Thursday, October 16, 2008

Ghost Sight

In light of the season, here is the start of one of the novels I'm working on right now. Let me know what you think. Good or bad, I can take it. I think. :-)

I was sorry I had looked directly at them. They knew I had seen them. I shifted and tried to look at someone else, but they were too compelling for me to ignore and my glance darted back to the two men.

The older man looked at me with hope in his eyes. The younger man looked determined.

I shivered and glanced away again wishing I hadn't chosen to stay late tonight in the city. I was sitting amongst a small crowd that was waiting for the next train to arrive on the subway platform.

Suddenly I felt a cool caress on my arm. I glanced down to see a weathered hand resting on my arm. My gaze followed the arm up to the face of the old man.

“You can help us,” he said with wonder.

I glanced away but my gaze collided with the younger man’s. His eyes narrowed and I could see he wasn’t going to let me walk away from them.

I shifted so the man’s hand fell from my arm and I turned my head to look away from them both. My heart was racing and I was having a hard time thinking.

Neither man was alive. No one else on the platform even noticed them. But I did. I had seen them as I came down the escalator and had even admired the younger man’s looks as I strained to see him better. That was when I realized he was a ghost. He wasn’t all there so I wasn’t going to be seeing him better, ever.

The lights began flashing on the platform to indicate a train was arriving and I stood up and moved towards the edge. I could feel both men follow me, but the weight of the younger man’s gaze had me stiff with tension.

A train stopped and the doors opened. After a few people had gotten off I stepped on and stood near the doors on the opposite side. There were plenty of seats, but I didn’t want to risk having a ghost sit beside me. I stared at the glass doors and could easily see the reflections of both ghosts as they stood behind me, watching me.

“She can help us, David, she can see us,” the old man was saying to the younger one.

“I know, papa, I know, but we must wait. She doesn’t need people seeing her talk to the air. The others can’t see us.”

The old man nodded and he glanced over the crowd of people on the train. He turned back to watch me and said, “She’s not what I would have wanted for an avenger, but I’ll take what we can get.”

I frowned, insulted by his put down and caught a twinkle in his eyes. The old man was baiting me. I stiffened my shoulders and turned around to face them.

I wasn’t going to cower from a couple of ghosts. As far as I knew they couldn’t actively hurt me, and even if they could, I wasn’t going to be insulted and just ignore it. I stood and stared at the old man.

The old man gave me a puppy dog look and I rolled my eyes

He gave me a wink and I couldn’t stop the smile that started on my face. I covered it with a cough and looked away from him. The train came to a stop and people got off and people got on, many of them walking right through the two ghosts oblivious to their presence. I shivered at the thought.

I had always seen ghosts. Usually at night but sometimes in the day. It was just easier at night for some reason. I couldn’t imagine walking through one though I knew it was possible. Just touching one was enough for me, or being touched.

After several more stops we finally reached my station and as I stepped off the train, the younger man clasped my elbow to assist me. My glance jumped to his face and he smiled triumphantly.

I frowned and tried to pull away, but he was holding on tight and it would have required a scene. A scene with an invisible assailant. I stopped fighting and let him escort me up the escalator and through the carousel, but I did shake my head as he walked through the turnstile. Literally through it.

I walked to where I had parked my motorcycle. He chuckled softly when he saw it.

I glanced at him and he grinned at me, “You won’t get rid of us with that. We can go anywhere”

I just gazed at him as I put my helmet on and stowed my pack.

I was about to pull out of the space when I felt his body pressed against my back. I jumped and slid forward.

“Relax, I’m just going to ride with you for a bit. Papa will catch up in time.”

He pulled me closer to him.

I took a deep breath and let it out.

I had seen plenty of ghosts over my lifetime, and I had even had conversations and played games with some, but I had never had a physical attraction to one, nor had I ever felt so trapped by one. He was determined to speak with me about something, but this was the last thing I wanted right now.

I had finally gotten my life on track and I did not need some needy ghost screwing it up again.


Charles Gramlich said...

Well written. I think the characters of the ghosts are interesting. I'm curious about them. We don't learn a lot about the narrator here, though. Maybe that will come later?

Virginia Lady said...

Thanks Charles, yes, it does come as things progress. I need to clean up the next section some before posting it. This is really a first draft and the story isn't anywhere near completion, but I thought it seemed appropriate given the month we're in.

BernardL said...

I know it isn't popular, but I like the background to be revealed slowly. The story drew me in because of the way your characters interacted. One item you'll have to be clear about is whether the ghosts can hurt her or not. If they can touch her and hold her as when the young man held her arm and gripped her on the motorcycle, it would follow that the ghosts can hurt her. If you wish for the ghosts to be unable to harm her, some explanation will have to be provided as to why they can touch but not hurt. Nicely done, VL.

Virginia Lady said...

Very good point, Bernard. I'll have to think that through and see how I can work it into the story.

Leigh Russell said...

This is a very cool story and I want to know more!

A couple of comments:

1. Your ghost walks through a turnstile but holds on to her arm so she can't escape? Is he corporeal or not? I'm sure this does make sense, but it needs some explanation or your reader (me) might be confused...

2. "I had" but "I hadn't" - should it be I'd for the former? It looks so insignificant, but I always find that such a difficult decision. I change my MS so many times - apostrophe to no apostrophe and back again. I can't really advise, other than to suggest you look at it, think about it, read it aloud, and think some more.

Thank you for your pat on the back on my blog. Please visit again, any time!

ps I just read bernardl's comment. Confirms my feeling.

Rick said...

Hi Virginia Lady. You're off to a fine start here! Quick question, have you outlined the novel? I'm curious if this just "came to you" and you started writing or if you planned it out and then got to it. It has a sense of immediancy about it that I like a lot.

Virginia Lady said...

Thanks for stopping by Leigh. You make some excellent points, the ghost holding her issue is explained a little better later, but perhaps an earlier clarification would be better. I'll review the had/hadn't choices, it's always good to get someone else's objective view.

Hi Rick, thanks for visiting. The story really just came to me, most of my stories are quite spontaneous, but for this one I have a rough idea of what will happen with the story. It's all in my head. I tend to have trouble with outlines and so I rarely actually write one out. Thanks for your input.