Janie woke with a start. Had she just heard a noise? Something had woken her. She rubbed her eyes and glanced at her alarm clock. It was only 2:00am. What had woken her? A loud bumping noise thudded from the room next to her. Her little sister was asleep in there. Suddenly very alert, she scrambled out of bed and threw open her bedroom door. The thudding noise came again, and fear for her sister sped her heart up.
She knew her fear was irrational; that noise could be anything, even something as simple as her sister falling out of bed, but fear for her little sister still had her heart pounding frantically against her rib cage. What if someone had broken into the house and was right now in the room with her baby sister?
Janie ran to her sister’s doorway and threw open the door. In the dim light that filtered in from the streetlight outside the bedroom window, she could see her sister lying fast asleep in her bed. Lizzie’s blankets were laying half off the bed, and she was snoring gently due to a recent cold. Her arm was thrown to the side and her pudgy little 4 year old fingers were hanging off the edge of the bed as if reaching for something in her sleep.
No one else was in the room: no one at all, unless you counted the dead guy standing by the window looking straight at Janie.
There was no question that he was dead. He had that slightly transparent look that all the dead had. Janie knew this because she had been seeing the dead ever since last Summer when she had slipped while hiking, hitting her head on a large rock and winding up in the hospital emergency room unconscious. Her mom told her that her heart had stopped beating for thirty seconds. Thirty seconds that changed her life.
But this dead guy shouldn’t have been in her sister’s room. The dead were drawn to Janie, not her family members or friends. Some of them could tell that she could see them. It was like she had a beacon that called to them or something. But they never showed any interest in anyone else around her. Until this guy.
He didn’t look like the usual spirit either. His clothes were ragged and his flesh showed the beginning of rot. The other spirits Janie had seen never looked decomposed, even a little. They were ghosts after all; they didn’t really have flesh. What she saw was a just a projection of their spirit, so how could it decompose?
Yet, here this dead guy stood, in her sister’s room, rotting away. Janie even detected a faint odor of compost, but how was that even possible? She’d never smelled anything around the dead before. She took a closer look at the dead guy.
He was tall and broad shouldered. His eyes seemed a bit sunken in, almost like they were beginning to hollow out, and his skin was a very pale, almost a greenish tinted pallor. His hair was partly fallen out and what was left was scraggly and unkempt.
His eyes were angry and he was staring straight at her. Janie caught her breath at the hatred coming from him. She could almost feel it like some malevolent force smothering her in its miasma. His aura was dark, not quite black but almost as dark. She’d never seen an aura so dark.
He looked down at Lizzie lying asleep, and Janie knew that she did not want him taking any interest in her baby sister. There was just something so off about him that she really, really didn’t like him being here in her sister’s room.
A little soft curl lay against Lizzie’s forehead, and he reached for it as if to touch that curl.
“Don’t!” Janie whispered fiercely, not wanting to wake her sister but suddenly desperate to keep those rotten, puss-oozing fingers from going anywhere near Lizzie’s sleeping form.
He looked up sharply at her and his hand stopped reaching, just freezing in motion so close to that soft curl. Then, still looking at Janie, he stroked the curl, lifting it softly and dropping it gently back down. Lizzie started to stir in her sleep, but after a moment, just curled up and continued to dream.
He smiled a slow, knowing and smug smile at Janie .How had he done it? How had he moved that ever-so-tiny curl? He had touched something real, something that wasn’t spirit! And he had made it move. The ghosts had never affected the physical world around her before. So how had he done that?
Janie wanted to get him as far away from her sister as possible, but her hands would just go right through him. She seethed with impotent rage, glaring at him with her fists clenched by her sides.
A shimmering swirl of color formed next to him and within seconds another form stood by his side. This spirit was more solid. Unlike the first ghost, this one appeared strong and his color was bright. He looked to be about Janie’s age, and there was something pure about him. His clear blue eyes caught Janie’s and her anger melted away.
He turned to the malevolent spirit and raised his hand. He voiced one word, his voice clear and strong, “Desero.”
The oozing, decaying ghost seemed to dissolve right where it stood. This new ghost turned back to Janie and smiled reassuringly. He started to emit light from his very skin until the light was so bright, Janie had to look away. When she looked back just seconds later, he was gone.
Janie walked quietly over to her sister’s bedside and stroked her cheek. Lizzie was still sleeping peacefully. She gave Lizzie a small kiss on her cheek and went back to her own room, hoping that someday she’d get to see the second ghost again.
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