Tuesday, January 08, 2008

That's the Spirit

by Marcy

When Max spoke, people listened. The problem was that Max had been dead for 15 years, and he was tired of talking to people. He tried to tell the latest group of ghost hunters this on their EVP recording device, but what he had said as “leave me the Hell alone” had turned up on their recordings as “give me the telephone.”

They then brought in an old school rotary phone and swore that it would ring when not even plugged into the wall because the entity in this dwelling was so powerful. Frustrated, Max instead made one of their cell phones ring just to spite them, and the energy his spirit had to draw from the room sapped the battery in their video camera so they couldn’t get it on tape. That would show them.

But it didn’t. When people hear that things happen in the apartment building at 105 Franklin Street, every ghost hunter team, psychic, clairvoyant, and hack show up just to have a piece of the easy proof. Max used to enjoy it, but after 15 years it had gotten old.

The only person Max wanted to talk to these days was Andrea, a clairvoyant who had lived on the fifth floor of the apartment building he lingered in. She was quiet, and funny, and oh, would that he were still alive … well, it couldn’t be. But at least she could hear him, and talk back. When she had first moved into the apartment she had sensed him right away. Other tenants had burned sage – a smell that Max abhorred – and filled their apartments with crucifixes. Others held séances and begged Max to tell them things from the beyond. Max avoided their apartments, as they seemed the most likely to try and either raise him from the dead or have him exorcized.

But when Andrea had moved in, she did none of these things. Instead, she casually acknowledged him over her shoulder while unpacking dishes in the kitchen. She said “I know you are there. And I don’t mind, as long as you don’t try to harm me.” Max tested the water by speaking, asking her how she knew. “I sensed you,” she said, without looking away from her task.

Max lingered a while and she told him little things, like where she got this particular painting she was hanging, or how her great-grandmother knitted the afghan she was unpacking. Each day, when Max’s travels around the building brought him back to her apartment, she greeted him kindly, said a few things, and went on about her day. It made the ghost hunters and cuckoo psychics that visited the building at the landlord’s whim more bearable, back then.

She stayed in the building for two years, but fate took her elsewhere. The day she moved out she said goodbye to Max and thanked him for being a good roommate. Max hadn’t seen her since, but his travels never really took him out of the building so that was no surprise. What was a surprise is how sad he felt. He missed her. And now he didn’t want to talk to anyone, but more came to find him than ever before.

So sometimes he played their games, and sometimes he avoided them. And still other times he tried to make them go away. But they still listened when he spoke. They recorded it and catalogued it and chalked it up to evidence of life after death. When Max spoke, people listened.
But no one had talked to him like Andrea.

1 comment:

Briack said...

Nice take on the assignment.
Poor Max, though!
Andre needs to move back.