Letter, found unopened
I can barely remember life beyond the Shroud anymore. It seems so far away now, so inconsequential. It WAS almost two centuries ago, I suppose. Time
doesn’t matter here, hovering between life and death. I can still see the world of the living, through the miasma of grey that forms the barrier
between myself and all that mattered...matters to me.
I remember when this bustling suburb was just a wood mill and a few farms. I lived on one, for that matter. Now, it’s spread out so far. I watched
it all. It boomed as Toronto boomed, construction companies buying out the tired old farmers to create opulent townhouses and condominiums for the
arrogant yuppies who thought themselves too good for inner city living.
Before all this, in a simpler time, I was just a young woman, only nineteen when it happened. I was the most beautiful girl in the area, the envy of
the few teenagers for miles around. Then, it happened. I don’t know whether Momma was cooking something, or there was an accident in Father’s
smithy, but it all burned - my family, our log home, and most of the surrounding fields of wheat. By the time that the neighbors finally got the blaze
under control, all that they found was our charred bones. They buried us all at Munn’s cemetery, way out on the edge of town. I watched it all. I
saw everyone cry, I watched my life float away in the smoke, and I’ve continued to watch ever since. There’s nothing else to do.
I learned in all the spare time, and made friends with the growing number of fellow ghosts. There’s only about twenty of us in the city now, but I
started off all alone. So, when people left books open or went to the library, I read. My mother had taught me basic reading skills, and with nearly
fifty years before the radio was invented, I had plenty of time to hone them. During the night, when I saw strongest, I could turn the pages by
myself. It would take all my strength, but I did it. After that came those people who left radio sets or televisions on. I watched the world I had
known crumble away into dust.
In my eyes, the world destroyed itself. Nearly everything of value was put to technology's torch. Restless and growing angry, I roamed through each
new house as the ruthless expansion annihilated the place I grew up in, each new home crawling closer to my burial site. It was the only thing I had
left anymore. A few years ago, new houses came up within spiting distance of my last stronghold. Fearing that they would uproot what little remained
of my previous existence, I began to harass the inhabitants of the homes. Well, I did until I saw you.
You were only thirteen, young compared to me, but still remarkable. Your angst mirrored my own. I grew fascinated with you, inhabiting the house as
surely as you did. I watched you grow, I watched you suffer, I watched you revel and I watched you cry to yourself when you thought no one was
looking. You’re eighteen now, an aspiring writer. You has so little idea how much your words hurt everyone, Alexander. I can see it in you you’re
torn between the few joys you’ve found in life and the anger and hatred of everything. It cut me to the core as I watched you fight off your parents
time and again, claiming that you had no friends. I called out, screamed to you. I was here, just waiting, Alex! I understood! But you couldn’t see
me. I realized this, and sulked off. I returned later, unable to keep away.
Eventually, your interests branched out into the obscure, the abstract, and the occult. You made yourself runes, bought a pack of tarot cards. I
waited anxiously as it was mailed to you. Finally, I thought, it was my chance to communicate with you! Every day that passed, I was more excited than
the last. I would sit with you as you watched your favorite shows, observe as you wrote your stories, and sigh as I realized the eventuality that we
would be forever separate. How could you love something you couldn’t see? That epiphany did not dilute my love for you one iota. I still cling to
the shred of hope that lies deep with us...me.
You got the pack, and the first time you used it, I came through them to you. I helped you along your path as best I could. But the more you used our
precious medium, the more you felt and the more you saw back into the Shroud. I could feel it, see it. The fear in your eyes explained everything.
At night, as you would take dog for walks I would skip along behind you, enjoying the fact that you could be at peace out here amongst the shadows and
moonlight. However, the more you used the cards, the more you could feel my presence. You cast wary gazes past me, through me, at something that you
felt followed you with ill intent. On occasion, I took the child-ghost Mary with me. Merely five when she died, she was curious and wide eyed at her
new existence. She looked up to me as a big sister, a role I couldn’t deny the poor girl. We would walk hand in hand and follow you, my Alexander,
and your dog, and she would ask me questions about you. I would answer them as best I could, knowing that if I was her big sister, than you were
something of a distant cousin she couldn’t understand.
One night, we decided to try something new and watch as you walked towards us, waiting on the bike path you usually take. We were both excited. You
had been using the cards a lot more than usual, that night. As we watched you stride towards us, long legs eating up the distance, we smiled to
ourselves. In the pale splendor of a full moon, you looked better than the cur you claim you are. I stared longingly at you, as Mary jumped up and
down with excitement. Suddenly, your dog balked a mere ten feet from us. The large, golden brown mutt sat down and refused to go forwards, pawing the
leash whenever you, my beloved, tried to yank him forwards. Squinting into the darkness, you saw nothing, but the look on your face told me that you
were following your instincts, the instinct to shy away from death. Casting a baleful glare at the path as a whole, you turned and took a different
Mary turned and looked up at me, asking, “Andrea, why does Alex hate us? He can’t even see us!”
I was at a loss to explain it to her before she scampered off and chased you. You later wrote of seeing the shadow of a young girl- that was her,
chasing you and pleading for forgiveness for some unknown sin. A few somber nights later, myself, Mary, and the spirit of an old man who called
himself “Gaffer” found ourselves in your neighborhood. We dragged him along many a time to see you as you slept fitfully, or some nights not at
all. This night was different.
At the height of your perceptions, you saw us that night. You wrote of that incident as well, and I learned much from the experience. I found out that
those times I could not resist trying to touch you, make my affection known, you had felt it. It had terrified you in the beginning, my tender
caresses, gentle touches that had... had the taint of death about them. It heartened me in the end, realizing that I had finally gotten through to you
and saddened me as you recoiled from my touch. Some nights, I lie down next to you and try to comfort you as you weep silently, so desperately lonely.
It scares you as you feel the sudden pressure as I lay down on his bed, as I place one arm over you in a gesture that has been the symbol of love and
protection since time immemorial. It hurts, but it will change in time. You still fear my touch, but the terror in you grows less and less. You simply
feel my presence, sigh quietly to yourself, and turn on the light to read and allay your fears. I put my head on your shoulder and try to keep pace,
reading along with you. These days, the sensation of me gazing at you takes a mere fifteen minutes to calm. You accepted that I’m watching you, that
you can’t help it. I can’t help it either, beloved.
I follow your example, my love, and write down my thoughts. It has taken me almost two years to compile these few pages. In them, I hope you can find
the answers you seek, and take me for what I am. If you see fit, perhaps we will find each other again someday. I merely wished you to know of my
experiences, my feelings, and my devotion.
[edit on 23-3-2006 by DeusEx]