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The Heavy Crown

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As soon as Roman realized it, he was surprised it was that simple. He was surprised no one else had figured it out and used it against him. But, the others couldn’t see what he could. The others never had ghosts hounding him day in and day out for help, they didn't see the souls of people as they died in the town since the earthquake, they didn’t know how the new ghosts treated him. Like he was something to fear like he was someone to follow.

Maggie told him, accidentally. He’s their king, their ruler, they’ll follow him and do his bidding. The living may hate him, but the dead respect him.

Roman never wanted it, but letting Maggie take the lead on how to handle the ghosts and the earthquake and everything seemed the best solution. He was so tired of making decisions, of choosing who lived and who died, of being the tipping point in a game of chess. He didn’t know if he was truly the king, or if he was a pawn that somehow made it to the other end of the board.

It had started out easy, Maggie had helped him, guided him, and he’d tried to save the town. He tried to save the people who hated him, who consistently used him. Even Maggie was using him, he realized too late. No one wanted him around because he was Roman, they just wanted the abilities that came with him.

The town fell and then the town flourished, banding together to destroy the ghosts and keep what was left of Port Moore stable and livable. They discovered how the electricity repels them and Roman thought he’d be left alone. He wasn’t because he was better ‘ghost garlic’.

Maggie kept on helping, guiding him to the decisions that eventually saved the townspeople. He started thinking maybe they actually cared about him, maybe this would be the change. He wanted to be loved so badly, wanted to be something more than the kid who can repel ghosts, the kid who can save the town. He wanted people to like him for him.

But then Maggie revealed her army and the truth, Roman was meant to lead the dead. Only he couldn’t, because he didn’t want to. He wanted to help, he wanted to save people. He wanted the death to stop.

That was the ultimatum, Maggie would let Roman save the town on the condition that he got her and the ghosts out of there, to a different city they could play in. No deaths this time around, just mayhem. Or everyone in Port Moore would die.

Port Moore, Port de la Mort. Roman wonders why he didn’t realize it before. Death’s Door was in the name.

Roman couldn’t let the town die, couldn’t imagine being haunted in a town of only ghosts blaming him for their deaths, couldn’t let the people he’d grown to actually care about over the course of their own personal apocalypse die, so he played along. He gave Maggie his promise to help get her and the ghosts off the island, not realizing the games she was playing.

She stole Daphne’s body and Roman wanted to scream about how that woman, the genius who only wanted to find a way to keep herself alive, had died for Maggie’s selfishness. Roman wasn’t so sure it was still Maggie, but he had to play along or everyone would die. He let her kiss him, let her hold him, let the churning feeling in his gut about all this stay in his gut as they drove his fathers' boat out of Port Moore. This was okay because it meant Port Moore would be okay.

Port Moore would be safe, and that’s all that mattered to him.