Camelia glanced out the window again. Yep. It was still there. She tucked her head back down, pretending to stretch out her neck. Why in the hell did the bus have to break down at this particular corner? It had no less than three of those stupid memorials – crosses, plastic flowers, and teddy bears in profusion – arranged on it. One of them had been nailed to a battered telephone pole, the now-gray gouges in the creosote and wood marking where something awful had happened. Cam felt her eyes being drawn back towards the thing. She supposed it was a morbid curiosity. They were so…well, horrible. Spindly arms and fluttering gray flesh all over-topped with scorch mark eyes. WAS it a ghost? Or just the bad feelings about someone’s death, nailed into place with memorabilia? She didn’t actually know, but those things gave her a bad, bad feeling. No one else could see them, as far as she could tell. Under her feet, the vibration of the engine changed slightly. Yay! They were going to get back on the road soon. The rumble ratcheted up another notch and Camelia decided to look at the thing one more time. She turned her head and recoiled in shock. Its face was pressed up against the window, empty sockets with wriggling black holes locked onto her face.
So, I know this story has some (OK, lots) of issues. But this idea has been bouncing around my noggin for a long time. I wanted to set it down, see what it looked like in words outside my head.
I still like the idea – ghosts nailed into place by loved one’s pain & suffering, marked and held by the little memorial crosses you see everywhere.
I think I am going to play with this idea some more. It may be that it is just too much for a flash or micro fiction piece.
He had thought long and hard before having the procedure done. It was, or rather had been, irreversible. No mucking about being invisible for a crime spree and then turning back up, mysteriously rich. It was the only fair way to grant invisibility to non-conformers. It had been explained in excruciating and bombastic legal detail everything that was going to happen, and what it would mean. How to get your food tokens and the five star restaurants that would take them, the luxury apartment high rise, and how access to the Alexandrian Library would work. It had all sounded so…perfect.
Of course, it was all slightly less thrilling than one might imagine. Henryk turned away from the gorgeous view at the window. He looked across the room to where the Ascension table stood, the remains of lunch littering its glossy surface. He has been so caught up in the idea of being invisible that he had glossed over some of the details in the contract. Sure, they had supplied everything they had promised: fine living, access to books and movies, classy gyms with racks of shiny exercise equipment. But, he had somehow overlooked or disregarded the bit where being invisible was exactly that.
Unseen. Unheard. Mute.
Not there in any meaningful way and certainly no contact with other humans.
Robots and machines took care of the other invisibles. The portion of the city where they lived was surrounded by a force field, also invisible. Beyond that, there was a four hundred no-pass zone that humans weren’t allowed in. And there was no tri-net in here. No way to reach out.
Worse? Because the procedure made you unseeable, unhearable, and unable to speak, Henryk couldn’t even find other invisibles to commiserate their fate with.
Being invisible was Hell on earth.
The damask curtains moved slightly in the wind. Elionwy adjusted her monocle.
“So, you are here from…” She stirred about in her paperwork for a moment.
“Ah, here we go…Blood Freakers.” She looked up at the prospect. “OK. Tell me why you wish to terminate your contract.”
Green eyes met hers and skittered away.
“.. Well. Just ’cause.” A scarred and heavily ringed hand pushed back ratty red curls.
“Well, we are going to need more than just that, I am afraid. You can’t just terminate a legal contract because it is not ‘convenient””.
The woman across the way snarled, forehead and muzzle wrinkling into angry patterns. The irises of her eyes slitted and her lips lifted to reveal sharp canines.
Elionway grimaced. “Really dear? Is that not how you got into this mess in the first place?”
She poured a draft of Darjeeling into the womans’s cup.
“We shall take of this. No one should be shackled with ‘Blood Freakers’ as a surname.
Really, we could make a case on taste alone.”
Dim light was still filtering through the half windows when she stopped working. She finished the chant, letting the soft invocation fall from her lips.
Carol sat back on her haunches letting her muddy hands rest on her thighs. The final planting was already taking hold. As she watched, a little cap pushed up through the soil. She waited until the color had flushed through the entire top of the hat. Scarlet faded into bone white spots, scattered over the entire top. She reached forward and patted the little head, being careful to not touch the dusty white spots.
“Welcome to Earth Prime little one. Let’s start on finding you some additional friends, yeah?
You are so welcome here, Amanita Fae. We have such work to do.”
He’d had them knock down the wall where his brother’s sword had hung. Knock it down and break it into chunks fit for building a cairn. It seemed fitting somehow. The longhouse was a ruin anyway.
Uther watched while they fit the last of the jagged blocks into place. The noise of the knappers and leather workers shouting behind him made him grind his teeth in frustration. Couldn’t they give him just a few moments of quiet? He knew it was war time, but they were putting his brother to rest. There would always be war. Today should be a time to reflect.
Then came the hackers, or so she thought.
In truth, the numbers were off. She spent some time looking the numbers over before finally deciding that it was a waste of time. The truth was that it was almost always ghosts. Revenants of centuries past, mucking about in the systems. She sighed, finger hovering over the Delete key. She hated removing them. They seemed so lonely and desperate for contact.
It was Advent and the Dollbearers had not come this year.
Outside the snow drifted down, a white curtain blotting the kaleidoscope sky. The second hand on the clock spent an eternity sweeping to its next station. From downstairs, the sounds of shrieks and jingle bells went on.
The wheezing noises were from under the bed this time. Jewel turned her head, damp curls pressing into even damper pillow. She swallowed past the bright terror in her throat. Carefully she dangled the ha’penny over the edge and let it drop. There was a satisfied sigh.
“’tis the Season” it whispered.