Deborah snapped awake. The old house was quiet and dark, far darker than she remembered it looking earlier. She chuckled are her own foolishness and pulled the sunglasses from her pocket and put them on. David Engera had just died into his cereal and was slowly fading away, preparing to repeat his sad loop once more.
What really caught Deborah's attention was the absence of L’lorne. She had been laying up against the tattered remains of a couch when Deborah had fallen asleep, and now she was gone, with no indication as to where. “Now where did she go?” she said bitterly.
The glasses responded instantly, displaying a local map and placing a solid red dot in the location of L’lorne. Inside the Asylum across the street. Deborah quickly looked through a slit in between a pair of boards, but couldn't see L’lorne anywhere. “She left without me.” The pain of betrayal burned for a moment, and she grabbed her coat from the floor she had been using as a blanket and started for the door. She head over there and confront L’lorne, demand to know why she had been left behind and. . .
And how was she going to do that exactly? She didn't even know how L’lorne had gotten inside. Her companion could do some amazing things, so getting in was probably easy, really, but how was Deborah going to follow? Her hand clutched the doorknob for a long moment of thought and finally she withdrew it. There was no way to follow L’lorne, none at all.
Slumping down into one of the kitchen chairs, she could just about cry. Engera busily filled his bowl with cereal and rolled out the plans for the Asylum, just as he had done innumerable times before. “Bet you would know a way in,” she said, tears slowly swelling in her eyes. The ghost ignored her. If only she could ask, if there was a way in he would know it. She wondered how L’lorne had done it earlier. Was there some secret trick to it all? What had L’lorne said to get his attention the first time?
“EXCUSE ME!” Deborah shouted it, and much to her surprise, the ghost snapped up in nearly as much shock.
“What the, “ he started, almost yelling it out. “Damn it all, what are you doing in my house?” Deborah froze for a moment. The ghost was actually looking right at her, talking to her. She hadn't expected that to happen at all, and had no response ready. “Well?”
“I'm your neighbor,” she said, stuttering through a slowly completing thought. “I came over to visit.”
“Do you know what time it is?”
“Uh, morning?” She could only assume morning, that's when normal people eat cereal, isn't it?
“Yes, morning, now could you be so kind as to leave me in peace?”
“Whatcha doing?” A plan was forming, it would be hard to recover, but maybe, just maybe.
Engera sighed. “I'm eating breakfast, if you must know.”
Deborah shook her head and tried to sound younger. “I meant with that.” Could she even touch the plans? Talking to a ghost is one thing, interacting with one and its belonging was something else entirely. She dare not try it, not yet.
“That?” His eyes perked up. “Why, they're the plans for that big building they're building across the street.”
“What's it for?” Sound more innocent, Deborah kept telling herself.
“Well, um,” he scratched his chin for a moment, his morning stubble making a slight scratching noise as he did. “Sometime people get really sick, and they go out and do horrible things. So we're building this place to put them until they get better. But we don't want them to get out, so I had to design it to be very, very secure.”
“Oh,” Deborah said in a sickingly fascinated way. It felt so wrong to act like such a baby, but she had to do it, for the moment. “Can they put other people in there?”
His face grew taught with a touch of anger. “Not if I have anything to say about it. This place is for keeping the sick, not a prison, no matter what anyone says.” His finger began stabbing at the table. “No, it's no place for real, sane criminals, or people that you want to simply make disappear. I won't have it!”
Deborah startled back as Engera nearly shouted his deceleration at her. That was alright, though, it gave her a window. “But what if they did put someone who wasn't sick in there, what then?”
“They won't as long as I'm alive.”
“And if you did end up dying?”
Engera chuckled. “That won't be for a long time, I assure you.”
“But you're not alive anymore.” Deborah's tone had become very serious all of a sudden, and the ghost blinked in surprise.
“You're dead, you've been dead for a long time.” It felt wrong to continue lying to the man about what was happening, though at the last moment she wondered if this would spoil her attempt to get information, but L’lorne had been teaching her to trust her instincts, and they were saying tell him, so she did.
Engera shook his head and chuckled. “I'm sorry, I'm not playing that game today.”
“Look around you, this house has been abandoned for years.”
He was still chuckling when he did as he was told, to humor the little girl, obviously, and had he been human, he likely would have turned grey. “My house. What's happened to my house?”
“You died. No one moved in after that. It's been abandoned ever since.” It was working, somehow.
“But, that's impossible, I mean, I just woke up and. . .” he couldn't find the words to finish his sentence as he noticed the fridge was gone, the lights were out, everything was in tatters from years of neglect. He was shaking, scared now.
“The milk,” Deborah said, remembering what L’lorne had said. “It was poisoned. You were killed.”
“Who would do such a thing?” he snapped, then grew quiet. “Donalds, that son of a bitch.”
“My mother is in your asylum,” Deborah continued. “She's not sick, she's done nothing wrong, but they put her in there. I need to get to her, get her out, can you help me?”
“Your mother? Why?” Deborah didn't know, but the ghost seemed to understand that without a word. “Alright, I can help you.” He dragged the plans near him. “You need to remember all of this, can you do that?”
“Yes.” Silently, she thought RECORD, and the glasses responded.
“Thank you,” she said as he finished.
“No, thank you. They killed me to make my asylum a political prison, just as I thought they would. I just wish,” he trailed off, sighing as he slumped into his seat. “I just I knew what I should do now.”
“Move on,” Deborah said.
“To Heaven you mean?” Deborah shrugged. “Yeah, I don't know if I believe in it either. But, I am a ghost now, so perhaps there is something to it all? If I think I can go on hard enough, think I can?”
Deborah took in a breath. “I guess it's all you can do.”
David Engera's ghost leaned back, closing his eyes. And then he, and all his things, were gone. The house was silent at long last.
“Good bye,” she said to the empty house. “And thanks again.”
Questions 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?