Chapter 3 Guiding Light
After meeting the Sandman that night, I started to visit him from time to time when all the children were asleep. There’s not much to talk to him about since he’s always working and didn’t talk at all. Yet, he’ll always welcome my company whenever I visited. I even caught him sleeping on the job a few times, too. I guess working all night all over the world must be pretty exhausting. Of course, being the prankster that I am, I had to do something while he’s snoozing.
Once, I drew on his face... with a marker of course. The wisps and I could barely hold our laughter when I drew on his eyelids to make it look like they were pupils and doodled flowers on his cheeks. Of course, Sandman wasn’t too please. When he woke up to find us suffocating from trying to hold our laughter, he was totally confused and pulled out a mirror made of sand to check his face. He gave us a stern look when he found out what I did. Since then, he became very careful every time he’s in town.
I didn’t always bother him when he’s working, though. My wisps and I would sometimes play around with his golden sands, making something appear and play around with it.
Then one evening, I was chilling on a rooftop while the wisps played around in the air. I didn’t know what to do at that time. We pulled a prank on a family during a picnic in the park this afternoon. The father was cooking paddies on a barbecue grill and I made the fire burst up, causing the father to scream and jump back in shock. Epic face!
Two of my wisps possessed a ketchup and mustard bottle, so when the kids tried to squeeze the sauce onto their hotdogs, they ended up squirting each other in the face! Good aim, Wisp #1 and Wisp #2!
I also took a few cupcakes without the family noticing, except for the mom, who thought that it was the kids that ate them. Even though I’m a spirit, we can still eat. It’s not like I have the need to eat like when I was alive, but it did help with getting some energy to pull more pranks. God those cupcakes were good! Chocolate chip and ginger! Mmm, my favorite!
After the picnic was over, there really wasn’t much to do, so that’s why I’m here chilling on the rooftop of some random house I didn’t know.
While I was staring at the crimson sky, I heard people talking from down below. I usually would just mind my own business if it wasn’t for the familiar voice I heard talking. I sat up and looked down below to check who it was. Walking on the sidewalk were two women pushing their strollers. Each stroller had a child in it. What caught my attention wasn’t the children playing with each other, but the mothers. Because one of them was my mom.
“Just last week, he brought home a frog! It scared the living daylights out of me!” complained the woman talking to my mom.
My mom laughed. “Well, at least your son came home. My daughter keeps wandering off somewhere when I take my eyes off of her for a second,” told my mom. “I’m even considering of putting a GPS on her.”
“Why don’t you just make her wear those squeaky shoes? That way you would know when she wanders off,” suggested the woman.
“I did try that, but Abigail here always takes them off. She hates those shoes for some reason,” explained my mom, sighing.
“Maybe you should put a leash on her,” the woman joked.
“I wished she wasn’t so curious. Her curiosity scares me sometimes. I don’t want to lose her like... you know. I finally was able to move on. She’s everything to me. I can’t go through that again,” then my mom trailed off into silence.
I couldn’t see what her face looked like since I was too far away, but I could tell she must be feeling very sad. The woman she was talking to must’ve sense my mom’s dark mood too, because she immediately changed the conversation.
“Well! Did you know that Lin is throwing a dinner party in two weeks? I heard they’ll bring in a real professional bartender,” told the woman, trying to cheer my mom up.
“Oh really? Are you planning to go?” My mom asked. Her mood changed immediately.
Then they began to chatter in their new topic and walked further away to which I couldn’t hear them anymore. I watched them in silence as they disappeared into a corner of a street. So much emotions were running wild inside of me. Sadness. Longing. Guilt. Envy.
My dark mood must’ve been obvious since even the wisps went silent and watched me, worriedly.
One wisp flew up to me and made noises that sounded like it was worried.
“I’m fine,” I told them. “I just need some time to think.”
The wisps just look at each worriedly. They didn’t make anymore noise, but instead they all cuddled together on each of my side, comforting me. I was a little surprise by this, but I also felt warm inside and I meant emotionally. Yet, I did wonder how I’m not getting burned by them since they’re made of nothing but fire. Oh well. By this time, what’s logic?
It was already night time and I was with Sandman again. Instead of my usual playing around or pulling a prank on him, I just sat on his little floating island of sand with my legs dangling on the side and my lantern lying next to me. I would just watch my wisps play around with the sand figures in a daze. From time to time, I would start thinking about my mom. I really missed her and I wished I could go back. While I was sinking into depression, I felt something touched my shoulder gently. I turned around and saw that it was the Sandman.
He looked at me worriedly. Sand figures began to form over his head, but I didn’t need to look at those figures to know that he was wondering why I was so mopey today.
“It’s nothing serious,” I told him. “It’s just about my mom.”
Then suddenly I felt the sand I was sitting on shifted and lifted me up. The next thing I knew, I found myself sitting on a chaise lounge, or those couch that therapist would have. The Sandman was also sitting on a couch made up of his golden sand, which had a tall back rest twice his size, with a clipboard and a gold pen in hand.
“Uh... What’s this for?” I asked, confused. Is he giving me a therapy?
Then Dr. Sandman pointed his gold pen at me as if to say for me to start talking with a serious face. So now it’s interrogation?
I wasn’t sure how to start, so the first thing that came to mind was my mom’s face. “Well... I guess it’s about my mom. I really miss her, you know? After I died more than a decade ago, my parents were probably devastated. I feel really guilty about it, but I don’t know what to do.”
Dr. Sandman nodded while scribbling something down on his clipboard. A wisp flew up to him and wondered what he was doing. Then Dr. Sandman noticed it and suddenly whipped out a piece of paper and pen out of thin air and gave it to the wisp. He motioned the wisp to help jot down notes as well and the wisp nodded in agreement, so it started to scribble like crazy on the paper.
“I wished that they could see me and that I could tell them that I’m alright. That I’m fine! I feel guilty for making them go through so much after my death. But, at the same time, I envied that new child that came into their life. I guess I should say that she’s my sister, but I just have a hard time accepting it.”
Another one of the wisps flew up to Dr. Sandman with a gold mug on it’s head, which he took it and took a slurp calmly.
“She just came out of nowhere and took my place and my family. I definitely didn’t want my parents to be sad because of me, but I didn’t want to be replace just like that! I know I shouldn’t be thinking like this, but I just can’t help it! I used to be the only child and my parents would always look after me, but now I have nothing at all!”
I crossed my arms, feeling my anger was starting to boil. I could feel my eyes burning and tears trying to spill out, but I did my best to keep them in. It would be embarrassing for a guy like me to cry, so I rolled onto my side where the Sandman can’t see my face. I just wanted to be left alone until I can control my emotions. Then I felt a light touch on my shoulder and turned around slightly.
The Sandman gave me an understanding smile and patted me on the shoulder as if he was trying to tell me to calm down. Then he motioned me to sit up like he wanted to explain something, so I turned around and sat up.
He made figures with his sand and body motions to explain what he wanted to say. I’ll just summarize what he was saying so I don’t spend so much time trying to describe the figures and the amount of time it took me to guess right.
Basically, he told me that just because my parents have a new child, that doesn’t mean they forgot me or no longer love me. He also said that I should be glad that my new little sister was there to help my parents cope with my death. Just because I’m gone from their life din’t mean I’m gone from their hearts.
After Sandman told me this, I felt a little better. I knew he was right, so I didn’t feel depress anymore. It’s almost like something heavy in my chest was gone.
“Thanks, Sandy. Is it alright if I call you that?” I asked just in case. For me, I thought Sandy sounded better than Sandman. Sandman sounded more like a title than a name.
Sandy nodded that it was fine.
“You’re awesome, you know that?” I complimented, smiling sincerely.
Sandy smiled warmly in return.
After Sandy’s therapy session, I left with a lighter heart. Sandy has been a great friend and an awesome person to talk to, even if he didn’t talk at all. My wisps were exhausted from all their fun today, so they were now resting peacefully in the lantern. They’ve become more and more comfortable with Sandy, so that’s a good thing.
On the way to the graveyard, I had a change of mind and decided to check my old house first. I felt like checking up on my parents. When I got there, I gently landed next to the window of the living room. There I saw my parents and, I might as well finally accept it, my little sister. Abigail, I believe that’s her name.
My dad was playing with Abby, which I decided to call her for short. He was pretending to be some kind of monster and roared playfully while Abby laughed and screamed at the same time. My dad was on both his hands and knees, chasing her.
My dad was a very tall man and had this very powerful presence, but when he’s usually with my mom or me, he would become more gentle and sometimes playful. He had light brown hair in some army style cut with some white hair on the side and sharp hazel eyes. I could see wrinkles at the corner of his eyes and cheeks. I guess his age was appearing after more after so long.
My sister also had light brown hair but slightly long, which I mentioned before. Her eyes were grassy green with sparkle of laughter in it. I didn’t know her exact age, but I can only guess maybe around two or three. Maybe the next time they celebrate her birthday, I would find out.
“Roar! Come back here you tasty prey!” My dad said in a deep voice while crawling after my sister.
“Ha ha ha! Aaaaah! No!” Abby screamed in glee, not fear.
They ran and crawled around the sofa a couple of times.
“I’m hungry so let me eat you!”
“Just a nibble on the leg?”
While the two were play around, I spotted my mom coming into the room from the hallway.
“Honey, it’s way passed her bed time. She needs to sleep now,” my mom told my dad.
I have to admit, my mom was a beautiful woman, even now she still has that glowing presence. She still had a perfect slim body even after having two kids. Even my friends, back in the days I was still alive, used to say she was hot. I had to punched them each behind their heads to make them shut up. My mom had long wavy red-orange hair that went down to her shoulder, which was where I got my hair from, but I could make out some white hair as well. Her eyes were green, but unlike Abby’s, hers was lime green. There were also wrinkles at the corner of her eyes like my dad’s. I guess it comes with getting old.
“Aw!” whined Abby.
“Come now, sweetheart. It’s bedy time,” my dad told Abby as he picked her up into his arms.
“No sweep,” Abby continued to complain.
“No complaining, Abigail,” my mom told her a little sternly. “It’s already very late. Don’t you want to wake up early and play instead?”
Abby just made a pouting face with her arms crossed like she wasn’t satisfied. Seeing her like that, I started to think that she was kinda cute.
My dad gave Abby to mom so she can put my sister to bed. She walked up the stairs and into Abby’s bedroom, which used to be mine.
While I was now sitting outside the window of the room, I watched my mom tucked the little toddler into her crib while singing the same lullaby she always sang to me when I was little. Now, she’ll be singing to Abby.
Sleep my sweet little child
For the day has gone
The sun has set
And the moon has rise
The stars are shinning
Blessing you with a good night’s dream
So sleep my dear child
For you’ll be safe
I’ll always be here
To sing you this lullaby
Thanks to the window that was opened slightly, I could hear her voice clearly. I listened to my mom’s warm tone as she sang. It was so nostalgic.
Once Abby was fast asleep, my mother turned off the lights and walked out of the room while closing the door behind her, gently. I took it as a sign that it was time for me to leave, so I rode the wind home to the graveyard, the lullaby still playing in my mind.
Once I tucked my little daughter in her bed and turned off the lights, I came down to the living room, where my husband was waiting. We both sat down on the sofa, trying to enjoy each others company after a long day. I tuned out the sound of the obnoxious television as my husband switched channels. It had been years since we had a child to become the center of our lives again. I was stuck between happiness and sorrow whenever Abigail came to me to show one of her drawings or a colorful leaf she found. She didn’t have her brother’s eyes or hair, but both of them had the same expression of happiness. She often came back from school with mud covered all over her new overalls or dresses. She can be a handful sometimes, but I still loved her dearly. At times, I watched Abigail’s schoolmates walk to school with their older siblings from the elementary school next door. It made me feel regret of how different things would be if Jack was here to walk his sister to school.
“He would’ve love Abigail so much,” I said out loud without realizing. I rested my head on my husband’s shoulder, feeling slightly tired.
“Of course, he would,” my husband agreed in a warm voice. “He would’ve been a great older brother.”
“I missed him so much,” I began to cry like every time I remembered my dear son. Why did he have to go so soon? I always asked that question, but nobody could ever answer that for me.
“I do too, love,” whispered my husband and he lightly kiss my forehead, gently comforting me from my broken heart.
If only Jack was here...
Several days has passed and I was still pulling tricks as usual. It’s probably the only entertainment I had around here. When I’m not playing tricks on people, I would just chill on some roof or tree, watching the things went about around me.
And it just so happened that I was taking a nap on the roof of my parents’ house. I did come by my house from time to time now. I didn’t feel depress about this place anymore, so I would come and watch my family.
During the time I’m usually here, I discovered that my little sister loves to wander off and was curious about everything. My parents had a lot of work on them with just her.
Today, I was lying on the roof, enjoying the evening breeze, when I heard my mom’s voice.
“Abigail! Abigail!” My mom called my little sister, but no reply came. Not even her figure was seen. “Abigail! Sweatheart! Where are you?” I could see the panic on my mom’s face.
I also looked around hoping to see her hiding somewhere, but there was no sign of her. I swore she was still in her room when I was still awake before. Then I spotted the gate of the backyard slightly open.
Oh no... My mom must’ve accidentally left the gate open! That gate was always hard to close completely. If we weren’t careful, the gate sometimes wouldn’t get latched in.
I quickly flew off, looking for little Abby. I also had the wisps helped out.
“Find Abby!” I told them. The wisps salute and darted off in every direction.
I searched the whole neighborhood and the park. Any places that Abby could wandered off too. It took us about half an hour when some of my wisps came flying towards me.
“Did you guys find her?” Hope in my voice.
They blabbered excitedly and nodded.
“Show me the way!”
Then we flew off quickly. I followed the wisps as they guided me to the forest. How Abby wandered into the forest was a mystery. It was pretty far off from home and the roads here were very confusing that you have to be pretty lucky to come upon it by accident.
The wisps lead me through the trees, darting left and right to prevent my face smacking into the hardwood. As I went deeper into the forest, I could hear crying in the distance. I flew faster.
Once we reached our destination, I stared in surprise at where we were. We were at the collapse entrance of an abandoned mine. The place where I died.
The small grave was still there in front of the pile of rocks. The candles were completely melted and flowers were all dried up. I haven’t been here since I was reborn that many nights ago. I didn’t feel like coming to a place that reminded me of how I died, so I never really saw any reason to visit it.
And my sister was sitting there crying, lost and scared.
“Waaaaaaah! Mommy! Waaaaah!” Streams of tears ran down her cheeks and her nose was red and runny.
I didn’t know how or why she’s here, but I really didn’t care at this point. I quickly flew down to her, worried sick.
“Come on, Abby. Don’t cry,” I begged, but she didn’t stop. I forgot for a moment that she can’t hear me. “Uh guys, any ideas?” I asked my wisps.
They all gave me confused looks. They also didn’t know what to do either.
“Waaaaaaah!” Abby continued to cry her eyes out.
“What should I do? What should I do?...” I kept panicking and repeated my question.
My wisps also panicked when I panicked. They were blabbering at each in confusion and bouncing everywhere.
Suddenly, I noticed something was off. The crying had stopped.
I turned towards my sister and found something shocking. She was staring at the wisps in awe.
My wisps didn’t even notice that Abby had already stopped crying. They were still bouncing around and crying in panic.
“Guys! Freeze!” I ordered them.
They froze and went completely silent. They stared at me in confusion and I pointed at my sister, who was still staring at them. The wisps looked at me, then at the little girl, and then at me again.
Can she see them? To make sure my hunch was right, I told the wisps to move to the right. They did and Abby turned her head with them. I told them to move to the left. They did as told and Abby also turned as they moved.
“Holy Pumpkins! They can see you guys!” I gasped in shock.
The wisps mistook my shock as a bad thing and began crying in panic again and flew around like crazy.
“No, guys! Quiet! It’s not a bad thing!” I tried to calm them down.
“Oooooooooo! Pwetty wights,” my sister exclaimed and chased them.
That didn’t help at all and my wisps went into a frenzy of panic and flew everywhere, away from my sister.
“Guys! Calm down!” I tried to calm them down, but they kept running around in circles. My sister was running after them while my poor freaked out wisps were flying away from her, screaming.
“Stop running!” I shouted again. Oh lord! Nothing was working! They were all over the place!
I yelled at the top of my lungs. Everyone froze, except for my sister, who can’t hear me. Luckily, the wisps froze a few feet in the air, so my sister couldn’t reach them. She just jumped up and down in laughter, trying to catch them.
“Hi hi hi hi hi!” She giggled.
“Okay, Wisps! Here’s the plan,” which I just came up just that second. “Since she can see you guys, get her to follow you back home to my parents. Got it?”
The wisps nodded in understanding.
“Hauwh...” Suddenly, my sister yawned and her eyes began to close, looking tired. All that running must’ve tired her out.
“Oh no no no no no! Don’t sleep!” I pleaded. Why can’t she hear me!?!
She sat down.
“No! Don’t! Guys! Do something to keep her awake!” I told the wisps quickly.
Flop! She lied down and slept.
“Oh candy corn....” Great! Now how are we supposed to get her home? I can’t touch her, so there’s no way I can carry her. My wisps definitely can’t either. “Ugh! Time for plan B.”
The wisps stared at me, wondering what my next plan was.
I thought for a while. Now that my sister was fast asleep, she won’t be waking up any time soon and it was getting dark. If I can’t get her to go home, then I have to find someone else to get her.
“I have an idea,” I announced. “But it won’t be easy since this will take some trust from them.”
I remembered checking on Abigail a few hours after she fell asleep. When I came back from talking to my husband, her room was wrecked with her stuffed animals. Blankets and pillows were scattered all over the floor and there were traces of what looked like ashes.
“Don’t worry. We’ll find her,” When my husband said that to me as he came from behind, I realized that I was still gaping at Abigail’s empty cotton candy pink fairy sheets. I felt the warm tears splash down my cheeks while my husband tried to comfort me while searching through Abby’s room. He lifted her big teddy bear to see if she was hiding underneath it. I silently scanned through every inch of the room where I thought she could have hid.
“Abby,” I softly called out. I poked my head into her closet crammed with all her clothes. “It’s too late to play hide and seek, honey. Abigail?” I opened the laundry basket. It was her favorite hiding spot. My baby was nowhere in sight.
“Where’s Abby?” My husband attempted to increase the pitch of his voice as if he was playing a game with her.
“Check the house,” I said quietly. He nodded. We spent the next hour searching through every part of the house. Abby wasn’t at any of her usual hiding spots. No three year old could hide for so long. It soon became clear that our daughter wasn’t in our house.
“Abby!” I watched him run out to the streets. My husband and I were calling out to our daughter while searching the streets desperately, hoping to find any signs of her.
“What should we do? She can be anywhere!” I cried in fear for my daughter’s safety. I could feel dread running into my heart. My husband took out his cell phone. I knew he was dialing one of the neighbor’s phone, and possibly his mother who lived a few blocks from here. We searched her preschool, the park, and the playground, but she wasn’t there. The police came by to aid us in the search, but their luck was just as good as ours.
“Oh my god! What if it’s happening again?! What if we lose her like we lost Jack!” I remembered the same feeling I had when I found out that my son was killed in the abandoned mine those years ago. The shock and denial numbed into my mind and when the information finally sank in, I felt as if my whole world just disappeared before me. I clutched my night gown tightly from being blown by the chilly wind. I gazed at the black pitch sky. It looked like the night when Jack went missing.
“No! Honey! Listen to me!” My husband grasped my shoulder firmly. I stared into his eyes and I could see my own frightened reflection in them. “She’s fine. She’s just lost, that’s all. We’ll find her.”
“How can you be so sure?” I whimpered.
“Please, Honey! Calm down...” My husband barely finished his sentence when he seemed to trail off and stared at something behind me.
“What’s the matter?” I asked in confusion at my husband’s sudden change in expression. I turned to where he was staring at and I saw why.
We both stared in shock at a floating orb of fire, bobbing several feet away.
“What the hell is that?” Whispered my husband in shock.
The fire orb started to bounce around as if urging us to come towards it. For some reason, I felt like something inside of me was telling me to go after it. It was as if the fire orb was calling to me. I was about to pull away from my husband, when he quickly pulled me back.
“What are you doing?” He demanded.
“I don’t know why, but I feel like it’s calling me. I have this feeling as if it might know where Abigail is,” I tried to explain this strange feeling I had.
“What!?! We don’t even know what it is! It could be tricking us!” He argued, suspicious of the floating orb of fire.
“Please! I don’t know the reason why, but I feel like I can trust it,” I begged my husband.
The husband stared into my eyes as I tried to plead with him. He was silent for awhile, thinking, and he finally gave in after a long pause. “Fine, but if something happens, we stop following it immediately, okay?”
“Of course,” I agreed.
So we both ran up towards the flaming orb. When we got closer, it disappeared. We looked everywhere and that’s when we spotted a small pink shoe on the ground.
“It’s Abigail’s!” I cried in shock.
My husband and I looked around again, hoping to see our daughter. Instead, we saw another orb of fire floating at another street.
“Over there!” He pointed.
We followed the orb as it flew down the streets, turning corners, and then arriving in front of the forest. Both my husband and I looked at each other in shock, wondering if our precious daughter was in this dark forest. The sky was getting very dark and hard to see, but luckily, we had flashlights with us. The light from the orb shone brightly in the dark forest, so it wasn’t hard for us to follow it through the trees. We turned on our flashlights and continued to follow it for a long time until we finally reached an opening in the forest. By this time, the orb was gone. We quickly flashed our light everywhere, searching for our daughter and calling her name.
Then my husband’s light came upon our daughter’s sleeping body on the ground.
“Abigail!” Both of us cried out and ran towards her. My husband quickly scooped up Abigail into his arms while I kneeled in front of them.
“Abby, are you alright, sweetheart?” He placed his hands on her face and arms, searching for any injuries. Luckily, there was none.
Then Abigail opened her eyes slightly, half awake and half asleep. “Daddy?”
“I’m here, sweetheart,” said my husband, relieved to see that our daughter was fine. I was finally able to breathe easier as well.
“Oh my god! You’re so cold! Let’s hurry and get home so we can warm you up,” I touched her alarmingly cold hands. I hurried when I felt my daughter’s low body temperature.
“Where pwetty wights?” Abby asked before she went back to sleep in her father’s arms.
“Lights?” My husband repeated our daughter’s words and looked around. I also looked as well. Where did the orb go?
Then I waved my flashlight around and the light landed on a small gravestone.
“Oh my lord!” I gasped in complete shock.
My husband turned to look at what I was shock at and he too was staring with wide eyes. We finally realized that we were in front of the collapsed entrance of the mine that our son died many years ago. The gravestone was proof that this was where he now lies. My husband and I looked at each other as if the same thought came into their minds.
“Do you think...” My voice trailed off. I couldn’t form a proper thought. A cluster of assumptions and theories crammed in my mind.
“Who knows, but I also have this feeling that it might be who we think it is,” replied my husband. He looked worn out and looked at Abigail. “Let’s go home.”
I bit my lip. “Yeah.”
He got up with Abigail, who was still sleeping in his arms. We walked back towards the neighborhood. I looked up at the gravestone again and wondered if it was really him.
I watched from afar as they left for their home. I was glad they followed the wisp into the forest and found Abby. I was really nervous when my parents were staring at the floating orb of fire in shock. But when they decided to follow, I felt relieved.
“Good work,” I complimented the wisp that lead my parents to Abby.
The wisp made happy noises. It was very proud of itself for completing its mission.
Now that that was over. I have this question that has been bothering me since Abby chased the wisps.
Why can people see the wisps, but not me?!! There’s seriously something very unfair about this. Maybe later, I’ll go find Sandy and ask him if he had any ideas. But right now he supposed to be somewhere in Asia, making dreams for children there. I’ll just have to wait until he visits again.
For now, I’ll just watch over my family... and pull some more pranks in the meantime.