Emmery nodded, his cigarette shrinking as he spat smoke out of his nose again. His break was almost over, and he looked at the young peculiar girl beside him.
Willa, he had never really said much to her. He was sort of glad they had become acquainted, he didn't have many people at work he particularly found pleasant.
He laughed a little, trying to calm himself down. It was finally starting to make sense to him now, that book. That stupid book. It talked of shadows, and darkness, and dead people.
Whatever that bullshit book said, it was getting him in deep.
He flicked his spent cigarette onto the sidewalk, his last drag caught in his throat.
"See you inside." he said, smoke flying out of his mouth. He smiled at her with a halfway expression, it wasn't personal. He was just in a funk from you know, seeing shadows of dead people.
Maybe she could see them too, or..or maybe there really WAS an old lady somewhere and he just wasn't looking in the right direction as her. Yeah, that was it; he was just not looking the right way.
"People can't talk to dead people, nothing happens after you die Emmery." he thought to himself, he waved his hand once at her before sliding through the door. He was met with the smell of coffee again, but this time something else as well.
This was an achy, rotting stench that smelled so strong the taste got caught in his throat. It was like driftwood, and dead leaves. A sulfuric smell that only lingered on funeral homes and roadkill.
"God, what is that?" he groaned, sliding behind the counter. He sniffed around the air, assuming it was someone else.
But the smell lingered near him, did he step in something?
Then,..then it was there, beside him.
His eyes grew wide, and his muscles turned into pudding. A little girl, caked in dried blood stood beside him. Her face was bruised, and her leg slashed.
"What the..can I help you with anything?" he whispered to the odd girl, convincing himself she was actually there. Why wasn't anyone freaking out over the bloody little girl that smelled like garbage?
Willa watched him go, sadness echoing in her eyes. She knew he would have trouble accepting what she tried to see as a gift. It was mostly that, the ability to help people go on with their 'after-lives', but at the beginning it was nothing but a curse. Seeing dead things and hearing whispers that no one else experienced. She shivered again and looked around before sighing softly and heading back in. It was too cold out to just stand around waiting for him to realize he wasn't going crazy and she would be able to help him. Or try to.
She would sit in the back room and wait for her break to be over. Only a few minutes anyway. And it was warm and quiet back there. She entered and saw his freaked out expression and instantly zeroed in on the little girl. She couldn't help the revulsion that passed over her features, not merely because of the smell but the violence that had clearly ruined and killed the little girl. She threw a hand over her mouth to stop from gagging and screaming and rushed past the counter to the back. She had only experienced one other young spirit that needed help and it hadn't been easy to come back from.
Tears pricked her eyes as she slammed herself against the lockers and gasped. This was going to be a tough first 'case' for Emmery. One that might make him never want to help another spirit ever again. It would be sapping and she didn't even know what the girl wanted. But it was fair to say she had been murdered in a cruel way and wanted revenge. What type was what made her blood run cold in her veins.
The girl's voice was like the white noise on the radio, and her hair dangled and stuck to her skin.
He tried to understand but simply couldn't, it was too loud.
A customer was staring at him oddly, seeing him speak to nothing. But soon assumed he was just having a bad day and moved to the next register.
"I can't hear you. Where are your parents?" he asked calmly, well, as calm as he could make himself seem.
The girl touched his hand, showing him she was colder than ice.
He held back a yelp, and a slur of cursing.
"What the fuck are you?" he whispered, seeing the girl try to speak. The bottom of her body was almost melting into the floor, just disintegrating. The smell was still making him gag from time to time if he inhaled to strongly or quickly.
Finally the voice prevailed over all of the noise.
"I need your help." she explained, her voice was delicate and fuzzy like a voice on an intercom.
Emmery felt his skin crawl, help with what? He wasn't some medium, he had seen Long Island Medium; he couldn't even hold a conversation with someone living.
"I..alright." he sighed, looking at her carefully. Was this a demon? Where did she even come from?
"Wait, why have you been following me? Why not just speak to me earlier?" he finally found the courage to leave logic behind for a minute.
"I did, you just ignored me." the little voice explained, shrugging her bruised shoulders lightly.
Emmery slid a hand onto his chin, beginning to think.
"O..okay. Uh,..can i help you then?" he reminded her of her request.
"I just need you to find me when you go home." she said, before fizzling away. He blinked, running his fingers through the spot where this girl once was.
He thought of Willa, and the old woman. W..what what happening to him?
By the time he was starting to talk to the little girl, Willa had poked her head back out only slightly, listening and watching silently. She was speaking more clearly and he was actually listening and responding. But out in the open. It was dangerous and could get him fired, let alone if the wrong person heard him speaking to something that they couldn't see.. Well it could be bad.
"Emmery!" She hissed softly, hoping to get his attention. "You should come back here. Both of you." She motioned behind her to the empty break room and the spaces behind her. Willa placed her hands on her hips and directed her attention towards the little girl. "That or wait until we're both off." She knew if anyone heard the two of them, they'd probably be locked up.
ooc; i'm literally too excited to respond properlyyyy. this is all i got.
Emmery was a bit confused, looking around and no longer seeing the girl beside him.
He wasn't sure if she knew the girl wasn't around anymore, and he shrugged.
"Who?" he asked quietly, staring at her slightly.
His hands slipped against the granite counter, feeling the cool stone.
But for a moment, he was finally accepting of this.
She could see everything, and he could only see this little girl. How long had this been going on? Had there always been a little girl following him?
Maybe the book just showed him what was there all this time.
Emmery shivered, thinking of the dead pale skinned creature watching him all these years. She would have seen him getting intimate with girls, smoking, crying, sleeping, just..god..oh god.
He groaned, tilting his head back as an obvious sign to her that he was just distressed.
A new employee next to him stared at him, a bit concerned.
"You alright, mate?" he laughed a little, unaware of the situation.
"Eh, I'm cool." he muttered, before looking back of at Willa with plenty of questions.
But he knew he wouldn't say anything really, maybe just ask what person she was talking about.
Emmery didn't like talking about feelings, or admitting he believed in something or felt a certain way. He was an oyster, clammed shut and it took him a while to really open up to people.
One day wasn't going to get him to spill open his whole day, no, he had to figure this all out first before he was going to just tell her his whole life.
So he was ignoring this? He was pretending it wasn't happening despite the fact that he was clearly repulsed by the little corpse that had demanded his help? Willa frowned but decided it wasn't really her choice after all. If he chose to ignore that side of him, she couldn't really blame him, could she? She shivered as the little girl seemingly disappeared and wrapped her arms around herself as she walked back into the store, inhaling the coffee scent deeply. There was no decay lingering in the air.
"If you ever want to... talk about anything, let me know. Even just grab a beer and discuss the possibilities." She whispered to Emmery as she walked by him. But then she was at the counter and the lunch rush came and for a few hours, he was not her main concern. She did spare him a glance now and then to make sure he was holding up okay. He had experienced something frightening and in a public place too. Her first 'ordeal' had been in the privacy of her own bedroom. No one else had seen her reactions. She had been very lucky. He hadn't been.
He nodded, trying to pretend he didn't know what she was talking about. He just wanted this day to end already, when he woke up nobody would be following him with blood all over. He was just exhausted from the lack of sleep, yeah, that's it.
"Alright, thanks Willa." he smiled a bit, before tending to the steadily growing line of customers.
Emmery's door swung open, his hair and clothes wreaking of java and syrups.
"Godddd." he groaned, rubbing his face after closing his front door. This couldn't be happening, all day he had heard voices simmering in his ear like whispers.
He slid off his shirt, tossing it onto a chair near him. Willa was convinced he was a weirdo, and so were a few other people at work.
HE was even starting to think he was a weirdo.
The blonde man turned around to tend to his nicotine habits, his cigarettes resting on the coffee table.
But when he moved his head, he saw his worst nightmare.
She wasn't even sitting, or standing; she was just sort of hovering. It was like a shadowing, casting itself on walls.
"What to you want?" he could finally be scared and loud about all of this. The girl stared at him, not speaking for quite some time. Her tiny fingers finally moved, tugging at her dress to smooth it out. "Well..go on.." Emmery commanded her, he wasn't one for being followed by ghosts. But then again, who is?
The young spirit walked towards him, making him panic. Did he just let her? Did he run away from her?
It didn't matter, she was a spirit; she could obviously find him wherever he went.
"You saw me earlier today." she said, her voice making him shiver. He nodded, thinking of her at the coffee shop.
"I did." he confirmed this.
"That girl even tried to show you, but you ignored me.." she sighed, looking down at her hands.
"Well it's not like I want to have a little chit chat with some corpse." he grumbled, popping a cigarette into his mouth.
"But you r...you read the book.." she whispered, looking horrified at his answer.
His house smelled of lemon cleaning agents, and cigarettes. It was almost familiar, and cozy. It smelled manly, and lived in. The apartment wasn't completely spotless, but you couldn't find too much to complain about. Well,..there was the bone chillingly odd cellar below the house. Emmery never got an answer about its purpose, every neighbor or manager he had tried to get an exploitation from just sort of shrugged it off and changed the subject.
The walls were all a soft blue grey, pictures and mirrors littering them. Surprisingly, he even had a few candles here and there. He liked to have a nice feeling to his apartment, and he could remember his mother burning candles growing up. She was the opposite of him; she absolutely believed in the other side and had tried to convince him that being close minded only cut you off from amazing experiences.
Willa's mind was filled with sympathy and empathy and even a little apathy for Emmery and his current situation. After all, he had someone that was willing to help but only could if he asked for it. If he wanted to pretend that instead of hearing actual voices and seeing actual spirits, then fine, he could do that. But it would make him go crazy. She was certain of it. Unless you embraced the odd 'talent', you'd end up mistrusting yourself and think you were losing your mind... Which Will was sure he was feeling right now.
Her fingers itched and she yearned to call him and invite herself over, to make him listen to her feeble explanations, her own memories and experiences. She could help him. Teach him what she knew, what little that was, and make his 'transition' easier. She shivered, locking the door to the cafe, the last one out for the night. It was chill out and getting dark, but she lived so close, she never feared the walk home. Especially after she remembered she was never truly 'alone'. Her eyes scanned the dark street ahead of her, looking for the old lady but didn't see her. Oh well, she'd have to try to find her tomorrow.
All she wanted to do now was have a few beers or glasses of wine and pass out warm and cozy at home. Hopefully the former tenant she lovingly called Bubba wasn't floating around making noise tonight. She wasn't sure her nerves could take it.