by J. Corso
It was a dark and stormy night. Actually, the sun was shining; the birds were singing—a beautiful day in my neighborhood. Years had passed since we’d had a dark and stormy night. The weather depended on the mood. Of course, if I didn’t like the mood, I’d change it.
My neighborhood is pleasant, always. It rains gently, in the late evening and early morning—plants need it. Kids are welcome and well-cared for. I make sure of that. Some of the younger ones can even see me. Breezes are usually balmy, and when it snows, and it does snow—how else make snowmen, snowballs, and snow angels—it only lasts a day.
I’m told repeatedly that too much of a good thing is not a good thing. Every neighborhood should have a dark cloud every now and then. But why?
As for me, well, I practice my moans and groans in the early, really early, morning. Still not too good at screams and shrieks, don’t like wearing out my vocal cords in such a fashion. Although H, my mentor, repeatedly tells me I have nothing to wear out.
I have the flickering in and out bit down pretty well. Only do it when the moon is full on and there’s a breeze. Makes it easy for people to disbelieve if they want to. H assures me that it’s important for people to be able to disbelieve, to question.
My mentor, H. Ah, now, what a wonder. He’d picked me up five minutes after my event as though he were waiting for me. He’s told me he’s been waiting for me all my lives.
This time he caught me, and I had to go through the program.
Well, I guess that was fair. I knew I’d been lucky. Could have been culled by the big D. Beelzebub must have been busy helping Lucifer orchestrate a major catastrophe. Usually he doesn’t waste time. He would have flung me right into a horror scene. And I’m not talking a simple Frankensteinian or House on the Hill scenario. More like the Black Plague or massive genocide.
Fortunately for me, H got there first.
I’m not an angel. You can see for yourself. No wings, no halo, definitely no harp. Don’t know whether I’m a burden, a penance, or a challenge for H. He says I’m simply one more step on his road to redemption. I guess I’m an angel-in-training, and I’ve got a long, long way to go. Makes me wonder what H did to get me as one of his steps. Must have been a doozy. In the meantime, I’m a spirit, what you might call a ghost.
H says I’m too independent. He says I must learn to forgive. H says a lot of things. He passed over 500 years ago and was in his prime at the time. Didn’t realize the tree he was cutting would come down the wrong way. Now he’s ready to tend and teach and try to control any wayward tendencies on my part. Like not letting me go all hollows on schmucks with bad attitudes.
Now, I know I’ll never be a true avenging angel. Flaming swords are so not my style. Whether it’s politically correct or not, I don’t want old-fashioned vengeance on the twit who murdered me. I mean, what good would it do?
But H does turn his head occasionally.
That’s when I have some fun times. H turns his head; I scare the bejabbers out of Jeremiah J. Maugham III. No matter where he runs or hides or how much he prays. I’m there, in his mind. I think I’ll practice those shrieks and screams. They’ll be most effective in the dark and stormy nights he’s going to have around him for a long, long time.
This ghost business can be fun. But don’t tell H.
Word Count: 645