I'm slipping away, chunks of me flaking off, spiralling angrily down, down...
I've been a ghost for a hundred years. I died and chose to stay. Why do we choose to stay? In life, we spend so much time fearing death. We fear dying and the after. But when you die, that fear goes away. The view is different from across the veil.
I spend my days haunting the house where I used to live. I've haunted generations of families and it's currently behing inhabited by a family of four.
I haunt the nursery. The baby is so cute. He looks up at me and he still smiles, his face moulding into a giant lump. He giggles and sucks his fingers.
And it makes me so angry. As time etches away on me all that really remains is the anger. It's growing. I know it makes no sense, but I am beyond caring. I am years beyond caring about my apparent insanity.
So i break a few light bulbs. They spontaneously burst around me, drenching the room in darkness.
The baby starts crying.
I move on.
To Lisa's room. I know it's Lisa's room because she has a plate on her door that says Lisa's room, with happy horses running on a green field at the backdrop of an orange sunset. Lisa really likes horses. Her bedside lamp has horses carved on the shade, throwing horse shadows around the room. She has a stuffed one in bed with her, big as a melon. She holds it fiercely, furring her brow.
Suddenly, she wakes up. She looks right at the spot where I'm standing but Lisa can't see me. Lisa can only see the horses. She shrugs and shakes her head, and notices the horse teddy she's still clutching. She holds it up for a long time, sighs and goes back to sleep.
The mirror on her cabinet shatters, the horses on the frame crack and break apart. I watch the horse teddy tear right down the middle, revealing its white woolly insides.
I'm out of there before she even wakes up.
I'm vibrating as I head over to the master bedroom. The last occupied bedroom of the house. It's a shame, really, not filling this house with people. The world around me is decidedly emptier than it was a century ago.
In the canopy bed the woman lays curled up by the man, her head gently resting on his chest. He is resting his head on hers and is that.. is that a smile on his face?
I hear windows break, I'm assuming all over the house. All over the street. Probably all over London. I've never been this angry before. I burn with it, almost shatter against it. A cacophony of broken glass echoes in my head, like an endless scream.
Sometimes, the anger takes me back.
David is looking down on me, holding my hand, the pressure feels enormous, while his other hand is clasped against my cheeck.
I'm sweating, I'm in pain and every time I look at him a torrent of emotion grapples through me.
I love you.
I hate you.
I'm in labour.
The world is on fire. I want to scream, but there's so little left. So little left of me. Is this what it's going to be like, being a mother? Barely containing any semblance of self? Is it going to be all about the baby now? I feel like I should've known that, that I have always known that, but I'm only now minding for the first time. I've always wanted it to be about the baby, he was my one perfect gift.
'This is the last push,' a voice is saying, softly and far away.
I push, one more time, already numb from pain, but as I do, it's as if something tears. Could it be my soul? Or is it my whole body, finally bucking under pressure? Everything is silent, like I'm far away, not really there. I don't know if there's a baby, it doesn't seem to be important.
Blue flowers are falling, landing on my body, encasing me. They smell of spring - wet grass and sunshine.
'Can you see it?' I ask, sighing.
Then everything goes dark.
It's more of a retreat, this look at death. The labour itself I didn't much care for, but everything after 'Last push' is worth holding on to.
I shatter all the vases that don't contain blue flowers. I do this repeatedly, methodically, like I'm swatting flies. Before I know it, the entire house is covered in blue flowers. It's the only way I know how to get what I want.
I stand before a vast crater. I hover over it, want to sink into it, disappear underneath the rocky blanket, but I can't. I know someone is meant to be screaming, but I'm stuck in a vaccuum, as if I'm residue from the meteorite that created the crater.
That's when I know.
He never screamed.
'Who are you? What are you doing in my house?' the voice is commanding, stern.
I become aware of myself and realise it's Lisa who's talking. She's looking right at me.
'I didn't think you could...' I start to say, but then I notice there's something off about Lisa. She's not grainy, not like a bad signal. She's...
On the same side of the veil as me.
'What happened to you?'
'I mean, how did you die?'
She grunts, indignantly.
'I'm not dead!' she cries.
She disappears, but she'll be back.
I must've been gone for a week because when I roam about the house, trying to get any information about Lisa, the house is draped in gloom.
I find the woman, Lisa's mother, staring out of her window, silent tears running down her cheeks. She doesn't blink, but she mumbles Lisa's name, over and over, like a mantra.
Lisa's name is the only thing holding her together. She's clutching the toy horse I ripped apart the other night. Is that the one? I'm not so sure. There's no tear.
Was there even one to begin with?
Lisa's father is downstairs, drinking whiskey in the library, wearing only his underwear. He's never still, he prowls the room like a predator. He's so angry I can almost see the pulsatins coming off him. He's like a ticking bomb.
He's like me.
The baby is sleeping in the nursery. There's no one checking up on him. He might as well not exist. He coughs and wakes up, startled. He doesn't cry, but makes more of a moan. Acknowledging his abandonment, the fear engulfing him.
And I feel... I feel...
My heart is creaking, expanding and starting to shatter. He looks up at me and those eyes are pleading.
Don't leave me.
I have to!
But he doesn't cry.
Four days pass until I see Lisa again.
'Hi...' I say as she appears in the kitchen.
'Why are you still here?'
'How do you know my name?'
'Lisa,' I say, more sternly this time. The lights flicker and Lisa looks around uncertainly. 'There's something you should know.'
I tell her everything. About me, haunting the house. I tell her the reason she can see me is because she is dead as well.
'But I don't remember...' she whispers, finally.
I wish I could give her some comfort, but I can't hug her. I can't stroke her head. I can't kiss her.
Instead I just stare as her entire existence collapses.
And just as it hits the floor, Lisa's father walks into the kitchen and there's a tense moment. Everything is crips and still, like an early winter morning. I look at Lisa and I can see she's battling whether to run to her father or stay put.
He can't see her even if she wanted to. She's too young, to new to this. It took me years to be able to appear in front of people. The best Lisa can hope for at this point is to make some curtains ruffle.
Lisa's mother enters a few minutes later.
I shrink back, try to make myself as small as possible.
Maybe it's a good thing this house isn't filled with people.
I guess I've grown rather introvert over the century.
But Lisa just sits there, staring at her parents, fully comprehending or probably failing to comprehend how it is that she's severed from them now. The point of no return has come and gone.
It takes a while before I realise Lisa's mother and father are talking to each other.
'Are you fucking nuts? I'm not letting some crack pot into my house calling on the-' Lisa's father is saying before Lisa's mother cuts him off.
'If there's one chance... even the slightest chance... that I get to talk to her again, I will. And there's nothing you can to do stop me.' Her voice is quivering, but it never breaks and Lisa's father looks at Lisa's mother for a long time.
Finally, he nods and Lisa's mother leaves the kitchen.
'What happened to me?' Lisa yells at me, her words jolting me.
A week later the medium arrives.
She's a tiny woman, about the size of an eight year old girl, both in height and weight. Her hair, wrapped in a loose bun, is grey, in an almost bluish hue. She's swallowed by a grey, woolly coat, and underneath that a cascade of jewellery sparkles and jingles.
She takes off her coats, hands it to Lisa's father, and as she does she looks straight at me. Then she nods, as if acknowledging my presence.
She seats herself at the head of the table in the dining room, clears her throat and watch as Lisa's mother and father scurry over to the table to sit next to her.
I watch Lisa as all this unfolds, who's sitting on the floor, staring deliriously into space.
'Lisa?' the medium says in a calm, clear voice. 'Are you there?'
'Yes, yes!' Lisa says, kick-started by the medium's voice. The medium gives a start and twists about in her chair.
'Lisa's with us,' she says, and Lisa's mother breaths in, sharply.
'Lisa... what happened to you?' the medium aska and the question rings like a gong in my head.
I'm back in Lisa's room with the horses and the heavy smell of sleep. Again, she wakes up and looks right at where I'm standing. Again, she fails to see me. She shrugs and shakes her head, and notices the horse teddy. She hugs it with all the love she has, sighs happily and goes back to sleep.
I want to scream and shatter it all, this happy illusion. Why was this never my life?
It's all I hear.
I watch as Lisa's belly tears straight down the middle, slick blood seeping down, drenching the bed. Her insides are laid bare on the mttress, tumbling out, wiry as wool.
I'm slipping away, chunks of me are flaking off, spiralling angrily down, down...