How i tired to do something different for a ghost story i was told to write.
My Ghost. Everyone Dies,
Daniel R. Simpson
He stood clutched to himself as the wind suddenly picked up. It was trying to take him from the earth along with the fallen leaf that snapped beneath his foot. If he cared to take his interest from the granite he would have seen how the leaf became nothing. But it was present all the time against the contrast of the inch perfect lawns and patches of overturned earth until it was again forgotten. It was as if it was a metaphor for how in time the dead become nothing.
It wasn’t as if his mind wasn’t poetically macabre. He was reading epitaphs and deciding what to be at the summit of himself. He never realised that what he was writing was the lie to who he would be in death. His realisation was that this would be the first impression to his corpse. He wanted to get it right for at least once in his life.
He looked at the granite tomb stone. Polished perfectly flat, yet weathered and no longer reflecting the last falling light of the early evening. I want a recycled cobble flag, already worn and weathered, then engraved; not a brand new slab of concrete; a kitchen surface cut off scratched with personal sentiments...
‘I’m sorry but can I help you?’ came a voice with the sound of rustling of crepe paper and transparent plastic twisting in the wind.
He turned to notice a woman stood behind him clutching a bunch of pretty dead flowers.
‘No I’m just looking’ he replied, as if it was something you would say in a store when you wanted to be left alone to browse.
‘Did you know him?’ she asked with a hopeful sorrow.
‘No I didn’t. I just noticed he was the same age as me. He had the same birthday’ he lied.
‘Oh you don’t look twenty two?’
‘No we share a birthday, not the same year of birth?’
‘He would be twenty two now you see, he’d have finished University and would be starting his own life now.’ She looked down at her son.
He didn’t reply. He just let her continue to talk as if he felt afraid to say this isn’t my concern, no matter how strongly he felt about it.
‘I don’t usually come here today, I only like to come on his Birthday but I just miss him so much’ she said with personal sadness of loss and loneliness.
When she said that he snapped back to his childhood as if a rubber band tied him now to the past that he suddenly recalled. My parents would come both days as it was much easier to love a memory then a person! He remembered all the times his parents had brought him here for his older brother that he’d surpassed; how they had shown more love for some patch of dirt than they’d ever shown to me.
His mix of feelings felt intensified with time; but they were also emotions he’d felt as a child before he’d learnt to guard himself from the pain. The reasons were like ghosts that chase him, as he didn’t have any rational perspective, but only his fear and instinct conjuring his emotion to lead him. These thoughts were what chase him, yet to everyone else there he was just another person walking forward in the world. To his perspective things without forms were following him.
Still in that moment he stood there, haunted… His limbs became rigid with anger for the pain and fear he was now feeling. His face showed a sorrow; but not for this poor women that must have nothing more than a patch of dirt. He was unable to move for fear that he’d lash out at the past, wanting to dissipate the trapped energy in his clenched limbs. He wanted to run, to escape, to fight, to destroy, to drink… but he was immobilized by long forgotten reasons that still ruled his way of thinking. Nobody loves me…. not them… not her... She’d left because she didn’t want me. Why would anybody? The feelings of his lost lover and his parents cascaded into one another, as if the notion of time and place ceased to exist and he kept falling in a world of emotional wounds within himself. This pain had taken a form within him that could be said to have made him nothing. Yet you couldn’t grasp what haunts him. He’d longed once to be able to do just that, because if you can hold it you can throw it away. So it stayed trapped within him.
Then with that reconnection to what made him sad forced the floods within himself to brake out and he started to cry for himself. He felt worthless and without hope. The victim of circumstances left with his only option buried in front of him.
Seeing the young stranger was braking into tears she started to speak about her son, she didn’t know what was causing him to cry but she thought what she had to say would comfort him somehow.
‘So you see he didn’t kill himself, well at least he didn’t die from an over dose. He was in the hospital and was getting better from what he’d done. And he realised he didn’t want that arh! Hee’d come close to death and that’s not what he wan-ted! I remember how alive he was, he was so-rry! It was like my baby was back! Then a few days, they say the drugs he’d taken had altered his heart beat, but it just gave up. He said it was his second chance and his heart just stopped!’
‘I’m sorry’ he said aloud to himself.
He just walked away leaving her to be alone. He felt he was intruding on someone’s pain. He’d come to look at death and wonder among the dead as if they were a catalogue. In doing this he met someone with real grief and pain.
To kill yourself truly is when a fear of living is greater then a fear of to die. That wanting to escape what haunts you makes such a stupid choice seem logical.
I’d like to tell you that this was cathartic for him, but all this encounter gave him was a fear of dying; or that the tale of someone else being denied a last chance would inspire him. But in truth all it did was scare him and in truth that is what saved him then.
He walked out of the cemetery, alone for the first time, leaving his own ghosts with plenty of company looking for there own land fill, like the discarded packaging of a happy meal. No longer with a ghost that fed and supported him as a child, then every thing he'd known ended in the following momment.