To the End: Dead or Alive
By Amanda M. Gordon
“What’s it like?” I ask her as I light my cigarette. The pale ghost eyes me with contempt from where she sits – on her very own headstone. Morgan Gates, who lived from September 18, 1983 to October 18, 2008, swears that she was killed just before midnight on the 17th because she caught a show of some local band I kept forgetting the name of. ‘I could have been married to that drummer had I just looked both ways – but that bartender made some mean whiskey sours,’ she’d say when the date rolled back around.
“Those things will kill you, you know that don’t you?” She warns, which made me laugh.
“Says the dead girl,” I reply, taking a drag with my eyes on the ground. I didn’t need to look at her to know that she was furrowing her brow at me. That’s the funny thing about people. Dead or alive, you could feel the heat of their anger before you see it.
“You know K, if I didn’t know any better I would say you’re looking to join me down here for good.” She says leaning forward, enough to the point she was no longer sitting but floating in the cool night air.
I focus on the nicotine and smoke that filled my system. I’d been visiting Morgan nearly every night for the past two months. Damn woman scared the hell out of me while I was going to go visit my dad’s grave. Half near killed myself running out of here, but I didn’t hit my head quite right on that headstone. When I came to, the day had broke and rather than letting sleeping dogs lie, curiosity got the best of me. I was always more of a cat person anyway.
“I’m pretty sure I got all my affairs in order up here,” I say, putting out my cigarette on another headstone with a grin. “Besides, if I’m not around you might die again, but this time of boredom.”
She punches my shoulder or at least, makes the motion for it. Her fist passes through me giving me chills, but nothing more than a shiver and a laugh along with it, which triggers a laugh from her as well.
“Not funny, but you are right. I consider it a good night here when I don’t have to scare off teenagers or drug dealers. Never thought anyone would be dumb enough to come back for a second heart attack, but you do make eternity seem a bit less – well less.” She says with a shrug, her feet nearly on the ground but not quite touching.
“Gee Morgan, you sure know how to make a girl feel special,” I tease again. I swear that it seemed like her cheeks gained some color but she just shakes her head.
“I mean it K. You asked what’s it like being stuck here – well it sucks. Again, before you wandered in here the highlight of my afterlife was keeping kids from hooking up on gravestones and the occasional cat letting me pet it.” She says, folding her arms with a bitter expression on her face. “I remember watching all those movies on shit like this growing up. Beetlejuice, Ghost, the Sixth Sense comes closest but only because of how mundane this is! The sunsets and I get to roam around up top here until daylight hits my grave – then it’s back into the box I go!”
Ghosts can’t produce tears but she looks like she could break down and cry any moment.
In my reminiscence, I realize I never bothered to ask her what color her eyes were and I kick myself to this day for inquiring more about the morbid things over who she was. Who she is.
“I hate it down there. It’s dark, quiet and I can’t smell a damn thing but I know I’m not smelling like any daisies,” she says, breaking her arms free again to run a hand through her wispy hair. How many times had I thought about running my own fingers through her hair? I couldn’t say, but I had to try to shake that off. What good was it falling for a dead girl anyway?
Her gaze fell on me once more and she gave a shake of her head.
“You should get going. Don’t want you to have to try talking your way out of an arrest with the cops again,” Morgan mutters as she turns away. I reach out to grab her but stop short because there was truth to what she said.
We all have an end, and one day I’ll meet mine. And when that day comes maybe I’ll be able to go with her, underground. But until that day comes, I’ll be content to keep visiting her. To the end.