Chapter One – No Words
I listened as the auditorium filled with many voices, those heard by everyone and those that only I could hear.
Those voices had been plaguing my everyday existence ever since I could remember. My Gram had been there when I'd realized what I was seeing and hearing at the tender age of nine. She'd sat beside me, explaining our power and how best to deal with our extraordinary gift.
All the while, her body had lain in a casket less than twenty feet away.
I watched a young man around my age take the seat at the end of the aisle. His late mother stood beside him, whispering.
I averted my gaze from the pair. I didn't want to gain her attention. If she did notice me, like all the others, she would haunt me until I agreed to help.
Don't get me wrong, I helped. I didn't even mind doing it. It made me smile when they said they could see a light. It made it all worth it, sometimes. However, that didn't mean I could drop everything and talk to a ghost in the middle of a room filled with people.
I'd helped many cross over into the light that remained unseen by me. The light beckoned those here lost in this world, chained to those who still mourned them.
Then there were others – the ones that were here to finish something, sought peace, and the vengeful.
No, this wasn't a gift – it was a curse.
With my eyes facing the stage, my ears were perked and listening to the ghostly mother. I realized that the she was worried for her son. Without a father or family to support him and his younger sister, he wanted to drop out of college. His two jobs were barely making ends meet, and it was taking a toll on him. She was trying to tell him where she kept a key and the information to a safe deposit box. Something inside would take care of him and his sister. I looked for a moment, seeing the desperation in her.
Her words fell on deaf ears.
I looked away again before I was unable to resist the pull to intervene. I clenched my hands around my knees, willing myself to remain seated.
I awaited Alice, a new friend that had somehow latched onto me in the library. She had known of my gift the moment her hand touched mine.
She saw the past.
We were quite a pair, drawn in by what we heard and saw. She had forced me to come tonight to hear Professor Cullen, a colleague, speak about the paranormal.
He debunked it. He was quite successful, too, until he met Alice.
From the corner of my eye, I could see Alice float down the carpet aisle to the row I occupied. She flinched every time someone came too close. I couldn't blame her. There were things in people's pasts that should remain there.
I felt her arm brush mine as she took the seat beside me. She hissed slightly, no doubt seeing that I had already encountered a ghost here.
"Are you going to help?" she whispered.
I shrugged my shoulder.
"Tell me again. Why are we here?" I asked, watching a few people set up a podium on stage.
"Because you need to meet him," she said softly. She fidgeted in her seat and removed a small recording device from her purse.
I sensed something in her quivering voice. "What aren't you telling me, Alice?"
I could tell from her stiff demeanor that she was indeed garnering a secret.
"I don't know," she stated. "He hasn't let me touch him."
I turned to look at her, her eyes on the stage before us. "Then how does he –"
"He had others test me. I think he was too scared of what I'd find if I touched him."
I shook my head at her blatant disregard of others' wishes. If he didn't want her to know about his past, then what made her think he'd want my help? I doubted he'd want to meet me, either.
A sudden wave of nausea hit me as the temperature of the room plummeted around me. I shivered and took several breaths, tendrils in puffs of white escaping my lips. A strong spirit was here. Someone that had been here, trapped in our world for too long.
My shiver instantly got Alice's attention.
"Where?" she hissed, leaning away.
My eyes looked upon the ghostly mother, and then lingered over a man that appeared to be polishing the hardwood surface of the stage. A woman passed right through, alerting me that he was indeed a residual figure and not a full spirit.
My breathing hitched as a man walked to the podium with a laptop and a glass of water. He began fiddling with his computer and settled his glass on a small table beside him. He took something from his jacket pocket
He swiftly opened a pair of dark-rimmed glasses, sliding the pair up his sharp nose. He was unlike anyone I'd had ever seen. His features were strong and angular, perfectly fitting with his strategically placed disarray of hair. His locks of hair were silken in their appearance and the color of autumn – all warm colors. He looked up briefly to speak to someone, and I nearly fell out of my seat.
The colors of his eyes were like spring grass, but that wasn't what unnerved me. The haunted look dulled the once-vibrant color.
I felt a sudden pull, a shift of my extra perception. I looked around, and a sudden stillness filled me and the other spirits in the room.
A child – a spirit – no older than eight stood beside the man. My eyes widened as I took in her appearance.
Her light brown hair was in a half ponytail, but water saturated and weighted it down. She looked cold as her little blue dress and grey tights clung to her skin. She was drenched from head to toe. The skin around her eyes was bruised, sunken in, and filled with fear and confusion.
The little girl's eyes turned to meet mine, and her confusion deepened. She realized that I could see her, that my eyes were on her. She tugged on the pant leg of the man I'd been admiring moments ago. She persisted, trying to gain his attention and pointing at me. She said nothing to him or me in her attempts.
He was, of course, oblivious to her. I whispered because they always heard me in their plane of existence.
"Who are you? Why are you here?"
My whispered questions fell upon her and she tugged a little harder, causing the man to bat his hand at his pants. He looked down, confused, and tried to shake the feeling away.
The little girl cocked her head while keeping her gaze locked with mine. If she learned not to strangers while alive, she probably wouldn't talk to me, because she feared me.
Then she opened her mouth to speak.
The only thing that spilled from her pale lips was water.
I didn't know how I knew, but I did.
Her drowning had not been accidental.
AN: Thanks so much to kyla713 for your help with this story, hooisernina for bidding and winning this story by donated to the Stacie Auction. I hope you enjoyed this as much as I loved writing it. Tell me your ghost stories or maybe about a somewhere nearby that people think is haunted.