HAUNTED

Louder, louder
The voices in my head
Whispers taunting
All the things you said

She always spent a few hours of every day polishing the old mirror on her vanity. It's cracked, and the edges are rusted. It hardly can be considered an adequate reflective object, but every time her mother or father attempted, or even insinuated they meant to throw the ragged old thing away, she'd lock herself in her room, and would only come out once they'd promised they wouldn't touch it.

It meant the world to her.

"I know you won't come anymore, but at least, could you give me some kind of sign? Something to show it wasn't all a dream?" She desperately asked the mirror. Like it should have, it remained still and painfully silent. Nothing was heard but an ignorant whistling from the outside wind.

She knew he was real. He'd been real for years. It was impossible for him and his land to have been a figment of her mind. After all, she still owned some fabric from his land. Some rare fabric made from spider silk. Red base, spider-webbed black, and strong enough to stop many projectiles. It never left her side; she was afraid it would disappear like the rest of the proof of his existence had. All her photos of him; gone. Only some sketches she'd hidden remained.

She turned away from the mirror, tears threatening to slide down her face.

"You could've at least said goodbye, Beej..." Not a thing abnormal happened. As it had been for the past few months. Everything was normal. Painfully so.

Faster the days go by and I'm still
Stuck in this moment of wanting you here
Time
In the blink of an eye

She'd taken up so many different occult practices since he'd gone, most of them dealing in summoning the spirits of the dead. Previous experience told her it would just as soon work as her getting struck by lighting, but it didn't stop her. Her getting struck by lightning was extremely unlikely, but still possible. She had a chance it would work, if not a small one.

The Gothic black book in her hands mocked her, saying things she knew would never work if one wished to summon the dead. She'd been summoning dead persons for years; nothing this book told her would work. It was more bound to petty Necromancy than actually calling a spirit to the living realm.

Reading the books she constantly bought -or sometimes even stole- helped her pass time quickly. Otherwise, she'd just be sitting in her room sketching for hours, and the only thing she'd ever be able to draw would be him. Not that she minded; she loved drawing him, perfecting his every curve and contour. She had no photo's of him anymore; she suspected that whatever had stopped him from coming to her had also stolen her photos away.

Whatever had happened; she was obviously supposed to forget about him.


You held my hand, you held me tight
Now you're gone
And I'm still crying

A memory flashed through her mind; the day some gun-toting hunters had come to the woods near her house. She'd accidentally summoned a baby sandworm when she'd brought him there. It'd wound up that they'd made friends with the sandworm, but beforehand, he'd prevented the creature killing her.

She remembered his hugs. He had a gut; she'd assumed he'd drank beer before he'd met her. But rather than it make the hugs awkward, she'd found his belly made him feel... plush, almost. Like an overstuffed toy. A toy that had been torn from her without any consent.

She wouldn't admit it, but she often was considering the ghosts revenge schemes on her classmate; Claire. Once before, she'd been only a few words away from simply tackling the girl and punching her out. She couldn't remember how she'd stopped herself, but she clearly recalled that afternoon, in her room. She'd taken some paints from her mother, locked her door shut, and painted several very angry works before unlocking her bedroom door. The paintings currently resided underneath her bed; dusty, their images forgotten.


Shocked, broken
I'm dying inside

She wiped away a tear as it rolled down her face. He'd just left. Had suddenly just stopped coming. She'd figured it a prank at first, or perhaps he'd been angry at someone or something; maybe had even gotten into some trouble. So she'd waited. But he'd never come. What was worse, her photo album had vanished, and when she found it, it was empty of her photo-memoir of her adventures with him. It had been returned to her as empty as when she'd first bought it.

More tears flowed down her face, and she wandered back over to the rusted mirror, leaning on the vanity.

"Please... Just come back!" She exclaimed gently.


Where are you?
I need you
Don't leave me here on my own

A wind brushed against her, and for a moment she thought she felt him. A look around her room told her that the spirit door she used to summon was not going to come, but a renewed vigor rushed through her body.

"Don't just leave me here, Beej." She muttered, walking purposefully over to her closet and pulling out the old lantern her birth mother -for Delia was her stepmother- used to use when she performed séances. "Don't leave me on my own."

It was filled with strong, strange magics, and she preferred using her own lantern, which was more tuned to her. This one, however, was more powerful. It surprised her that she'd never thought of using her mothers lantern beforehand.


Speak to me
Be near me
I can't survive unless I know you're with me

She pulled her round bedside table into the center of her room, then ran back over to her bed. Lifting the mattress, she grabbed the red-and-black poncho that was her last link to her friends world. She placed it on the table, using it like a sort of tablecloth. Perhaps, with the fact that it came from his world, it would lend energy to the lantern. Maybe the poncho would help the lantern locate and summon the door she used to use to visit his world.

She placed the lantern over top the poncho, closing her window before lighting the lantern. The old rhyme she used to use came to mind, and as she recited it, she concentrated on bringing the ancient door to her, rather that the ghost himself.

"Though I know I must be wary, still I venture someplace scary... Ghostly hauntings I turn loose, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice!"

At first, nothing happened. Silence permeated the room. Then, a flicker. A jolt of energy that ran across her fingers, weak, and subdued somehow, but all-too familiar to her. Her window groaned, and twitched. Then, it happened, her room seemed to twist, growing upwards as a wicked -yet somehow, eager- wind gusted around her room.

A stairwell materialized one stair at a time, until they stopped just below an old-looking wooden door. She looked from the door down at the blazing lantern, whose flames where a bright, thriving green.

"Thank you..." A wind brushed against her, and she turned, jumping up the stairs one by one; not caring she was dressed only in her purple nightgown. She'd finally brought the door back to her. She was not going to waste time and give the door a chance to vanish from her once more.

0o0o0o0


Shadows linger
Only to my eye
I see you, I feel you
Don't leave my side

A can clattered along the broken purple sidewalk. It lay still for a few moments before a boot-covered foot came down upon it, kicking it. It felt like years since he'd seen her face. He kicked the can again, sighing.

Ever since he'd had his curse revised, he'd found it was nearly impossible to do anything he liked. And that included visiting Lydia. Sure, he still felt the rush of juice that occurred when somebody said his name, but he couldn't do anything.

He stuck his hands in his pockets, sighing again. He'd been spending much less time in the Roadhouse since then. Heck, he hadn't juiced anyone in just as long. He didn't find it fun if Lyds wasn't with him, or just on the other side of a quick portal.

Not that anybody complained. Many people rejoiced, but Jacques, Ginger, and even the Monster had become genuinely worried when he had just stopped looking through what they said and translating it literally. He just... obeyed.


It's not fair
Just when I found my world
They took you, they broke you, they tore out your heart

A flare of angry energy whirled around him as he remembered that day. He'd been called up to some meeting. Like always, he hadn't taken it seriously. Sure, he'd gone. He just hadn't expected anything different.

However, he'd quickly learned that the higher-ups had decided to 'revise' his curse terms a little. Number one; rather than have it so that he had to have others say his name to free or summon him, they'd decided to let him be able to say his name: he no longer held the ability to be summoned anywhere.

"Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice..." He muttered. "What good is it anymore...?" Another kick was directed at the unfortunate can.

Revision number two; all traces of him would be erased from the Outerworld. That included photos and objects originating from the Neitherworld. Memories would -thankfully- be exempt.

And a new rule; a spell would be placed on all Outerworld-Neitherworld portals, making it more difficult to summon them.

The judge had finalized by saying that Beetle himself would do well to put the Outerworld girl out of his mind; it was likely he'd not see her again.


I miss you, you hurt me
You left with a smile
Mistaken, your sadness

Another flare of his juice whirled around him, and a nearby window shattered. The person inside made to yell at him, but stopped once he saw who it was. Beetlejuice, walking down the street with his hands in his pocket, ribbons of reddish magic swirling angrily around him. The poltergeist may have been mostly unresponsive and far more harmless, but he was still a poltergeist, and poltergeists where still one of the most potentially dangerous spirit types existing.

"Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice. Beetlejuice, damn it." He muttered. He had been trying to get the ability to say his name for eons, only to discover that when he finally could, it felt wrong. Now that he could, he wished he couldn't. At least if he couldn't say his name, he knew that Lydia could say it, and it would bring some good to him. Now, anybody could say his name, and it didn't do anything at all.


Was hiding inside
Now all that's left
Are the pieces to find

Truth be told, having Lydia taken from him had broken him inside. For centuries, the only thing he'd done was drink till he was wasted -which, as a dead man, was actually very difficult-, smoke like a chimney -ghosts had no fear of cancer; they couldn't get it- and build up a reputation declaring him the Netherworlds most wanted.

Then, on what had just been a spur of the moment, he'd decided to scare the living daylights out of an Outerworld family.

He decided on the house that, geologically, was in the same place in the Outerworld as his roadhouse was in the Neitherworld; the two planes of existence had the exact same land formation. Lydia's house would've been easiest to access.

So he did. He'd caused the father a panic attack, the mother refused to even acknowledge him, and the daughter... Gods, their daughter.


The mystery you kept
The soul behind a guise

He'd become fast friends with her. Though, truthfully, he was only there at first because he was always raiding the mother's money stash when Lydia wasn't looking. But when he realized she really wasn't afraid of him no matter the stunt he pulled, that the most he could do was surprise her, he began to grow fond of her.
She understood him, and was the only person -living or dead- that he'd met that accepted him as a whole. Granted, she wasn't fond of how often he'd prank her parents, but she'd never stop him.

"Little green beetle with the pinstriped wings..." He sang to himself softly. It was an old lullaby, telling of some Neitherworld god that he was sure nobody cared about anymore. "Rejoice in the fate that the spirit-god brings... Praying for the light, damning to the cause, cutting off the shadows with razor-sharp claws." (1)

"Beetle-!" He looked up, blinking. Had he heard his name? It couldn't be. Nobody except Jacques and Ginger bothered to try and talk to him. Not that he ever responded.

He looked back down at the ground. No point listening to things that he was imagining.

0o0o0o0


Where are you
I need you
Don't leave me here on my own

She'd been running across the Neitherworld for what seemed like hours. The only tines she'd ever stop running was to either catch her breath, or to ask a passing ghoul or gheist if they knew where Beetlejuice was. She'd gotten varying answers; some said he spent lots of time hanging around in bars, others claimed they saw him standing on the edge of the drop down to sandworm land. A few others said that he was never really in one place for too long anymore, that ever since his curse had been revised, he spent more time just wandering than anything else. So she ran.

Of course... It made sense now. Beetlejuice couldn't travel between the realms freely, he had a curse; somebody on the outside had to say his name. She knew this. But for something to happen that he'd had his curse revised, rules updated or changed was not an impossibility. It made sense that the lawmakers would change it so that he couldn't be summoned at all.

Beetle-!" She began to yell, stopping when she saw the person a ways ahead of her. There was only one ghost she knew that wore that kind of striped coat.


Speak to me
Be near me
I can't survive unless I know you're with me

"Beetlejuice!" She yelled, running toward him. He looked up, turning to face her. She almost cried in anguish at the look on his face. Empty. Hollow.

"Lydia...?" She heard him mutter. She continued to run towards him, opening her arms to give him a hug, smiling slightly when he mimicked the gesture.

"Never leave like that again!" She yelled. He didn't respond, but he did return the hug. Her legs buckled, and she found herself held up by the ghost she grasped. His head was buried in her shoulder.

"They told me I'd never see you again..." He muttered softly.


Why did you go?
All these questions run through my mind
I wish I couldn't feel at all

"Why would you just stop coming?" She asked him, looking in his eyes as he stood fully.

"I didn't, babes... They made me stop. The Higher-ups. Made it so nobody could summon me. Effectively imprisoned me in here... I thought..." He dropped off, looking her over. "How'd you get here?" She grinned.

"I used my mothers lantern instead of mine. Before she died, she used to perform all sorts of séances with it; it was bound to be full of Neitherworld energy."


Let me be numb
I'm starting to fall

Beetlejuice's vision swayed for a moment, everything blending together for a few seconds before returning to normal.

"Beetle? What's wrong, Beej?" He shook his head.

"Dunno..." He felt a surge inside himself. "M'juice..." Lydia attempted to hold him up, staring at him worriedly.

"What about it?" Another surge. And this time it hurt.

"Too much..." He said, gasping as he realized the consequences of letting his juice build up for so many months. "Too much."


Where are you?
I need you
Don't leave me here on my own

He hurt all over by the time they got to his roadhouse. Lydia had done most of the walking, and at some point he must've blacked out, as he didn't remember entering his ramshackle home, just waking up in pain in his coffin bed.

"Don't worry, Beej, we're getting help!" He heard Lydia say.

"Come back!" He yelled, grabbing her hand when she returned to his side.

"What's wrong?" He shook his head back and forth, grimacing as a surge of magic caused him another wave of pain.

"Don't leave." Her expression softened.

"I won't. Jacques and Ginger know where to go. I'll stay here." He smiled briefly at her before groaning at another wave of fresh, surging pain.

0o0o0o0


Speak to me
Be near me
I can't survive unless I know you're with me


"
He's what?!" The gray-clad woman exclaimed as they -Jacques, Ginger and herself- ran up the stairs of the roadhouse to Beetlejuice's room.

"We do not know. He is... dying, it seems like. He is already dead, but it's as if he's dying." Jacques said. The woman walked into the room of the ghost in question, groaning when she saw him. Flashes of magic could be seen swirling angrily around him, a certain breather girl tightly holding his hand and not letting go despite the danger she was in.

"Ms. Deetz." She said. The girl looked up, smiling in relief when she saw who had spoken. When Beetle looked at her, he just scoffed.

"Juno. Come to berate me while that I'm dying wrong?" She ignored him, gently pushing Lydia away and quickly looking the ghost over.

"To put it simply, he's overloaded." She said quickly. Beetle groaned again, not aware of the fact Juno was speaking. "Because he hasn't used magic in so long, it just built up. And now he's paying for it." She turned to the group behind her. "He's effectively exorcising himself." Lydia gasped, tears returning to her eyes.

"No! I just got him back! He can't die!" Juno ignored her wrong use of terminology.

"There is... one way to save him. But it will bind you to this world; you will not be able to pass over."

Lydia nodded her head, looking determined.

"I don't care. I have to save him." Juno's face turned serious.

"Very well. Lets begin."

0o0o0o0


Where are you?

He couldn't see. Couldn't even hear what they where saying properly for all the pain he was experiencing. Something about his juice... a transfer, binding souls. Wait. Was Juno really going to do that?

She couldn't, she wasn't allowed. Not only that, why would she even want to? Maybe it was Lydia.

No, Lydia was going to be the recipient? She was going to be the sieve? If she did this, she'd never be able to pass on, no matter how free of guilt she was!

He struggled weakly, groaning when he felt a group of hands reach to hold him down. Vague whisperings, a chant, and he felt warm lips against his cold ones.

Suddenly, the pressure filling his very essence to bursting began to calm, and he relaxed as it left his body. He didn't want to do this, but the relief from the pain made him calm down against his will.

Finally, he could breath again. Somebody gasped in air, and his vision began to return. Smudges and spatters grew into vague outlines grew into defined shapes.

Lydia was near Juno, who was talking to her quietly as the young girl breathed air in deeply.

He sat up, looking over the scene again as he spoke.

"Lyds?"

Where are you?

She looked up at him, and he gasped quietly. Where once there where deep brown eyes now resided toxic-green.

"Are you okay, Beej?" She asked him quietly, not moving much. He scoffed amusedly, pointing at her.

"I should ask you the same thing, Lyds. Green eyes? You really did that didn't you?" Juno nodded.

"This girl likes you Beetle, and to be honest, compared to what you were before, this girl has made you an angel." Lydia blushed. "I had to save you, if only for her. If I let you fade, lord knows what she'd become." Juno turned, heading to the stairs. "I'm going to get your curse un-revised. This sort of crap gives me way too much paperwork." With that, she vanished in a cloud of cigarette smoke. Beetlejuice turned to Lydia, who stood, walking over to him with a grin on her face.

"So this is how you feel all the time, huh Beej?" She said, waving her hand and producing miniature fireworks in the air. He nodded, smiling back at her.

"You'll need someone to show ya how to control it." She hugged him.

"I have the perfect person in mind."

You were smiling



(1) This was made up on the spot. Really has no relevance at all.