Disclaimer: Not that anyone would ever possibly want to but just to cover all bases, this story cannot be used or sold for profit in any way.
Much thanks to Steph for inviting me to write again and to Tam for the wonderfully fast beta reading and help.
If you would like to write to me, please do at Idryth@aol.com.
Have you ever been standing there watching something you've watched a thousand times before and had odd thoughts that you knew were caused by something else?
Something else you didn't want to think about?
Or, at least, were pretty sure you didn't want to think about?
Fine. I admit it, anyone who knows me would tell you that odd thoughts are normal for me. Still, shouldn't tracking an airplane across the night sky really be more fun than it actually is? Shouldn't we be thinking of all the fun places it could be going?
Shouldn't we know there's sun, sand, sex, sights and salaciousness to be had at someone's final destination? Surely someone in that flying tin can would be looking forward to one or all of those things.
The idea that my good friend, Suzie, could be on that plane certainly should put me in a better mood. Suzie - my good friend and a travel agent. She could easily be leading a group on that plane. She could be heading for Jamaica and looking forward to some of those fabulous 's' words.
Now that made me smile, finally. Suzie, the level headed one, the kind and fabulous one headed for some of those s's. Wahoo!
It’s amazing how quickly you can be brought back down to earth, though. You see, Suzie could already be in Jamaica or Greece or somewhere else marvelous. I wouldn't know, because I couldn't remember the last time I'd talked to her. How crazy is that?
How can it be that I’d let something as precious as a true friendship slip. It doesn’t say much about me, does it? I definitely need to rectify that.
In reality, though, thinking of Suzie in a vacation romance is just me trying not to think about ghosts.
Okay, ghost. Well, hopefully singular.
Isn't one ghost more than enough? I'm pretty sure there's a scale of ghostly visitation where one ghost was rated, "Run screaming out the door!" Isn't there?
That’s sure what I had wanted to do the first time I'd realized that perhaps I wasn't dreaming about what was happening.
I'm not crazy. Really, I'm not!
And now, we're back to my original problem.
It didn't matter how often I pondered the many “s’s” in a flying tin can thought as I stood by the floor to ceiling windows in my bedroom.
It didn't matter if someone was having Sex on the Beach, in the Bathroom or on the Floor. It also didn't matter where Suzie was or who she was with, because, in reality, I knew that what I should be thinking about is what other delaying tactics I could use to get into bed.
You see, whenever I would get into bed... just as I was falling asleep - there would be this .. hm. How should I explain it?
With a deep sigh, I turned from the glass, ignoring the water drops on the outside from the rain earlier, the clear view of the plane's lights, Suzie and everything else, and sized up the idea of how to explain.
Okay, here we go. I get into bed and get snuggled in and within minutes of the light going off I always feel... a weight at the end of the bed. But nothing's ever there.
I know.. I know... could I really have a pet ghost? I mean.. a ghostly pet? A pet ghostly pet? What the hell would YOU call it? Does Casper have a pet?
Basically, something curls up at the end of the bed and nothing is there, my guess is that it has to be a cat. But honestly, how many people get haunted by a cat?
I can hear the snickers, I really can. The laughter of people thinking, "And that's why she wants to run screaming out the door?"
It's scary! Isn't it?
Well it scares me, anyway. Why don't you try being half asleep and having something you can't see plop on the end of the bed!
Yes, I've thought about talking to someone about it, I suppose that's why I'm writing this. Who would I talk to?
There used to be people I talked to, I had a good job once, even though it seems forever ago. I had friends. I had ... someone.
I suppose I could talk to a shrink, but how soon would drugs or a white jacket follow? It's a scary thought, this letting people into your inner psyche. Especially when you're not sure if that inner psyche is really um.. solid.
What's a girl to do?
It's usually about the same time at night, I suppose.. but then I usually do go to bed at the same time.
I get into bed, get comfy and there it is... would be nice if it warmed my feet too. I never could keep them warm, but no... no ghostly help for those cold feet.
There's nowhere to turn but here, I suppose.
My life, coming down to some panes of glass, a bed and a ghost cat. Life is just weird.
As much as it pains me to say it, I could probably write a "War and Peace" on the subject of how weird my life is. Don't worry, I won't subject you to that.. just the facts, ma'am! Well, or sir. Whoever you are.
The facts. Let’s go there.
My name is Lissa, short for Melissa. I'm blonde and I've been told I'm pretty often enough to believe it a little bit, but I used to interview enough stars to know a stunner when I saw one. Stunner I'm not. I loved that job, it was so much fun. I have friends and not just Suzie! And I had Kara...
Ah ah ah, back to the window for me.. that way any tears on my face wouldn't be so obvious through the crystal vision of the moisture still occasionally dripping down the outside of the glass.
The problem with this damned glass was that not only could I watch the night sky, but I also had a killer view of the city.
Truth be told, I have little use for the city anymore. In fact, I couldn't actually remember the last time I'd been there.
You see, it was the city that had taken away everything I had, everything I wanted...
But that's quite enough of that. Grief? I'd done that. Depression? I'd done that too. More than enough of both and neither got me anywhere but standing here in front of these glass doorways to nowhere I wanted to be.
So back to this ghostly cat. Me, haunted in more ways than one.
The good thing, besides that clear view of tin cans, about these very popular panes of glass was that I could stand and pretend to look out but really be surveying the room and all I owned.
Of course, some might wonder why I felt the need to behave as if I had to hide what I was looking at.
Just go with me on this, 'kay? Life's weird, I'm weird and my ghostly cat is weird.
Still, some nights it seems there's more, there's something else and I should get my butt in gear and go find it.
Sometimes, I can almost feel Kara waiting at the doorway for me to hurry up and get ready. My notoriously slow morning wake up skills were a constant annoyance for her. I did make up for it in other ways, though.
Like my notoriously fast … well, skills of another nature, let’s say.
I don’t know what happened, I really don’t. She was there… WE were there. I thought we’d always be there.
And she was gone. In a heartbeat… from one second to the next. It seems as recent as my last breath and as long ago as .. forever.
How can I still smell her scent in the room, almost hear her voice calling me and not understand? It’s like my ghostly visitor, unfathomable.
I thought, I really did, that she was it. That we were it. That nothing would ever tear us apart, nothing.
You know, that whole soul mate forever thing? Looks like it’s a crock, doesn’t it? ‘cause I’m sure not seeing that gorgeous piece of flesh in my life anymore.
So here I am talking to you about this visitation I’m having and I end up talking about things I had no plans to talk about. Do you have a shingle you hang out to get paid for your services? You’re a pretty good listener, you know.
Where was I? Oh yes… my visitor.
You know, this is probably the most appropriate time I could think of to try talking about this. I don’t really pay attention to the date anymore, why bother when so little is going on? But.. earlier, I saw kids with buckets and pillow cases and they were wearing costumes.
So, I’m guessing it’s Halloween. See — Appropriate.
The Festival of Samhain, to celebrate the end of the light half of the year and the start of the dark half of the year. Imagine that, celebrating the dark half of something.
You’ve heard that old wives' tale about how the border between the spirit world and normal world becomes so thin that spirits can get through on this night, right?
I wish I could blame the cat on that, but kind of hard when the cat’s been around for as long as I can remember now.
I wish I could blame the cat on anything besides me going crazy, honestly.
Truth be told, sometimes I think I hear things too. Voices…
I think it’s just the cat making me paranoid in all truth. I’ve always liked having a window open here or there and buildings certainly aren’t usually sound proofed. But everything seems stranger now. Ever since that damned cat came into my life.
Did you know that they used to wear costumes to fit in with the bad spirits? That way the bad spirits would take one look at people who were dressed up and move right on along to someone who looked good. Good enough to do what, that I’m not sure and probably don't want to know.
Do you suppose the veil between the real world and the spirit world is thinner closer to midnight? But that makes me wonder — do they have time zones in the spirit world?
I mean.. does a ghost in LA have a better chance to come through at 9pm or midnight Pacific? Does a ghost in New York have from midnight until Alaska is all done with their eve?
What if it’s Greenwich Mean Time? See, there I go again.. off on tangents. I’m told I’m good with tangents or, at least, good on finding them to run off on.
And still that bed waits.
Casper the cat waits.
If I could think logically about this, I think I’d realize that the Casper Cat — let’s just call it Casper — is a nice routine in my life. I don’t really have those anymore. Not for a long time.
I wish I could tell you what happened, but I really just don’t understand. It was all fabulous and then it wasn’t. Boom. Just like that.
Then Casper moved in. Boom. Just like that.
Perhaps Casper’s my subconscious saying something I just don’t get. Never felt something so real from my subconscious, though — have you?
That’s not what I think, though, can't be my subconscious, at least I hope not. If I truly thought that I’d call the cat Freud instead.
Do you hear that?
Pfft, who am I asking that question of? See, crazy, that’s me. How would you be hearing that?
Wait... there it is again… what's that noise?
It almost sounds like a voice?
Damn my imagination. Damn Casper making me think scary thoughts. I hate this part of Casper's visitations.
I wish you could hear what’s going on, see what’s going on but that would be crazy too. Still, I wouldn’t mind you telling me that I’m hearing sounds from the street or another apartment, anything.
I don’t believe in that silly veil thing but it is weird that they’ve been more often lately. You know, more bumps in the night than ever before.
It’s a bit spooky.
Is it odd that we seem to have sayings for things, like “bumps in the night” but don’t really want to say, “I have ghosts in the house”.
Maybe they have a point. I don’t believe in ghosts.. well, most ghosts.
Perhaps a cat.
See, I can’t have ghosts. How does one go about proving they live in a haunted apartment so they can get out of their lease?
Maybe I’ll just be here until I’m 95 and become one of them. You know, join in the fun and haunt everyone else. That’d be kind of neat, if you think about it.
I mean, I wouldn’t want to scare anyone.. but if I could be something like Casper, it might not be bad. Casper the Cat, not the friendly ghost.
Really, if Casper the friendly ghost showed up in front of me, that might get me into the ghostly club faster than anything. I’d probably have a heart attack right there.
If you think about it, since Suzie’s probably in Rio or Hawaii or somewhere else utterly fantastic and Kara is.. well, let’s not go there again. No family and friends I haven’t seen in forever.. I’d become a haunter pretty quickly.
Wow, I sound so damned pitiful, don't I?
Some day… some day very soon, I’m going to pick myself up from these ghostly doldrums and go find me a new life out there beyond these walls and this glass.
That’d teach K… I did say I wasn’t going there again, didn’t I?
I just almost swallowed my tongue, that was a bump.. that was definitely a bump in the night.
Okay, maybe it wouldn’t even take Casper the friendly ghost showing up to make me a haunter, because my heart is tripping a beat right now.
Look at that! Wringing my hands.
Good god, I’ve become my grandmother! When did THAT happen?
I'm almost tempted to ask Casper to show up just to make me feel better. Ever heard about the devil you know? Well, I'd rather have Casper the devil than some devil that I don't know who likes to make loud noises.
Do you suppose the veil gets thicker again right after midnight? Midnight wherever you are, I don't know about you but that's what I'm sticking with.
Four minutes to go and this all better stop, including Casper! There has to be some ghostly rule about that, I'm very sure, no more of this nonsense after midnight.
Three minutes ....
Whoa! Be careful what you wish for, that's another one of those sayings!
I think Casper's visiting, I swear that was him just walking by my legs. Almost as if I could reach down and pet his head, but nothing's there. Nothing's ever there.
I'm beginning to think that if midnight doesn't fix this stuff I am out of here, lease or no lease.
Okay, that one wasn't Casper and this is getting just way too weird now.
I think it's about time I stop yapping and get moving instead, I mean who the hell am I thinking is reading this anyway?
It's getting mighty cold in here.. what the? That's definitely new and I don't like it at all.
Look... dammit, why can't you see? Something is writing in the condensation on the glass... How is THAT possible?
No no... there is NOT something spelling my name on the glass. No way.
All right, I'm done. Time to get my a...
Something's here, something that's not Casper and it just walked through me. That is a not a good thing to feel, that I can promise you.
As soon as my head stops spinning, I am so out of here. Maybe after I stop feeling like I'm going to throw up, but I am definitely gone! Gone, gone gone.
What the hell? Why are you here?
Why are you .. Kara, is this some weird techie joke? Because if it isn't, you don't seem to be all there and this is too weird for words.. too weird. Am I drunk or are you ... dead?
I only wish I could explain the sound of her voice to you. Think Haunted Mansion with Kathleen Turner as the head in a fish bowl.
Breathy, sexy and a little weird.
She called me love. What's going on here?
"It's been too long, Liss. So long."
I don't understand what's going on.
"I know. I've been trying to talk to you but it's only tonight, when the veil is thin.."
Are you serious? I'm haunted, trying not to throw up and you're telling me all about the veil between the living and dead? Samhain and all that crap? It's real?
"Yes, it's real."
But what happened to you, why are you.. what the hell is going on?
"You need to take my hand, love. Come with me before it's too late."
What? You leave me and now want me to come play ghostie with you? I know I'm crazy but apparently you are too!
"Lissa, we're almost out of time. You've got to believe me.. I don't know if I have the strength to get this far again for a long time."
I don't get it, I don't understand. Why are you dead? Why are you here? Kara.. you left me.
"There was an accident, do you remember? Please remember."
What? No. What are you talking about? I don't... you were in an accident?
"Sweetie, we were in an accident and I've been trying to talk to you ever since. You've got to come, please come now."
I can't go, Kara. I have tin cans to fly on and friends to meet up with and Casper to figure out. Wouldn't I have to die to come with you? I'm not ready for that... what are you thinking? You left me.
"Never. I've been here every minute, every second.. trying to get through to you."
"Yes. Try hard now... remember. It's time to remember."
I .. I.. I'm talking to a ghost, this is ... I am crazy. I am.
"Remember, love. Remember. "
I don't...please, what is going on? Am I crazy?
"No. Think, Liss, think. I couldn't find you anywhere until I thought to look here. I've been trying to get through to you for so long."
Wait, Casper? Casper was from you?
In case you never get the chance to experience it, it's a very odd thing to see your girlfriend shake her head and see the clock ticking down to midnight through it.
"Liss, when's the last time you went to work?"
Well, yesterday? No.. last week?
"When did you leave this room last?"
I.. does it matter?
"It matters. You haven't left this room in two years, ever since the accident."
The accident? I.. I.. there.. there were lights?
"Yes! Lights. That's about all we had chance to see. He was drunk and we had no chance at the speed he was going."
I was there? I ..
"He hit your side first, you were gone right away. I must have lasted a bit longer and I couldn't find you right away."
But it doesn't make sense, why would I come here?
"I don't know. The shock I guess. I don't know. You have to remember now."
I haven't seen Suzie in ... forever. Is that why?
"Yes. She was a great friend, though. It was a brilliant plan to leave her as our trustee, she's done everything exactly as we wanted."
What do you do when the love of your life holds out her hand and asks you to trust in her to lead you to something so unbelievable that you likely belong in the closest mental health clinic?
You take her hand, of course. What other choice is there?
That first touch of her hand, so soft - exactly what I remember. Her scent, the feel of her hair - how could I forget? How could I get so very lost that I could forget how this body feels against my own?
I couldn't hide the tears as they tracked down my face and leaned automatically into her feather touch on my cheeks.
"I have missed you so much, for so long. Thank you. Thank you for believing in me."
We're really dead? Really?
"Oh Liss, it's amazing. We have an eternity of everything waiting for us. Everything is ours, together."
What does that mean? We both stay here in this room now?
Oh, I'd forgotten how sexy her laugh was too. Gracious me, I think I've felt more in the last five minutes than - well, for a very long time.
"No, we get to move on. Together. Finally."
How do we do that? Will someone else move in, will we know what happens?
"Sweetie, someone else has already been living here."
What? With me in the room, how is that possible? What?
It was easy to she was trying to show me something by the wide, beautiful smile on her face and her nod towards the door.
Well, things get just more strange as I go along. It's our bedroom all right, but how did I not see that the bed was moved over a bit from where we had it and the other furniture is not in the same place?
"They live here now."
Someone lives here, who?
"Jen and Rae, you know they always loved this place."
Jen and Rae. More friends. Friends I hadn't seen in so long.
"Suzie gave them a good deal. It all worked out."
What an idiot I am.
"Just stubborn, love, remember that's something I've always appreciated."
I seem to remember not always. Hey, they have a cat.
"It's time to go, my love. Time for the rest of our lives. So to speak."
We just go? Is that it?
"Pretty much. Now you've finally come to your senses, we move on."
It's them, I can see them.. Jen! Rae!
"They can't hear you."
I think I heard them before. Something finally makes a little sense. Amazing and a little freaky.
"Feel that? Time to go."
Delicious, that's what I was feeling. What an incredible sensation. Feeling Kara's hand in mine after far too long, that is. Euphoric is the closest I can come to the other.
For eternity with you. Go Gadget go!
"Hey Rae, did you do something in here?"
"What do you mean?"
"It feels... different. You sure you didn't change something?"
"Jen, what would I have done that you wouldn't notice right away? You're the Designer Queen."
"Huh, weird. Do you feel it, though?"
"Maybe we have an open window somewhere, I'll go check."
"Okay, I'm gonna get my cold toes into bed. Hurry back."
"Be right there."
"Come on, MaliKai, let's get some sleep."
That beautiful Siamese curling up in that particular spot, there's my Casper.