|She waltzes across the dance floor amidst a sea of swaying couples, hands in position but holding onto no one. I watch her twirl, bend and dance in tandem with her unseen partner, the curious eyes of the ballroom upon her as she moves. They cannot comprehend her in the same way as I. My wife of two years, I have a learned knowledge of her motives and queer nature.
The music stops and she returns to the chair beside me.
“He is a very good dancer,” she says.
“What is his name?”
“Sebastian,” says she, “He was a soldier. This used to be a military hospital, you know.”
“Ah,” I say.
I humor her. To her it can’t be any clearer, but in my mind it is all a fantastic reality she has invented. Her ability to commune with the dead is no more real to me than the vampires and monsters of old.
Nonetheless, she is the love of my life. I will take her forever with everything that makes her who she is.
When we return home, I turn in to bed. I awaken in the morning to find that she has not joined me and descend the stairs, finding her sitting in our parlor. I ask what is wrong.
“I have been thinking about Sebastian,” she says, “He’s a wonderful man and very lonely.”
I look at her face and notice the tears.
“You feel for him, then?
“Very much. I should like it if we allowed him to live here among us.”
“Darling, I would grant you almost anything, but not this. This is our home, and ours alone.”
I am not comfortable with even the fantasy of a spirit residing with us.
“I understand,” she says, “but then you must do me a favor. Come with me to Miss Rosa’s and help me guide him into the light.”
Miss Rosa is a known medium whose specialty is sending Earth-bound souls on their journey. Another fantasy that I cannot believe to be true but will accompany my love, regardless.
“I shall,” I say.
Miss Rosa’s abode is not far from our home. When we arrive, we are ushered into her parlor which is lit by candles and reeks of burning incense. We are seated at a large round table covered by a velvet cloth.
Miss Rosa asks that we join hands and look into this empty bowl which is sitting in the center of the table. I play along, even though how anyone can believe in this is beyond my comprehension. Miss Rosa begins to chant in a language I do not recognize so all I understand is the name “Sebastian” when she speaks it.
As I wait calmly for this to be over with, I begin to feel light-headed. I hastily attribute it to the dizzy spells that I’m prone to. I feel jittery and try to relax but cannot do so. I try to excuse myself from the table so as to go outside and get some air, but I find that I cannot speak – and when I attempt to release Miss Rosa’s hand, I cannot move. Panic sets in, but the others cannot tell but seem to be looking at me with intensity.
A fog descends over my brain as I try to focus on movement. The lights in the room begin to dim, and my vision blurs. The environment around me begins to fade away, and that is the end of my recollection of the evening.
I write these words from the wooden planks that border the harbor. It is two hours past midnight, and this is the only time that I have control of my faculties because Sebastian is asleep. During his waking hours, I can only watch from inside as he controls my every move and every word. For six months I have dealt with this and can do so no more.
My wife, to whom I had pledged my eternal love, has cast me aside for this spirit who now inhabits my being. I now understand that she has known this specter for longer than she has me and loved him more. I was but a vessel for this love.
He eats, drinks and makes love to my wife, acts I can only experience through his eyes with no tactile sense or control. It has driven me mad, and it ends here. I have tied stones to my ankles and will cast myself into the harbor. She will have us no longer.
I sit in my parlor watching my wife converse with Sebastian. It is the truth that she can communicate with the dead, and now she has two that reside with her in what was once my home. She and Sebastian are unhappy at the measures I took to separate us from one another, but I know that soon she will find another flesh and blood fool such as I to seduce and destroy with her charms.