Ghost Story - Silent Partner


Mike Spera

Part 6

Dominic doesn't have a watch, so there was no way to tell how much time we spent on the sidewalk alone, weeping all by himself. The sun started to creep around the clouds, so I woke my better half up. Seeing the sky grow purple, then pinkish-blue brought to mind another warning that Dominic was given; nothing big, but still a slight inconvenience that might blow our cover.

I noticed that Dominic has been slumbering around a lot, and it's not because he's been in a lot of fights. Was it because of emotional reasons? Was he exercising a few new tricks he learned from the Sandmen that I didn't know about?

"Dom, you've got to get up. The train station is down the street."

"I don't know if I can do this."


"I'm starting to think that coming here was a mistake."

"Look, you've fought hard to get here, right?"

"Damn hard."

"And you've put a lot on the line to make it this far."

"Yeah, but."

"But what?!?!" I was starting to get ticked. He dragged us both all the way here, and now he wanted to give up and go all the way back because he didn't feel as alive as he wanted to.

Dominic still hadn't answered my 'But what?' question, but at least he was on his feet.

"You'll never get another chance to see Rosemary," I pleaded to him: "You've been all over the Underworld and dragged yourself out of your own grave to make it back to her. She would be disappointed to know that you did all that for love and couldn't even bear to make a 20-minute subway ride and 5-minute walk to her apartment."

Well, that got him energized enough to get moving. Like I said, he's a good boy, but he needs a kick in the ass every once in a while to get him going.


"Train station is down here, right?"

"Yeah, look for the big T sign, just like before."

"I've never been in this part of town before,"

"Well, we're leaving soon, so you won't have to worry about getting lost. One more thing, try to stay in the shadows."


"You really never listened to any of the warnings they gave you before you came here, did they? Well, it's common enough sense to know that if you a dead body under a hot sun for long enough, it's going to start to smell pretty rank."

Dominic pulled the coat of his suit higher up over his neck, unbuttoned and flipped the neck lapels up, and struggled to pull his sleeves down over his hands. "Should have been buried in a more casual-feeling suit," he mumbled.

As we walked down the sidewalk, a few morning joggers saw us and forced their eyes away from the pale-looking young man with a slight walking impediment in a dirty suit who was trying to hide himself from the rest of the world and not doing a very good job. He managed to get to the train station without causing too much of a scene, but he started to smell a little bit, which got him very worried.

You're not going to wither and rot into Oblivion, Dominic, but sunlight is going to make your skin kind of dry and give you a slight slaughterhouse smell. Just buy the train token, get on the last car, sit in the corner, and try not to draw too much attention to yourself.

Dominic got a weird look from the overworked and underpaid T worker, who wrinkled her nose slightly as she slid the change and the train tokens over to him. My boy managed to mumble out something like a "Thank you" that probably wouldn't have been returned anyway even if it was audible.

He passed by a ratty-looking man bumming change on his way up the escalator, which hadn't even been turned on yet, and finally made it up to the platform and hid in a small, covered cubby area on a beat-up wooden bench.

"That wasn't so bad, now was it?" I said.

"How bad am I going to smell?" he asked, as if I knew.

"I'm as new at this as you are, so I really can't say. Just keep to yourself and most people will leave you alone. Try to act natural, even if you do get a little stiff."

"Any other advice?"

"As always, try not to do anything stupid."


We sat in silence for a few minutes before I popped a new conversational topic on him. "So, what are you going to say to Rosemary when she opens up her door and sees you?"

He was quiet for a minute - even I couldn't tell what he was thinking.

"You haven't given it much thought, have you?"

"Not really,"

"Well, this is the reason why we made this friggin' trip across the Shroud of death and back again, so it had better be smooth."

"I'll tell her I've watched over her since the day I died. That I've been trying to contact her but I'm not strong enough to be completely direct. That I love her and that I'll never leave her, and that so long as I'm here in the flesh, I'm willing to do anything for her. Talk to her, listen to her, do the dishes and the laundry the way I used to if she was too busy. Read to her. Be a part of her life again."

"So, you want her to accept you as a roommate, albeit a slightly dead one?" I sniggered sardonically.

Dominic apparently didn't like that comment and actually snapped at me, which he rarely does: "This is the woman I married, damn it. I love her more than you could possibly love anything. You didn't spent years getting to know her the way I have. If you have any kind words of advice, I'd love to hear them."

"It's your girlfriend, Dom, so you're on your own on this one."

"Exactly, so keep your mouth shut for a while."


The train finally arrived and we got on the last car and sat in the last seat, exactly as planned.

The ride was boring and uneventful, as most train rides are. A few morning commuters got on the final car with us, but they kept their eyes on their shoes or their newspapers or watched the world moving by outside like a slideshow, moving from slide to slide as we traveled from stop to stop.

Nobody spoke a word to Dominic or seemed to notice him, but a few people coughed and tried to hold down their breakfast as the ripe smell of dead flesh wafted through the hot car.

Nobody said anything to us all the way to Braintree, which was fine with me. Dominic hobbled off the train and down the escalators, past the turnstiles, and out the doors into the parking lot where cabs and buses awaited anyone who had enough money for them. It wasn't a far walk to Rosemary's place; past the Motel 6, across the Union Street Rotary {which is difficult when one has a dead man's limp}, past the Police Station. Dominic took it as a good sign that she still lived in their old place and that she kept some of his stuff around.

Judging from the way the shadows played on the sidewalk and how the dew smelled, I'd say it was about 8 o'clock in the morning when we finally arrived.

"Is she even home, Dom?" I asked.

"No, she's out. She works an early shift ever since she got that new temp job."

"Sorry, I wouldn't know."

"And you say I don't pay any attention."

"Well, we're here for the little things first, right?"

"That was the deal, wasn't it?"

"You don't have a key anymore, do you? How are you getting us in, tough guy?"

"The basement window around the back is never locked."

"Let's hope you're right."


To Be Continued...