The Awakening

The last things I remember are the glint in his eyes and the searing pain in my chest.

Now I hover near the ceiling, unable to get down, not that I want to go down there anyway. That’s where my body is. Arranged in an elegant pose on the polished concrete, hair splayed in a pool of blood and rose petals, my own heart carved from my chest and placed in my outstretched palm.

The scene reminds me of what I was. I’d cry for my loss, but I no longer have a corporeal form, no eyes to feel the pressure of tears, no tear ducts to produce them or allow them to fall. Leaving is impossible, at least from up here. I tried. I’m stuck in this room with my bloody corpse, the initial shock and despair of manifesting here turning to bitter resentment as the minutes pass.

A key rattles in the lock and the door handle creaks as it turns. The moment I catch a glimpse of his face, the bitterness brewing within what is left of my being bubbles over to form a venomous new emotion. Pure spite propels me towards the man who condemned me to this fate, and I swoop towards him so fast I pass straight through him. Circling back in a wild rage, I swipe clawed fingers through his face. I want to tear the hated visage to shreds, but I cannot even scream to release my pent up fury let alone touch him in this form.

My killer has a camera around his neck, and I want nothing more than to strangle him with the thick black strap. I cannot grab the camera, hard as I try, but he lifts it easily, unphased by my useless attack and grasping fingers. He peers through the lens. When I turn to see as he does, there is a click and then my body is perfectly lit for his morbid photoshoot.

My being floods with anger once more and the urge to strangle him with the strap of his own camera is renewed tenfold. I drift a few feet closer as if the magnetism of my desire pulls me to him. I wish I had corporeal hands. My anger quickly transcends to frustrated rage. I cannot touch my murderer to serve my vengeance nor to stop him from further desecrating my body.

I hover in front of his face, but I cannot stand to be so close yet unable to exact my revenge. I float to the far corner and seethe, my ire growing with each flash and click of the shutter.

Eventually my killer finishes his work and leaves again, locking the door behind him. Now that my anger has provided me the power to move about freely, I again search for an exit. Perhaps my emotions are also the key to leaving this place. If I had hands or was a proper poltergeist, I could simply use the door. If it weren’t locked.

With no such luck, I drift around angrily, hoping my ire is enough to earn my release and wishing this form came with an instruction manual. The longer I am trapped here, the more aggravated I become.

I want to scream my frustration into the empty space, but I am no longer human enough to form sounds. My corpse is proof I will never be human again. With resolve, I decide I must let my past self go and embrace what I am now. I refuse to wait around until my remains decompose before me and there is nothing left here but terrible memories. Or worse, another girl like me.

I force myself to look at the brutal scene. The dead girl is no longer me but a tool I may use to hone my skills.

With insubstantial fingers, I reach for the heart. Unlike when I attacked my killer, my touch is met with some resistance before my fingers sink into the floor. Hopeful, I think of grabbing the heart from her hand and will my essence to solidify. I imagine myself reaching out, feeling the chill of the cold organ as my fingers make contact.

Nothing. My fingers pass right through after the slight pressure gives way. Vexed, I want to kick the heart from her hand, but feet are as impossible to form as hands. I direct all my anger at the heart and wait for it to fly across the room. Nothing. Not even a jiggle.

I hear a faint scraping.

The key snicks in the lock once more.

This time, he has surgical tools and a bouquet with him.

It’s difficult not to see the body as me when the man who ended my life begins opening my chest cavity.

My anger is back, the small flame kindling within me turned to a veritable bonfire. Before, he mutilated my remains when I was not yet manifested. I cannot allow him to do it a second time while I watch.

This time, I act without thinking. It is so easy to slip back into my old skin, to wear it like an armored exoskeleton. I’m held together purely by rage and instinct.

I turn my head to face him, and the man abandons his task to scuttle away like a spider. I stand and pull the scalpel from my already gaping chest, adjusting my grip as I follow him towards the door. Adrenaline makes him quick, but my fury makes me quicker. I grab his collar and yank him backwards to the floor with inhuman strength. I worry I may have thrown him too hard and my fun may be over before it begins, but he’s already struggling to rise.

I kneel over him and press my left hand into his chest hard enough to hear him wheeze, enjoying my newfound strength, no longer fettered by the limitations of my human form.

When I see the abject fear in his eyes, I stab the scalpel into his throat, drag it in a jagged line, watch as he tries to hold in the blood, grin as it floods between his fingers.

I use his thigh as a pincushion, revel in the gurgle he elicits, then I walk to the door. Outside is a hallway. At the other end is a locked door. I go back to his body, search his pockets for the key. There is only one, a skeleton key.

I let myself out the door. Beyond it lies another set of doors. Both are locked. I try the one on the left first. The key works again, and I step into a room washed in red light.

Pictures of me hang from the walls and ceiling. My corpse lying in a pool of blood strewn with petals. My blue lips. My unseeing eyes. My fingers wrapped around my unbeating heart.

I rip every photograph down and tear them all to pieces. My anger boiling over inside me, I approach the second door opposite the studio. The key allows me passage, and I push to the other side. It’s as if I’ve stumbled into another world. An unassuming staircase leads up to a kitchen where a woman drinks a cup of tea.

The woman pales and screams so loud I know her throat must be raw. Her teacup shatters in her hurry to stand from her chair and escape me. She is out the back door and crashing over the backyard fence when I realize my anger has a new source.

This woman is an innocent victim, betrayed in a way, like me. Just like countless others who deserve revenge against those who have done them wrong.

I abandon my corporeal form, my abused body collapsing in a heap, and float forth with purpose, my vendetta fueling this new life after death.



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