A candle burning in the night, flickering it's eerie way across the wooden nighttime walls, the scratching of a pen against paper, held without hands, and a disembodied sobbing emanating from somewhere within the mansion. This is my life. This is what it's been for the past eighty years.
People say that this house I live in is haunted, but I have always begged to differ. No, it's not haunted...merely, occupied. I reside here. While my life has ceased to be, I have not. I continue to exist, and I continue to exist here. It is a part of me, and I do not yet wish to leave, if I ever do. This was where I spent the last years of my life, and this was where I spent the last day. My bones yet lie undisturbed in the basement along with the bloody knife that robbed me of my life. No one has dared to move it, for I have forbidden anyone to go near.
I never thought I could ever move on, ever let go of the past. I had figured that I would be bound here forever. I had so many loose ends to tie up that could never be tied. So many rights to wrong, so many apologies to make, there was absolutely no way I could go on from here, so I just remained where I was, right in this mansion, and waited.
Then one day, I heard a voice I wasn't familiar with. "Hello? Is anybody here?" I put down the pen I had been writing with and stood up. Who had dared to enter this house, especially with the reputation of it being haunted? The curiosity had gotten the better of me, and I stood up to go and seek out the voice.
I soon found the trespasser, who turned out to be a young girl who couldn't have been more than ten or twelve. She was alone, all alone in this house, and she had a terrified look in her eyes as tears rushed down her face. She hadn't seen me, or that facial expression probably would've changed to one of horror, but I was curious to know what had bothered her so much as to drive her here.
The young girl continued to look around, as if looking for any sign of life in this house, though there was none. Even with all the writing I had done all these years, the dust remained undisturbed. She did seem a little bothered though when she noticed how much dust was covering the pages while at the same time, the ink wasn't yet dry. The child began to visibly shake.
"So it's true," she said aloud, "This place is haunted...p-please...whoever you are...please don't hurt me."
I decided that now was as good a time as any to reveal myself. I placed myself in front of her and rested my hands gently on her shoulders. "Look at me," I said, softly. She startled and cautiously looked up, fear evident in her eyes. I smiled a weak smile and said, "Please, don't be afraid, I won't hurt you. Now, will you tell me why you're here? No one ever comes in here."
The girl remained transfixed in that position for what seemed like hours to me, though I knew it was because I had no concept of time, and then finally choked back what looked like a sob trying to escape. "I-I just..." Her voice trailed off.
I knelt down, figuring that maybe my standing over her was disturbing her somewhat, and encouraged her to continue. She swallowed and began again. "I just...needed someone to talk to...and I figured that...maybe you would listen...since I doubted that...that anyone ever came to you." At this explanation, the floodgates burst on her and she began sobbing profusely. I felt helpless to do anything for her, so I simply wrapped my arms around her and cradled the poor child in my arms until she was able to stop her crying.
After some time had passed, I wasn't sure how much, I finally let her go and looked into her sad, dark eyes. "Now, what is it that you so badly need someone to talk to about?"
The child looked like she was about to start crying again, so I braced myself to again put my arms around her, but she stopped herself and looked into my eyes. "It's just that...my dad..." She choked on her words, and couldn't bring herself to say anything more.
"Go on," I said, "I'm listening."
The girl nodded, but seemed a bit hesitant. "Am I...am I bothering you? I-I mean...am I taking too much of your time?"
I smiled a weak smile and said, "No, time doesn't exist for me. I have all the time in the world, and I'm happy to be able to still help someone that is alive. You're the first person I've talked to in nearly eighty years. I don't mind a bit that you want to talk to me."
She nodded again as I encouraged her to tell me what was on her mind. "Um...well..." she began, "M-my dad just left us, me and my mom...I...we just moved to this town...we don't know anyone...so, when I heard about this place," she gestured towards the room we were standing in, "I thought that maybe you would be willing to...to..."
"To what?" I asked, "...to listen? I'm always happy to listen to you." The little girl nodded, but I sensed there was something more. I was tempted to simply tap into her mind and read it, but I thought that that might be considered rude, so I decided rather to try and pry it out of her. "There's something else you want me to do, isn't there?"
The girl started crying again. I had apparently hit the nail right on the head, so I wrapped my arms around her again until she calmed down enough to tell me what was on her mind. Finally, she looked at me, and said, "C-could you...bring him back?"
I pushed myself back from her in surprise and stood up. Bring him back? What was she talking about? "What do you mean?"
"Um..." she started, uncomfortably, "Couldn't you...like...use some of your powers or something...somehow make him come back to us?"
I felt so sorry for this little girl that I wanted to cry right then myself. I knelt back down on the floor and invited her to come and sit down next to me, which she did. "I want to tell you a story." I looked to her for confirmation that she was willing to listen, and then began.
"My name is Edward Elric. My brother and I had grown up in a little town called Reisenburgh, in a country that you probably have never heard of. When we were very young, our father had left us, and left our mother in a state of depression because of it, though she tried never to tell us how badly she was suffering."
"Did he ever come back?" the little girl interrupted. I put my finger to my lips to tell her not to interrupt, and continued with my story.
"Our mother was, unknown to us, dying from a strange sickness. She pretended everything was fine, but one day, my brother and I came home to find her collapsed on the floor. That was when we found out the truth."
"Oh my!" said the girl, "Did she get better?"
I shook my head. "No, she died soon after that. She was all we had, and I wasn't willing to let her go. I just wanted to bring her back, so I set about to find a way to do so."
"But it's impossible to bring back the dead...isn't it? How would you have gone about it even if you did try?" the girl asked.
"I did try," I said, "I tried by using alchemy, which is a science where I come from that allows one to change one thing into another. I wanted to create another body for her, and call her soul back to it. I already knew a considerable amount of alchemy, so I thought that I could do that."
"Did it work?"
I shook my head. "When we tried to bring her back, we succeeded at creating the body, but we couldn't call back her soul. In addition, my brother and I paid the price...I lost my leg in the attempt, and my little brother lost his entire body. I had to give up my arm too in order to get my brother's soul back, which I managed to bind to a suit of armor that just happened to have been in the room at the time."
"You're kidding! Things like that don't happen!"
I turned and looked at the girl in seriousness for a brief moment. "Actually, things like that happen all the time, just not quite so severe. Everything we do or seek in life comes with a price. Have you ever noticed how sometimes you'll have a string of good luck for a period of time only to suddenly be swamped by some of the worst luck you've ever seen?" The girl nodded her response, and I half-heartedly smiled. "That's an example of what I'm talking about. Everything has a price. Nothing in life is free. If you want to get something back, you have to pay a price for it, and even then, you may fail...are you willing to pay a price equal to or greater than that which you are seeking?"
The girl thought for a moment before answering. "You mean I won't be able to just get my father to come back to me? I'll have to give something up in return?" I nodded, which produced the question of what she might have to give up.
"Well," I sighed, "Tell me...why did he leave?"
"I think it was basically because he was always coming home drunk and hitting my mom...but he says he's changed now, and won't do it anymore! I just want him to come home!"
"But what if he falls into it again, and starts hitting your mom again...is that worth it?"
The girl shook her head slowly, but quickly added, "But that's not gonna happen!"
I put up my hand. "Just the same, what about your mother's feelings? If she was hit so many times by this man, do you think that she would honestly be willing to have him just come waltzing back into the house like nothing was wrong?"
The girl shook her head. "No, she hates him now, and she never wants to see him again...but I'm sure she'd learn to love him again if he'd just come home."
"But aren't those just YOUR feelings? Are you sure that it would be worth having him come home? What about all the money he squandered while drinking, or all the yelling and abuse he gave you and your mother? What about all the times you had to hide for fear of him taking out his anger on you? What about all the times you've no doubt seen your mother crying for fear and regret when he wasn't around to observe her behavior himself? What about the ruined childhood and the difficult adulthood you would have as a result of his constant presence? You've already paid a price...do you really want to pay more of a price to get the same thing back?"
The girl just stopped and stared. She had apparently never thought about the situation like that before. "C-come to think of it...I saw my mom laughing for the first time in years the other day."
"See?" I said. I pulled her over to a nearby window so she could see out of it, and pointed to some faraway hills that were very clear on this particular day. "There is so much beauty that lies beyond the horizon...it's just that we can't see it yet. We simply need to have faith that it is indeed there, and run for it. We'll run into some rough spots along the way, but there is so much to look forward to...we just need to move on."
Finally, the little girl smiled, and a tear escaped from her eye and rolled down her cheek. "I...I think I understand now...I have to quit dwelling on the past...I need to move forward, and not look back...I need to pursue what lies beyond the horizon." She turned to face me and flashed me a smile. I was relieved. I had gotten through to her. I didn't want this sweet little girl to make the same mistakes that I had made in my past.
She stepped away from the window and looked around, suddenly taking note of how much dust there really was lying around in the place. "How long have you been here?"
"About...eighty years...I think." She gasped and turned to face me.
"That's a long time! Why do you stay here? Why don't you move on?"
I buried my face in my hands. I was trapped by my own words. "I-I can't."
"Because..." I said, "I can't let anyone make the same mistakes that I did...I somehow have to get the word out to the people: Don't dwell on the past, move forward, don't look back. But," I sighed, "I have no way of doing so."
The girl walked over to my desk and gently picked up the newest piece of paper that I had written. "Is this part of your message that you have to get out?"
"That and everything in the drawers nearby...I had eighty years to write it...so I made sure to get down every detail."
"What is it exactly?" she asked.
"...It's my life story. Every mistake I made, every hardship, every sacrifice, every loss. All the lessons I learned, all my hopes and dreams are all in there somewhere."
"Um..." she said, "If this is all that's keeping you from moving on...would you mind if I took these? I know someone who could actually get this story known to the public. You would be famous in no time, and your story would be told. You could move on, finally."
I smiled at her sweetness, and said, "I would very much like that, actually, but that's not the only thing keeping me from moving on...there is one other thing." She gave me a questioning look, so I continued. "I was murdered in this house, and my body was never properly buried. It is still in the basement here as a matter of fact...All I need is for my story to be told and for my body to be buried in a final place of rest...and then I can go. I can move on."
The girl smiled again. "Leave it to me. I can take care of both. You helped me to move on, now I will help you...deal?" She reached out her hand. I was a bit nervous...did she seriously mean that she'd be able to help me move on...seriously? Just the same, I wanted it more than anything, even if I was scared at the prospect of change. I reached out my shaky hand and clasped hers. I had just made a deal with a little girl who promised to help me move on. I hoped I had done the right thing.
I paced around the house in a restless state for some period of time after she left...I had guessed that it was a few weeks. I wasn't sure what was going to happen to me, but there was nothing I could do but wait, especially since she had already taken all my writings with her.
Then one day, a number of unfamiliar people came barging into the house without warning. It scared me to death. Who were these people, and what did they want? What were they doing in my house? I tried to get their attention, but they were so busy with what they were doing, that they couldn't perceive me, which stressed me even more.
I frantically followed them around as they turned over rugs and loose boards like they were looking for something. Finally, one man pulled up a handle on the floor in the dining room, opening a small door which revealed a staircase beneath it. "Hey guys, I think I've found the basement!"
My hand went immediately to my chest. I would have had a heart attack right then and there had I had a heart. Were these people here to bury my body? Was that why they had intruded upon my house without warning?
It wasn't long before the rest of the crew followed the man down the stairs into the basement, so I followed suit. I had to find out what was happening. Sure enough, they quickly found my body, and pulled out their equipment to properly transport it. They really were going to give me a proper burial. Finally, after all these years...it was almost too much to handle.
I moved closer to watch the men work. "It looks like the guy was murdered right here in this house," said one man, holding up the knife to examine it.
"Yeah, that's what I had suspected had happened, said the next, "They say that this mansion is haunted, after all."
"You don't honestly believe that this is a haunted mansion, do you?" said a third.
"Why not?" said a fourth, "The poor guy was murdered here, and he probably wasn't able to move on because of that. It would make sense if he haunts his mansion."
"There are no such things as ghosts," said the third man, "That's just an old wives' tale."
"All the same," said the first person, "Whether he haunts this place or not, he deserves a proper burial. Let's get this job done. Besides, this house will be able to go back on the market as soon as we do, since the rumor will stop once there is no body here."
I smirked. That last comment hadn't exactly been necessary, but there was no denying that it was true. People were afraid to live around here because of the fact that I was still here. It hardly seemed fair, since I would've never done anyone any harm...but if that was the way it was, then that was the way it was.
Finally, the men had finished their work and they transported my body out of the house. I had a strange feeling come over me, like I no longer felt I had to stay there, since both my writings and my body were gone, so I just followed the men. After some more time had passed, which I still wasn't sure how much, I finally watched the men lower the casket containing my bones into its final resting place and begin to cover it with earth. That sealed it. I was free...almost. My story still hadn't been told.
I felt no need to return to the mansion after that. That little girl had been true to at least half of the deal...I hoped that I could trust her on the rest as well. I decided rather to just randomly wander from place to place...hoping that sooner or later, I'd be able to move on.
I wasn't aware of how long it was that I was wandering aimlessly, though I guessed it to be several years. I was walking down a fairly well used sidewalk one day, when I happened to see a current newspaper that was lying atop a trash can. Something about the newspaper drew me to it, so I picked it up and carried it to a place where I would feel comfortable reading it's contents. A few people had noticed the movement, but they had simple assumed that it was the wind blowing the paper around.
I sat down in a dark alley where I wouldn't be noticed, and began to scan through the paper for something that would catch my eye. Eventually, I found it. It was a review of a current television show called FullMetal Alchemist. My eyes practically bulged out...as that had been my title while I was still alive. I feverishly read the rest of the review, which rated the show really high and the summary of the story seemed quite accurate to what I had been through. My story had indeed been told. I couldn't believe it, but that little girl...who I was sure wasn't "little" anymore, had actually managed to pull it off. I could move on.
I set the newspaper down on the ground and looked around. I felt like I could indeed move on now...but I was somewhat afraid. What would there be on the other side? What would I face? Would I meet my loved ones there that I had left behind so long ago? I shivered at the complete unknowing of it all, and once again looked down at the paper. The little girl had done this for me...I would go and visit her first and thank her for all she had done.
It didn't take me long to find her, for some reason, since I still knew what her energy felt like, and I soon appeared in a small bedroom with a young woman sitting with her back turned towards me, typing away at her computer. She suddenly jumped and spun around, looking frantically to find what it was that had made her feel that way. I smiled...she could still perceive me, and it was indeed that little girl. Her face was unmistakable.
I walked over to the edge of her bed and sat down on it, and then placed my hand on her shoulder. She gasped, paused for a second, and then said, "E-Edward?...I-Is that you?"
I smiled a very broad smile about that time. She remembered who I was just from my touch. I felt honored. "Yes, it's me...I came to say thank you for helping me to let go of my past and move on...and I especially thank you for getting my story out to be noticed...I never would have imagined that it would reach that many people."
The girl smiled and looked right at me. I guessed that she was finally able to see me...though I was also trying hard to make her see me. "I only wanted to help pay you back for what you did for me," she said, "Because of you, I was able to move on. I went and pursued my own dreams and didn't cling to my father. My mother is now happily married to a good man, and I am now a freelance writer, living my own life. All this I owe to you."
I smiled and shook my head. "I still think I got the better end of the deal. I owe you so much...is there anything I can do to make up for it?"
The girl laughed. "You already have, Edward, before I even did any of it. This was my attempt to make it up to you, not the other way around."
I chuckled a bit, as she was indeed right, and then said, "But still...I'd like to do something for you. Is there anything I can do...at all?"
She shook her head. "I only want you to move on. That is all."
I persisted, "Are you sure that there's not anything I can do, even the tiniest thing?"
The girl thought for a moment, and then said, "Well...do you think that when you get to the other side, you could tell my loved ones over there that I still love them, and will see them when I myself get there?"
I smiled. "I'll tell them." With that, I stood up, planted a kiss on her forehead in thanks for everything that she'd done, and vaporized from the room. I had finally moved on. I was now going to see what lay beyond the horizon.
Wow...what can I say? Believe it or not, this story wasn't actually written BY me...it was written THROUGH me. Yes, I talk to ghosts in real life, and one of the ghosts I talk to felt that this story should be told, so he decided to write a fanfiction about it. I had no idea what the story was going to end up being, but I just sat there, letting him move my hands as he typed the story. I'm pretty surprised with how interesting it ended up being. Heh, he's a pretty good writer, actually. ((The same ghost is the real author of "My Body, Your Soul" actually. I just didn't understand ghosts at that time, so I didn't realize that that was what was happening, but I wanted him to get the credit he deserved now. He helps me with a lot of my stories...but this is the second one that he's written himself.))
And yes, you'll probably notice some interesting little details in there, such as the spelling of Ed's hometown. Yes, the majority of people spell it as either Rizenbul, Risembool, or Resembool, but he decided to spell it as Reisenburgh. Seriously, that's his preferred spelling. Interesting, no?
Anyway, please leave some reviews so that I can know your thoughts. Do you like this sort of story, and want to see more? Let me know. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed this.