Marty watched them. She laughed as the man whispered something in her ear. Marty was tempted to float in there and find out what they were talking about. Hear her laugh. Hear her voice. But, instead, he just remained there. She seemed so happy.
He turned away and floated along the sidewalk, but the image of her face flashed through him still. But he wondered if he really missed her, or something deeper.
“Hey Marty, how’s it going?”
“Oh. Hey.” Marty greeted Samuel. They were both on a rooftop. Marty watched the world below.
“You know it’s not going to work.”
“You know…” Samuel motioned to the ledge. “You know, cause you’re dead.”
“Yeah. I know.”
“Believe me. I tried. I knew it wouldn’t work, but I figured what’s the worst that could happen?”
“Yeah…You know, Samuel?”
“What’s up, Marty?”
“Do you think this is punishment? Being something that exists between existence and non-existence?”
“But for what?”
“I dunno. Look, there’s no point in dwelling on it. There’s nothing you can do about it. Look, I try to see this as an opportunity. You can float through walls, through ceilings. You can discover things about people you would never know otherwise–”
“You can watch your loved ones die.”
Samuel was silent. “Yeah. That part isn’t very good. Watching my wife…and not being able to do anything about it.”
Marty looked at Samuel.
“But, the most painful thing was not being able to tell her that everything was okay. That she can move on.”
Marty stared back down at the city streets. He suddenly wished he could speak to anyone and anything. Funnily, he wasn’t much of a “people person” when he was flesh and blood.
“But it’s all in the past now. I’m just glad that she doesn’t have to go through this hell with me. Seems like she was able to ‘pass through’ or whatever.”
“…At least we can see the end of the universe.”
“Yeah, that’ll be cool. And then there’ll just be us.”
“You know, I think they’re gonna have a space launch pretty soon. Wanna come? It’s about 500 miles away, but I think if we go now we can make it and haunt the space shuttle. That’ll be kinda cool.”
Marty didn’t respond.
“Well, guess I’ll see ya in a few months. Take care.”
Marty watched as Samuel slowly floated down from the ledge and along the side of the building, descending into the street. Marty hoped who wouldn’t end-up like that. Marty had known Samuel for years before he started to change. Samuel had been a spirit longer than he had, but in recent years he mentally started to change. He soon forgot his own past. His name wasn’t even Samuel nor did he ever have a wife. But, he forgot himself and, within the void, created a new past. Marty wondered how long it would take for that to happen to him. To lose her face smiling through his bones. Or, whatever he had now…
He shook his head and started to descend after “Samuel.”
Written for 13 Days of Samhain and Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge. Above image courtesy of Renate Vanaga at Unsplash.