Gender: Male Age: Secret Location: N/A
|Introduction: When an unfortunate accident leaves David as one of the undead, he is required to attend The Woodward Academy of Magical Arts. When his undead status is revealed to the students, he must deal with the consequences.|
"David! David Stroud!"
David turned to look amongst the crowd. The people were thronging the stage, where graduation ceremonies had just ended. He looked back and forth for the person who had called his name, and finally he spotted her.
The interested party was Jenny Bishop. David ogled her for a long moment before he waved at her, and she headed his way, finally finding him amidst the crowd.
"Hey! Congratulations on making Honors!"
"I didn't think I was going to, but yeah, I guess I did okay on those last few tests."
"Wish I could say that. Anyway, you're going off to school in the fall, aren't you?"
"Yeah. University of Illinois."
"Cool! What I was gonna say is that, well, I mean, we're never gonna see each other again, most likely."
"No... probably not," he said. David was a little confused. As much as he would have loved to, it wasn't as if he and Jenny had ever hung out or gone on a date.
"Well, I was wondering if... you know, as a graduation celebration... you might want to," she lowered her voice and said, "do it."
"Do it?" David asked dumbly, before his brain kicked in. "You mean, 'it' it?"
"Yeah!" she enthused, still somewhat conspiratorially.
"I didn't know you were interested," he said, temporizing.
"Sure. You're pretty good looking, you're obviously smart... I mean, I couldn't date you during the year, what with you being kind of a geek, but school's over now. I'm going off to NYU, you're going off to Illinois... who gives a shit? Let's just do it!"
"I'm game," David said enthusiastically. "When?"
"Tonight. Nine o'clock. Do you know the old abandoned house on Spooner Street?"
"Yeah... why there?"
"It has... fond memories for me. I've been in there a few times, and it just makes it special."
"Okay. I'll be there," he assured her.
"Great! See ya!" She breezed off, back into the crowd. David did not see the thumbs up and smile she gave to someone else. He was too busy working his way out of the crowd. If he was going to get laid tonight, he needed to take another shower.
"Where are you off to tonight?" David's father asked.
"Who says I'm going anywhere?" David tried, knowing it wasn't a credible bluff.
"Oh, c'mon. You never shower twice in the same day. I know 'prepping for a girl' when I see it," his father said with a grin. "Who is she?"
"Jenny Bishop. She was in a couple of my classes."
"Scott!" David's mother scolded. "That is not important. Is she nice?"
"I think so," David said.
"Kinda late... shouldn't you be leaving?" his dad asked him.
"I'm not meeting her until nine."
"Late date," he replied. "Don't you think you should be getting to bed early, so you can make it to work?"
"I have tomorrow off, Dad. Sheesh. It's the day after graduation. None of the students are working!"
"Oh. Right. Forgot."
"Anyway, I won't be out horribly late, I don't think."
"Just try to stay out of trouble," his mother told him.
"I will," he promised.
David made his way up the walk, the house before him dark and foreboding. Why the hell would she want to have sex here? he wondered. Still, he had not been laid enough times to be willing to blow off this opportunity just because of a creepy location.
He pushed open the front door, expecting it to creak. Thankfully, it didn't, but when he walked through, it banged closed in the wind. He waited for his heart to settle back down, and for his eyes to adjust to the gloom.
Once he felt he could see well enough, he started to make his way through the house.
"Jenny?" he called out once. His voice echoed in some distant corridor, but there was no reply to his call. Outside, a distant peal of thunder rolled.
"Oh, just great. I really needed that," he mumbled to himself. Late June storms were common to the area, and this one had been accurately predicted by the weatherman, but that didn't improve David's mood one bit.
Suddenly, off to his right, David heard some shuffling, coming from another room.
"What the hell was that?" he asked no one in particular. "Jenny, is that you?" he called out. There was no answer.
From upstairs, he heard faint voices. They seemed to be echoing, as if from a distance. He didn't know exactly what was going on, but he was bound and determined to find out.
David wasn't one for superstitions, and he didn't believe in ghosts. If there were voices upstairs, then someone was up there talking.
Slowly, David made his way up the stairs, which did creak, loudly. The shivers that went up his spine belied his stated disbelief in the supernatural.
"Fuck," he muttered under his breath, and continued up the steps.
Once he was in the upstairs hall, the voices seemed louder, but were still indeterminate. He couldn't make out words, only the whispers. It seemed as if they were coming from a room to his left, near the middle of the hallway.
David pushed open that door, and walked in.
"You in here, Jenny?" he asked. He was fairly sure now that Jenny was not in the house, and that he had been stood up. Now, he just wanted to know what the noises were.
As he entered the room, the noises faded off. No more voices were heard. From behind him, however, a loud clunk sounded from another room.
David whipped around, looking for the source of the noise. As he spun, he lost his balance, and backpedaled in an effort to regain his footing. He had seen the rotting floorboards when he entered, but now, more intent on remaining upright, he forgot about them...
He was reminded when he heard the first crack! He tried to step off, but it was already too late; the board was breaking beneath him, and solid ground was more than a quick step away.
David fell through the floor.
The room below had high ceilings, and so David had a good eight feet to fall before he hit anything at all. When he did land, it was in the worst possible place imaginable.
Directly beneath David was a table. On that table sat an old-fashioned birdcage, large enough for a raven, or an owl. It was round, with a huge brass spire on its top for decoration. The spire was the first thing David hit as he fell. He was falling fast enough that, even as the cage began to collapse, the spire was piercing his back. His continued fall drove it deeper into his body. The table on which the cage was sitting collapsed, and David finally completed his journey to the floor, but the damage had already been done. The spire, large and heavy, had penetrated the front of David's body, ripping a hole in his shirt, which was quickly stained with blood.
But why didn't he feel any pain?
David looked up at the ceiling. He must be in shock. That was it. People in shock didn't feel pain.
Suddenly, David saw three boys from school appear in the opening he had created when he fell. He recognized all of them. They were popular kids. One was a football player. Another was the student body president. The last was... Jenny Bishop's brother.
That bitch! And to think I actually wanted to screw her! David understood instantly that he had been duped. It was nothing more than a prank.
"Shit, dude, he doesn't look good," Jenny's brother said.
"I think he's fuckin' dead!" said the football player.
"Let's get the hell out of here!" the student body president said. The faces disappeared from the opening, and David heard footsteps running down the stairs. He thought to call out to them, for them to at least call an ambulance...
But no words would come out of his mouth.
Am I dying? he asked himself.
"You are well past that point," a voice said to him, clearly and distinctly, but there was no one he could see.
Who are you? David asked.
"My name is Jacob Pendergrast."
Where are you?
"You'll see me in a minute or two," Jacob assured him. "The transition can take a little while, depending on the trauma involved."
Is this a dream?
So... who are you, exactly?
"I am the cause of your latest bad luck."
David felt himself sliding. He was moving upward, out of the pile of debris his fall had caused. Soon, he was standing in a clear spot of floor. He turned to look at the spot where he had been-
Where he was still lying.
"What the fuck?" David asked rhetorically. He was startled when Jacob - or he assumed it was Jacob - suddenly appeared next to him.
"Don't worry. It will fade shortly," Jacob reassured him. "You have moved on to a new form. The old one is no longer needed."
"What the hell are you talking about? Did I... Am I dead?"
"Yes... and no."
"What the hell is that supposed to mean?"
"Had your accident taken place anywhere other than here, you would be most assuredly dead, and on your way to Haven as we speak."
"You mean Heaven," David corrected.
"No, I do not. But that's not the issue now. The issue now is that you did have your accident here, in this house. In my... prison."
"Prison? You're going to keep me here?"
"You misunderstand. The prison is not so that I may hold others. The prison holds me."
"I'm really confused."
"As well you might be. Please, sit. Even in your new form, sitting is more pleasant than standing to converse." The two moved over to some chairs, away from the clutter of the accident.
David sank down into an arm chair, and Jacob alighted gently on the arm of a sofa.
"Look, could I just get a few, simple, answers?"
"I will tell you what I can."
"Am I dead?"
"It would be more accurate to say that you are no longer alive."
"Isn't that the same thing?"
"Not in our case."
"What the hell does that mean?" David demanded in frustration.
"I am what is known as a demighost. And now, so are you."
"What the hell is a demighost? And I don't believe in ghosts."
"That, my young friend, is your problem. I'm sure that your disbelief will fade after the first hundred or so that you meet. A demighost is neither true ghost, nor human. We are an in-between form. We are one of the classes of the 'undead'.
"Would you be offended if I said 'bullshit'?"
"Not really. I can imagine, coming from Earth as you do, that the idea of such things as the undead is completely foreign to you."
"They're things people make bad movies about."
"So, I take it you're an alien then?"
Jacob took on a puzzled expression. David explained, "You said, 'coming from Earth as you do.' I assume that means you don't come from Earth, which makes you an alien, right?"
"Ah," Jacob said in enlightenment. "No, not exactly. You see, there are three... realms, or worlds... planes of existence? Let's stick with worlds. There are three worlds that exist, one on top of the other. In some ways, these places are identical. In other ways, they are completely different, but the key thing is that they occupy the same space. It is very complicated, and I don't wish to get into it all right now, as it is not, strictly speaking, relevant to your condition. Rest assured, there are three 'worlds' within one.
"You know one of these places as Earth. It's where you were born, I assume, and where you grew up. I would hope I don't need to tell you about Earth."
"The second world is called Haven. It is the land of the dead. The land of ghosts."
"We call that 'Heaven'."
"No, you do not. The concept of Heaven is a complete myth. Haven is nothing like your mythical Heaven. It is merely another level of existence. Ghosts, those souls that have died, live in Haven, for all eternity. Or until they get fed up with the whole thing, whichever comes first."
"So... what's Haven like?"
"You're sitting in it right now."
"I'm in a house on Spooner Street."
"Not exactly. It looks to you like you're in a house on Spooner Street. When your corporeal body died, you passed into Haven."
"So, Haven looks just like Ear-Agh!" David screamed, clutching his chest in intense pain.
"Ah. Oh. So very sorry. I forgot to warn you about the pain. Because you died of such a ghastly injury, you will be in severe discomfort for a few days. Don't bother taking anything for it; it won't work. The pain will ease over the next hours, and should be gone entirely in three or four days."
"Fuckingshitgoddamnedmotherfuckersonofabitch!" David streamed every epithet he knew and made up several for the occasion. Slowly, over the course of minutes, David was able to get himself under control. A few deep breaths allowed him to at least talk once again.
"This fucking hurts!" he growled.
"Yes. Traumatic death usually does," Jacob said deadpan.
"So," David said, gritting his teeth against the discomfort, "Haven looks just like Earth."
"No. What you are seeing right now is the overlap between the two worlds. There are places where the border between Earth and Haven is especially thin. In those places, it is possible to see, hear, and even sometimes interact, across worlds. These are the things you know as... haunted houses? Yes?"
"That's what they're called, if that's what you're asking," David said through gritted teeth. The pain was still quite intense.
"Anyway, there isn't anything actually here, in Haven. We are interacting, through the barrier, with what exists in Earth."
"I still don't get it."
"No, and I don't really think now is the best time for you to try to absorb any new information about your condition. You should go home now, and rest."
"How the fuck can I go home? You said I was in Haven now!"
"You may travel the border between Haven and Earth wherever it is thin."
"Hey, wait... you said three worlds."
"We can discuss this further at a future date. Now, listen carefully to me. Go home, and go to bed. In the morning, when the sun rises, you will once again take human form."
"You said I was a ghost," David objected.
"No, I didn't, but listen. You will remain in human form all day. When the sun sets, you will return to your ethereal form. I would recommend that you not be in the presence of anyone when that happens. And one last thing; the transition is somewhat uncomfortable."
"Oh, that's fucking nice," David opined.
"Yes, I thought you might enjoy that piece of news," Jacob said with a grin. "If you need to talk, I will be here. I have no choice in the matter. I will always be here. You need to go now."
"Just envision yourself crossing the barrier."
"What's it look like?"
"You can imagine any kind of barrier you like. It can be as simple as a door that you must open and walk through in your mind. It is the image of you crossing that is important, not what you are crossing."
"Okay." David closed his eyes tightly, scrunching them up as hard as he could, and tried to make an image of himself moving from one place, through a shimmery curtain, to a place that looked exactly like the first place. When he opened his eyes, he was right where he had been.
But Jacob was gone.
"I'm still here," Jacob said to him, his voice quieter than it had been. "You have crossed the barrier, and so you cannot easily see me anymore. Go home. Rest. Be careful."
"Yeah," David said, the pain returning to him full force. He'd been able to mentally block it out while he'd been concentrating on the transition, but now had no such thing to focus on.
"Good night," Jacob said, his voice drifting off on a non-existent breeze.
It took two hours for David to stagger his way home, in pain, confused, and a little bit scared. He didn't know exactly what had happened to himself, and he was leery of meeting the day.
David unlocked the door, not thinking a thing about the fact that he could manipulate real objects, even though he could see through his own hand. He walked in the door, closed and locked it, and then stumbled his way to the bathroom. He took the Tylenol out of the cabinet and, ignoring Jacob's advice, swallowed four of them with a large swig of water.
After realizing he had absolutely no urge to pee, David lurched his way to his bedroom, managing to close the door tightly before he collapsed onto his bed, curled up into a fetal position, and fell blissfully asleep.
Only thing was, he felt the pain in his dreams, too.
David awoke to a sharp rapping on his door.
"David? David, are you in there?" It was his mother.
David looked at the clock on his nightstand. It said that it was four o'clock in the afternoon.
Holy shit! I've been asleep for like fourteen hours or something! The next thought that struck him was the pain. It had diminished to the point that he no longer gritted his teeth, but it was still very uncomfortable.
Shit, I can't let Mom see me... or see through me, or... he suddenly noticed that he was solid again.
His mother continued to pound on the door. Finally, David uncurled himself and stood up, a little dizzy and stiff.
"I'm here, Mom. I'm okay. Stop trying to break the door down."
Quickly, David took off his shirt, which still had a hole in it and was covered in blood. He tossed it into a corner where it wouldn't be noticed, and then he took a look down at his chest.
He could see a mark where the wound had been, but the skin had already healed over it.
How is that possible?
"David, are you all right? You've been locked up in there all day!"
Sighing, David walked over to the door and unlocked it. He hadn't even realized that he'd locked the door when he'd gone to bed. He opened the door to let his mother in.
"I'm fine, Mom," he lied. He was horribly confused and still fighting waves of pain.
"What's that?" she asked immediately, pointing to the mark on his chest. "God, David, you look ghostly pale!"
David tried not to smirk. Nice choice of words, Mom.
"I'm not feeling well. That's why I've been sleeping all day. The bruise is from last night. Turned out Jenny was playing a prank on me. Some of her friends tried to scare me, and I tripped and hit myself on the edge of a sofa."
"Are you hurt? Do we need to take you-"
"Mom," David said, rolling his eyes theatrically at her. "I'm fine, except for this flu or whatever. I think I'd better call in sick to work for tomorrow, just to be on the safe side. And I think I'm gonna just take a shower and go back to bed."
"You need to eat something," she insisted.
"I'd probably just puke it back up," he told her. In truth, he felt no hunger, and no desire to eat at the moment.
"You've got to eat something, David. You've got to keep your strength up."
Why? Am I going to die of starvation? To his mother, he said, "Okay, maybe some tea and toast, then. After the shower, though."
"A cool shower is best for a fever," she told him as he walked to the bathroom. He was amazed; she had never checked him for a fever.
Good thing, since I don't have one, he thought with a grin as he stepped into the shower.
David was lying on his bed, trying to relax despite the pain, as he noticed it getting darker out. He looked over at his clock: nearly 8:30.
The sun should be setting any minute now. I wonder if all of this was just some kind of fucked-up dream, or if some weird shit is actually going to happen in the next few minutes.
His question was answered a couple minutes later when his body first began to tingle, and then started to feel as though it was burning. David was once again gritting his teeth, his entire body tensed, as it faded out of existence. When the burning passed, and the tension eased, David opened his eyes.
Once again, he could see right through his body.
Aw, fuck. This is too weird. I'm a ghost, then I'm not, then I am... what the hell!
David knew that he could not be seen in this shape. He walked to the door and opened it a crack. Seeing no one, he called out, "Mom?"
He closed the door as she came to the end of the hallway. He heard her come to his door.
"What is it, Honey?" she asked through the door.
"Just wanted to say good-night. I'm going to go to sleep now. Hopefully I can beat this... whatever it is... in one night."
"Okay. Did you call your boss?"
Shit! "No. I'll do that now, before I go to bed."
"Okay, Sweetheart. Rest well."
As his mother walked away from the door, David cursed at forgetting about his boss. He certainly could not go into work half-invisible. Unless he could find a way to remain a person, rather than a ghost, he was in real trouble.
David called his boss, and then lay back down on the bed. He didn't know what to do at this point. What he really needed were some answers.
I need to go back and talk to Jacob... if he really exists.
David got up, and then had to decide what to do next. He couldn't go out the front door; his parents were in the living room, and would half-see him. After a few moments of thinking, he decided to go out the window. Seconds later, he slipped off, into the night.
"Jacob, are you here?" David called out, standing in the same room they had chatted in the previous night.
"I told you, I am always here," his voice said.
"Why can't I see you?"
"You're in Earth. I'm in Haven. The vagaries of my curse mean you cannot see me without being here."
"I am here."
"In Haven, I mean."
"Oh. How do I get there?"
"The same way you got back."
David closed his eyes and imagined himself passing through the shimmering curtain again. When he opened his eyes, Jacob was standing a few feet from him.
"Welcome back to Haven. I see you have already mastered the transition from one to the other."
"If you call that mastery," David grumbled.
"What can I do for you tonight?"
"You can explain what you have to do with Jenny."
"Jenny? Unless you're referring to Genevieve Turnbull - something I highly doubt, as she died some four hundred years ago - I'm afraid I don't know to whom you're referring."
"You said last night that you were the cause of my accident... Jenny and her friends set me up, which is how I died, so..."
"Ah, I see your misunderstanding. What I said was that I was the cause of your latest bad luck. I was not referring to the prank played upon you. I was referring to your transformation into a demighost."
"How is that your fault?"
"I mentioned that I am imprisoned here, yes?"
"I am imprisoned by the curse of a dark wizard. An additional effect of the curse is that the first person to die within the confines of my prison will share my form. I am a demighost, and you died in my prison, thus, you are a demighost, as well. Had I been a normal ghost, you, too, would have been a normal ghost. But I am not, and so you are not."
"I don't believe in wizards."
"You certainly have a lot of things you don't believe in. Is there anything that you do believe in?"
"Things I can see, hear, touch..."
"Ah, well, then I imagine over the next months and years, your beliefs will expand greatly. Take my word for it young man, there are wizards, ghosts, and monsters the likes of which Earth has never seen... at least, not for many millennia."
"Then where are they? In Haven?"
"No. There are only a few monsters in Haven, and they cannot leave it. Horrific beasts they are, but not at all troublesome to those in Earth."
"The magical beings live in the third world I mentioned, the place known as Dugerra."
"And so, all the magic stuff happens in Dugerra? How can you be imprisoned here, then?"
"Magic may occur anywhere. Much magic happens in Earth, though it is carefully hidden, since most Earthers, like yourself, take a rather skeptical view of it, and we don't wish to panic people."
"Uh-huh. Anyway, I had some other questions."
"Do go on," Jacob said, waving his hand magnanimously.
"How can I keep myself from changing back to a ghost at night?"
"Right now, you can't."
"What do you mean, 'right now'?"
"You are still recovering from your injury. You still feel the pain, correct?"
David put a hand to his chest. "Yeah."
"Until that pain is gone, you cannot control your fading."
"Changing form from solid to ethereal and back."
"Oh. Hey, why is it you don't just become solid and go to Earth, and leave here?"
"Becoming solid is precisely what my curse prevents. I am not allowed to fade. I also cannot do magic."
"Well, that sucks."
Jacob took a moment to figure out this modern phrase, and then said, "Quite."
"How long is it gonna take for me to heal?"
"How bad is the pain?"
"I can stand it, but it's very uncomfortable."
"Two more days, most likely."
"How the hell am I supposed to hide myself for another two days? I slept through most of today, but..."
"How you do that is your concern. When I became a demighost, I was in Dugerra, and had no need to hide myself. I know little to nothing of Earth, having never been there, and so I can't really guide you."
"I will tell you this, David. You are now a magical being. You are capable of performing magic. This means more than you think it does... and it will cause you more trouble than you can conceive of."
"I am being serious. The last piece of advice I can give you is this: If you ever meet a man wearing a badge that resembles a hawk and glows from its center, do not resist him. The Rimohrs don't deal kindly with people who fight them."
"The investigators of the Office of Outlawed Magic."
"Laugh if you want, but if you ever meet one, please heed my warning. Now, is there any other information you want to hear?"
"Tell me about Dugerra," David said.
"Anything I would tell you about Dugerra would be woefully out of date and inaccurate. Possibly dangerously so. I have not been to Dugerra for one hundred fifty years."
"Damn. Just how old are you?"
"Approximately eight hundred seventy years. I have mostly stopped counting, but someone mentions it to me from time to time."
"Someone? I thought you were trapped here."
"I must stay here, but that does not prevent others from coming and going. The other ghosts occasionally come and talk with me."
"Oh. Are there any around now?"
"Do you see any?" he asked, motioning with his hands.
"Ghosts may be hard to see on Earth, but in Haven, and in Dugerra, they are readily visible. Well, except when they don't want to be."
"You have two ghostly forms, as well as your human form. One ghostly form is as we appear now. Your other ethereal form is entirely invisible."
"How do I become invisible?" David immediately wanted to know.
"Imagine it the same way you imagine moving from Earth to Haven, and it will happen."
David closed his eyes and imagined himself slowly disappearing from sight. When he opened his eyes, nothing seemed different.
"Shit, it didn't work," he said.
"Try looking down," Jacob recommended.
David did, and it took him a minute to realize that he should be looking at his legs, but they weren't there. "Holy shit, it worked! Does this work in Earth, too?"
"It works anywhere. It's not an effect of the place, it is an effect of who you are."
"I'm sorry? There should be no thermal effect..."
David snickered. "Just an expression. I meant to say it's... uh... 'neat'."
"Ah, I see. I'm sorry, but the ghosts who come to talk with me are as old as I am, or older. The newer language is generally ignored in favor of traditional speech."
"Oh. What about in Dugerra?"
"Dugerra is an unusual place with a mix of language styles. Since many of Dugerra's occupants come from Earth, the language tends to keep pace. You seem interested in Dugerra. Do you wish to go there?"
"Can I?" David asked.
"Not without preparation," Jacob said. David frowned.
"I was hoping to see proof of magic."
"Your existence is not enough?"
"I don't really see myself as magical. I'm just... here."
"Hmph. Well, you may get to see Dugerra, someday, but don't rush things. Get used to your status. Learn who you are."
"You are most welcome. And you should probably return home now, before you are missed."
"They think I'm asleep with the flu."
"If your mother is anything like mine, she will have trouble resisting the urge to check on you."
"Good point," David said. "I'd better get going."
"Good evening to you, David."
"Good... hey, wait! I've never told you my name..."
"The boys who were waiting here for you mentioned it several times."
"Oh. Those bastards."
"All of them?"
"They all come from unwed mothers?"
David laughed outright. "Another expression. It means they're... jerks."
"Ah, I see. Well, good evening to you."
David had just finished undressing and slipping under the covers when he heard the door to his room creak open. He blessed his luck for holding out, until he realized that his mother would probably want to see or touch him, and he wasn't really "there".
David cursed silently and pulled the covers up over his head. He heard his mother walk into the room and along his bed. He sensed, more than anything, that she was about to reach for him, probably to feel his forehead.
David shifted, groaning in his feigned sleep, as if he was having a bad dream, as he knew he was prone to doing when he was sick. He was now looking in his mother's direction, and shifted the blanket just enough so that he could see out of it. He saw her pull her hand back and look down at the lump of the blanket for a long moment. Then, to David's utter relief, she left the room.
David relaxed, lying back on the bed and sighing. If I can just make it two more days... The pain in his chest was almost a background now. It still hurt like hell, but he had grown used to it, and so he was able, for short periods, to forget it was there.
He considered, as he lay there, what he had become. He still wasn't sure he really believed he was dead. After all, he was still sleeping in his own room, living with his parents. On the other hand, he absolutely could not deny that he had made himself completely invisible tonight.
He fell asleep wondering what he could do with that ability.
The next morning, David woke late again. The pain in his chest had diminished noticeably, to perhaps half of what it had been the night before. Now, it was a soreness, and nothing he couldn't put up with until it was gone. The real concern, of course, was that Jacob had said that David would not be able to control his fading until the pain was completely gone.
David went to the kitchen to get something to eat before he even realized that he was not at all hungry. It had simply been a habit; when he rose, he had breakfast. He found that he had no desire to eat, but since his mother was standing there, watching him, he decided he'd better choke something down, for the sake of keeping up appearances.
He discovered that, though he was not hungry, he did still enjoy the taste of his Crunch Berries. He ate his bowl slowly, thinking over everything that had happened to him in the last couple days.
"You still look very pale, David," his mother said, interrupting his train of thought.
David decided to keep up the act, at least for a couple more days. "I'm still not feeling well. I hope I don't end up puking this up in a little while."
His mother frowned, and went to feel his forehead. She stopped a few inches away when he gave her an "I'm eighteen now, not eight" look. She dropped her hand and went to the fridge, where she retrieved the orange juice and gave him a glass of it.
"Orange juice is good. It's got lots of Vitamin C."
"Yes, Mom," he said, rolling his eyes where she couldn't see. He drank the orange juice like a good little boy, and then, having finished his breakfast, he went back to his room to act like he was sick some more.
So, I can still eat, he thought to himself. And drink... but I haven't gone to the bathroom in two days! So, where's all the food going? I guess that's one of those things to ask Jacob about.
David found he was both still tired, and totally bored, and he soon found himself asleep again.
David ate dinner with his parents, and was trying to get back into having a normal-styled life. He sat in the den and was watching TV. A sitcom had just ended, and another was about to begin. David had lost all track of time.
Suddenly, he felt a tingling all over his body. The tingling quickly became a burning sensation.
"Oh, shit," he said to himself. He grasped his chest, which hurt more while he was transitioning, and he ran from the room. He dashed to his bedroom, pushing the door shut, but his parents were close on his heels, worried that his illness had become truly serious.
"David? What's the matter?" his mother asked.
"Get out! Get out!" he cried. He knew it was futile; there was no way they were going to leave with him wailing things like that at them, but he couldn't think clearly, and the change began, his body tensing all over. He collapsed onto the bed, his muscles rigid and unable to support him, and he faded.
When the burning was gone, and his body could move again, David opened his eyes slowly. As he expected, both of his parents looked terrified. He was now a shimmery translucent being, tinged bluish-white, and quite obviously not a normal teenage boy with the flu.
"Dav-" his mother started, but couldn't even finish his name, putting her hand to her mouth.
"It's me, Mom."
"David, what's happened to you?" His father asked, trying to keep a tight grip on his emotions.
"It's complicated, and I'm not sure I believe what I've been told," David told them.
"Which is what?" his mother gasped behind her hand.
"Jenny set me up. She didn't want a date. Her friends just wanted to play a practical joke on me."
"Practical jokes don't do this," his father objected.
"Well... they do, if..."
"If what?" his mother wanted to know.
"If they kill you," he said. He thought his mother was about to faint.
"That's not funny, David," his father replied sharply.
"I'm not trying to be funny. I was told that I am... well, he insisted on saying that I am 'no longer alive', rather than that I am dead."
"Who is 'he'?" his father wanted to know.
"His name is Jacob. He is... well, again, he said he's a ghost." The whole concept of demighost was so foreign to David that he simply ignored it. "He lives in the house where I... died."
"Stop saying that!" his mother screamed. "You're not David! David would never play this kind of joke on us!"
"Mom, I," he said, rising from the bed.
His mother flinched behind her husband, and David's father raised his hand.
"That's close enough."
David took another step. "Dad..."
His parents bolted out of the room. Neither of them could stand to look at something that resembled their son but was so completely foreign. David ran after them.
"Get away from us! You're... you're some kind of evil spirit! What have you done with David? Give me back my little boy!"
"I am David!" he cried out.
David's mother picked up a vase and hurled it at him. Instinctually, he raised his hands and hoped it would miss him. The vase sailed right through his body and shattered against the wall behind him. He looked down at himself, then back at the vase, and said something that did not help matters at all.
"Out! Get out of our house! You are not welcome here, dark spirit!" his father said. David had known that his parents were fearful of the supernatural and the unknown. He had not expected it to impact him directly.
"What have you done with my son!" his mother demanded.
"I am your son!" he repeated.
"LIES!" she screeched, hurling another heavy object at him. This, too, sailed right through him, this time denting the wall and falling to the floor.
David, seeing no satisfactory end to this confrontation, closed his eyes and thought himself into invisibility.
Scott and Debra Stroud, seeing the... whatever-it-was... was gone, collapsed into separate chairs. It was only seconds before Debra started sobbing uncontrollably.
Scott went over to console her, but it was no use. She repeated over and over, "My son is gone!"
David couldn't stand to watch this. He moved over to the front door, and then wondered if it was possible for him to move through it without opening it. Taking one look back at his parents, he pushed himself through the door, and left.
David walked down the sidewalk until he reached the corner of his street. He looked back, wondering if he would ever enter his parents' home again.
"I didn't expect you back tonight," Jacob said.
"I... I think I fucked up."
Jacob spent some time trying to figure out that particular linguistic conjuration, and then finally gave up. "What happened?"
"My parents saw me fade."
"I warned you about not letting that happen," Jacob said.
"I know. I just lost track of the time. Then, when it started, I ran from the room, but that only made them more curious, and they followed me, and... well... they... kinda, threw me out of the house. Sorta."
"Well, that is annoying."
"Annoying?" David asked incredulously. "I have nowhere to live!"
"You can live anywhere you like. Including there, if you wish. You're a demighost, what are they going to do to you?"
"I still don't get this whole 'demighost' thing. What's the difference?"
"Your average ghost cannot leave Haven. They are bound inside its borders. Of course, its borders are huge, much larger than Earth, but still. A ghost cannot live in Earth or Dugerra. In Haven, solid forms are not permitted, thus, as long as I am bound in Haven, I cannot become solid. As a demighost, you may exist anywhere. You can live in Haven, if you choose, or you can live in Earth or Dugerra. Honestly, I wouldn't recommend Haven."
"Sort of a depressing place, people wishing they were still alive. They resent people like you, by the way, so don't expect a lot of ghostly welcome when you visit other parts of Haven."
Jacob recognized this as sarcasm. "What will you do?"
"I was kind of hoping you'd have some suggestions."
"I do not know Earth, and I cannot recommend Haven or Dugerra to you. I am afraid you will have to find your own way for a while. I would ask a favor, however."
"Please do not haunt this house. I like my privacy."
David actually chuckled at that. "Okay."
"Do you have any new questions for me?"
David thought for a minute. "Um, yeah. Just so I don't have to come back here when the time comes, how do I keep myself from becoming a ghost at sundown?"
"To prevent yourself from fading, or to fade at times other than the twilight boundaries, you must first relax yourself, even though you will want to stiffen. Cross your arms over your chest, but do not clench your fists. Take one deep breath, envision yourself in the form you wish, and then exhale sharply. Be forewarned; this will be more uncomfortable than the normal transition, as you are fighting the natural process."
"How long can I remain in my... uh... 'wrong form'?"
"Indefinitely, but you will find that it drains you slightly after a while. Doing normal activities, you won't notice, but if you must be doing something strenuous, you may notice that you fatigue more quickly."
"So, what would happen if I tried to become solid, right here?"
"It would not work. You are in Haven. It is impossible for solid matter to exist here."
"Oh. Um... Oh! Do I still um, need to eat?"
"Is it safe to do so?"
"Well, I've been eating the last couple days, but not... uh... going to the bathroom. Am I going to explode or something?"
Jacob chuckled. "Your body processes anything you consume directly into energy. You don't digest food anymore, you transform it. So yes, it is perfectly safe for you to eat, and drink... and you will never gain another pound."
"What, you mean I can't get fat?"
"You cannot get fat, old, or wrinkled. In fact, you will look exactly as you look now, forever."
"Well, that's... kinda cool."
"This is another one of those expressions?"
"Yeah," David said, chuckling embarrassedly. "Do you have anything else I should know?"
"Without knowing your plans, I cannot say."
"I... haven't got any plans."
"Then I 'haven't got any' advice."
"Can I come back here, if I have questions?"
"Of course. Drop in any time. I'm not likely to be doing anything for the next four or five thousand years..."
"Uh... yeah. Thanks, Jacob, for all your help."
"Take care of yourself, young man. And remember what I said about Rimohrs."
"I will. Good-bye."
David left Spooner Street and wandered for a couple hours, trying to decide what to do. He realized that he had an immediate need; to find a place to sleep for the night. Whether or not he physically needed it - and he'd forgotten to ask Jacob that - he needed it psychologically. He was drained, and he needed some time to just let his thoughts recuperate from the horrible events of the night.
He considered returning to his own home on Evergreen Terrace, but that was out of the question. If his parents caught him sleeping in his room, there would be hell to pay.
Hey, wait... Tracey and her parents went out of town today! I could stay in their house! Tracey was one of their neighbors, a couple years younger than David. He knew they had gone to Florida, and would be gone for a couple of weeks. That would, he hoped, be plenty of time for him to figure out what he was going to do about his situation. At the very least, it would give him a place to hide out while he was waiting to heal.
David spent several days at Tracey's house before he ever ventured back outside. He was completely healed now, and the pain was gone. He had spent all of the previous night in human form, just to see what it was like. He had not noticed any severe fatigue on his system, but Jacob had said it would only show itself if he was active.
Right now, he was in ghost form, in the middle of the day. He was going to leave the house, and he didn't figure it would be a good idea to be seen on this street. He left the house the same way he had come in - by slipping straight through the front door - and walked down the street. He didn't really know where he was going, he just needed to get out of the house and move around a bit, to help him think.
A couple hours of aimless wandering led David to the local mall, and he decided to go inside and watch people go by. He found a bench and was about to sit down on it, but then realized that might get weird if someone decided to sit where he was sitting. Instead, he sat up on a fountain.
David considered his condition as his eyes watched the world go by. When he saw Jenny and her brother, however, his mind snapped into focus. He immediately jumped down off the fountain, and walked after them. They appeared to be done with their shopping, and were heading home.
David slipped into the back seat of Jenny's brother's car as the two were putting their crap in the trunk. He found it strange that brother and sister shopped together, but figured they might be shopping for a parent's birthday or something, so didn't bother worrying about it.
On the drive home, Jenny said, "So, when are you gonna tell me exactly what you guys did to David? C'mon, I'm the one that started the whole thing, and I missed out on the fun part!"
"It wasn't really that much fun, Jen. I think David got pretty badly hurt."
"Oh, c'mon. He couldn't be too badly hurt."
"Jen, you didn't see him..."
"I went by his house yesterday."
"Well, I was having an attack of the guilts, because you guys said he got hurt. His mom said he's left town. If he's up and moving around like that, he couldn't have been hurt too badly."
"Really? Damn, I could've sworn... must have been the darkness. I really thought that little twit was dead."
"What did you guys do to him?"
The boy chuckled. "We tried to scare him, make him think the house was haunted."
It was, you little shit. David thought to himself.
"Anyway, it wasn't working at first, but then Paul made this loud noise, and I think the guy wet his pants! He whirled around looking for the noise... and that's when he got hurt. The floor gave way beneath him."
"Well, serves him right, thinking he could actually get with me." It was clear that she felt no regret, now that she knew he was all right.
"He always was an annoying little prick, doing his freakin' schoolwork at lunch, even."
"Yeah. Glad he's gone. I guess he must have gone to college early or something. His mom wouldn't give me any details, she just said he 'left'."
"They're probably glad to be rid of him, too," her brother suggested.
"Could be. He looked so happy to think he was gonna get laid... I wonder if he's ever been fucked before."
"Who'd want to?" his brother asked.
"Good point!" she replied. The two of them laughed.
Meanwhile, in the back seat, a plan was building.
So this is all funny to you guys, huh? We'll see about that.
David had returned to Tracey's house that night, having learned where Jenny lived. He had not known she lived only eight blocks from him. He felt this was good, since it meant he could keep a watch on her and her brother, Larry, pretty easily. He was still formulating his plan, however, and so for the moment, he was merely wandering the neighborhoods.
He had discovered that animals reacted to him, even when he was in his fully invisible ghost form. This was fun, as they would bark at him, and their owners would be very confused. One time, however, a dog came around the corner and started barking at him, and he was startled. He jumped back from the dog instinctively, and wound up in someone's bedroom.
The someone in question happened to be a nice-looking redhead, who just happened, at that time, to be fucking her boyfriend. David stared, transfixed. He'd never seen people having sex in person, though he'd seen plenty of porn. He watched for quite a while as the two coupled, before he decided he'd seen enough, and left the bedroom. He exited the house through a different wall, though, so that he wouldn't have to deal with the dog again.
This experience led David to become a peeping ghost for a few days. He watched couples having sex, he watched women showering and sunbathing. and he even watched one woman for an entire afternoon as she pleasured herself with a dildo. In the end, it grew a bit frustrating. He was horny, but he couldn't participate, as he didn't want to reveal himself.
David was thinking about his plans for revenge on Jenny and the others while he walked back to Tracey's house, and so he really wasn't paying attention to things. He slipped through the wall to Tracey's bedroom, where he'd been sleeping, without much thought.
It was only then that he realized that Tracey was home.
David had to slap his hand over his mouth not to say anything, as he had nearly bumped into her. Not that she would have felt it, but it startled him rather badly. It took David a couple seconds to notice that she was naked, and getting ready to take a shower. He studied her body as she moved, until she made her way out of the room. He thought about following her, but decided he didn't need further frustration.
Clearly, Tracey's family had returned from Florida, and David now needed to find himself a new house to haunt. He left through the bedroom wall again, and went in search of a new resting place.
David found a new "home", this one an abandoned motel out on the main street. It was actually closer to Jenny's house, but on the other side from his old home. He made himself comfortable for a couple days, but then felt it was time to get on with his plans for revenge.
David made his way to Jenny's house and slipped right through the wall, as he'd become accustomed to doing. He was in the living room, which was empty at the moment. He heard Jenny's mother in the kitchen, and could see her father sitting in his home office working on something. He did not see Jenny.
Maybe she's not here... or more likely, she's just in her room.
David made his way down a hallway, and stopped at what looked like a teenaged girl's room. Jenny was not there, but it was at that point that he heard the shower running.
So, she's in there, he thought with an evil grin. He moved into the bathroom, and then peeked into the shower. He enjoyed the view, Jenny's body wet and soapy. He could not resist; he reached out and ran his hand over her breast.
"Aah!" Jenny cried out. "What the hell was that?"
Now, David's original plan had been merely to haunt Jenny, to scare the shit out of her as they had tried to do to him. However, his previous days spent peeping, along with her now-naked body, brought a whole new idea to his mind.
Hmmm... well, she said she promised it to me already, so I guess if I take it now, it's okay... He knew better, but he was rationalizing to fit his plan.
David ran his hand over Jenny's other tit.
Jenny swiveled her head back and forth, trying to find anything that would explain the feelings she was having. David was, of course, completely invisible, and Jenny was too upset to notice water bouncing off something she couldn't see. She backed away until her back was pressed against the tile, but David just followed her.
David continued to molest Jenny's tits, rolling them in his hands. They were a decent handful, and he loved the feel of them. As he continued, though, Jenny was starting to make louder noises. He wasn't sure it would work, but he pressed his lips over her mouth to muffle her voice. His tongue, thrusting into her mouth, certainly seemed to do the trick, as it startled her so much she could no longer cry out.
David kissed her and fondled her for a long minute as she squirmed, trying to fight off something she couldn't even see. She turned her head to one side, breaking the kiss, but she just moaned pitifully, rather than return to screaming.
David reached down and shoved his hand between her legs, sticking a finger up into her twat. Jenny squeaked, but it wasn't loud enough to worry him. He was far more interested in the fact that her juices were flowing.
"You little slut," he whispered right in her ear. "Using your body to toy with others. Using your beauty to control them, to make them do your bidding. It is time that someone toyed with your body. It is time that someone controlled you!" David said this as he struggled to undo his pants one-handed.
Jenny was petrified by the disembodied voice. She barely noticed the soft feel of skin between her legs, but when it pressed firmly against her pussy, she took notice. It was, however, much too late for her to do anything about it. David's dick forced its way into her dripping cunt until he was buried to the hilt.
"Oh, God," Jenny moaned. "What's happening to me?"
David pressed Jenny firmly to the wall, and grabbed her legs, lifting them off the floor. He started thrusting, sliding his dick in and out of her pussy fast and hard. Jenny grunted with each thrust, but she was not screaming out, and she was not crying. She closed her eyes and kept her head turned to the side. It was if she had been through this many times before.
David continued to fuck her for long moments, but then wanted her in a new position. He stopped his thrusting, and set her down on the floor, pulling out of her. He grabbed her hips and turned her around so that she was facing the wall, then pulled and pushed on her until she was bent over. His prick slid back into her cunt, and the pounding resumed.
Jenny's body responded to the new position rather more favorably than the last, and she started to grunt more enthusiastically.
"That's better," she mumbled. David was confused by her change, but figured she perhaps simply didn't like the other position. Either way, he didn't really care. He had decided to collect the sexual favor she had offered him, and he was bound and determined to do so. He rammed into her over and over, and she grunted with each thrust. David reached forward and grabbed her tits, molding them as he fucked her.
"Oh, yeah," Jenny moaned. She was actually beginning to push back against him as he fucked her. "Yeah, fuck me. Fuck my little slut ass."
David got a mischievous grin on his face, not that Jenny could see it.
Don't mind if I do, he thought to himself. He stopped fucking her and pulled out.
"No!" Jenny cried out. "Oh, god, fuck, no, I'm so goddamned close...."
David actually thought for a moment about leaving her like that, but he wanted his own release too bad to do it. Instead, he leaned in again, but pressed his cock to her asshole and pushed in firmly.
"Oh, shit, what are you... ungh!" Jenny tried to move away, but it wasn't working. Her ass was being penetrated by the unseen dick, and the discomfort was intense.
David continued to push his way into Jenny's ass, until he was fully buried inside of her once again. He reached forward and began toying with her tits again, and she started to relax a little.
"Oh, god, that's... so... full..."
David grinned evilly as he began to slowly fuck her ass.
"Ohmifuckingod," Jenny cried as she felt him move. She winced as he did, but his movements were slow enough that her body started to loosen as he slid in and out of her.
As she loosened, David increased his pace. Soon, he was fucking her in a steady rhythm. His balls slapped against her with each thrust, and she was grunting with a mix of pain and pleasure each time.
"Oh, shit. I can't tell if this hurts really bad... or feels really good," Jenny grunted between thrusts. "Ungh!" she opined as David thrust even harder into her.
David started to twist and pinch Jenny's nipples as he continued to fuck her, and she began to cry out even more. Finally, she'd had enough, and her body began to shudder with an intense orgasm.
"Oh, god, I'm coming!" she cried out. David continued to fuck her as she did, her body's spasms feeling immensely good on his dick. He was close himself, and he simply had to decide whether to come inside her or not. He couldn't resist the idea, though, and so, after a grunt of his own, he loosed his seed deep into her ass. Jenny felt the warmth of it, and had a few additional shudders as his climax started to wind down.
David pulled out of Jenny, and then stepped back from her. Jenny immediately collapsed to the floor of the shower, turning herself over and giving David a good look at her naked body again.
Before leaving, David leaned down and whispered in her ear one more time.
"David says hi. You killed him." With that, he slipped out of the house through the bathroom wall.
David walked home in squishy sneakers. The drawback of being able to interact with solid objects was that the water in the shower could interact with him. He'd been much too focused on what he was doing, and hadn't even thought to take his clothes off before getting into the shower. Then again, he wasn't sure how he would have found them again, since they would have been invisible.
He was lucky to have found the washers and dryers in the motel in working order, and used the dryer to dry out his outfit. He actually spent an hour walking around the outside of the motel naked, just to see what it was like. Of course, he was still invisible, so he was in no danger of being reported.
Putting his clothes back on was something of a trick. He had to figure out, first and foremost, what article of clothing he was holding, and then which way it went. Finally, he was redressed, and he went to his room.
Lying back on his bed, he relived the events of the evening. He really did not regret what he had done to Jenny. After all, she had helped to cause his death. He felt she deserved some punishment for that.
She, however, was not the only one who did. There were three others, and David had to figure out an appropriate way to "thank" each of them for their part in his fate. He fell asleep thinking up plans of what he was going to do to each of them.
Larry, you're next...
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