Dribbles - 13. His Soul's Happiness
“Who are you?”
The tall guy on my porch grinned wickedly. “I am the ghost of Halloween!”He tried to go for the spooky sound effect and made some weird faces at me.
I rolled my eyes. “Whatever. You two days late man. Halloween’s over, the candy is all gone and if you don’t leave I’m calling the cops and telling them a pervert is lurking outside my apartment.”
I was annoyed that the threat didn’t even faze the idiot who was ringing my doorbell at eleven pm. I had work in the morning and then school and then more work. I had just wanted to blow out the candle in the window and saw this nutcase at my door. I was too tired, too worn out for this with all I had to do tomorrow. Plus… Jakob.
He didn’t move. “I have a message from Braden.”
I gasped and felt my mouth drop. I closed it with a snap, cutting off my sob. My entire body was locked down and I pushed at the pain. I’d cried enough earlier. I was done.
“I don’t know what kind of sick joke you think this is but it’s not funny. I’m calling the cops if you don’t leave.”
I growled. “Fine.” I slammed the door and locked it for good measure. I picked up the phone and tried to dial 911 but my hands were shaking too much. “Shit!” The phone got blurry and I slumped to the floor, sobbing again.
Hands came around me, plucking the phone from my grasp and then they pulled me into a hard chest. I was lost, so lost in my grief that I clung to that blazing warmth and didn’t question it. The hands ran through my hair and rubbed my back until gradually the sobs slowed. A little of the fog lifted and I looked up.
I jerked away when I realized it was the fucker from the porch. I looked at the door but it was still locked. I looked back at him, then back at the door.
“How did you get in here?” I demanded. I snuffled, trying to clear my throat, watching him warily. He didn’t try to touch me again and while I was confused I didn’t feel afraid of him. That only added to my confusion. Then again… how dangerous could he be? He just held me through a thirty minute crying breakdown that left a patch of wetness on his grateful dead t-shirt the size of my head.
Apparently I wasn’t done crying.
“I told you. Spirit of Halloween.”
I shook my head. “I should be freaking out and calling the cops on you, or getting my baseball bat.” My cheeks itched from the drying tears and I scrubbed at them with one hand.
“I’m not here to hurt you,” he said softly. “I really do have a message from Braden.”
I stiffened, my back going ramrod straight. I shook my head. I don’t know what I believed but I couldn’t believe that there was a way for Braden to send me a message from beyond the grave. Even if it were possible, why now? Why not last year, right after I lost him? Lost my best friend, my lover. This was stupid. The guy crawled in the window or something and was just messing with me. He had to be.
“You are probably thinking… why now? Why not when it hurt the most, when I would need a message the most?”
I stared at him. “How…?”
“Final time… Spirit here.” He poked at his chest. “Look, it’s simple. Today is All Souls day. Today Braden could reach out and you needed him to. You told him yourself when you were at the cemetery this morning. “
My mouth dropped again. “Have you been following me?”
He sighed and shook his head. “No one ever believes in me anymore. I don’t know why I bother.”
I just gaped at him. I had no idea who he was talking to.
“Okay fine. I’ll just tell him. God, you’re pushy!”
He turned back to me and I saw his eyes. His eyes were full of flame and fire. They drew me in and brought me closer to him, close enough to touch. I was in a trance as I touched his face softly. Real. Warm. Oh God.
I scrambled back. “You not… you’re not human. You can’t be!”
He shook his head sadly. “No, I’m not. I’m just a spirit given a body this one time a year. Just to talk to people like you.” He glanced at the clock, the hands so close to midnight. “My time is almost up too. Please, just listen. Braden sent me to you. He knows what you decided about Jakob and he doesn’t agree. He doesn’t want you to do it.”
My face paled. “He… he knows?” I asked shakily. “Oh god, how could I?” I buried my head in my hands, tears leaking between my fingers as I rocked. “How could I do that to him?”
Strong, warm fingers pulled my hands away from my face. “Braden understands,” the spirit said. “He wants you to be happy. Happy is Jakob, he’s seen it. He loves you but you have to let him go if you will ever get a chance to be together again. You’ll never see him if you don’t live your life and find happiness in your soul.”
I shook my head.
“Don’t make him know you’re unhappy because of him,” the spirit said softly. “You were his happiness, the one thing he needed to make his soul strong enough for the journey. Don’t condemn him to being alone forever by not finding that for yourself.”
I shuddered. I had so many questions but if Braden knew… if he understood… I lifted my eyes and stared at the spirit. He smiled at me and handed me some fabric to wipe my face with.
I opened my mouth, to tell him that I would, I’d be happy, but the clock began to chime. Midnight. He glanced at it and then smiled sadly.
“Time for me to go.”
I reached for him. “No! Tell me more about Braden. Where is he? What journey did he have to go on? Please, I need to know!”
The spirit took my hand and then brought them both up to my face, using the cloth to wipe my tears.
“You’ll see,” he whispered in my ear, “one day.”
Then he was gone. His warmth, his touch, were there one moment and just gone the next. I lowered the cloth and stared around the room wildly. I struggled to my feet and went to my room, slumping on the bed, exhausted. I lay down and tried to breathe. Was that real? I couldn’t help but begin to doubt. I turned over, tucking my hands beneath my chin.
Something tickled me and I looked down. Still clenched in one hand was the bit of fabric. I gasped.
The monogram on the side was B.L.C. Braden Lauren Conner. It was the handkerchief I had tucked into his pocket, his favorite one with the deep red color and the subtle pattern in the weave. The one I hadn’t seen since I buried him and then burned the rest, unable to bear seeing them.
I brought it to my mouth and closed my eyes. “Oh Braden…”
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