Ghost Story - Silent Partner


Mike Spera

Part 8

Dominic played that damn violin for the better part of the morning, and listened to a few old favorite albums of his in the afternoon. He still needed practice, so he didn't get as much enjoyment or emotional pleasure out of it as he'd wished; all the better for what I'd had planned.

At some point the hours waned away, the sun went across the sky, and it started to become twilight when a car pulled into the driveway and a tired, blond-haired woman with bloodshot eyes and a shuffling gait exited.

Dominic immediately started to get nervous. "Oh shit," he muttered as he shut the door to the music room but pressed his ear up against the wood, straining to listen to every move Rosemary made through the house: the fluttering of her coat coming off, the clacking and clinking of her car keys hitting the glass table in the living room, the sound of the television playing some crappy local news station.

"I don't think I can do this," he said to me.

"You know, I figured you'd do this - come all the way here and get spineless on me. Well look, pal, you've dragged both of us through the Shroud of Death itself to come here. Don't tell me you're too afraid to talk to her. If you don't want to go downstairs and speak your mind, then I'll do it for you."

"Don't you dare, you jackass,"

"Then don't make me, Dom."

If Dominic still had a pulse, it would be racing. Instead he silently stood gripping the doorknob of the music room, debating in his head how he was going to open the door, walk down the stairs, and approach his widow for a long-awaited conversation.

Eventually, the door opened and Dominic stepped out, walked down the hall, and slowly began to descend the stairs.


Before we even got into view of the living room, we could both hear Rosemary moving at the sound of Dominic's footsteps. The sound went down on the TV and the girl shouted out "Who the fuck is that?!?"

By the time we were halfway down the stairs, we could see Rosemary standing in the living room, holding a puny little switchblade knife like it was going to save her life. Her eyes were red, her skin looked like it was going pale, and then was a few white lines on the glass coffee table that looked like either cocaine or crushed-up painkillers. A plastic straw, cut into two to make it shorter, lay next to the line.

Rosemary saw her husband with a sense of shock and recognition. She knew his face, even after five years of being in the grave, but still stuttered out "Who the fuck is that?" again like a broken record.

"Honey, I'm home," Dominic said. His voice didn't sound as chipper as it did when he was alive, but that was probably because his voice box had shrunk and atrophied.

"Dominic? You. What the hell are you doing? You died. What? How?" she seemed to be tripping over her tongue in shock.

"You're probably a bit drugged up right now, but I want you to know that you're not hallucinating. I'm here, I'm back, and everything is going to be okay."

Oh yeah, he'll move back in and everything will be fine. I thought this to myself so quietly that not even Dominic could hear me. By now he was at the foot of the stairs, taking slow, cautious steps to the living room, one hand outstretched, palm up.

Rosemary just stood slack-jawed. At this distance, we could both the white powder around her nose and above her lip.

"What the hell are you doing here?" she asked.

"I've been watching over you for a long time, and I've missed you, Rosemary,"

"I don't understand. You've been dead for - "

"There's a spirit world. I've been watching you from there. It's a horrible place by itself, but it's even worse without you."

"Cut the Deadlands metaphysics, Dom. She'll never understand it. Hell, not even the dead understand it."

"All this time since you've been dead, you've been watching me?"


"So why are you here in the flesh? Why now? Why wait this long?"

"I came back because I miss you. It took a lot of time and effort to get here, but I came all the way here because there's something that I just had to say in person, no matter how long it took."

He stepped closer to her, and she actually stepped closer to him! She was falling for all this back-from-the-dead romantic bullshit like he was some kind of knight in shining armor!

"What really brought you back, Dominic?" she asked: "What do you have to say?"

She was in arms' reach of him.

Now, this is the part where Dominic reaches out, caresses her cheek, strokes her hair, tells her "I love you" and kisses the girl, but not if I had anything to say about it. I knew Dominic better than he knew himself, and he had some feelings that he wasn't sharing at this point, which I found dishonest and abhorrent.

This woman had screwed her life up, and Dominic was even more miserable about it than she was. And he hated her for that, even if he didn't admit it.

So this is where I pulled one of my little tricks. Dom was at a weak moment, and all it took was a mental effort and a flick of the wrist on my part to tell Rosemary what Dominic and I really thought of her.

Rosemary was probably too drugged up to feel it, but I wasn't intending to actually physically hurt her - all I did was flick Dominic's hand up, showing our mutual disgust of her by smacking her flat across her bleary-eyed face.

After that, I just leaned back and watched the fireworks.


The sound of the impact broke the silence of the room. Rosemary wheeled backwards mostly from shock than from the actual impact.

You fucking jackass! Dominic shouted to me in his head.

"Look, you've wanted to do that yourself on more than one occasion, pal."

"What the hell is wrong with you?" Rosemary screamed.

"I meant to say that I love you," Dom apologized.

"Well, you sure fucked that up, didn't you?!? You always wanted to change me, Dominic. You never liked who I was."

"That's not true and you know it. I never liked your drug habits - "

"So you come all the way here looking and smelling like shit just to slap me around?!? Is that what the dead do when they're bored?!?"

"Pretty much, yeah," I said, even though I knew she couldn't hear me. Dominic's mind was in hysterics at this point, shouting 'No, no, no! It wasn't supposed to be like this!'

"Rosemary, I love you and I came all the way here because I want to try and help you. I wanted another chance to be with you."

Dom reached out again, but Rosemary took a step back: "Fuck you, Dominic. You're dead. You've been dead for a long time. I've gotten over you. I'm not going to let my dead husband's carcass into my home as a roommate or as a husband.

"Get the fuck out of my house and leave me alone for the rest of your life. Or the rest of my life, or however many fucking lifetimes it takes."

I could taste Dominic's anguish at this point like a fine wine. I could help but think "I told you so." This wasn't going nearly as smoothly as he had planned, but I think it was better off this way - everyone was expressing how they truly felt, right? Isn't it better to tell the truth than to lie and pretend everything's okay?

Dominic just kind of gave up at that point. He had no will and no energy left to go on. He lowered his hand, took a step back from Rosemary, still looking at her with a pitiful "I'm sorry" expression, and then just collapsed.

I thought I heard something crunch and crack on the way down, but it didn't matter at this point. Dom's corpse hit the floor, but the two of us, his soul and his guardian angel, slipped out and further down, through the hardwood floor, through the basement, through the house's foundation, through the ground itself, and back into the Underworld.


Falling out of Dominic's physical body was like having a huge weight lifted off your shoulders, although I'd doubt if Dominic himself would have been inclined to agree with me at that point.

"Well, I knew this wasn't going to have a happy ending. Be careful what you wish for, Dom."

I was expecting some kind of 'Fuck you,' back, but he was too sad, too anguished to say anything back to me. Were he still alive, he'd be suicidal. But in the Underworld, suicide is an escape that's denied to us.

"Well, that was a fun waste of time, don't you think?" I asked.

No response from him.

"Dominic, in a month or so, you'll be thanking me for this."

Again, silence was my only answer.


~ fin ~

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