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Ghosts

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Many people live their lives haunted by past regrets, failures, and memories.
Brom Bones is no exception.

When his girlfriend Katrina announced to him that she was pregnant during their final year of high school, he did the honourable thing and proposed to her.
Of course he was terrified; he barely felt like an adult himself yet, how could he help care for a child?!
A small part of him was also excited. Brom had always known he wanted to be a father. His plan had been to graduate high school, go to college, get his teaching degree, and then settle down with a wife and kids further down the line.
Perhaps this wasn’t quite the order he’d planned but he could roll with this, right?

The closer they got to the wedding the more settled he felt about the whole situation. Sure, he knew Katrina didn’t truly love him yet. They were so young still, they hadn’t even known each other that long. But the more he thought about it the more he realised how much he really did want to be a dad.

When Katrina fell down those stairs and he saw the blood on the floor it was like watching his dreams bleed out alongside the child he would now never get to meet.

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Teaching history in the same town he grew up in had never been what Brom wanted. His hopes of getting out of Tarrytown and making a name for himself at a prestigious university faded and slowly died as the years went by.
He grew to accept it. Just like he had accepted that Katrina and he would probably never have kids. Just another dead dream.

Move on. Adapt. Keep playing the game even when you know you’re on a losing streak, because there’s always next year, next season.
But the seasons keep coming and nothing changes.

So he settles himself again.

Brom wasn’t unhappy teaching at the local college. It wasn’t fancy, but at least he was doing one of the things he’d always told himself he would.
He got to help shape the minds of so many bright young kids who still had their whole lives ahead of them! He still had a purpose and he could try to push some of those kids towards their own dreams.

Work was easier than home. Home meant Katrina. Katrina meant looking into eyes that still held the ghosts of pain and loss and dreams long gone.

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Then Ichabod arrived in town.

Ichabod was different.
Ichabod brought new ideas of a new life for Kat.
Ichabod brought new feelings and new struggles for Brom.

Ichabod brought change. Brom was no longer used to change.

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Katina left.
How could she leave? She was the only other constant in his life aside from his work. She was the last tie he had to all the dreams he had thought he’d given up on. He couldn’t lose her... But then Ichabod once again had to go and throw something completely new at him.

Ichabod loved him?

How was that even possible? He had been married to Katrina for 10 years now and she still didn’t love him the way he loved her.

And yeah, maybe he had leaned a bit too much into the lighthearted flirting with the man in an attempt to get what he wanted, which was Katrina back in their home where she belonged. Because that’s what he wanted, right? That’s what he needed. That was back to normal. No new plans or dreams that would eventually be crushed and disappear like all the others.

So he made a plan. He made a plan and decided on it while looking away from Ichabod and his hopeful, slightly desperate face because that hope and desperation brought back too many memories and if he looked too long he might drown.

Kissing Ichabod may have been the worst part of his plan. Not because it was awful, but because it wasn’t. Brom didn’t know what to do with that, so he shoved all those uncomfortable thoughts out of his mind and decided he could deal with that another day. Once everything was back to normal.
He didn’t know that the memory of soft hair, sharp glasses, a hungry mouth, and grasping fingers would be so hard to shake.

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Ghosts come in all shapes and sizes.

Some are the laughter of children that should have been yours but aren’t.

Some are the dreams of a life you never got to experience.

Some are the press of hot lips and cold hands that should never have been known.

And some are the thoughts in your head that never truly vanish. That cling to the shadows in your mind, darker than the woods surrounding this tiny town where nothing new lasts and the old lingers longer than it should.

Brom is used to ghosts by now. He is haunted by more than he cares to remember.

What’s one more ghost here in Tarrytown...