declaration of love be what I need to live again?
“No, I don't think it sounds weird at all, I am substantially older than you though, by about five centuries,” I joked trying to break the tension.
Bailey let out a giggle and a smile, “you are still beautiful, no matter how old you are.”
“Um, hello, do we see the same thing? I am decaying and my eyes are not even the right color, that should signal a profuse disgust,” I replied when in the back of my mind I was so touched that he could see deeper than the outside.
That is a rare quality in a man. Men of my time period were so superficial, oh and yeah, it was kind of taboo to be attracted to other men, but to be honest, that is what the bath houses were for. I digress.
“It's not about the outside of a person that should matter, if they have a pure heart and they are a genuinely good person, the rest will fall into place,” Bailey's eyes started to well up and gloss over.
What if you don't have a functioning heart? Does that put a damper in the plans?
“That is a very romanticized view of things, Bailey, I didn't know men like you still existed, I thought they all died,” I said with a chuckle, noticing that he had moved closer to where I was standing, trying effortlessly to cup my hand, but getting frustrated because it kept passing through in a puff of smoke.
“Brandon, if I may say, if I had one wish do you know what it would be?” Bailey asked wiping his hands on his pants.
Oh God, now is the time to panic, I really like you Bailey, but I don't want to be alive again, my life was hell while I alive, I suffered so much pain and loss, I don't want to relive that agony again. Why can't I just tell him that, I am sure he will understand, he seems like someone who could comprehend that, even the dumbest of person can put two and two together and get four, right? They can do that can't they? Oh this is all so new to me.
“Bailey, listen, I--” Damn it, interrupted again, this is getting old.
“Brandon, I am not usually this forward with new people, but there is something about you I find myself unable to live without--” Bailey began to say before I interrupted him
“--Bailey, I am not sure how something like this would work, I am dead, last time I checked you were not, so what do you suggest?” I inferred only to notice a puzzled look on Bailey's face.
In his infinite wisdom, the genius forgot to take into account the variables and being dead is a rather large variable, some would say it is a deal breaker, literally. But he is growing on me, his stupidity is kind of sexy and his sparks of real genius are tempting for me to rethink being alive again.
“I remember reading that the same necklace which you were trying to steal, not only grants immortality, it also has the ability to grant one wish--” Bailey traipsed off
“--But it has been lost for centuries, there has been no account of it since it was taken,” I added in hopes that he would abandon the idea of reviving my spirit, however, at the same time it was sounding like a better idea the more I thought about it.
“While you were telling your story, I remembered a very important detail, a similar necklace, the one similar to the one you are wearing, has been in my family for generations, it was passed down each centuries in a ceremony of the continual rite, where the person whose possession it is in, much guard it and wear it at all times,” Bailey explained, all the while my eyes were rolling in the back of my head, he is such a terrible storyteller.
“I don't know, if I am ready to be alive again, to be honest, Bailey. I have been dead for over 500 years and the world has changed so much from what I remember of it. I was only 25 when I died, and I had so much of my life to live, that once it was gone, nothing could renew that initial feeling--” I traipsed off
I could feel the spot where tears would normally begin to well, but being dead, there is no need for silly emotions. Maybe I was just making excuses for remaining unhappy, and having a second chance at life is not something that comes around too often, unless you are in a fairy tale. Was he my Prince Charming? Was he my White Knight? Or whatever other possible cliché I could use to describe a human being, who through no fault of his own is a stupid idiot, finding a ghost attractive and wanting to spend the rest of his life with me.
“Brandon, quit being silly, none of that stuff matters to me, all I want in this life and the next is you, nothing more, nothing less,” Bailey was beginning to really believe his conviction, and I could see that his love for me was pure and ever expansive.
As Bailey continued to ramble incessantly, I started to feel something come over me, a feeling I have not had for a while myself, its hard to describe it, but I felt at peace. I peered out of the side of my eye and saw Bailey's hand in his pocket, rummaging for something, pinning for gold I was not sure, but those pockets were deep. All the while he was mumbling something to himself, indecipherable to a deaf ear. I could not help but give some serious thought to this proposition I was presented with, on the one hand, I have been dead for quite a long time, the world I once knew no longer exists, all of my family are dead, I watched them suffer and grieve in silence, I met each of them as their time on Earth ended and helped them cross over. Now to have a real chance at happiness, something my past has eluded me from obtaining, it is a great deal to consider. Will I, much like my beloved Phoenix be able to rise from the ashes of my shallow grave, to once again propagate the world with what I was so unable to before? Will I return to a life of crime, like the one with which I had become accustomed? Or in retrospect will I have my happily ever after?
In the instances that followed, I didn't see Bailey as I came out of my trance-like state, before I could hover even an inch, I felt something placed upon my neck, I heard the clasp, and before I knew it the room was showered in a glowing light, irradiating purples and silvers, swirling around me, engulfing me in a bright white light, as I fell to the floor.