Ghost Story: A New Start


Ben Cameron


It's dark.

The dripping sound has been going for hours and there's a leathery rasp somewhere between heavy breathing and snakeskin on stone. At least the sobbing sound stopped. The sobbing always went for hours, always played out into its slow resolution like the silent desperation of a drowning bird, desperate for air, for the sky, for the memory of that freedom in the light.

She started with screaming. and a man's voice- heavy and baritone. He would shout, anger and confusion sloshing messily over a bed of tears, barely hidden.

She was resolute for a time. There was a day when she would have left him to stand-alone on his empty shores and ride the tides of his sorrow-rage alone. She was weaker now and the screaming allowed her to force some of the pain out of her body. That wracking, convulsive creature, like the heavy blood-moistened coughs of consumption. Like a field hospital at the end of that first world-shattering bloodbath that stained Europe with this dark taint of fascism and death, another layer slapped on, like shoddy paint to cover the centuries of horror and abuse.

It would not be the last.

She screamed the pain away while somewhere inside a little girl curled up into a tiny little ball and sang nursery rhymes to a tattered teddy bear. The little girl would smile sadly sometimes still and you could hear it from her eyes, half beauty and passion split with screaming terror and pain. Eyes like dark whirlpools sucking a man down, little nihils. He never fell in, only away.

When the screaming stopped, she would cry.

Hard pulsing sobs, the kind that look and sound like they are ripping a body in half. No tears left, eyes bled dry from years of abuse, years of shame, years of hardship.

The little girl always sings on, cuddling softly, rocking back and forth in her quiet dark place. Deep inside where the bad man can not reach, where the shadows were held at bay, where even her own dark voices can not find her. Her sanctuary in all this madness and pain. This dark world of blood and pain and hope and joy and all the little things the living take for granted.

The memory is sharp and bitter.


A whirling motion.

Strange fluids seeping into odd nooks and crannies I had never known were there in me.

Then a fading, like a leaking faucet being shut off. and darkness.

I clawed the darkness away from my face and stood up to see this place. Sharp memory and bitter dreams. Lost kingdoms, forgotten hopes, the quiet ones who slipped away unnoticed and the glorious fallen of a thousand foolish wars.

We are all here. We all end up here. And we're all mad.

Very, very mad.