Spirited

Introduction:

It's been said that the imaginary friends of children are actually the ghosts of people who've died. Whether I believe that or not, doesn't really fit my case.

I was your average senior girl. My friends and I were on our way home from graduation when a motorcycle hit us head on. The cyclist died from lack of a helmet and since I was in the driver's seat, I had a concussion and my leg was broken because of the steering column.

The weirdest thing was that even though the paramedics said that the cyclist had died immediately after impact, I could see him walking around, trying to apologize to me.

That's never happened to me before. I've heard of psychics and those people who are sensitive toward the dead. I've never been one of them, at least until this happened.

I couldn't tell anyone. Of that I was certain. I'd be given medication for some sort of mental illness.

"Child, you're Spirited." My grandma told me one day after the incident.

"I'm what?"

"Spirited. You have a link to the souls of the dead. They follow you." She explained in a low serious voice.

My grandma was in her late eighty's. She was blind with a puff of white hair on her head and her shaky hands had long frail fingers with big knuckles. Both of my parents thought that she was off her rocker for a while now. At that moment, I wondered.

"Cookies?" She suddenly blurted with her usual high pitched breathy voice and a toothless smile. Nevermind, she was perfectly normal.

Oh, I forgot to tell you. The cyclist who possibly started all of this? Yeah, he actually does follow me everywhere.

Chapter 1: The Story of Matthew Quinn

Ever since I was a kid, I've always wanted a bike. I wanted to feel the rumble of the machine under me as I flew away on the gravel. Nothing separating me from the road except the wind which would glide through my hair.

My father was the exact opposite. He thought that motorcycles were two wheeled death machines. He forbade me to ever buy one as long as I was under his roof, so at nineteen, I moved out.

I got a job as a mechanic and rented an apartment. I was almost happy to finally be free of the drunken overlord that had spawned me. Then one of my friends found the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen. It was a rusted old Harley which could barely pass off as a bike at all. It didn't run and would take a while and a lot of money to get to that point. He dropped it off at the garage one day.

"Here you go. It's all yours. My cousin's had this thing in his shed for years. Good luck." He slapped me in the back and then left me to my work.

So for the next year, I'd work my days at the garage and my nights on the bike. I could hardly sleep or eat. All I wanted was to get the thing running.

I'll never forget the first time I put my hands on the handlebars and turned it on. The way it roared to life as if wanting to be ridden as badly as I wanted to ride it.

I also remember the first time I rode it, I toppled it on its side about three feet from the starting point. It took a while for me to get my balance just right and to figure out how to run it without stalling it every two minutes.

Then came the night when everything went to hell. It started off as a normal rainy day. I even worked a full shift at the garage. Everything was perfectly normal.

I was going out to my bike and noticed a pool of liquid under it. I figure what with the rain that it was just a puddle. I was going around a turn too fast and went for the brakes but the bike refused to slow.

I saw a car packed with teenage girls and I was heading straight for them.

The next thing I know, my bike was reduced to a pile of scrap metal and my body was being taken away on a gurney with a black plastic blanket covering it.

I recognized the girl who'd been driving the car and she was looking at me with these huge frightened eyes. She could see me and no one else could.

"Hey, I'm sorry for wrecking your car. What happened?" I asked her.

"Uh." She glanced around for a second. "Am I crazy?"

"Why?"

"Because, the paramedics told us that you'd died as soon as you hit the car due to the damage to your head." Her voice shook.

That made sense I guess. I really was dead.

"Are you okay?" I asked.

"Yeah. Just a broken leg and a concussion." She replied. Her brown eyes slowly returned to normal even though I could tell she was still freaked. "No one else in my car was even injured." She complained.

I laughed humorlessly.

"What's with the dress?"

"Graduation." She shrugged.

So, I literally ruined my life and probably scarred her for life because she witnessed my death on the night of her graduation.

"I'll make it up to you." I replied. As soon as the words left my mouth, I knew they were true. I had nothing better left for me to do. I could just follow her around and try to find some way to make her life better than mine ever was.

"It's nothing seriously. I'll be good as new in a few weeks." She replied warily. She twirled a lock of blonde hair around her finger.

"Nope. I've made up my mind. You're stuck with me."

Chapter 2: The Promise

For some reason, Matt really like to watch me get ready in the morning. He'd watch over my shoulder as I put my eyeliner on and then eye shadow. Even my lip gloss, especially my lip gloss.

He once tried to kiss me supposedly as an experiment all I felt was an icy chill run up and down my spine and a breeze in my face which made my breath visible.

"Damn." He'd muttered.

"Having fun?" I watched as my reflection arched an eyebrow.

"No. It's so annoying to be able to see and hear everything but not being able to touch, smell, or taste anything." He grumbled.

I laughed, he was probably thinking the same thing I was. Maybe if we'd met when he was alive I would find him attractive. He was tall with broad shoulders and big hands, like a football player. His hair was curly and dark and hung in his face. After his death however, his complexion was reverted to a pasty white and his eyes had a gray, cloudy, film.

"Maybe you could try haunting someone else." I suggested.

"You're too interesting. I find it funny that beautiful girls try to make themselves even more beautiful with makeup. What's the point?"

"I'm not beautiful. I'm not even pretty." I replied. I grabbed my purse off the counter and shut the door behind me. Matt walked right through it, without pause.

"Ha! You are super skinny with nice curves, lovely hair, gorgeous eyes . . . Need I go on?" He smiled a mischievous grin.

"Think what you want I guess." I grabbed my jacket off the hook and got in my car for my latest job interview.

"Where to today?" He propped his feet up on the dash.

"The Mini-Mart in town." I replied. I was trying to find a part time job before my first semester in college started next month.

"I see." He replied. He frowned at the stereo. "What are you listening to?"

"Music."

"That is not music." He frowned some more and suddenly the dial started to turn. We both gasped in shock. "Interesting." He grinned again.

"How'd you do that?"

"I just concentrated and it started to turn . . ." He crossed his arms proudly as hard rock started to pound through my speakers. "This is music."

I sighed in frustration.

I pulled into a parking space and got out. I smoothed my skirt and checked my makeup in my side mirror.

"You look fine." Matt replied from behind me. An icy breeze ran along my hips.

"Would you stop trying to touch me?"

"How'd you know?"

I glared at him before awkwardly walking away in my heels.

Inside the small store, I tried to follow the signs that hung above the aisles until I found the one marked "customer service". It led into a small room where I stepped inside.

"Ah, Miss Palmer. Please take a seat and I'll ask you a few questions." The store manager waved his hand toward the plastic chair in front of the desk. "How are you?"

"Fine, thank you." I replied nervously.

"Have you had experience with this form of occupation?"

"Yes. I stocked, organized, and took inventory of items on display for two years previous to this." I replied.

"I see. It says her that you left, did you quit or were you fired?"

"I was fired."

"What were the reasons for this?"

"I accidentally made a mistake when taking inventory and the store ended up ordering too much milk. Most of it spoiled and the store was charged the money to replace it." I explained.

"Indeed. Have you had experience with a cash register?" He glanced down at my application once.

"No but I could learn."

"Alright. We'll notify you within the week. Thank you for your time." He waved me away.

"Seriously? They fired you over spoiled milk?" Matt laughed.

"I don't see how that's funny." I muttered glumly.

"Aw, cheer up. I didn't mean anything by it."

"I know it's just that since I was fired from my last job, I haven't been able to find another and I need some way to pay for my tuition."

"That's why I never went to college."

"Yay, good for you." I retorted sarcastically.

"What are you hoping to major in anyway?"

"Nursing."

"Seriously?"

"Yeah."

"Because of me?"

"You're part of it. I want to save people like you before they . . ."

"Die. I get it." His mood suddenly turned sullen.

"What's it like? Do you see a light or anything?" I asked, trying to change the subject.

"No. I have unfinished business remember?" He returned to his normal cocky self.

"Right. Good luck with that."

I got a shower and went to bed.

"So, have you ever had a boyfriend?"

"No. Unlike what you seem to think, I've never been considered pretty or popular. Guys seem to see me and then go the opposite way."

"Yeah. I was considered a freak too. I was okay at sports and everything but I couldn't fit in because I couldn't afford the newest clothes. My dad was a drunk and spent his money on booze and my mom died when I was nine so I was pretty much trying to raise myself."

"You did a good job, I think. All things considered anyway." I yawned.

"I'm keeping you up, aren't I?"

"No, it's fine." Without my consent my eyelids started to droop anyway.

The last thing I noticed before I went to sleep was a pair of icy lips brushing against my forehead.

Chapter 3: Are Ghosts Supposed to Feel Like This?

I had no idea why but I had the sudden urge to kiss Bailey. Her eyes had just drifted closed and her hair, though darkened by her shower formed a golden halo across her pillow.

I crossed over to her side of the bed and let myself hover over her. I'd floated before but never like this. Usually it was by a few inches, maybe. I floated a few feet above her, flat on my stomach like you were supposed to when you skydived. Slowly I drifted down so that only an inch of space separated us. I leaned my face towards her and concentrated.

When my lips brushed against the skin of her forehead, I expected to feel nothing like usual. Just the slight queasiness I got when I went through a wall or door. This wasn't like that. A flash of heat raced from her to me so hot that even when I broke free, my lips tingled.

I gasped in shock and stared at this girl. What was she? She was just a normal girl who was somehow able to see ghosts right?

I licked my lips, the tingling was beginning to fade back into the numbness I usually felt.

Bailey reached up to her forehead through me, sending a wave of nausea to my stomach for a second but then it faded. She smiled and let her hand fall back to her side.

I continued to watch her sleep. Usually when she was sleeping, I'd visit my dad, the garage where I used to work, or some of my friends. This time it was different. I felt like if I missed one fraction of a second, something would happen and I wouldn't be there to see it.

She was a very restless sleeper. She rolled around a lot and mumbled incoherently. Once, I heard her angrily mumble my name and it made me feel the strange echo of emotion.

When she finally opened her eyes, she almost screamed when she saw me laying next to her.

"Holy crap!" She breathed heavily for a second before finally calming down.

"Sorry." I put my hands up in surrender. Her eyes narrowed at me for a second.

"There's something different about you today." She frowned in thought.

"Um, ok?" I got up. "Shouldn't you be getting ready?"

"No, I have nothing to do today. Well, other than chores."

"Let's do it." I smiled encouragingly.

"You can't do anything, remember?" She smiled back.

She went downstairs to greet her parents.

"Good morning honey." Her dad said from the kitchen. He sat on a stool with a newspaper in front of him. I decided to see if he was anything like his daughter. I poked my face through the paper and even said "Boo!" His only reply was the turn of a page.

"Shut that window would you?" He asked his wife.

I sighed and Bailey almost giggled but coughed to cover it up.

"Bailey, we're having eggs. You like yours runny right?" Her mom asked from the direction of the stove.

"Yup, always have, always will." She sat down next to her father and I sat on the counter in front of her. She glared at me and I glared back half heartedly.

Bailey ate her eggs and started to wash the dishes while her parents got ready for work.

"I figured it out." She whispered.

"Figured what out?"

"What's different about you. It's your eyes."

"What about them?"

"They're clearer. They used to be brown didn't they? They're just not as cloudy today." She replied.

I had no idea if that was a good thing or a bad thing.

I turned my attention to the dishes. I successfully picked up a glass and gently set it in the soapy water.

"Don't do that." She hissed.

"Do what?" I asked as I handed her a plate. She glared at me and I chuckled.

"I think my parents would freak out if they saw the dishes floating around."

"Good thing they're going to work then."

"How come you couldn't do that yesterday, but you can today."

"It's all a matter of concentration." I shrugged and grabbed another dish.

"That, or your ghostly powers are getting stronger." She muttered.

"Does it scare you?" I asked her. She looked at me and noticed that I was serious.

"No, not really but that's because I can see you. Other people would probably freak out."

"Then I will help you in any way I can."

I knew that what I was doing was wrong. I was falling in love with a living person. I think that was some form of necrophilia. For some reason though, I really didn't care.

Once the dishes were done, she decided it was time to get dressed and get ready for the day. I waited patiently and looked at some of the family photos. It was sort of like one of those flip books where each page has a similar picture but when you flip through it fast enough, it looks like it's moving. In the photos however, she wasn't moving. She was aging.

I thought about this fact for a moment, I was perpetually twenty. She was eighteen and going. What could I do about it? Absolutely freaking nothing.

Chapter 4: A Normal Day in the Life of Bailey Palmer

Since I got up this morning, something seemed off about Matt. He seemed happier today. His eyes were clearer, his powers increased. What was I missing?

Then there was the fact that when I went into the bathroom today, he didn't peek like he usually did. He seemed less cocky than usual. Like when we were doing dishes, he asked me if he frightened me. Why would he care if he did?

Did something happen last night? Was I missing something important here?

I had the faintest of memories. It happened right after my eyes had closed and sleep was closing in, cool lips touching my forehead.

"You kissed me!" I accused.

"You felt it too?"

"You felt it? I thought you didn't feel anything."

"Yeah it was weird. I just concentrated and pressed my lips to your forehead. Then everything was hot and it left my lips tingling."

"That's probably why your eyes are clearer, you broke through. It was only for a second, but still." I was still shocked. "Wait, why did you kiss my forehead? You seem like the type who would go straight for the lips." I felt my eyes narrow.

"I don't know. Maybe . . ." He didn't finish.

"What?" I was genuinely curious now.

"Don't freak out."

"I won't."

"I think I might be starting to fall for you."

"Okay. . ." I mulled this over as I searched his face for any of the telltale signs of lying.

"You're taking the news surprisingly well." He noted.

"You were probably the last person I expected to hear that from."

"Yeah. It's kinda sick if you think about it." He laughed nervously and ran a hand through his long hair.

"I think I know what we can do today." I ran off to the counter and snatched my keys. He followed after me, like usual.

"What are we doing?"

"We're going to find a psychic." I replied. "Crap, hang on." I ran back inside and grabbed the phonebook.

I sat it on his seat. He winced.

"Sorry. You okay?"

"Yeah. It happens every time I go through something or in this case, something goes through me." He started turning pages and then dog-eared the ones that looked promising. He read off the first address and we started off.

The first psychic was a phony. She said something about my grandmother, both of them were still alive. When I told her this she stopped and gave me a refund.

The next however was much different.

"I do sense a presence here with us. It seems to have a strong link to you." She stated.

"Yeah, his name is Matthew . . ."

"Quinn." He whispered.

"I see. How do you know this?"

"I can see him."

Her eyes snapped open immediately.

"That means you have a link to the dead. Has your heart ever stopped for even the shortest length of time?"

"No. He was on a motorcycle and was careening straight for my car. He was killed immediately on impact. I saw his body taken away but he was still there."

"That's why. He has unfinished business with you. He's made a pact with himself to make your life better in some way. He loves you. I can feel it in his aura." Her blank eyes cleared for a moment. "That's not good."

"What?"

"The dead cannot commingle with the living. It's forbidden."

"Commingle?"

"His feelings are causing him to become more alive. His eyes are not cloudy and his skin not pale. His powers are increasing. If this continues, he will have an uncontrollable urge to possess a living person."

"Possess? Like steal the body?"

"Exactly child. When a spirit does this, they will be taken to Hell for eternity."

"Hell?" Matt and I both whispered in unison.

"However . . . There is a way to possibly resurrect him. It's extremely difficult. You will need a person with holy powers and a person with dark powers. They must join hands around his body and pray to God to give him his life back. If it's his will, he will be revived." The psychic stared at me.

"How could I find them?"

"He will know when he's strong enough."

After that, she refused to speak with me anymore. I didn't know what to do.

"It's ok Bailey." Matt reassured when we were back at home in my room.

"Yeah, sure. The only way for us to be happy would be to find these people, the only way to do that would be to let your powers increase, if we do that you'd want to possess a body and be condemned."

"Bailey, we don't have to do it. I can stay a ghost, just like this. All I have to do is be miserable."

"You can't be miserable. You love me which will make you stronger. It's a never-ending cycle." I wailed.

"I could disappear."

"No! I can't live without you. I've never felt this way about anyone, why does it have to happen like this? Why couldn't I have met you when you were alive?"

"I wish you had." He replied. That night, I tried to stay awake as long as possible. Just me and Matt. We talked about everything, his life before this, my life before this. I so badly just wished that I could be with him . . .

I ran to the bathroom and grabbed my razor.

"Bailey, what are you doing?"

"If you can't be with me, I'll be with you."

I was about to slice it across my wrists when he slammed the blade out of my hand.

"Bailey, you have a family. You have a life! I never had that even when I was alive."

I closed my eyes and felt tears sliding over the bridge of my nose. The icy breeze that was him suddenly overwhelmed me and I started to shiver and my teeth clattered together.

"I hate this in between world I live in. I refuse to drag you further into it."

This time when he kissed me, it was all ice for me. It was like kissing a glacier that you were also trapped inside but instead of freezing me to the point of numbness, it burned me. Everywhere we touched, it left me tingling. All to soon, it ended. The chills stopped and I felt too warm. He was gone.

Chapter 5: Second Chance

After kissing her, leaving seemed to be the last thing I'd do. I couldn't stand to hurt her anymore. Unfortunately, that kiss also pushed me off the edge. All I could think about now was possession, how could I possibly resist?

I went to the garage where I worked and I got this weird pang in the pit of my stomach. I recognized Luke, my friend who'd given me the bike.

"Hey, Luke? You ok?" One of the other mechanics in the garage asked.

"Oh. Yeah. I just can't stop thinking about Matt you know? It's like he's still here." He knelt next to the car he was inspecting.

"I know the feeling."

I wondered about something. The psychic lady said that I'd know the people who could revive me. Was Luke one of them?

I walked over to him and whispered in his ear.

"Can you hear me?"

Luke shuddered and continued his work.

"Luke, I need your help." I wanted to smack him in the back of the head.

"Why? Matt, move on." He moaned. He heard me. I jumped in front of him but he stared blankly at his work. He may not be able to see me but he could hear me!

"Luke, this is really important. I met this girl." That made him crack a smile. I concentrated and flung the wrench he held out of his grip.

"What the hell are you doing Luke? You nearly hit me with that thing." The other guy complained.

"Uh, hey, can I take the rest of the day off? I don't feel so good." Luke did seem a little pale. Maybe I overdid it with the wrench.

"Yeah, Tuesdays are always slow anyway."

I followed Luke home.

"C'mon Luke. This is a matter of life or death."

"That's not funny man. What do you want with this chick anyway?"

"I think I might love her."

"No that's funny. Death did not treat you kindly dude."

"Well, I don't know. I feel sort of responsible for her. I died by face-planting on her car."

"That's sick."

"Tell me about it." I muttered.

"Seriously though, what do you want me to do about it?"

"I don't know. Something tells me that you're important because you can hear me." I replied.

"Can you make yourself visible or anything? A disembodied voice is kinda . . . Creepy."

"Sorry, no can do. I think I need your help though. I was told that I need to find two people. I think you're one of them. Take me to all of the places we used to hang out, I think they have to be linked to my death. The girl I told you about, she can see and hear me, You gave me the bike and are able to hear me. This third person must have some sort of link too." I explained.

"Well, what kind of person are you looking for?"

"I take it you're not a strong believer in God?"

"Not so much." He replied.

"Then probably someone holy."

"I think I might know who." He grabbed his keys and helmet.

We pulled up in front of the church I'd last gone to when I was nine for my mom's funeral services. I floated over to the cemetery outback.

"Matt?" Luke whispered.

"Hang on." I stopped at my mom's grave. Next to it was mine which had grown new grass and brown wilted flowers sagged against the headstone. "Luke, how long have I been dead?" I'd never even considered it before.

"Almost four months." He retorted.

I had a feeling that digging up my body would not be a pretty sight . . . Or smell.

"Alright then. Let's get this over with." I murmured.

We trudged up the stone steps which led to the tall and heavy wooden doors. We walked up the aisle and found the preacher sitting in the front pew with his head bowed forward in prayer.

Like with Luke, a strange pang jolted my stomach and I knew he was the last person we needed.

"Pastor Phillip?" Luke asked.

"Can I . . . ?" His voice trailed off into oblivion as he stared at me. Could he see me?

I smiled and waved at him . . . Probably not my best idea because it caused him to pass out.

"Oops. Water?" I chuckled.

"You killed him! Oh, wait, he's fine." Luke blurted.

The pastor's eyes fluttered open and when he saw me this time he made a cross across his chest and clenched a crucifix in his fist.

"Hey." I greeted. The pastor's eyebrows furrowed.

"Huh, I don't think he can hear you, Matt." Luke stated. "Pastor, this is Matthew Quinn. He needs our help."

"Dear G-God." He stuttered.

"Luke, would you mind being my translator?"

"Sure."

I told him the rest of my plan, the whole digging up of the body and the ritual. He looked half sick for a second and when he relayed this information to the pastor, he nearly fainted again.

"I will not abide by you and your . . . Damned Satanic witchcraft!" He shouted.

"I'm not saying it'll be pleasant, it's the only way to put my spirit to rest." I told him. Sure it was a lie, but it might be our only hope.

"Matt says that it's the only way for him to pass on." Luke translated.

"Forgive me Father." Warily the Pastor stood.

We waited until dark to desecrate my grave. Then, armed with a bible, a crucifix, holy water, and some shovels; they set to work. Close to early morning I would assume, there was a hollow thud as they struck my casket.

"Any ideas as to how to open it?" Luke asked me.

Hesitantly, I joined them in the grave. I flattened myself to the casket and then hovered around its edges trying to find any way to open it. I noticed on one side that it had some heavy steel screws of some sort.

"Hmm, you didn't happen to bring with you your welding torch did you?" I asked. I knew that in fact he hadn't.

"I'll be right back." Luke got up and out, I followed after him as he dusted himself off. Then I decided to go back to the Pastor, just in case he tried to get himself out of this.

"So, how are you linked to me." I wondered to myself. He watched me curiously.

"Slow down when you speak so I can try to read your lips."

I repeated my question a bit slower.

"I performed your funeral services." He replied. I nodded.

"Do you think ghosts can be saved?"

"Only if they find their way to Heaven."

It was silent and then the Pastor read off a few prayers and psalms to pass the time. When dawn was just showing the faintest grey on the horizon, Luke returned with the equipment.

He used the torch to break the seal on the casket and then lifted the lid. Almost immediately afterward he emptied his stomach in my grave. I saw why he'd vomited. My body even though it was embalmed was beginning to decay, my skull was a pulpy mess, my hair was long and shaggy and my nails were like claws. I shuddered.

The pastor crossed his chest again before joining us in the grave once more. With Luke's help, they lifted my body out of the casket and lay it on top of my mother's grave. They joined hands, one on the left and one on the right as the Pastor began to pray.

"Holy Father, we pray to you through your son Jesus . . ." That's all I heard before I got nauseous again and closed my eyes.

When I opened them, I was surrounded by white and it was like walking through fog. Out of the fog came a lamb and it bounded to my feet.

"Matthew Quinn, I know what you want." A voice said and I knew it was the lamb's.

"Yes. I did everything I was told, I just want to live again. I used my powers for good, I only wanted to help Bailey."

"But you fell in love."

"Yes."

"What about Bailey, does she love you also?"

"Yes, that's why I left. I didn't want to hurt her anymore. She was willing to kill herself to be with me."

"If you were given life once more, what would you change about how you were before?"

"I'd want to be with Bailey. I might even go to college. I wouldn't ride motorcycles anymore that's for sure."

"What about your father?"

"What about him? He hates me."

"Matthew, your father raised you in the only way he knew. He was trying to keep you safe when he forbid you to get a motorcycle. And what of your promise to Bailey?"

"To make her life better?" He nodded. "Her life is better when she's with me."

"So, you want to live again?"

"Yes, I'd very much like to live."

"What would you be willing to give in return?"

"You don't want my soul do you?"

The lamb laughed at that.

"No, Matthew. Do you know who I am?"

"A sheep."

It laughed again only this time its laughter seemed to roll across the ground so that it blew away all of the mist. All I could see was light, it was blinding.

"The light would not hurt you if you believed in me."

"Who are you?"

"I am the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit."

"Oh. Does that mean I have to become a priest or something?"

"No. You can do whatever you want with your new life, just have faith."

As soon as he said it, I felt sick again and felt my stomach fly up into my throat like it did on a roller coaster. I heard this strange familiar pounding in my ears and then the nausea passed. I felt strange, dizzy and then downright uncomfortable. I felt my breath come out in a whoosh and opened my eyes. My hair was in my face and I heard a thud. I felt sort of heavy after months spent as a weightless ghost.

I opened my eyes and saw first Luke and then the Pastor who fainted again which explained the thud.

"Holy shit, Matt! How . . .?" I looked over at him from the corner of my eye and felt my lips turn up in a weak smile.

"Hey." My voice was hoarse.

I looked over at my grave, it was as if we'd never dug it up, the grass was in the same spot, even the flowers wilted against the headstone, the only difference was that the headstone that once marked my death was now blank. It was completely blank.

"What happened?"

"Dude, first Phil here started to pray and then all of a sudden you were gone. He kept going and we were holding hands and everything and then there was this bright flash and all the dirt was gone, even from our clothes and skin and stuff. Then we looked at your headstone and it was like blank. Then we looked at you, it was like the accident never happened, the mess that was once your face was our face again. You have some pretty nasty scars now but nothing serious. Except maybe those nails, those are pretty lethal." Luke threw his arms around me in a hug.

"I am so hungry right now." I blurted. When the Pastor woke up again, we all went out somewhere to eat. A few people said I looked a lot like the guy who'd died in a motorcycle accident a few months back but then they let it drop.

I felt in my pockets because one of them felt strangely heavy. In it I found a white Bible with golden lettering. I smiled.

"Didn't know you believed in God." Luke teased.

"I didn't either until I came back from the dead." I slipped it back in my pocket and continued scarfing down food.

Chapter 6: Getting Ready for College

It's been about three weeks since Matt disappeared. In that time I got my job at the local Mini-Mart. I got enough money to pay my first semester's tuition which was good and I even had some left over to pay for gas since I had decided to commute. Everything was fine. I was running through my list of school supplies I'd need when the doorbell rang.

I heard some footsteps go from the living room to the door to answer it and continued with my list making.

"Bailey! You have a visitor!" My mom called. "Come on in." She greeted warmly.

I reached the top step when I froze mid-stride. A familiar face smiled up at me. His hair was cut short and his face was badly scarred but it was Matt. He was dressed in a button-down white tee and blue jeans, which I didn't expect.

"Hey." He pulled his hand from behind his back and in it was a bouquet.

I took the stairs down two or three at a time and then threw myself at him.

"I missed you so much." I was slightly startled by the fact that he was so warm and solid. He breathed in the scent of my hair and sighed.

My father cleared his throat.

"Um . . . Will you two be okay here or should we stay home today?" My mom asked.

I released my grip on him and settled back on the ground.

"I have some shopping to do anyway." I couldn't keep my eyes off him and he seemed to notice. He winked and I felt myself blush.

"Behave yourself Bailey." My mom scolded as she left with my father to their offices.

"So . . ." Matt ran a hand over his short hair nervously. "Shopping today?"

"College."

"I see. I need to go shopping too." He replied.

"For what?"

"Stuff for a new apartment."

I arched an eyebrow. He smiled mischievously.

For some odd reason, I wanted to kiss him again. Our last kiss was cut short by his leaving.

"You're not a zombie or anything now?" I asked just in case.

"Nope. I'm a totally normal human . . . Sort of."

"Sort of?"

As if on cue a vase on the counter moved itself under the faucet which turned on.

"I love you." He murmured.

"I love you too." I whispered back. He took a step forward and wrapped his arms around me. His face tilted toward mine and what once was ice, now was fire. He was so warm. He smelled like mint soap and cologne. I hoped he'd never smell like anything else.

He slid one big hand down around my thigh and curved my leg around his waist.

"Shopping." I gasped. He kissed my throat and my collarbone.

"It can wait." His breath was warm on my skin.

We went shopping after getting reunited and he told me about everything that had happened while we were separated. I guess Luke and Phil still keep in touch with him. I think they were also the source of his alias, Lucas Philips which he would use when he enrolled in the same college as me in the spring. Going by the same name as a boy who died months ago would have been spooky, even if they were technically the same person.

He also wanted me to meet his father who had been sober since his death. It nearly gave him a heart attack to discover that Matt was alive again.

He even offered to let me stay in his new apartment with him, I'd bring it up to my parents eventually.

So I guess I got a happy ending. I think there's someone up above who likes a nice love story now and then. Who knows, life's all about second chances.