Ghost Story - Silent Partner


Mike Spera

Part 1

You want to know one thing I always hated in life, and that carries over especially strongly in death? Watching someone you really care about go about his business with the best of intentions, and watching helplessly as he does it all wrong and screws himself up.

I used to be the critical side of Dominic. I'd be his sense of judgment, his advisor, his "armchair quarterback," if you will. Dominic never liked criticism, especially coming from himself, but to be honest, he really needed a kick in the pants sometimes to get him started, or a whack upside to head to make him see what he was doing wrong.

Perfect example: Dominic always wanted to write fantasy, and he spent his high school years crafting this huge, long-winded story based on his love of Tolkien and those dungeon-crawling fantasy games he played. He spent years on this thing, but it was simply a lengthy and dull rehash of every fantasy novel that Dominic had ever read up to that point. His teachers knew it, his friends knew it, his parents knew it, and whatever editor the poor guy sent it off to was certainly going to know it as well.

Deep down inside, a part of Dominic (that would be myself) knew it was crap as well, but the poor kid just didn't want to accept the fact. Eventually I couldn't bear it anymore. I pushed my way to the forefront of his thoughts and I made him read it my way, and I made him see every glaring flaw that he knew was there but didn't want to accept. Maybe I pushed him a little too far, but I think it was necessary. He eventually tore the manuscript up and deleted the file off his computer.

Now, years and years after the fact, when he thinks back on the memory and he has the nerve to blame me, like I forced him to rip it up... or forced his hand in crafting this hack fantasy tale.

And then there was the case of Rosemary Taylor. I told him not to marry her. Dominic seemed to think that if he married Rosemary and the two of them settled down in a quiet town with a cute little house that she'd eventually give up the heroin. I told him that he wasn't going to change her, she was going to change him. I tried for years to get them divorced, for Dominic's sake, but he never listened to me.

Eventually her habit became okay with him. Then he tried it once. Then again. Then he started using it recreationally. After that, he started dealing it to the neighborhood kids. I told him it was eventually going to kill him.

And again, just like with the fantasy novel, he knew I was right but just didn't want to accept the fact. At least he died with a peaceful, spaced-out smile on his face.

Now that we're here in Purgatory, my voice has gotten a lot louder and for the first time I'm actually able to warn him directly, but he's just as stubborn in death as he was in life. We've only been here for a few months, from what sense of time I can gather, but the other ghosts around here have convinced Dominic that I'm some kind of id or shadow or dark reflection. At this point he's positively convinced that I'm his own personal bogeyman, like I'm his own personal bad guy spreading lies and deceit and evil.

If he could only see himself through my eyes, he'd see that I'm just pointing out the truths that he doesn't want to accept - like the fact that it's utterly useless to stay here in Purgatory and keep trying to contact Rosemary like he was still alive and everything was okay. He's got to learn to let go.

I've thought about leaving him several times, but I just can't abandon the poor guy right here in the middle of Purgatory. If I don't watch out for him, who else will? Even on his darkest days, I'm still his guiding angel, there to comfort him and remind him that he's only human, and that humans make mistakes.

When he's feeling really, really bad, sometimes I can jump in, take control, and show him how things are supposed to be done. I've only done this a couple of times, because whenever I come out of it, he spends all his immediate free time trying to undo what I've done.

Dominic is a great guy, don't get me wrong, but at times he just doesn't like to read the writing on the wall.

Right now he's focusing his powers (and all his attention) on the other side. He's trying to reclaim all that he's lost, including his thoroughly drug-addled widow. He's been trying to manifest to her physically, which hasn't gone well, and he's been riding her like a leech, which unnerves me because he gets so much energy out of being a spiritual parasite.

It's disturbing to watch, to be a part of, and I really don't approve of it. Naturally, he ignores everything I say until he screws up. He really hates hearing the words "I told you so," but Dominic needs it sometimes.

Talking to other repressed personalities like myself (yes, we do talk to each other) I've found out that the group that Dominic is currently getting friendly with is into some really freaky stuff. From what I could tell, these people set themselves up like a religious cult, calling themselves the Path of the United Being, and they've been playing Dominic like a fiddle to get him to join. From what I've seen spying over his shoulder, everything looks too good to be true, which is nothing but a red flag to me.

Naturally, Dominic thinks I'm lying and is learning more about them. They're supposed to help their members get better at their powers in order to become one with the Skinlands, solve their issues, and Transcend. Dominic is eating it up, but I've been talking to the other Repressed and things are not as rosy as they seem.

According to these guys, "becoming one with the Skinlands" means they encourage people to become so skilled at their powers that they can actually crawl back into their bodies, dig themselves out of the grave, and walk around in their old bodies in order to finish business.

But Dominic would never be interested in something that stupid...

...would he?