~: Can you not see me? I swear... I’m there. :~
You sat there. That’s all you could do, and all you have been doing for the past thirty years. Though time swam through the large house, you personally kept track of every second. There was an old clock that sat in the back of the main room. It still worked, but there was no one in the house to hear it. Except for you of course. But you were unable to tamper with the clock, and therefor it just sat there, collecting dust. It was a shame really, it had been your favorite clock. You and your husband had sat there and talked right in front of it. The sound of it had always brought delight to the atmosphere, but now, the sound emitted stress to your uneasy mind.
It was strange, how come this noise was so influential? Why did it make you want to cry tears of joy? Why did make you want to smile at the same time? It made absolutely no sense. It was unusual for another sound to ripple the house’s atmosphere, but it did happen on occasion. Usually a creak from old floorboards or perhaps a groan from expanding and shrinking frames. But this sound brought you from your position of lying in your favorite chair to standing. A squeaking sound and then a long forgotten click.
You made your way through the hallway and towards the front door, curiosity leaking from your very being. Your feet touched the ground lightly, leaving a trail of cold tracks and cool air behind you. The front door was within sight, and it’s appearance different from normal. Between the frame and the actually door laid a crack. Light flowed in between the opening and grew over your feet and ankles. Weaving through your transparent being, the light flowed further than you were standing. Your eyes were glued to the door as it emitted a creaking sound and slowly opened. Light poured in and passed through you as two figures shadowed the doorway. For the first time in decades the sound of footsteps echoed in your ears.
Two men walked into the house with bags in hand. Both of them wore clothing that you didn’t recognize. But that was natural with the time that had passed, you recognize this and didn’t dwell. One of them had short and messy blonde hair that seemed placed on top of his head, yet the misplaced bangs framed his face in a way that made the look appear natural. His green eyes were defined with bold eyebrows and his lips were stretched into a line, clearly showing that he was not amused with the situation. The other one however, had longer hair that fell neatly to his shoulders and blue eyes that could rival the sky on a clear day. Small hairs sprouted from his chin and helped define his sharp features. You squinted when you saw the second man. His face struck you with strange familiarity and caused you to take a step back. You swore you had seen him before somewhere, your memory was still a bit fuzzy from thirty years of being inactive.
“Are you sure?” The man with larger eyebrows asked, “It’s really old and quite dirty. It seems as if it hasn’t been touched in years.”
The other man laughed, “Arthur, I thought I told you before. I saw this on the market and I just knew that I had to have it.”
“And how does she feel about this?”
You tilted your head in confusion. She? You saw no girl around them. You looked past the two men and out the door. In what looked like a modified automobile, a girl sat in the passengers seat. She had her arms crossed and from what you could see, an upset expression.
Arthur continued, “You two have been dating a long time, you need to make decisions together.”
“I know. She said that she didn’t mind and so I got it right away. Come on, don’t be a pessimist, let’s go inside.”
The man with stubble walked into the middle of the hallway, forcing you backwards so he wouldn't pass through you. Arthur followed after muttering a few things under his breath. You waited until they both passed you until you moved. They seemed to had accidentally left the door open. You walked over to it and lightly ran by it. The small wind that followed behind your transparent form urged the door to shut. The two of them turned around to face the now closed door.
“What was that?” Arthur asked
“Probably the wind.” The other shrugged
The comment caused you to smile. Well, he wasn’t wrong. You followed the two of them as they made their way through your home. Arthur mostly commenting on how dirty it was and the other man stating that it was a beautiful and original home in terms of design. It made you unreasonably happy whenever he specifically pointed out something that you loved as well. As you went through the house with them, you made sure to stay next to the man with sky-like eyes instead of Arthur. Whenever you got too close to him, he would shiver and look around as if he knew that you were there. They dropped off their bags near the clock and went back outside to most likely grab more possessions and possibly get the girl.
You had never thought about someone else coming and living in this house. After all, even after you died, it was still your house. And it was his house. You both belonged there together... But the idea didn’t seem unappealing to you. In fact, it might be nice to have sounds other than the clock every once in a while. You froze. You turned your head and looked over the bags and at the clock. To you confusion and great dissatisfaction, the clock had stopped. The consistent sound that it put out had disappeared. As you let your shock envelope you, you lost track of the small amount of time that had passed. The two men and the girl came into the house with more bags, as you had predicted. Due to your inability to move at the moment, the girl passed right through you. The feeling of losing yourself and being illuminated with life left you figuratively breathless. But the sound of the girls whining brought you out of it and you quickly stepped to the side and away from the three of them.
“What is it, darling?” The man asked
“It was really cold right here, it scared me.” She answered
“Shh... it’s okay.”
Your head pounded and you found yourself wishing that they would leave. But of course, they didn’t do that and you were left with a feeling of anxiety. It was the first time someone had ever passed through you and the feeling was definitely unwanted. It wasn’t long until Arthur had to leave the house and you were left with the other two. You stayed close to the clock and they left in order to unpack the man's things. After the sun had left its position in the sky and night encroached on the house, you decided to listen to their conversation.
“Aren’t you excited?” You heard the man ask from upstairs, “One day, you’ll be living here too.”
There was a silence before she responded, “Yeah.... I can’t wait.”
“Thank you for helping me unpack darling. It really means a lot to me.”
“Of course, nothing I wouldn’t do for you.”
“This is why I love you.”
You listened from downstairs and waited for her reply.
“I love you too, Francis.”
The name slowly entered your mind and sent you into a relay of memories. Your recollection of life had been full of that name. Your lover from thirty years ago... your beautiful french soldier, Francis.
“Shh... it’s okay.” You comforted
Francis held your hand in his and pressed it lightly against his cheek. Tears washed down from his blue eyes and made contact with your quickly cooling skin.
“You can’t leave me...” He cried
You inhaled sharply and your body was wracked with the sudden intake of oxygen. You had caught an illness a few months ago. Unable to afford a doctor, the disease ate away at your body. You had gone from a lady full of life to one clinging onto it. Francis had watched you lose your glow and could do nothing about it. He offered to take you into a busier area of town to see if you could find any help, but you denied everything. You simply wanted to stay here in the house the two of you had gotten together. Francis was off to war in a few months. You planned to live here after the war was over, happily with him. All you ever wished him was happiness, your regret was that you brought him the opposite feeling.
“I not leaving you, I promise. I’ll never leave you.” You answered
“But you are.”
“Do... do you believe in reincarnation?”
Francis was unsure on how to answer that, “What do you mean?”
“Do you think, we get another shot at life?”
He nodded, “Yes... because taking away lives such as yours is disgraceful.”
“Well then... I will be waiting for you in the next life, okay?”
“How will you know it’s me?’
You smiled at him and raised your other hand to clasp his, “How could I possibly ever forget you? Though... maybe you should keep your name.”
Tears continued to spill from both of your eyes. You felt yourself losing warmth, even though you were wrapped in blankets and Francis held you delicately.
“Alright. I’ll keep my name, but you have to keep yours too. Okay?”
The only sound in the house came from your favorite clock. The sounds were consistent and constantly there for your comfort. Your eyes began to close and your body lost feeling. Sobs wracked his body and he muttered something under his breath. You knew that he didn’t intend for you to hear it, but you responded anyway.
“How am I to live without you?”
“With happiness...” You sighed, “Promise me, you’ll live happily.”
He clasped your hands harder, though you never got an answer. You never knew whether he responded or not, after that point all you heard was the clock.
The sound lulled you to sleep and a world of breathless dreams.
That night, after the girl had left, you had made sure to go to his room. You didn’t have to worry about keeping quiet, but you still were careful as you approached his door. What was left of your heart felt as if it was going to give out and vanish if you did not see him and confirm your suspicions. As he slept, you approached the side of his bed and peered down at his face. The features were a bit different, but there was no mistake that this was your lover from the past life. Cold tears ran down your cheeks as you realized that he had kept his promise, he had kept his name.
But remembering that, you also recalled when you had first become a specter that roamed around the house. At the time, Francis had still been alive. But he did not keep his second promise. The day after your funeral, you never saw him smile again. All you wanted was for him to be happy, even you having passed on. But it came that day that he had to go to war... and he never came back. No one.... ever... came back.
You reached out your hand and lightly touched his cheek. His body shivered in response and you retracted your fingers quickly. For a split second you had forgotten that you were of another form. Francis slowly opened his eyes and peered in front of him, directly through you. Seeing those eyes once again and knowing that it was him, filled you with unreasonable joy. But seeing that those eyes were looking through, tinged your being with sorrow. Deciding that you would deal with that another time, you left a confused Francis and went back down stairs. Repeating the clocks sounds under your breath as you laid down on the couch. Even if it was dreamless, you still longed sleep. Perhaps with him here now, you wanted to cling to what little humanity death allowed you to keep.
~: Can you not hear my voice? I swear... it’s there. :~
For a few weeks, you laid low and avoided Francis. You would watch him from a few yards away or up on the staircase. As time passed by, you began to feel more comfortable with the fact the he had been reborn while you still lingered here. Even though you were unable to tell why you hadn’t moved on, the problem was never relevant since you got to see him every day. It was only recently that you had gained the courage to go in the same room as him and interact. It was a game that you played by yourself, you would act as if the two of you were still in your previous life time. The most fun came when either Arthur or the girl were visiting, then you could input on their conversations.
You didn’t have much against the girl, but something inside of you kept you from learning her name. You didn’t dwell on it since Francis seemed happy with her. Though, you would always keep a larger distance when she was around. She was incredibly sensitive to the presence you gave off and always complained. Since you preferred to walk on the floors instead of hover, there was always an icy feeling that was left on the ground. She hated that too, and every time she came over, she pointed it out.
On the other hand, you had mixed feelings about Arthur. He was a great guy in your opinion. Though he and Francis had little fights here and there, he still proved to be a great friend. You didn’t remember him from your lifetime, so he must have been a relatively new soul. The thing that threw you off about him was the fact that he was aware of you. Whenever you sat in the same room as them, he would tense up for a second, look directly through you, sigh, and then continue about his business. You knew that he couldn’t actually see you, but he knew that you were there. It didn’t bother you too much since he never made a big deal about it, but it did strike up some resentment since he was able to do it but Francis wasn’t. He wasn't the one you wanted to acknowledge you.
Francis had other friends, but they all came less frequently. Today was a day that Arthur and the girl had decided to come over together, and you happily tagged along with the group. Arthur once again tensed up, but let it go. The girl on the other hand, complained.
“Why are the floorboards always so cold?” She whined, “I’m getting sick of it!”
Francis replied, “I like it, it’s refreshing.”
“Thank you.” You stated, “I agree.”
“Well I don’t. You need to fix it since I let you move here in the first place.”
Before things could get out of hand, Arthur stepped in. He lead the two of them into the main room and they all took seats on the couch and a chair. The other chair, the one that was closest to the clock was left open. You had always questioned if Arthur intentional did this, but later found out that it was Francis that didn’t allow anyone to sit there. Even if you knew that he didn’t know, it still struck you as a sweet gesture.
“When are you going to get rid of that dreadful clock?” The girl asked
“Dreadful?” Francis asked, “I like it. It brings a mysterious aura with it, one that matches the feeling of love.”
“Over dramatic much?” Arthur scoffed, “But I agree that he should not get rid of it.”
“I like it when he’s dramatic.” You interrupted
“But I HATE it.” She complained
“You seem to hate a lot about this house.” You said
As expected, you went unheard. Instead, Francis argued with her for you.
“Darling, you have to warm up to the house at some point. We are going to live here together after all.”
There was an all too familiar silence from the girl as she pouted. You stood up and childishly stuck out your tongue out at her. She was being completely unreasonable.
“If you love me, you’ll get rid of that clock!” She shouted
You and Arthur froze at her sudden outburst. The girl stood up and walked over towards your clock. You stood in front of it and didn’t have any time to move as her hand reached through your chest and touched the clock. The feeling of being taken over again washed through you and you gasped. You thought to yourself that you must be a weak spirit for you to feel as if you were being possessed instead of the other way around. But you were peaceful and didn’t want any harm to come to anyone, so you never learned how to. The girl cried out as her arm felt the brunt of your cold being and stepped back.
“Ah!” She screamed as she knelt down on the floor, “I hate this house, I hate it, I hate it, I hate it!”
Francis rushed over to her side and bent down beside her, “Shh... calm down, everything’s fine.”
The girl ripped herself away from Francis with a cry and ran towards the door. You only needed to catch a glance of his face to see that it was etched with sorrow and melancholy. You rushed by the two men and after the girl. How dare she hurt him? How dare she cause such an expression to be on his face? It was unacceptable... it was unforgivable. As the girl opened the door and ran out towards her car, you rushed by the opening and glared outside. She looked back once and you caught her eye. Maybe she saw you, maybe she didn’t. But as the door slammed shut, you saw her face painted with horror.
That was the last time you saw that girl. But it wasn’t the last time Francis saw her. He would be on the phone with her and promise to meet somewhere else. Each time he left to see her he had a relieved expression, so you didn’t mind that he still was with her. But as the weeks continued to roll on, Arthur came over more frequently to talk to him about his relationship. He told Francis that it was no good and that he should break it off. But Francis was strong on believing that love was a powerful emotion and something he would have to fight for. He was like that in his previous life too, you remembered that clearly. You had always admired that about him. No matter how many times you were uncertain about your relationship with him, he always comforted you and made you dispel your doubts.
It was about five weeks after the girl had ran out of the house that Francis came home with the same look of sorrow he had that day. There was only one thing different about it, tears brimmed his eyes. Your heart dropped at the sight of him tumbling inside the house without any direction in mind. He was so absent minded as to leave the front door open. As you were about to go close it for him, Arthur came inside. You were directly in the doorway, but he was able to avoid you and save you from that awful feeling. He closed the door and went after Francis, helping him to the couch and sitting beside him.
“You were right...” He mumbled
Arthur sighed, “I didn’t want to be right, you know.”
“I know. I should have listened to you.”
“Girls like that aren’t worth it, okay? You just need to forget her and move on.”
“How?” Francis asked, “I loved her, Arthur.”
You stepped closer to him and got a up close look at his face. His eyes melted into tears and scratched at the skin underneath, turning them an unwanted red. His hair was messed up most likely due to him running his hand through it like he did whenever he was distressed. His usual smile forced down by anguish left his expression completely heartbroken. After seeing that, you stepped away. You were confident that Arthur would take care of it for you. You watched as he continued to comfort his friend. You were sure of what had happened, but if that wasn’t enough to confirm your suspicions... you never heard Francis call that girl again.
~: Can you not feel my presence? I swear... I’m there. :~
After Arthur had left that night, you came back to the main room. Francis had moved from his position and was now sitting in a chair... your chair. You walked over to him and stood besides him. You looked down at him, his expression hadn’t changed. Arthur must have tried for hours, but he had other commitments and had to leave. At this point, Francis’s eyes were void of emotion and he just sat there. You couldn’t take the sight. You were caught up in your anger and started your attempt to comfort him.
“Francis, she doesn’t deserve you! You’re wonderful and so caring, you need someone who won’t take advantage of that!” You said
He didn’t move.
“Trust me, I know you. I know both of you... and that girl wasn’t good enough for you. She caused you to frown and to cry. You should never have to cry. If I were still alive, I would make sure you would never waste a tear on a girl like that.” You continued
“Do you not understand? You need to be happy, you promised me you would be happy. So... why? Why aren’t you smiling? Why won't you listen to me?”
Tears began streaming down your face as you screamed at him.
“Can you not hear me, Francis? I’m right here! I’m right here! Listen to me.... I love you, I need you to smile. I need you back. Why can’t you hear me? Why won’t you look at me?”
You couldn’t take it anymore. In your anguish you fell to your knees in front of him, your form wracked with sobs and the house echoed with your cries. Of course, he didn’t react. You stood up and fell forwards on him. You wrapped your arms around his body and cried.
“I’m here....” You sobbed, “It’s me, _____. Why? Why can't I comfort you? Why are you crying? Why did I have to die? I’m right here beside you, like I promised.”
Francis tensed up when you came into contact with him. In your moment of vulnerability, he stood up and you passed through him. The upper half of your body hung on the chair as you listened to Francis walk away from the room and upstairs. You continued to wallow in your anguish. So badly you wanted to just disappear.... Why weren’t you reborn? Why were you still here, watching your love go through his life without you? This curse you had made you watch him continue with heartbreak without you. You had promised.... You had both promised... Why couldn’t you keep that promise?
You pulled yourself up from the chair and focused your watering eyes on the clock. A crack had formed in its frame. Upon realizing that, you pushed yourself up into a standing position and approached it. You traced your finger along the old wood and sighed. As you calmed yourself down, a heavy feeling set in your chest. You felt your feet no longer lightly brushing the floor, but now planted firmly on it, take a few steps back from the wooden frame. In the glass that covered the face of the clock, you saw the reflection of the hallway. Your face wasn’t there... Reality slowly came back to you and you bowed your head in regret.
“I promised... I’d never leave you.”
You still watched Francis interact with people and go about his daily business, but you no longer pretended to be apart of his life. When Arthur came over, you didn’t join in on the conversations, and when he did chores, you didn’t walk along side him. You simply stayed close and watched him go about his regular routine. As time went on, he slowly seemed to forget about the girl. And although he did so, his smile still hadn’t fully returned. And neither did his charm. His eyes always held a strange dull look, and it bothered you. Arthur once again came over today, and in your boredom you decided to wait for him by the door. You peered out the window and looked around patiently until he began walking towards the house. As he got closer, you opened the door. He didn’t stop walking and just continued inside.
“Thank you, I’m coming in.” He muttered under his breath as he entered
That’s all he would ever say though. You knew that he was aware that you were right there, ready to close the door, but he still did it for you.
“Francis, I’m here!” He called out, “Time to get your lazy arse moving, it’s been weeks.”
You followed him through the house in his search for Francis. Personally, you had no idea where he was either, so you couldn’t direct him. Arthur had been doing this a lot lately. He would stop by and try to drag Francis out of the house in order to get him moving again. You appreciated it and wished that he would cooperate with his friend. You really wanted to see him smile again and it wasn’t going to happen with him moping around the house. To your surprise you found him staring out the kitchen window, not doing anything. Ingredients for some dish laid around the counters, but he had yet to do anything with it. This must have also struck Arthur as unusual since he sighed in annoyance.
“What are you doing?” He asked
Francis turned to face him, “Oh, Arthur. What a surprise that you’re here.”
“No... not a surprise. We planned this and I called out when I came inside. Since when have you been so absent minded?”
“I’m not absent minded...”
“Alright, now come one, let’s go.”
Arthur didn’t give time for Francis to argue and grabbed his wrist. You watched with a slightly amused expression as he dragged him out of the kitchen and to the front door, only allowing him time to slip on his shoes. They left the door open like usual. You really questioned how they could be so careless. With a slightly concerned attitude, you walked past the door and securely shut it.
You had sat in the chair for what seemed like hours. Without the consistent sound of the clock to help you out, you lost track of time easily. The only gauge you had was the sun... which had already gone down. You kicked your feet up and down in your own amusement and reflected on what you felt like, something you hadn’t done in awhile. Since that night, you had felt much heavier. Like something was keeping you grounded. As you continued to ponder, the sound of the front door opening and shutting whispered by your ears. You watched as Arthur and Francis walked into the room and sat in their normal spots. You didn’t pay much attention until Francis spoke with a voice that broke his depressing pattern.
“Arthur,” He stated, “That was amazing... How did you manage such a thing?”
“You idiot...” Arthur answered, “I didn’t do anything besides dragging you from your house.”
“Do you think it would appropriate to call her now?”
You watched them exchange words with the expressions you had missed. Francis wore a happy face with amusement and innocence wrapped up in his eyes. While Arthur looked content and proud of himself.
“I don’t see why not. She seemed interested.” Arthur responded
“Alright, I think I will then.”
Francis picked up his phone and dialed in a number you assumed that he had memorized. You stood up from your spot and moved to the couch so you could get a better look. You sat beside Arthur and listened intently.
“Hey... It’s me.
Yes, I know I called fast, that’s the type of guy I am.
You like that?
I was wondering if you were free tomorrow.
The cafe sounds wonderful.
That sounds great.
Alright, see you then.”
Arthur looked at him with a slightly annoyed smile, but the conversation caused you to laugh. You missed it when he talked like that, his voice weaved with charm. You stomach, though, twisted with two emotions. One of them being uncertainty and the other joy. Francis was no longer in his shell of depression, but this girl... in the end, would she cause him to go back into it?
You never met this girl. You only heard about her and saw pictures. She seemed nicer than the one before, but you had no way to be sure. And similar to the last one, you couldn’t bring yourself to learn her name. But that didn’t stop you from watching Francis slowly become happier and happier. As his smile became a normal and regular thing, you slowly felt the weight in your chest rise. You were no longer treading around the house, but dancing instead. Your whole being felt light again and your heart joyous. Whenever Francis would call and talk to this girl, you would be nearby and listening in on their conversation. And in the most recent one, he had asked her an important question. It was normal for people who had been dating almost a year at their age to do this. And so, you eagerly awaited the answer with him.
“Will you move in with me?” He had asked
And her response.... “Yes.”
It did slightly worry you as since the last girl hated the house and wanted to get rid of the clock. So, you decided to wait this one out, sit on the staircase, and allow Francis to answer the door. They must have been closer than you realized since she brought her bags right away without checking out the house first. The amount of trust they had between the two of them made you slightly jealous, but you still cared more about Francis’s happiness than your own. When the sound of knocking echoed through the house, Francis rushed to the door. You heard the two of them talking and your curiosity peaked. But you did not allow yourself to break your resolve and so you sat on the staircase and waited.
“This house is beautiful.” She said
“Isn’t it? I personally favor the design.” Francis answered
“I love it.”
The two of them got closer and eventually passed the staircase. At that point, you stood up and followed them. The girl maintained a smile on her face the entire time. She had one bag in her left hand and Francis carried the other two. He lead her to the main room and put her stuff next to the couch. You sat down in your seat and watched as the two of them continued to interact.
“May I sit there?” She asked, pointing at you
For a second, you considered getting up. But Francis answered before you did.
“Anywhere but there.” He responded
“It’s just there for decoration, no one sits there.”
She didn’t argue any further, but continued to look at the chair. Her eyes drifted upwards and caught the clock behind you. A smile gracefully grew on her lips and she walked towards it. She ran her finger around the face and then turned to Francis.
“It doesn’t work?” She asked
“Never has.” He answered, “But I like it.”
“Okay, then we’ll keep it. I like the design anyway.”
“Thank you, darling. Shall we take your stuff upstairs?”
“Of course, and thank you too.”
The two of them grabbed their bags and went up the staircase. You also stood, but did not follow them. You went up to the clock and smiled, it seemed like she was good person. Francis hadn't stopped smiling since she agreed to live there. Maybe you could also warm up to her.
It had been another month. The girl now lived in the house and walked around as if she owned the place, which technically, she did. She never disturbed you and kept Francis happy. Even Arthur seemed to really like her. Everyone in the household was happy and kept a consistent smile. You enjoyed watching the couple go about their daily lives and even began playing your game again. You had yet to see them do anything particularly romantic, but that was because you stayed out of their bedroom. Today, you sat in your chair and watched the two of them cuddling on the couch. Arthur sat in the other chair and watched them as well, his lips pursed in the same line he had when you first saw him.
“I’m so glad you moved in.” Francis stated
“I’m happy you asked me.” She responded, “I love you so much.”
“I love you too. How would I live without you?”
She smiled and planted a light kiss on his lips, “Aww, you’re so cute.”
You sighed and rolled your head to the side. This was becoming normal for them and it wasn't much of a show to you anymore. As the night continued on, the girl got tired and went upstairs to bed early. You were left watching Arthur and Francis talk to each other like old times.
“I see that you’re happy.” Arthur observed
“I really am.” He answered, “It’s been too long.”
They sat in silence for a little longer before Arthur spoke up once again, his head was positioned slightly towards you and his tone different than normal.
“Isn’t being happy enough?” He asked
Francis looked confused, “What do you mean?”
“I mean... if you’re happy, shouldn’t you be able to move on in life.”
You tilted your head.
“You’re not making any sense.” Francis stated, “Are you okay? Perhaps you drank too much wine.”
Arthur shook his head, “Not at all. I think it is time that I get going.”
He stood up and began his way down the hallway. Both you and Francis followed so you could shut the door behind him. He stepped outside and turned back before the door closed. To your surprise, he looked you straight in the eyes with a warm expression.
“I hope you move on.” He stated
Francis gave him a sour look, “Stop being strange.... I’ll see you tomorrow.”
You continued staring at Arthur until the door close, blocking your view. You turned your head slightly in order to see Francis.
“Are you coming to bed?” The girl called from upstairs
A smile once again lightened his face, “Of course darling, be right there.”
You didn’t move as Francis made his way through the hallway and upstairs to his girlfriend. He turned off all of the lights as went, leaving you in complete darkness. As the moments passed, you made your move. Slowly, you followed the trail that Francis left behind, making your way upstairs to his room. Everything Arthur said was true. In your first months as a spirit, Francis never kept his promise. He was never happy after your death. But he was happy now... was that what was keeping you back? The guilt of causing him sadness? Your footsteps became lighter as you approached his slightly opened door. By the time you made it inside, you were hovering off of the ground.
You floated over to his bedside and peered at his face. He slept with a content look and his arm around the girl. It was then that you realized tears were streaming down your face. None of them actually fell, but you could feel them tracing stains on your cheeks. He was happy. That was all you wished for. You reached your hand out to his face and lightly traced along the side of his head and lightly brushed his hair back. With one last smile you lowered your face next to his, taking in memories of his voice, his appearance, and his touch.
“Maybe in the next life, we’ll meet again.” You whispered, “Live with happiness.”
In a swift moment, your kissed him gently. His lips were warm in contrast to your icy ones and you savored the contact. In orbs of transparent light, your body dissipated to nothing but a forgotten memory.
A cool feeling brushed on his face and Francis felt his eyelids slowly separate. A small noise etched it’s way into the back of his head and caused him to stir slightly. He groggily raised his body and made sure not to wake his partner that slept beside him as he fully woke up and got out of his bed. The floor was unusually cold and his feet stung from the sudden contact. The sound that was playing in his head was familiar. He couldn’t recall what from, but it sent waves of nostalgia down his spine. Francis couldn’t help the urge to investigate. The floorboards made small resilient sounds as he walked out of his room.
As he made his way down the stairs and into the hallway, the sound became much louder. There were only two defining sounds that he could separate from each other, and they were in a consistent pattern. As he entered the main room, the floor suddenly warmed up. A strange tingling sensation washed through Francis as he realized what was making the sound. The large clock that hadn’t worked since the day he moved here... With a sad smile growing on his lips, he sat down in the chair closest to it. It was strange, how come this sound was so influential? Why was he smiling yet baring tears? With those thoughts swimming in his mind, he close his eyes and lost himself in the lonely sound, eventually falling asleep on the spot.
~: It’s strange. I see you. I hear you. I feel you. Yet, I swear... you’re not there. :~