“That’s good, Charlie,” my grandfather cheered. “Now visualize what you want it to do. Focus on the picture in your mind.”
The blue mist bent towards my will as I concentrated on what I wanted it to look like. I could feel the raw energy through my finger tips as I commanded the blue energy to take shape. I started out with simple geometric shapes. I enlarged a blue sphere and then collapsed it into a six by six inch cube. All I had to do was visualize the shape I wanted and the blue mist followed.
“Try something more complex,” my grandfather directed. “Like a small animal for instance.”
I visualized a penguin I had seen at a zoo when I was a kid. The blue mist spit apart and then reconfigured into a two foot tall clear blue penguin. It waddled along in the air, moving side to side. For some reason I recalled the dog I had as a child. The mist swirled into the air and then came back together as a medium sized fluffy Wheaton terrier. It ran in a circle around me until I knelt down to pet it. It pranced in place as I rubbed the space behind its ears.
Martin was able to show me how to defend myself against angry spirits by manipulating the blue necromantic energy. I could already make basic shapes and simple constructs to defend myself. If I came across the demon bear again, I would at least know now how to defend myself. I could fight back on a very limited scale, but at least I could fight back.
My grandfather thought it was finally time to teach me how to use my final ability. We were going to practice necromancy in its most basic form. It was time to reanimate the dead.
The idea of a decomposing corpse walking around gave me the creeps. Zombie shows were kind of cool these days, but the reality of the situation was far from glamorous. I didn’t even want to think about the smell of a decomposing body. Madison on the other hand would have loved everything about it.
Martin saw the hesitation on my face and I knew he understood what I was feeling. “I was squeamish the first time do. We can wait if you want, Charlie. It’s not the end of the world if you never want to use this ability. If it’s something you feel uncomfortable with we can skip it. We could practice astral projection again. You did well your first time.”
I felt nauseous as the thought of trying that again. “Astral projection was trippy, but in a bad way,” I professed to Martin. “The out of body experience made me want to throw up. It wasn’t a pleasurable feeling at all. I really don’t get the appeal.”
“It takes a while to get use to, I’ll admit. I didn’t use the ability more than three times during my entire life. Of course I practiced it all the time, but I only really needed it on those three separate occasions,” My grandfather explained. “You never know when it will come to be useful.”
I assured my grandfather that I was ready to try my reanimation ability, even though it was already freaking me out. I didn’t know how to handle the thought of a real zombie that I could control with my thoughts.
“Reanimating the dead is a controversial issue,” my grandfather explained. “Even within the oldest necromancer circles it is still debated today. This division makes all necromancers choose one side or the other. Our family has traditionally followed the rule that the reanimation of human beings is against the very fabric of nature. To bring a nefari to life is to go against the very limits of a necromancer’s soul. You see Charlie, when a a nefari is created a piece of the necromancer’s soul is damaged. The more nefari you create the greater the damage will be.”
“Then there are those that embrace this perversion of nature. They create the nefari to obtain more power. They practice the dark side of necromancy. The side that would intentionally terrorize a young soul like Laura.”
“It’s the reason necromancers are not favored in the supernatural community. A necromancer’s abilities are somewhat taboo in society. It’s ironic of course, because even the most advance society in the world believed in and prayed to some of these necromancers. There’s a very popular story from the Middle East of an ancient Jewish carpenter who could bring dead men back to life.”
“In some societies death is considered unclean, making people in funny looking hats do cleansing rituals for their spiritual well-being. Some rituals were simple like bathing its members in running water, while others dealt with circumcision, skin mutilation, and even human sacrifice. No matter the culture, death was a natural part of life. You were born, you lived your life, and then you died. It didn’t matter if you lived a good life or you regretted your entire life. You always returned to the earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust.”
“Many books of fiction based on our lives were centered around the necromancers who used their reanimation powers for selfish reasons. I’ll admit that I had a tough time keeping myself out of trouble during my early years. I didn’t have the role model you have today,” he said with a smug smile.
“My father died when I was young, too,” my grandfather continued. “I was left in the care of a distant uncle who practiced the dark ways. There are necromancers who keep nefari servants, manipulate, and torment others with their powers. These are dark necromancers. These are corrupted necromancers.”
“What’s a nefari?” I asked. I remembered hearing the term from my phone call with my mother.
“The nefari on the reanimated corpses of people, Charlie. They have no soul, and no consciousness to make decisions on their own.”
“Like a zombie?”
“Yes, but if a nefari bites you, you don’t turn into a nefari. The nefari is actually controlled by the necromancer. A zombie would have no master over it.”
“Will I have to create a nefari?” I asked intrigued, but still a little freaked out at the idea.
“No, Charlie. Only dark necromancers create nefari. Creating a nefari is not only dangerous, its also a sin against nature. I want you to stay away from this dark power. You are too inexperienced. In your untrained hands there is no telling what accidents might occur.”
“Did you ever create a nefari?” I asked my grandfather.
“I won’t lie to you, Charlie. I did create the nefari before. There were a couple of times over the years when creating a nefari saved my life. Never forget, that each time a nefari is made it destroys a piece of the necromancer’s soul.”
“Our family has its demons,” Martin continued. “You won’t find a necromancer family without them. But when using these powers we have to be better than that. We have to strive to be good.”
My grandfather floated towards me, “Charlie, I trust what I’m teaching you will not lead you down a dark path. You have to promise me if you feel out of control at any time you have to let me know.”
“What happens if I have to create one? A nefari. Like, in a life or death situation.”
“You will have to be careful. The darkness starts to consume a necromancer’s soul when a nefari is made the first time. When the necromancer uses dark power he is inviting the darkness in. That is why you should only create a nefari if you have no other way to survive. In the past necromancers have used their power for monstrous things. Self serving agendas. We must use our powers with responsibility and only for good.”
“You don’t have to worry,” I told my grandfather, “I can handle this.”
As I said those words I wondered if I was telling the truth? Did I really believe the power wouldn’t get to my head? Would I end up like countless ancestors before me?
“Don’t underestimate how powerful you are, Charlie,” my grandfather warned. “Always respect the things you do or you’ll become blinded by power. Power can be intoxicating.” He floated out of the room and I followed him outside. “Let’s practice with an easy reanimation exercise, shall we?”
Martin found a dead mouse in the garden. It died recently, which was helpful he said. “It’s easier to control a fresh corpse than a fully decomposed one,” he said. “Less room for mistakes. Don’t feel bad if you can’t do it the first time. Most necromancers start training at a really young age. Around ten, when our abilities are just developing. So, we have to cram a decade worth of practice into the little time we have you with us.”
Martin tossed the mouse in front of me. It was bloated and it’s hair was greasy. I thought it probably died from eating the poison from the traps I set out.
“I want you to practice using this rodent. It’s small so it shouldn’t put to much strain on you.”
“This is what you start kids out with, isn’t it?” I asked amused.
“Nothing to be ashamed of. Every necromancer starts like this. Don’t worry, you’ll work your way up pretty fast.” My grandfather pointed to the small mouse’s head. “The mouse’s brain is similar to a human’s. Just on a much smaller scale. Take it for a spin.”
I looked down at the dead mouse. I started to feel sorry for the little guy. There was blood oozing out from its open mouth, poisoned by the chemicals I set out to kill it. If I knew I would be using the mice to practice using my powers I would have forgone the traps to begin with.
“Charlie, we can skip it.”
“No, it’s fine,” I answered as decided to give into my morbid curiosity.
My first instinct was to use the same reflex I used when I talked to spirits. I willed the power forward to the mouse, but I couldn’t connect with it. I tried again, but still nothing happened. I was missing something. I tried to find a connection but could find nothing to connect to. There was nothing for my will to grab onto. I was looking for a spirit, but I should have realized there was none.
“No soul,” I mumbled.
“Good, so you’ve realized there isn’t a spirit to latch on to.” My grandfather circled around, waiting for me to understand. “If something doesn’t have its own soul what do you need to do?”
“If there isn’t a spirit to connect to then I have to give it one,” I was thinking out loud, but my grandfather didn’t argue the point so I thought I must be correct.
I sent my will back down, but instead of trying to grab onto a spirit I expanded my power through the corpse. I was giving it a part of myself to reanimate it. I could feel my energy travel through the mouse’s nervous system, muscles, bones, organs and tissue. I could feel my whiskers twitch and my tail move. I was becoming the mouse, or the mouse was actually a part of me. I could not tell for sure.
“You are lending the mouse a piece of your soul. Unlike with a nefari, that piece of soul will return to you release your hold on that animal. We only reanimate animals for that very reason. Your soul will remain intact as long as you stick to animals.”
Martin had been right in choosing the small animal for my first reanimation. Anything bigger might have been a mistake. As my will was exploring the dead mouse a strange sensation started to overtake me.
I could see out of the mouse’s own eyes. My whole world shrunk down into the grass. I felt like I was only several inches tall. I looked up at the real me towering over the mouse. I could move its eyes to look around at the world. See the world from its prospective.
I thought about the process of playing a video game for the first time. Or how I would react to any new toy. I tested the controls and flexed my avatar searching out its secret abilities. I moved each paw and discovered four working legs. As I became more in control with the mouse I decided to take it for a test drive. It was like driving a remote control car with my thoughts. I could feel the mouse’s muscles flex as I made it scamper in a slow but deliberate circle.
“Charlie, that’s great. Not many necromancers have that much control so early,” my grandfather said boosting my ego for the first time.
I made the mouse scurry out of the garden and into the woods. When I felt I had taken the little guy far enough, I returned to where Martin and the real me were. If I wanted to practice on anything more complicated I needed a more secluded area. Somewhere no one could see us working.
I let the mouse jump onto my hand and picked him up. When I looked into my eyes from the mouse’s point of view it felt like I was looking into a huge mirror on one end, and on the other was this tiny grotesque rodent.
Martin watched and gave pointers for the next hour as I practiced controlling the mouse in my room. I made it scamper around the floor and run under my bed. I had it jump over my shoes and scurry up the bed spread.
“Take it through the house,” my grandfather instructed. “This will teach you how to control the animal when you can’t see it.”
I opened the door and let the mouse scamper down the hall, while I stayed in my room with Martin. At first I was dizzy from the mouse’s point of view, until Martin suggested I close my eyes. I was amazed at the world through the mouse’s eyes. Everything looked humongous while I was only inches off the floor. When I looked up at the ceiling I felt overwhelmed at the vast open space.
As a mouse, I scurried down the hall. I saw the drop off from the stairs, but decided to speed up. Instead of stopping at the top of the stairs, I vaulted my small mouse body through the air. My mouse body flew down the stairs. The force making air rush up into my whiskers. I saw the floor approach, but my focus wavered when there was a loud knock door. I opened my eyes and lost the connection with the mouse.
I was back in the bedroom standing almost six feet from the ground. My view of the world was returned back to normal. The sudden change in perspective made me dizzy, so I sat down on the edge of the bed. I tried to reconnect with the mouse, but couldn’t figure out how to do that without seeing it. There was another knock at the door, this time louder than the first.
“Come in,” I called out as I tried hard not to throw up. When the door didn’t open I added, “It’s open.”
To my surprise it wasn’t Madison, but Diana who graced me with her presence. As soon as I saw her green eyes I forgot about everything. All of a sudden my entire life was irrelevant.
“Hey, Charlie,” Diana said while she entered my room. “Everything okay? You look ill.”
“Yeah, everything’s fine. Just got dizzy from standing up to fast,” I answered as I waited for the vertigo to subside. “Just need a second.”
“Just so you know, I saw a rat racing down the hall.” Diana said with surprise in her voice. “Want me to let your grandmother know?”
“It actually was a reanimated mouse,” I mumbled.
“What was that,” Diana asked unable to hear me.
“Oh, did you watch the last episode of Dr. Who?”
She smiled, but her eyes scrunched up. “What’s Doctor Who?”
“You know, mad man in a blue box, travels through time, poking stuff with sticks?” Diana laughed as she shrugged and shook her head. She had no idea what I was talking about. “Oh well, so what’s up? Thought you had work today,” I said, but quickly added, “Not that I’m disappointed, just... surprised.” My face felt warm and I was sure I started to blush.
“I thought it would be nice if we hung out today,” she said, “So I got Sam to cover my shift.” Her eyes traced my bedroom and studied the vaulted ceilings. She traced her fingers over the dresser following the pronounced curves, smiling at the touch. She was pleased by the room’s decor, but I couldn’t take any credit for it. My grandparents had decorated the room years ago, probably before I was born.
“I’ll think I’ll leave you two alone,” Martin said as he vanished into the house, giving us privacy. I forgot he was even in the room and nodded slightly to acknowledge his generous timing.
“Are you nodding at me?” Diana asked as she quickly glanced behind herself.
I ignored her question, changing the subject. “So what should we do?” I asked. “A movie maybe or we could go for ice cream?” I gave several other suggestions including driving around and the possibility of shopping, but Diana didn’t think any of my suggestions were what she wanted.
“I think we should just try to relax,” she said stepping closer. I was still sitting on the bed, but her body was so close I could feel the the radiating warmth. I took the chance to study her face as I searched every imperfection with wonder. I was overly infatuated with everything about her.
“What did you have in mind?” I naively asked, not wanting to over play my hand. “You’ve pretty much sad no to all of my suggestions.”
Diana pulled out a small thinly rolled joint and I realized I had misread the situation. It wasn’t what I was expecting, but it was still a great surprise.
I was amazed when the weight of the world lifted from my shoulders, after only several hits of the small white stick. I’ve been sedated with every different pharmaceutical out there. At the end of the day I preferred cannabis over any other drug. My mind was calm, but I could still think. Memory recall was a pain, but that wouldn’t complicate this situation.
We sat so close to each other it was hard not noticing the delicate lavender aroma of her hair. My heart was racing, but it could have been the pot. I wanted to fall into her lips and loose myself. I pushed the feeling away. I had to keep my hormones in check if I didn’t want to come off as a huge douche bag all of a sudden.
We smoked outside, under the moon, and away from the house. She was cuddled up to me on a concrete ledge in the back yard. The moon was only a thin crescent and in another twenty-four hours would be completely hidden as it started a new cycle. There were no clouds in the brilliantly clear sky. I could see billions of stars spread across the night like a forest canopy.
When we were done smoking we went back to the kitchen and made ourselves a light snack. I brought out ice cream and started to make a multi layered sundae for the both of us. All the ingredients were there; sprinkles, chocolate sauce, whipped cream, and lastly the cherry on top. Diana found some gummy bears which I was delighted to add as the finishing touch.
After gorging ourselves on ice cream and candy we went out onto the front porch. We gently swayed on the swing to a soft rhythm we made up together. It was absolutely blissful, which no doubt the pot had helped with.
Diana turned to me and I gently kissed her on the lips. They were sweet like candy and chocolate ice cream. I pulled away, but she pulled me back. Our lips shifted around in unison, as our mouths locked around the other’s. I wanted to kiss her forever, but there was something that started to nag at me. How could I possibly worry about anything while I was in Diana’s embrace? I was forgetting about someone I needed to help. I was ignoring Laura.
How was I going to help Laura? Her spirit was slowly being drained away by some unknown force. A force that could be another necromancer.
When we were back to just holding each other I decided to break the silence, “I know this is kind of a weird question to ask, but I was just wondering if you and Laura McDermott were close. I don’t mean to pry, but I’m confused on who her friends actually were. The way Billy made it sound she was hanging around someone a lot older.”
“Strange topic to bring up after making out, but I don’t mind talking about it. Laura and I have been friends on and off for years, since before I can even remember. We were pretty close to each other before she went missing. I only heard rumors about who she was seeing. She wouldn’t talk to me about it. She kept it very secret in case someone found out. In a small town like Dumont gossip travels at warp speed. It was likely someone we knew, someone older. She wouldn’t tell me who it was. Laura was worried she would get him in trouble.”
She readjusted so I was cradling her against my chest. “Everyone knows everyone in Dumont. It’s hard to go about your business in this city without half the town already knowing about it.”
I felt like a voyeur, looking into Laura’s life without her permission. “We don’t have to talk about this if you don’t want, too,” I said to Diana. “It’s really none of my business.”
“It’s okay,” she said. “I was shaken up when they found her body, but I can talk about it now. It just brought up a lot of old feelings”
She told me about Matt, her first love and first real boyfriend. He committed suicide last year. Growing up in Dumont they knew each other their whole lives. They didn’t start dating until the end of their junior year of high school. The relationship had pretty much fizzled out before he took his own life, but she still felt like it was her fault. She wasn’t sure if that was one of the reasons for what he did. She didn’t even know he was depressed.
“I went away to college and Matt stayed here to work on his dad’s dairy farm. We were both fine with the distance at first. We talked almost every day for at least two hours, and all the time by text. It was rare if went a while without communicating.”
“Late in the semester, Matt wanted to take me on vacation, but I couldn’t leave yet because of finals. We had an argument that night, over things that we had bottled up for a long time. It was a bad fight and we ended the relationship over the phone. Well, I ended the relationship. I thought he was okay, I didn’t think he would have done anything.” She paused. I could tell she was reliving something from her past. “The next morning his mother found his body hanging in the barn.”
I could see the tears forming around the crease of her eyes. I felt bad about bringing up these painful memories. I wanted to take her sadness away and make her feel happy again.
“I’m sorry, I know it’s hard to talk about,” I softly said. “I lost my dad when I was little. The pain never really goes away, you know. Talking about it just brings up old reasons to be sad again.” I realized I created a vacuum of happiness and sucked the joy out of our time together. I had to say something positive. “I promise, with time it gets easier to live with.”
She grabbed my arm and clung to me.
“Thank you, Charlie. I haven’t talked about Matt with anyone. It feels good to say some of these things out loud. I feel like I can tell you anything. I really trust you.”
I wanted to believe that was true. I wanted Diana to be able to tell me anything. If something was bothering her I was happy she could trust me to help. Even though I was obviously keeping secrets from her. I felt I could trust her, too. Could I trust her with my secret? Could I tell her I was a necromancer?
Even if I told her, she wouldn’t believe me. I could show her the trick with the mouse, but that could back fire and just freak her out more. No, I would have to keep this a secret.
It was cold, but bearable to be outside. We glided on the porch swing letting the rhythm fill the silence. I felt completely at ease with Diana and held her tightly against me.
“Is it okay if I tell you about him?” Diana asked suddenly. “It feels good to talk about it with you.”
I said, sure, unable to turn her down. There wasn’t much I wouldn’t do for her. I doubted I would feel jealous talking about her deceased ex-boyfriend. There was no competition there. I knew she was feeling better and wouldn’t deny her that.
“Matt had this way about him that made people want to like him. He was so alive and always overly confident.” She grinned. “That could cause problems among the boys. It pissed the hell out of Billy. They always butted heads over the dumbest things. They were best friends though. They could argue about movies for hours. I think if you knew Matt, you would have liked him, Charlie.”
“I question his suicide every day,” she continued. “It didn’t make any sense to me. Him killing himself. I was sure he was genuinely happy. It nags at me, you know? Why would a happy person take their own life?” she was asking rhetorically as she raised her head to look at me. “Happy people don’t just kill themselves.”
She pulled me into an embrace and buried her face in my chest. My shirt was getting wet with her tears, but I didn’t care. I held on to her as she continued her story. All I needed to do was listen.
“I got a call from his dad at six in the morning asking me if I knew where Matt was. He hadn’t shown up for work that day and never came home the previous night. I heard his mother’s screams all the way from outside the house. She found him. Matt’s dad dropped the phone, but the call didn’t end. I could still hear his mother screaming. I could hear his father’s cries next. It was a while until someone finally hung up the phone. It never occurred to me to end the call.”
She replayed the story in her head, as if the ending would change if she thought about it hard enough.
“I’ve been crying this entire time,” Diana said. She looked at her phone. “It’s getting late, Charlie. I should get home soon.”
“I’ll drive you home.” I said as I swept the hair from her face. Her eyes were blood shot and more tears would keep them that way until morning.
After talking to Diana I felt I needed to help Laura even more. Her story about Matt made me wonder if both of their deaths were not some how connected. What Diana said about Matt not being depressed was strange. People didn’t hurt themselves because they were happy. They killed themselves because they felt they had no other way. They became hopeless and withdrawn from life. Was their breakup that traumatizing for him? Could he no longer live without her? I thought that was hard to except even if Diana blamed herself for Matt’s death.
If Martin was right and we were dealing with another necromancer, then no one else would be able to help Laura. If we knew why Laura died then maybe we could figure out who had the motive to kill her. If Laura knew something about her killer, than I needed to know what it was.
Martin wanted to come with me to the clearing, but I didn’t take him up on the offer. I had to figure out how to master my powers if I was going to stop whoever was tormenting Laura. I drove the truck back to the forest and walked across the path to the clearing.
As I entered the clearing I could already see Laura’s ghost floating in the open space. My powers were running on auto-pilot and I didn’t have to stress on how I was using them. It just happened.
I pulled my will together and made it do my bidding. I felt the back of my eyes go numb and then shortly after, Laura turned towards me. She knew I wasn’t there to hurt her. She was still frightened though, scarred for her very soul, but thankfully not afraid of me. I could sense her feelings as if they were mine, but I could still tell the difference between them.
“Do you remember me, Laura?”
“Charlie,” her voice echoed. “Why have you come back? If he finds you here again, I don’t think you’ll be able to get away so easily. You surprised him, but he knows about you now. He will be waiting.”
“I’m not afraid of him (that was a lie), I’m trying to help you. Do you know what happened to you?”
“I died,” Laura simply said. “Am I a ghost?”
“Yes, I’m sorry,” I replied.
“Why can’t I leave this place?”
“You are trapped here. A necromancer attached your soul to this spot. Do you remember this clearing? Does it have a special meaning to you?”
Laura’s eyes looked lost, unaware of anything.
“Every time I try to think about how I got here my thoughts go fuzzy.” She looked off into the forest. “I’m dead. I thought I was dead. I understand I should have moved on, but he holds me here.” She redirected her attention towards me. “How can you see me?”
“I’m also a necromancer. Not like the one that did this to you, but that is how I can talk to you. Do you remember who killed you?”
“I know its a guy. Can’t see his face though. Always appears as these hideous monsters to terrorize me.”
“You thought I was him? The first time you saw me.”
“I thought you were here to hurt me,” Laura said. “I realized you were too kind to be him.” Her emotions turned to sadness. “Please help me, Charlie. He can change his appearance, be anything he wants. He knows my worst fears and uses them against me. He can see my thoughts. He makes me see things. Terrible things.”
“Why is he doing this to you?”
“I don’t know. I wasn’t perfect when I was alive, but I don’t know what I did to deserve this.”
“Can you think of anyone who would hurt you? Anything to help me figure out who he is?”
“I’m sorry, Charlie. My memory is fuzzy. I can remember who I am, but not much else. Please leave before he comes back.”
“Were you killed here, Laura?”
“I do not remember anything about my death,” she said. “I only know he will be back soon. You cannot be here when he does. He is too powerful.”
I couldn’t leave without a clue to the right path. Before I could ask another question I saw it. The blue mist fell from the sky and the dark necromancer returned for another night of terrorizing a scared little girl.
“If he finds you he will kill you, Charlie.”
“I promise I’ll come back for you,” I told Laura before I sprinted away into the woods. “I’ll figure out a way to get you out of here, I shouted.”
Laura was right about my strength. I was no match this dark necromancer. It didn’t matter if I asked anymore questions. Her memories wouldn’t be of any help, but maybe there was something I could still do. I could wait for this guy to come back, but even with Martin wouldn’t be able to stop him. I was beginning to to think my grandfather was right.
I wondered if I could follow his astral projection back to the necromancer, but it hinged on a lot of ‘what ifs’. It would take time and I didn’t even know when he would come back. I would have to be extremely lucky to catch him. Then there was the problem of not being seen. It didn’t feel like a feasible option.
I knew a few things from talking to Laura. First off it was a guy doing this. That ruled out half the population of Dumont. Second, he had gone to a lot of effort to do this to her. I figured only someone who knew her would go to that much trouble. She knew her killer. Why else would someone take so much of an interest in her?
I went back to the Sunnyledge to regroup. I went to my room to clean up and found Martin waiting for me. “How did it go?” he asked.
“He’s definitely sick and deranged,” I told my grandfather. “He’s using astral projection to appear to her as her worst nightmares. Shes never seen his real face and has no idea who it might be. If we see it again I’ll try to track it back to his body.”
“We can’t underestimate a dark necromancer, Charlie. What he’s doing is very advanced. Astral projection is a rare ability to master and only a powerful necromancer can manipulate his form as much as you say he does. He must also look to see if he is getting help from a teacher. To do the things he’s doing he would have needed to learn them from somewhere. You can’t learn these things on your own. He would need an anchor and the precise...” He trailed off. My grandfather stopped himself. “Never mind. like I said, very advanced necromancy.”
“Laura said he could look like anything in that form. She only sees her nightmares. He could be anything from an evil looking leprechaun to a two horned demon carrying a pitchfork.”
“Charlie?” Madison called from the hall.
“What’s up, little sis?” I asked when I opened the door.
“Who are you talking to, Charlie?” she asked glancing around the room. “I mean, it. Just tell me.
“I’m talking to my dead grandfather,” I honestly said, but knew she wouldn’t believe me.
“Fine, don’t tell me,” Madison said. “You don’t have to be a dick about it.”
“Maybe you were hearing things,” I snapped back. I wasn’t sure even sure why I was fighting with her anymore.
“Okay, never mind,” my sister shrugged. “I can’t sleep, want to watch a movie?”
“I’m really beat. I think I’m just going to call it a night.”
“I thought we could spend some quality time together?” Madison wined.
“I wish I could, but I can barely keep my eyes open,” I answered without hesitation.
“Fine, maybe another time,” she said.
Madison let out a short sigh and kept walking down the hall back to her room. When I closed the door, Martin was shaking his head.
“Don’t look at me like that,” I pleaded with Martin. “I tried telling her the truth. You heard me.”
“You’re going to have to try a little harder when you really tell her the truth. Don’t you think she deserves that respect?”
I knew Martin was right, but I wasn’t going to give him the satisfaction. I would tell my sister the truth eventually, but didn’t have the patience for it now.
“I’ll tell her,” I responded.
When my grandfather left my room I contemplated his words. He was right of course. I would have to tell Madison. I would have to tell her everything.