Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Dreams of Stars 17

Quick apology:  I have two "versions" of the story, one slightly edited, the other not so much.  I've been kind of bouncing between them because I keep forgetting which is which.  I'll stick with the current edit as much as I can.

            “This isn’t so bad,” Deborah said as the door finally gave way and let them inside.  There was still some furniture, most of it rotted away, and the carpet was equally bad, but to Deborah this was practically a palace compared to what she had been sleeping in before she had met L’lorne.  The roof looked solid, there wasn’t any serious water damage, no spent syringes or pipes laying about, and no other bums to be seen anywhere.  L’lorne scanned through the rooms slowly as they checked the floorboards and began picking an area to spend the night.

            “This reminds me of this place on 12th street,” Deborah said as they settled down into a relatively clean area near the kitchen doorway.  “About a dozen of us took over the place for about a week, though I think many of them had been there longer.  Eventually, some cops showed up and chased us off, but it was nice while it lasted.”  She chuckled, more to herself than anything else.  “Some people claimed it was haunted, so when the cops burst in, they freaked completely, thinking the ghosts were going to get them.  It was pretty funny.”

            “You didn’t believe it was haunted?”

            “Pfft, believing in ghosts is baby stuff.  They don’t exist.”

            L’lorne smiled.  “I bet he disagrees with you.”

            Deborah turned around and gave a slight shriek as a figure appeared in the kitchen nearby.  The sudden reaction caused the sunglasses she was still wearing to instantly go black and Deborah cried out again as she was blinded.

            “It’s alright,” L’lorne told her, holding her slightly.  “He won’t hurt you, trust me.  He probably doesn’t even know we’re here.”

            The glasses finally relaxed as Deborah relaxed and she could see the ghost again.  The man looked to be in his 40’s or 50’s, hair would have been white except for the light, otherworldly green that seemed to cause him to glow.  He was wearing, of all things, pajamas, and slowly eating a bowl of what looked like cereal, with a bottle of milk sitting next to him.  The table was real, but the things on it and the ghost didn’t seem all that real.  She pulled off the sunglasses, and the figure was gone.

            “I didn’t mean to scare you,” L’lorne said.  “I wouldn’t have even mentioned it if you hadn’t brought up the ghost thing.  Let’s go over and take a closer look, okay?”

            The kitchen was bare, cabinets opened and stripped of contents long ago.  The capped end of a gas line sat where a stove once was and a large empty space marked the former location of a refrigerator.  The ghost was still eating his cereal as L’lorne and Deborah gathered on the opposite side of the table.

            “He’s eating.”

            “Was eating,” L’lorne corrected.  Suddenly, the ghost lurched slightly, then he fell, face first, into his bowl, splashing ghostly milk onto the table.  “Hmm, must have been the last thing he did.”

            “Poor guy,” Deborah managed to say as she watched the ghost slowly fade away.  Across the room, she suddenly heard a loud yawn and turned in time to see the ghost enter the kitchen and begin his morning ritual.  “He’s going to do it again?”

            “He’s caught in a loop.  The last few moments of his life recreated again and again.”  The ghost opened a ghostly refrigerator door and removed a bottle of milk.

            “Forever?”  The cabinet held a box of cereal that only appeared when the ghost touched it and he placed the bottle and the box on the table while he went back for a bowl and spoon.

            L’lorne smiled that knowing smile that annoyed Deborah so much.  “Forever is a long time.  No, probably only until this house is knocked down, then he’ll move on.”

            “To where?”  The ghost had paused before filling his bowl and hefted a bag up from the floor and began looking for something inside.

            L’lorne nearly replied when she noticed the ghost rolling something out on the table.  Blueprints for a very familiar building.  “Wait a second,” she said, examining the plans in more detail.  “Well, that’s a coincidence.”

            “What?”  Deborah leaned over and looked at the plans, but couldn’t make heads or tails of them.  “I don’t see.”

            “Excuse me!”  L’lorne shouted so loud that Deborah instinctively backed away, but in a moment she realized that L’lorne wasn’t talking to her.

            “Ah!”  The ghost said.  “How did you get into my house?” the ghost suddenly demanded, a very irate look on his face.

            “Sorry, your front door was open.  I’m from the government,” L’lorne held up, very briefly, the ID she had used at the CDPC.  “I came to ask you some questions about the Asylum.”

            “Couldn’t you have waited until I go to the office?  I’m still in my pajamas here,” the ghost didn’t seem to realize that he was a ghost anymore, or that he should be repeating his death again, but talking right at L’lorne just as he probably had in life.

            “I am sorry, but I was asked to get an immediate reply and you know how they are about these things.”

            “Don’t I?” the ghost groaned.  “They’re constantly on me despite how perfect my design is.  They’re always looking for ways to improve it, even though that is nearly impossible without compromising everything.  In fact, if you’re here to suggest another design improvement, you can’t just see yourself right back out, because it needs no improvement.”

            Deborah leaned forward again to look at a name that sat on the plans.  ‘David Engera’ it read, under the name for the Asylum.  “No no,” L’lorne said.  “Nothing like that.  What I wanted to ask was where you would suggest placing a high security vault within the Asylum?”

            “High security vault?  Why would you want one of those in an asylum for the criminally insane?”

            “Where better to hide something you don’t want the public to see than in a place no one with any sense would ever want to go?”

            David Engera considered this for a moment and nodded.  “That’s actually not a bad idea.  The design is meant to keep people in, of course, but it is just as good at keeping people out.  You’d be amazed how many people become obsessed with crazed killers and the like.  However, I think what you’re really looking for is keeping people from getting whatever they’re trying to steal out, and this certainly would fit the bill.  It’s much like the Great Wall in that way.  The Wall wasn’t built to necessarily keep the barbarians from getting in, but to keep them from getting out with their ill gotten goods, you know?”

            “I imagine it was very effective.”

            “Impressively, as long as they kept it manned, of course.  My asylum is much smaller, and easier to keep an eye on of course.”  He grabbed the half rolled plans and began searching through them.  “You wouldn’t, by any chance, be willing to tell me what kinds of things you wish to keep in this vault?”

            “Sorry, I can only say that they want the place well ventilated as there’s bound to be several people using the room at any given time, and it must be very secure.”

            The ghost looked at L’lorne for a moment.  “You’re not planning on putting people in this vault, are you?”

            “Not to my knowledge, but I’m sure that’s what they’re probably thinking.”

            The ghost grunting with disapproval.  “Damn government.  They think they can do anything they want, make anyone they want disappear.  I bet that snake Donalds is responsible for this investigation of yours.  He’s going to be the death of this nation, just you wait.”  The ghost calmed down after a moment of fuming and pointed to a location.  “Here you go, the most secure place in the asylum.  It’s got everything they could want.  But you listen to me young lady, if they use it for political prisoners, we’ll all regret it.  Me, you, even Donalds.  Make sure they know that.”

            “I will.  Thank you.  Again, sorry for disturbing your breakfast.” 

Engera had already begun pouring milk and cereal into his bowl.  “It’s alright, just next time wait for office hours, okay?”  He scooped up a clump of milk and cereal and began eating.  Moments later, he fell over dead, again.

“Well, that explains a bit,” L’lorne said as Engera’s ghost began his loop over again.

“Uh,” is all Deborah can manage.

“The milk was poisoned,” L’lorne said.  “They knew about his opposition to their plans.  He was killed, probably at the order of this guy Donalds.”

            “Yeah,” Deborah said, as she watched the ghost slowly fill his bowl with milk and cereal, ready to repeat his own murder again.  She took off the glasses, not willing to watch it again.  “How did you, uh, speak to him and have him speak back?”

            “You just have to want to communicate with them,” L’lorne said.  “In your case, the glasses would handle the rest.”  She walked back to the sleeping area, Deborah quickly following.  “Thanks to him. . .” L’lorne started.

“Engera.  David Engera,” Deborah said, informing L’lorne of what she had learned.

“Right, thanks to Mr. Engera, we now know where your mother is.  Tomorrow,” L’lorne said as she sat down on the floor, stretching her legs out in a way to indicate she was ready for rest.  “Tomorrow we go get her.”

Deborah smiled as she laid down.  “Yeah.”  And she fell asleep.



1. What kind of person is Lcorn Llorne? What does she look like (in your mind)?
2. What kind of person is the Deborah Ignigus? What does she look like (in your mind)?
3. Does the setting seem fitting? Would you like to know more?
4. Does it feel out of place that suddenly there's a ghost in this story?

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