I feel like it might be inappropriate to make a whole thread for one story, so I will post more in the future. The long future. But here is one I recently wrote that is raw and unedited. I would very much like if you read it.
And Feel Free to Comment!
Ghost Among the Dead
by Casey Sonnier
He could remember a moment in time. A mere second. But he took that second and broke it down into fragments, and those fragments he turned to little pieces, until the second became an eternity. In this eternity of a second he recalls a gentle sensation on his arm, sunlit strands of gold, a summer backdrop filled with flowers bowing gracefully in respect to the breeze. Her eyes were filled with an ocean of light and there was a small tug at the corner of her lips- an esoteric smile- just for him. Just for him.
Tap tap tap.
Itís time to walk among them.
I awake to a swinging gaze and a barren waste fills my eyes. A cold breeze acts upon my featherweight frame, stimulating me into motion. Gently now, from left to right. My skin works to recall a sensation on my neck. Itís warm at first. The warmth turns to burning pain. It seems, there is a loose noose around my neck.
The swinging ends with an abrupt plummet. I land on the depleted soil as a large wooden structure casts a shadow over me. It appears Iíve been hanging from the Gallows. My savior is a small black bird, perched atop the Gallows.. A Gallowís bird.
And it speaks to me.
Itís time to walk among them. As a ghost among the dead.
How long have I been a dead?
Your whole life.
So I am a ghost now?
Soon you will be.
Where are we going?
The Gallowís bird tilts itís beak, and my eyes follow along, from the tip of itís beak, across an impoverished land, until I spot a lonely door. A glowing exit sign hangs above it. The bird flies towards the door. I grab the dangling end of my noose and begin to follow along. Once I reach it, I place an unsure hand on the golden knob. It turns with a creak. I enter and discover that my feet feel concrete. My eyes recognize a city, cacophony of mumbling and cars enters my ears, odor ascends through my nose, and calculations are made within my brain just to put these words on my lips.
Iím standing on a sidewalk.
Yes you are.
Now am I a ghost?
But I can feel? Arenít ghosts supposed to be... intangible?
So can other things feel me?
A hasty man in a suit bumps into me, knocking me off of my balance. Instinct tells me to call out to him, to make him aware of the encounter. However, he would remain oblivious to this ghost. Upon closer inspection of the man in the suit, and even the people around him I notice something... odd. The people, they had nooses around their necks; some were tight, some were loose, and the rope that followed varied in length. The Gallowís bird perched upon my shoulder, as if it knew that my mind had become like a carousel, and itís carrion claws became a gentle hand to stop the spinning.
Why are those nooses wrapped around their necks? And their eyes... Why do some shine like candles, and others are so grey and dim?
Itís contingent upon the person.
Where does it come from?
I donít know.
Why am I here?
To walk among them.
Are they in pain?
All the time.
The childrenís eyes are wide and bright, hungry and hopeful. The adultsí eyes are dim and grey, forlorn and sad. This implies that the Dimming is natural, a process that occurs over time. I feel a comfort in this. If itís natural, why should this ghost fear it? The Gallowís bird preens itself on my shoulder.
You say Iím here to walk among them, but where do I walk?
Youíre not very helpful.
The Gallowís bird shakes out itís feathers in irritation. It takes flight, leading me through the winding streets of the city. I push through the crowds of hollowed eyes; their motions seemingly automated and meaningless. They seem like clockwork, and their watchmaker has doomed them to a life of wandering through erect columns of steel and concrete. I round the corner and then there was nothing. A void and a window inside the void. The Gallowís bird perches upon the windowsill; it cocks itís head.
Peer into this oneís memory.
I lean in through the window. A grain of sand is set in the white void the window displayed. I reach; my fingers desperately curl to grasp the small spec. With every muscle in painful extension, I allow myself to climb onto the windowsill. Still, the spec is not in my reach! It seems like the tips of my finger just barely graze my prize, but I am so far away. With a small shuffle in my legs, I fall through the window and into the void. In fear I close my eyes shut, and a hard force stops my body, all the momentum carried by my fall spreads into my being, racking my form with pain. Itís at this moment I am wishing I was incorporeal. Or, whatever it was when you didnít feel things. As my eyelids flicker, the void is replaced by a desert gleaned of any life at all. And the odd zipping noises. Like... like... bullets flying through the air! I swing around to see some soldiers perched atop a sand dune skirmishing with another group of soldiers that holed themselves up in a small shack.
I thought this is where you wanted to be?
No! Why would anyone want to be on a battlefield?!
Ask those men.
I approach the ones in the shack. They are U.S soldiers, in their battle gear. The nooses on their necks are long and tight, the light in their eyes are smoldered cinders. But why?
But these are good men, fighting for their country!
So are they.
No, they are the enemy!
So are these men. Look at that one there.
The Gallowís bird points a claw at a young man with the Americans. His face is painted with grime. His hands are painted with blood. Under the dirt and the smoldered cinders of darkness are two small inset sapphires; eyes that had the potential to shine like the sun-kissed ocean. The soldierí expression is contorted by the fear and struggle of his situation. This ghost would like to weep for him. But I am incapable of tears it seems. The Gallowís bird perches upon my shoulder; its carnivorous claws were slowly becoming a steady source of comfort in my walk among the dead.
I will show you his story.
He recalls another moment in time. The second he recalls is like an eternity in death. An eternity in the embrace of despair, indecision, and anxiety. It was his indecision, and his anxiety, but it was her despair. Her oceans of light were overflowing, and running down her cheeks. Behind her was a window; the rain drops traversed the glass reflecting her tears. The house was dark, the air was silent, the mood was solemn. It was in this fragment of a second, he felt like dying. The light faded in her eyes as these words parted from her lips, ďDonít leave.Ē
The Gallowís bird had brought me through time, and now I sit inside the kitchen of a small quaint house, observing the myriad of war trophies and medals to a soldier of outstanding quality. A miniature shrine to his greatness. I gasp in admiration.
Oh wow. Look my feathered friend, this man has so many achievements!
A picture of the man whom the trophies extended their glory to, hangs right above the glass testimony. In this picture he seems strong and noble. Proud and fierce. I hear a groggy holler and a loud thump. Into the kitchen steps the man Iíve been admiring. He clutches a bottle of alcohol in one hand, a cane in the other. He wears khaki pants and a pale wrinkled collared shirt. The noose on his neck is the longest I have seen since I began this journey. His eyes are nothing more than shadows in places humans donít dare to glance. He barks like an old man, calling for his child. A young boy steps in, his dirty blond hair hangs in his face, his soft face holds two balls of light that shine in love for his hero. For his father.
This is our little soldier.
His eyes are so wonderful. What could have happened?
The boy helps to illuminate the color, to bring back life to where it had just before been grey. I find myself enjoying his company and carefree demeanor. The boy helps his father into his chair. He proceeds to help fix his fatherís breakfast. The Old Man speaks in hollowed out cracks; much like a whip. His words ooze onto the table and spill onto the floor, and where they splatter makes the room more grey. He counters the effect of his son. He talks of war, of his sonís destiny to be a soldier, and how much he fought for his country and people. When the words reach the boy, he Dims ever so slightly.
What exactly did this man fight for?
I donít know. And neither does he.
Is that why it feels so wrong?
Yes. Look at this.
And in this instant the boyís life begins to unfold before my eyes. I watch as he lives his childhood with his heroic father, taking care of the Old Man without aid. I watch as he listens to his fatherís words, as he goes to school, as he graduates,as he meets the girl he loves, as he enlists, as he leaves her and goes to war. As he fights. Throughout this flash, I witnessed a noose forming around his neck, a noose that wasnít there when his eyes were bright and vivid, full of life and color.
So does War cause the Dimming?
Itís one of the symptoms.
Iím becoming impatient and disturbed. And sad. Was my life like this? Was I dead before I became a ghost? The questions gnaw at my brain, hollowing out my skull. The Gallowís bird returns me to the city after watching our Little Soldier.
Will he die?
Yes. Everyone does.
Why am I here? Can I do anything to save them? Their lives are sad, their suffering is inevitable, but there must be some hope. I have seen it, and it glimmered within that child. How can I save them?
The echoes of the dead ring through their ears all day. They choose not to listen. They provide their own nooses- they cause the Dimming.
There must be something I can do? Just for one human being!
The Gallowís bird tilts its head. It seems interested in my proposition.
Okay ghost. Come with me.
It takes flight, charting a winding path through the city. As I follow, the grey city seems to slowly melt, the sludge of reality seeps into drainage voids. It reveals a colorful scene, of flowers and hills, and a solitary white house that stands erectly contrast to it all. The front door to the house swings open, and out comes a young woman, with long flowing blond hair. She is walking her dog, and at the moment she steps into the light, her hair shimmers a brilliant sun stroked gold. I feel at ease with her. This womanís eyes are like light house beams, evaporating all darkness with her gaze; they possessed a guiding effect that could lead the fearful to warmth and safety.
I thought this is where you wanted to be?
Well... it is now.
The Gallowís bird was still speaking in riddles, but this time, the birdís tone was more bemused than melancholy. It was a nice change of pace for the feathered fiend. Then it took off. I watched it soar into the sunset.
Walk with her for a while.
He recalls his last moment in time, a somber and distasteful moment. He could recall his better half being ripped from his body, his colors receding away into the ditches around the park. The casual rocking of the swing he sat in nauseated his stomach. His world had gone grey, and the smell of a fresh rainfall permeated his senses. The wind was motionless, the grass was graceless. In this moment, he closes his eyes.
Iíve walked with her for what seems to be a lifetime, though I know for a fact it has been a short amount of time. But each second I spend, I break the moment into tiny fragments and become consciously aware of these fragments, sucking the metaphorical marrow from each rich experience. I feel as though all has been made new. Is it absurd for a ghost to feel alive? But the color, the familiarity of this life. I think I... this ghost does not possess a word for what I feel. However, I notice that her eyes are dimming. She seems torn.
The Gallowís bird has not returned. Each day I look to the horizon, fearing he will come and take me back to the Gallows. I fear of returning to death. Each moment I spend with her, I feel as though a portion of my body is leaving. This seems silly for a ghost to be feeling such feelings, to be noting such notions- and to fear death. I am under no delusions that I am not already dead, but it doesnít feel right. Through the passing of time, the moon crawls into the sky.
I stand by her bedside. She is crying. I place a ghostly hand upon her shoulder, like the gesture the Gallowís bird gave me. No matter how much I want to comfort, my fingers desperately attempt to comfort. They provide no solace. A feeling of dread encroaches upon me. The familiar sound of wings flapping against the wind touches my ear.
No. I donít want to leave. I donít want to go.
The Gallowís bird lightly lands upon my shoulder. She is still crying.
Come. Itís time to walk among them.
He awakes to a swinging gaze. He recalls dozing off for just a second. The man stands up out of the swing. For some reason, he feels like heís been dead for what felt like an eternity. He shakes off his feeling of a bad dream... but... he has finally found a word for it. Quickly he digs into his pocket searching for his cell phone. After frantically dialing the number he waits for a voice to answer on the other end.
Iím not leaving. I donít want to be a soldier.
I said Iím not leaving. I love you. And without you, Iím pretty much dead anyways.