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Death's in Life

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Life.

 

What is the meaning of life? Is there something that makes us keep going? Are we destined to achieve our goals set in lifetime, to the greatness that we all imagine for ourselves? Is that what truly provokes us to move on in life from our failures and makes try to be better at what we do? Do we have to be better? When are we done perfecting ourselves for this world then? Is it the world’s bidding that we become the best we can? How can the world measures our goodwill against the acts of others? Is there truly a way to become the best? 

 

And Death.

 

How does the world determine when should death come to us? When have we completed our journeys through the tangible world and are we then truly ready to become part of the great beyond? Does our consent matter not to the moment when it finally happens? 

 

But now that it has happened, must I remain quiet and undisturbed, spending my time trying to comprehend what goes on in the intangible mind of the greater forces, or can I go back to the world of the living and annoy the hell out of that small, angry, rather hip-full and dumb-love-struck teenage girl that always stuffed me under her bed?

 

Obviously, I chose the latter.

 

Why would I ever choose to try and spend my time imitating Marissa Fittes’ decisions when I can annoy the hell, heaven and earth out of that little ball of bitterness! There’s no better way of spending the afterlife, or ethereal-being time, than bothering Lucy! Speaking of which…

 

How long has it been since I last woke up? Last I remember was being in the Fittes building, Marissa and her pathetic, cheap excuse of a Type Three, Ezekiel (he doesn’t even look like a ghost!), then, darling not-so-little Lockwood came on his white stallion and silver armor, hair waving in the air and little birds chirping melodically around him, ready to save the day! At least that’s how I’m sure Lucy saw it. Then she broke my jar, Marissa went ballistic and wanted to blow up the entire building, so I pushed Lucy and Lockwood out of the room…and everything went black.

 

Was I back in the Other Side? I couldn’t see anything, not even that murky, always-nighttime version of London I saw whenever I was there so obviously this isn’t the Other Side. Then what was it- Oh wait, do I have my eyes closed?

 

I don’t have eyes, that’s for sure, but…maybe that was it. So, I opened my eyes, and- 

 

This is certainly an angle of this room I hadn’t seen before. It took me a tiny moment to adjust my eyes to the sudden brightness around me. There was a window on the wall beside me, so I looked out. It isn’t nighttime here…and the sky doesn’t look murky and gray…

 

I looked around the room. It was a small room, with old wooden walls, frostbitten and rather rotten-looking, but that isn’t new. There were two doors, one that had stairs that led down to the second floor of this now-wretched house, and the other that led to a tiny, beggarly bathroom. A single bed with iron headboard stood on the wall opposite to me, and thank God cause I can feel the iron from here, itching on my ectoplasm-

 

Itching on my ectoplasm? Since when does that headboard itches me? In all the years I’ve been on this room, or any room of this house, I have never felt anything on my plasm. Actually, its been years since I’ve felt something other than the wall of my jar…

 

I looked down and- oh heavens, is that my body?! Its been years since I last say any part of my body! I look just like when I died; my baggy and dirty clothes, the cuts and bruises on my arms, the blood on the neck and chest of my shirt…I raised my hands and touched my face. It sure had been long since I felt myself like this…my long nose, high cheekbones, sharp jaw and my hair, sticky with blood that had run down the sides of my head and was now stuck/dry there. My perfect, beautiful self, finally in my hands again.

 

With one more look around the room I noticed the small layer of dust that had gathered in it. I frowned and ‘stood’ up. Actually, I was floating, my feet just bits above the wooden ground of the room. Another angle I hadn’t seen of this room before, but that was due to the fact that, since ghosts look like they did in life, I was as tall I once was, meaning taller than Lucy ever held my skull, which was currently sitting on the windowsill, charred on the back and with small cracks on the front. My poor skull-

 

The door of the room burst open and suddenly I was surrounded by three pointy and ectoplasm-tingling sticks. 

 

“Lucy, are you sure we aren’t repeating the Annie Ward incident-”

 

“For the last time Anthony, I don’t bring sources into my room anymore!”

 

“Then why is there a ghost in here, Luce?!”

 

“I don’t know George! I haven’t been up here much!”

 

I looked between the three squabbling figures before me, my spectral essence and ectoplasm growing fretful at the emotionally-charged quarrel.

 

“No time to discuss this; Lucy, look for the source, George and I will keep it at bay” The smallest figure turned and gazed around the room, the other two, more masculine and taller figures still waving the itchy sticks at me.

 

“Its not doing anything” One of the boys said. Wow, Cubbins wasn’t as tall as I thought he’d be! And, dear heavens, has he lost a bit of weight? He doesn’t look as fat as the last time I saw him, but he was generally the same; still ugly jumpers that were full of stains and wrinkles, baggy jeans that (somehow) highlight his ass, round spectacles and that awful sandy mop he called hair that lived on his head.

 

“Luce, how are we doing with that source?” The other, Lockwood of course, called back. He was also pretty much how I remembered him; streetlamp-tall, cadaverous hands and practically non-existent hips with his overly long coat, princess hair, old-fashioned (grandpa) style of clothes and dainty moves like he was some sort of doe. Perhaps he was a bit taller than before, but I couldn’t be sure how much.

 

“I can’t sense anything!” Lucy growled as she looked around the tiny room. She was just as I remembered her, though I dare say her hips looked a bit wider than the last time I saw her. All the more material to annoy her with! “and I’m not getting any echoes!”

 

In my slight moment of recognition, Lockwood’s rapier caught my arm, sizzling it with its nasty iron-ness. Right, that was it! I let out a deep, broken and ghoulish screech that made Lucy forget all about her search and her rapier, letting it fall against the ground and cover her ears with her hands. Lockwood and George stepped away from me, hit with the psychical charge of my roar. With a simple gesture of my hand, all the rapiers flew out of the room and clattered their way down the stairs, the door closing.

 

“Get your filthy rapiers away from me and my ectoplasm, you- savages!” I squawked indignantly, compressed against the wall and trying to get my plasm to stop throbbing “can’t a noble and honest ghost raise from the grave and the Great Beyond in holy peace now-nights?! This is a perfect example of Skullism! You agents judge us ghosts the same before you even let us howl our merry welcome out of death and snuff us out!”

 

All I got in return for my outburst was surprised faces of the three teenagers “…skull?!”

 

“No, Ariff’s new delivery boy- of course its me! What other ghost did you thought?! I ought to lift this entire house off its foundations and throw it around the neighborhood! Like a baby toy! Or a stupid leaf on the wind! See if anyone talks about Aikemere’s poltergeist after that!”

 

“Wait, you- how are you here?” Lucy uncovered her ears, walking towards George and Lockwood.

 

“What do you mean ‘how are you here’, the same way all ghosts come back!”

 

“Buts its barely six pm” she gestured to the window, her face along with Lockwood’s and George’s perplexed as they eyed me up and down “the sun isn’t down, how are you here?”

 

“Hey, tell Cubbins my eyes are up here” I grumbled, floating closer to them. They all took a couple of steps back, probably realizing that they didn’t have any sort of protection from me. A small and unearthly sense of pride swelled inside of me, making my plasmic body feel like it was glowing; I wasn’t inside my jar, and there wasn’t any sort of silver powder or iron chain surrounding me or my source. I was a free ghost, free to go out through the streets and to actually talk and not get stuffed under a pillow, or get a towel over me, or any lever pulled shut. I could howl if I wanted and no one could stop me from doing it, or haunting a house, even from Ghost Touching someone- “and I don’t know how I’m here, its the first time my source has been out to the sun and not inside the jar”

 

Lucy’s usual frown deepened “first time? Aren’t you 150 years old?”

 

“Well, before Fittes got me inside that jar, I spent my days in a sewer, it was always dark and mucky down there”

 

“So you could be active all the time, couldn’t you?”

 

“Technically I could, but I wasn’t active all the time, its not like there was much to do there”

 

“Right…” She looked over to Lockwood and George, now frowning in concern “so you’re back, and…you’re out of the jar”

 

“Geez, no need to jump of excitement, Lucy” I rolled my eyes, moving over to the window. They stepped away “don’t think my ghostly self can take that much emotion without going delirious”

 

“Sorry…its just…well, you just threw our rapiers out of the room-”

 

“He hurt me with that thing!”

 

“What?” 

 

“Lockwood! He scraped me with it! That hurts!” I huffed crisply, holding my arm where my plasm was still sizzling quietly “in case you agents might not remember, iron hurts ghosts”

 

“Ah, right, well…” she looked at Lockwood and repeated to him what I said, skipping my threats to lift the house and throw it around. Why would she do that, I still don’t get why she always cuts all I said and leaves only a few things? The threat was important!

 

“I’m not apologizing for defending us from a ghost, Lucy”

 

“He’s not going to hurt us, Anthony”

 

“He could, his out of his jar now”

 

“The skull was out of his jar before, when we were with Marissa and he didn’t hurt us then” she crossed her arms over her chest “He saved us, Anthony, and you know it”

 

“‘Anthony’? Are we going by first names now?” I leant down, closer to her. Lockwood took her by her arm and pulled her back, stepping halfway before her “ooh, I see how it is”

 

Lucy blushed furiously.

 

“I thought I'd never see it happen” I could feel her temper raising; it was like putting coal on a fire in the pit of a vapor-machine, or a steam train, and having the flames produce more steam, making the train work faster. The scorching of my ectoplasm diminished.

 

“That’s not your business” She huffed. 

 

“Oh no, Lucy, its totally my business, I thought we had something special here! I saved your life! But no, I do it and I disappear for a few hours, days perhaps, and what’s the first thing you do? You go and look for someone else to comfort you when I was the one that has been doing so for years!”

 

“Wait, days? You’ve been gone for months!” 

 

“…time sure is weird when you’re death”

 

She only rose an eyebrow at me and told what I said to the other two. I keep forgetting they’re here with us, isn’t it rude to have someone else listening to your conversation? I suppose in this case its listening to half the conversation and then a repeat of what I said, but my point stands. Rude as hell.

 

“Alright, but, where were you? Like I said, you were gone for months, were you in the Other Side?”

 

“I don’t know. How am I supposed to know if I just thought I was gone for a few hours”

 

“Well, you must know something! How can you have spent months there and not know anything about it?!”

 

“I don’t know, I’m not psychic or gypsy! I can’t look into the Great Beyond or a crystal ball and tell you your future! I’m a ghost!”

 

“A Type Three ghost!”

 

“And you suppose that just because I’m a Type Three I suddenly, magically know the meaning of Life and Death and all their secrets? Its just like when I was in the jar, I don’t know those things!”

 

“Fine!” She looked back at George, scowling angrily “He knows nothing!”

 

“Nothing?” He rose his barely-there eyebrow at her (they’re blond and his skin is like milk, you can’t actually see them, its like his got no eyebrows at all!).

 

“That’s what he said” 

 

“And by the way, you should control your temper a bit more” I danced one of my fingers above my lips, peeking out my tongue between them “A ghost like me can only resist so much temptation”

 

“You’re disgusting”

 

“You know you’ve missed me!”

 

“Right, and now we have to find a way to prevent any Ghost Touching incidents-”

 

“If I wanted to Ghost Touch you I would have done so the moment I threw your rapiers out” I leant even closer to her, making her and Lockwood and George step back once more, their backs getting against the far wall, which wasn’t that far actually, this room is ridiculously small “besides, I would’t have saved you and Lockwood from the explosion if I wanted you two dead, would I? There would be no point in that”

 

“…I suppose”

 

“exactly” I backed towards the wall again, allowing them room to breath again. I watched them from my corner as they discussed some more ‘security measures’ to keep me from ‘accidentally' Touching anything now that my jar couldn’t keep hold my reigns anymore, but in the end they decided to give me a chance and trust I would behave myself, much to Lockwood’s obvious annoyance (reckon Lucy will pay him a private visit later to content him).

 

Still, I stayed up in the attic, even after they went down, looking out the window. I was a ghost, a Type Three ghost for reasons I didn’t comprehend, I could do much worse than a poltergeist ever could even when fed with the wildest bouts of rage. If what Marissa had once said to me was right, I might some day be able to find an answer to the big questions of the world, but for what? Looking for those answers wasn’t half as fun as poking on Lucy’s side! No knowledge could bring a soul as me any comfort about our lives. I wouldn’t change my choice for my afterlife for any knowledge.