He sat there, head cocked and wide-eyed staring at her. It had to be a “her,” as of all the visitors he had seen thus far, she was the most “in form” yet. Well, besides the man with the red hair, of course. But he was a thought best left untouched for the moment.
She was young. Barely seven, if he had to guess. He chuckled a little as he imagined himself cutting her open, to count the rings and see. His impromptu and bad humor was interrupted however, by her silently and slowly placing one solitary digit into the air. She lowered her hand, then raised it again with two digits being held up. And again, with three. She repeated this task fluidly and patiently, one at a time, until all ten digits were realized high in the air, directly above her head. Once there, she made merry dancing movements with them, as she spread her arms out in an ever-expanding fan. Coming full circle before bringing them gently to rest in her almost-bosom. “We are many. We are legion.” That had to be what she was saying. Clive could feel it. He knew it to be true. Recognizing awareness spreading across his face, she smiled sweetly, blowing him an almost-kiss before she stepped sideways again through the veil.
Why had he let Douglas escape? Why had he let him go? The questions were stupid of course. Douglas was allowed his freedom, his own peace. He had told Clive that he would stick around, be glad to in fact. But Clive had told him to leave, told him everything was OK. They both needed their rest, he had said. Truth was, Clive loathed to be alone, but he didn’t want Douglas to have to suffer as a result. It appeared that Clive was the only one unable to feel that breath of freedom that Douglas must be enjoying right now. The only one who would never sniff that smell of life-giving freshness, that peace. Clive alone was damned to walk amongst the dead, even while being so woefully alive. Had he only known, the very thing he wanted to lose, was the only thing they were hoping to take.
Unlike the rare occasion when Douglas would tear the curtains back, allowing rays of light in to pierce the gloom, Clive’s room was frigid and tense. He sat there, feeling small, putting it down to another bad day. He was lost deep in thought, but still wary, and almost before “he” came, Clive knew that he would. After all, it might never happen, but Clive had always felt as if it had to sooner or later.
He stood silently before Clive, in almost the same place as the girl had stood earlier. But where her stance seemed to pull Clive towards her, the new visitor seemed to push away. In fact, had they both resided on a curve, she would have inhabited the concave side while this new person would have been splashed across the convex. Clive could tell who it was, even though this spirit was almost unable to keep any form whatsoever. The silence, the slouch, and the eyes – the only thing human-like about him – made Clive very much aware that whatever the others were, this was no angel or demon. This was his father.
“Dad?” The spirit stood silent. Clive tried again “Dad? Why are you here? Are you here to help me? Finally?” Again, the spirit said nothing, but his eyes began to stir. His eyes were unlike those of the living any more, in that they came alive in a wholly “other” fashion. They had a power to them, a raw emotion. By gazing deep within them, you could tell what the spirit was thinking. Sadly for Clive, he did just that. His father’s mind was full to the brim with defeat and fear. Of regret and self-hate. The spirit’s mind was full of negativity, filthy and cheap, sloshing about with all the rest in a disgusting stew that made Clive queasy. Unannounced, the entire mess of it came leaping from his father’s mind and poured itself directly in Clive’s being, almost touching his very soul. Almost.
“You filthy son of a bitch. You’re wrong. Just wrong. You always have been, you always will be. Go ahead, try your best. It won’t be good enough. It’ll never be good enough. NEVER! Look at me, I tried. I hoped. I prayed. I played it safe, played by the rules. Assholes still got more than me, and I’m still gone. Stuck here still, with you, wishing you had never been born. You’re a disease. Filth. Trash. All the years I wasted on you. Loving you. Feeding you. Look at you! Do other people see ghosts? You think that’s normal? You think your queer pansy-ass boyfriend sees ghosts? Sissy faggot piece of shit who sees ghosts, that’s all you are. Oh look me… such the proud poppa! Why don’t you just go and do what you want to do anyway? Why don’t you just die already Clive… juST FUCKING DIE!” And then, after a feeble minute, plaintively “please son. Just die.” None of the words were spoken, but Clive heard every last one of them. He felt them sinking in, taking an all to familiar hold, and quickly became enraged. He was too goddamned old to take this abuse, especially from a dead man. One whom, with the exception of Clive and damned few others, was all but forgotten already. Clive rose from his place, and shaking, screamed back “when does it end??? WHEN? When will you leave me in peace you bastard??? Whe…?” Clive found himself once again cut short. As he was screaming, his father had formed the saddest excuse for lips that Clive had ever seen. With them, he began sucking at the air rapidly, much like a fish does when it’s eating. Once Clive stopped speaking, the air-sucking stopped. “What are you doing? What are you doing to me?” Clive pleaded. Again, as the words – filled with raw emotion – tumbled out of his mouth, his father sucked viciously at the air. Trying to capture… something.
Clive realized too late what that something was, and in reaction, clamped his hand quickly over his mouth. His father, seeing the jig was up, began to shiver visibly. The entirety of his formless form began to wave to and fro violently, while his lips became like that of a hurricane over an ocean. Swirling in wider and faster circles, the lips continued their insane twirl until from them erupted a bottomless scream, painful and true, reverberating and real. One that shred through Clive’s mind and out onto the street below. One that could be heard – not just by Clive – but by anyone within earshot who happened to give a damn. His belabored bellow ended abruptly, when Clive’s former father imploded. Literally splashing all over the floor like a busted water balloon, his essence dribbled through the floorboards, leaving Clive alone. More alone than he had ever been before, alone like his world meant nothing at all.
“We are many, we are legion.”
She had “said” it, and Clive knew it to be true. He now sat praying to a god he didn’t yet believe in, that her message was actually one of hope, instead of doom.
© t – 2o12
* EMI are bastards who don’t like to share. Click here to listen to the prerecorded version of this song on YouTube.