"Dead as dead can be,"
The doctor tells me,
But I just can't believe him,
Ever the optimistic one.
"Okay, so... We all know now that this was a funeral home. Big deal."
His muffled words and still legible, even under inches of wood and plaster. Peter continues to talk, attempting to convince his family that this was just a funeral home, nothing more. Of course, Jonah can only lower his eyes, not wanting to take in what his home had become. This wasn't just a house, he wants to cry out. It was a big deal. It is a big deal. Because his father forced him to become a medium... Those innocent lives were lost. His father's life was lost.
It resulted in his own death.
"...Okay, so. Who wants to say grace? ...Matt?"
Grace? The dead boy frowns, propped up on the examination table, listening to the conversation as best he can. Saying grace is what normal people do before they eat... Right? He remembers the last family that was here. They were quite the religious team, and they would pray before dinner. In fact, he muses, they would pray before any meal, thanking whatever God they worshiped for food they bought at the nearest small-town grocery.
Saying grace reminded him a lot of his seances. Holding hands, heads down, eyes closed...
Jonah shivers. He can almost recall those pale faces, staring at him with hopeful eyes. Some had their eyelids shut, all of their hands holding the ones next to theirs. Two women on either side of him had held out their hand. He remembers staring at them, not yet accepting, and instead staring critically at all of them, unsure of what to do. Could he run? Escape? Surely not... He wasn't fast enough. He was never fast enough.
Mr. Aickman had stood behind the crowd like he always did, supervising the seances, his hands clasped together and his spectacles shielding his eyes from showing any sort of emotion. Always so collected... It annoyed Jonah to the very last inch of his life. His father never liked to show emotions. Said he would be weak to be so naive. It made him feel smaller, less strong because to himself, the ghost always had sort of an animated face. A lot of times, he showed disgust and hatred towards the dead bodies they carried into the cars and into the house. Or, at least, he wanted to.
Too hesitant, his father had scolded. We aren't being paid to stare and do nothing, Jonah!
I can't do this... I can't do this...
The dead boy had reached out, his hand falling in the awaiting ones.
His whole body trembled in violent shakes, small cries of pain escaping his lips. He knew not to make any noises such as those during seances – it would cause worry and concern to arise – but the spirits... All of them... So angry... Grief-filled... Undeniably coming forth, shouting to be heard. His grip tightened tremendously, almost to the point of bruising the woman's hand resting in his. The table shook, whether it be from the force of an unknown ghost or Jonah's own force. It didn't matter. What mattered was being able to understand what the dead said to him, what they had wanted him to know. And maybe he could have even spoiled what his father had done to him. Try and stop it from coming.
White hot pain. Why did it have to hurt so horribly?
"Are you alright?"
Jonah opens his eyes, his hand clamping down over his chest. He tries to breathe evenly, calm his undead heartbeat, but the images flash vividly over and over in his head. He gazes around, attempting to remember where he is, what he is, and what's happening. He can hear silence above. Frowning slightly, the dead boy scrambles up to his feet and takes a few steps towards the closed door, but ends up pausing mid-step. He didn't even hear the two set of footsteps thump down the steps until Wendy came into view. His eyebrows furrowed, but his eyes quickly flashed with something rather... cold. She's leading Matthew downstairs; she's holding his hand. She's holding his hand.
The ghost frowns. Why should it matter to him? They're related – they're allowed to hold hands, and to hug. They're allowed to touch each other. But something about it irritates him. He doesn't want Wendy to be touching the boy. There's something he can't pin-point about her that he doesn't approve of. This ever-growing dislike can't be from her just moving into his room. It's something else...
"So what happened?" The girl questions, propped up on his bed. Again, that gnawing hatred.
Matt does most of the talking, repeating a rhyme with a low, unsteady voice. His eyes flicker to the morgue, before returning to his cousin's face, "...Do you remember the other one?"
"Maybe, um... Which one?"
The teenager lowers his head, his fingers beginning to fidget, "...One bright day in the middle of the night, two dead boys got out to fight." At this, his eyes flicker up, meeting Jonah's almost instantly. The dead boy blinks, staring back, a shiver running down his spine. Why a shiver, he isn't too sure. Cocking his head, Jonah listens to the rest. Has he heard of this before? It's familiar... "Back to back they faced one another; they drew their swords, and they shot each other. A deaf policeman – he heard the noise, and he came and he killed those two dead boys."
Both boys barely caught wind to what Wendy said, "Matt, you're scaring me."
"Yeah, join the club..."
The music begins to dull down on the television. The music... and the small chatter around the room. He can barely hear the old women ahead of him, gossiping like high school girls, or the married couple off to his right, cooing over their some-month old baby, and only seeming disinterested when they speak directly to each other. People are walking left and right, and he can't hear even the softest thud. What the... What's going on? This isn't normal. Matt raises his head and casts a wary glance around, frowning deeply. Has he gone deaf? Did the cancer decide to just randomly pick up his eardrums and bust them out?
Startled, the teenager snaps his gaze to his right, his nervous movements halting and freezing up. Eyes growing wide, the teenager stares at the approaching human-shaped figure, his mouth opening and closing to form words. His voice box doesn't seem to be working; it seems to be scratched up and empty inside. It really doesn't help the situation. Fingernails digging into the armrests of the chair, his body turns tense, ready to bolt up if need be.
"What's going on?" Matt finally chokes out, his voice too coarse to really understand; his attempt to cover his fear with a hostile tone failing. It doesn't seem to deter the shadow in the slightest, and he gradually realizes he can't jump to make an escape. In fact, he can't seem to move any part of his body but his head. As if every appendage has been glued to the chair. Biting his lip, he watches the shadow close in, his heart thumping wildly against his chest. It stands in front of him, cocking its head to the side. Now, where has he seen that before...?
"Matthew..." It hisses, drawing closer and placing both of its black hands on his arms. Why does that voice sound familiar? It's on the tip of his tongue, but he can't seem to grasp on to the right name. Glaring, the teenager closes his eyes, squeezing them tightly shut, praying to whatever is listening that this... this thing will vanish and everything will go back to normal. It's silent. It seems like it's been forever since he closed his eyes. Six, seven, eight seconds, nine-
His eyes snap open, staring with a surprised expression, unable to really comprehend what's happening. The shadow is pressing what feels to be lips on his own, very light, as if experimenting the experience. It pulls back for a second, hesitating, and dives back in for another bittersweet kiss. A warm tongue glides over Matt's lips, asking for entrance, and when the teenager refuses to comply, he begins to feel a pinch on his left arm, but no, not like a pinch. Much harder, more painful. As if he had carelessly pressed that one spot on his arm against a white-hot oven.
Flinching, Matt jerks his arm back, staring at the taped cotton on the flesh.
"Oh, now, that didn't hurt," The nurse said, forcing a tired smile, retracting the needle. Matt stares at her, his eyes full of confusion, before shifting over to look to his right. No shadow figure. It had felt so real... Was it all a dream? No, it couldn't have been. It couldn't have been...
"You were dreaming... and breathing heavy." An aged voice comments. As Matt turns his head to the source of the voice, he realizes an old man is sitting in the chair next to him, smiling kindly, "So of course, it can only mean you had a very bad dream, or a very good one."
The teenager peels the tape off and fixes his sleeve back over his thin arm, his face flushing slightly when he recalls the fantasy kiss. That thing surely didn't have the shape of a female. "Well, I've had better."
"I'm so proud of you,"
"For working so hard... and keeping your promises. All of them."
It grins, sneaking into the backseat of the vehicle. The two lovebirds finish their conversation, and the man climbs into the car. After their lingering parting words, he begins to drive down the road, a small, tired sigh escaping his lips. He said he was going down to his office, to the place of his work.
So why does the man stop in front of a bar?
And why should it stop there? It stares without eyelids, whispering sweet, silent words into the man's ear.
Temptation is a dangerous thing.
It feels like an insane midget is in his head with a sledgehammer. Pain comes in waves as he closes in the source. Or, at least, below the source. Standing in parents' room, he casts his wary gaze up at the ceiling. There's music playing above – it must be the little girl's bedroom. What would the angry spirits want with the little girl...? No time to ponder. He steps out of the room his old man used to sleep in and climbs up the stairs. The aching his mind has endured lessens for a few seconds, and comes back full force once again. One step, two steps, ah, hold on, hold on, it hurts. Squeezing his eyes shut, Jonah pauses to rub his temples, wincing every few seconds. Yes, he's definitely on the right track.
A flash of the poor victim wandering relentlessly through the halls tears a yelp from the dead boy. His eyes wide, he catches a small glimpse of the demon entering the little girl's room.
A second later, the lights flicker, and the power goes out.
A numerous amount of raging spirits rush towards him, neatly torn-up arms reaching out to grab and pull. Jonah cries out, jumping backwards and hitting his head on the wall behind him. His eyes roll up, and for a second, he can almost swear his undead life has been taken once more; the pain is overwhelming. Eyelids being snipped off sounds like better treatment than what's traveling down his sensory veins. Within the same second, he blinks and comes back to life, finding himself stumbling, almost tripping down the stairs, not taking it in when he hears the little girl shout. The power flickers back on, but he doesn't stop. Staggering down the basement steps, he finds himself more than relieved to see Matthew on his bed, curled up with the blankets surrounding him and earplugs blocking out the noise. All the lights are off, as if he's trying to sleep, but his eyes are trained at the window. No wonder he wasn't the least bit startled when the power surge stole the electricity.
Gasping for breath, Jonah, knee-weak, collapses against the hard mattress, leaning against the side of it for some sort of support. The cold floor under him feels wonderful, contradicting with the humid air. His eyelids fall, and whilst he focuses on breathing calmly, a startled hum is heard in the background. Oh, no... Daring to peek, the dead boy finds himself staring at a rigid, tense teenager, seeming to be frozen in shock, staring back with unreadable eyes. They both connect eyes, and something tells Jonah that Matt's had quite the run-in with a spirit, or something similar. Biting his lip, the boy lowers his eyes. He can never do anything right. Can't even protect the family from the demons he and his father created.
"M-Matt..." The spirit mumbles, sadness unable to hide in his tone. Closing his tired eyes, he buries his face into his arms, half hoping the teenager gets up and leaves. He wants to be alone.
A hesitant hand falls on his shoulder. Jonah doesn't dare look up, not ready to see his failures yet. When he looks at Matt now, he'll know this boy is slipping from under the fingers of the doctors and parents, all because he can't deter a few damned creatures from Hell. He can't bear to stare into sunken eyes, losing its life day by day because another spirit is taking the teenager's life. He can't bear to. And it doesn't surprise him when the hand begins to pressure him, as if to push him away. The dead boy knows he should leave.
The hand disappears, and instead slips down his arm and to his own hand. Jonah blinks, puzzled and a bit anxious, raising his head to watch as the teenager runs his fingers over the ghost's palm. The kid's eyebrows furrow in frustration. "You're cold, but you look and feel like a real boy... But you aren't, are you? Alive, I mean..."
Jonah shakes his head, "I'm deceased – that's correct."
"Am I seeing things? Are you just a hallucination?"
Blinking, the dead boy finds himself struggling, his desperate attempts to not smile waning. He can't help it – the thought is a little amusing, "No, Matt. I'm real. I... was real, I guess I should say." The small curl of the lips fades off, "I'm not among the living any longer."
"Then why aren't you all... I don't know... transparent or mutilated or something?" Matt frowns, reaching up and touching the dead boy's hair.
The spirit frowns. Why does it feel like his heart should be skipping beats?
"I don't know." He answers truthfully. Silence overtakes them both, and as the teenager's hand falls away, Jonah begins to feel the awkwardness come in waves. What should he say? He hasn't spoken to a real person in so long... years and years of silence and solitude has taken a terrible toll on him. And now, talking to an average, dying teenager, he hasn't the slightest clue what they should talk about. Jonah's positive the kid avoiding eye contact in front of him is still angry, angry because that's how most people he's observed are when they are confused. The last thing the spirit wants to do is upset the poor boy. "Mm...Matthew-?"
"You know my name," Matt states, frowning deeply, "What's yours?"
The dead boy hesitates, unsure if it's wise to give off information. Then again, no one would believe him if he were to jump out and tell his family what was going on, "Jonah."
"Jonah..." As the teenager repeats his name in a low tone, the spirit feels another excited shiver run down his spine. Pink tainting his flush cheeks, he lowers his eyes and focuses on the design pattern on the bedsheets. Certainly there's a more reasonable explanation as to why he can feel butterflies and knots in his stomach. One of his only old friends had told him what... What love felt like. Well, perhaps not love, but at least what a crush felt like, since Jonah himself never found an interest in anybody. It made the victim feel knots tie in their stomachs, and every little thing seem stupid and embarrassing. But the good kind of humiliation, the type that would make the person feel like smiling sheepishly and, at the same time, slam their foreheads against the nearest brick wall. He's can't possibly be having a crush on a living person. It's not natural. He doesn't even know much about Matthew, let alone know what pleases him.
"Jonah..." Matt clears his throat, something edging at his voice, making it sharper than normal. Fear? No, that's not right... Nervousness? "I'm gonna try something... Don't move."
Confusion is easily read across the dead boy's features. Glancing up, his eyes widen with a start and he jerks back, taken off guard at how close the cancerous teenager is. But Matt doesn't back off, it almost seems like he's trying to get closer. Jonah bites his lower lip, unsure of the other's intentions, but decides to somewhat help by heaving himself onto the bed, solving the height difference. A blistered hand rests on his cheek, forcing his head to tilt up slightly, and before Jonah can blink, chapped lips fall on his own.
Pure shock runs throughout the dead boy's veins. The feel of the other teenager's lips on his own is enough to cause those knots in his stomach to melt like ice over fire. It's unexpected – where did this intention come from? – but it feels... Oh, what's the word? It's feels right, for lack of a better term. It's insane, too. A deceased and a breathing being cannot be doing... things like this. It's absurd – the dead cannot like anything. They've had their chance, and now they shouldn't even be here. But Jonah can't help but brush off the thoughts like crumbs, paying no mind to the voice chiding in his head and he begins kissing back.
"Matt!" Billy's voice rings upstairs.
The kissing ends as quick as it started, and still manages to leave the black-haired ghost flushing and blank. He almost wants to go in for another kiss, but stops himself, reminding himself why they parted. Sending a small glance towards the stairs, he turns his gaze to the living being, watching the teenager heave himself up, and without a word, ruffle his hair and hurry upstairs.
Jonah bites his tongue, concealing a small smile. Had his mind been playing tricks on him? He's never seen Matthew blush until then.
A/N: I'm terribly sorry it took for-fucking-ever to update - I've been drowning in homework for weeks. D:
I hope none of this is too confusing - y'know, the reason Matt did what he did and stuff... *kicks feet nervously* Anyway, I'm excited to be changing some of the movie to some things I wish would happen, and stuff C: And thanks to everyone who reviewed, I know the archive hasn't been lively, so it makes me all more happier to see that people will actually send feedback. So yeah, I love you all~
Passive Aggressive - A Perfect Circle