I fit in.

That was the greatest mystery of it all.

I always think of relationships as strings. The closer you are to people, the thicker and stronger the strings get; they almost turn into wires. You're tied to other people. When you don't have relationships with anyone, you've just got a bunch of strings floating around with nothing on the other end to keep you anchored.

Eventually, something's bound to grab onto the other end. The less attachment you have to humanity, the more likely it is that "something" will be of the supernatural order.

Haven't you noticed that it's always the loners, the weird kids, who have this peculiar obsession with the dead? It's because they aren't attached to anyone. Their strings aren't tied down to anyone. Or anyone alive, I guess. But before you know it, some ectoplasm is hanging out on the end of their string and the kid is in the library at all hours, looking at old microfiches. Because, you know, the ectoplasm has to avenge its death. And it needs your help. Because it can't totally screw up someone's mind on its own. Or something like that. I don't know. I don't really care. But the point is that with all those loose-ended strings flying about, a ghost is bound to grab hold.

But my strings were all taken. I'd reached maximum capacity. Full house. Occupied. I related to people and people related to me. I had four or five best friends, along with about twenty other people who I got along with. My parents were married. Maybe things weren't always peachy between Dad and me, but if we didn't like each other, we sure did love each other pretty well. Dad's first wife never really interfered with his new family, so that was no source of conflict. My sister and I weren't too close, but we didn't dislike each other. I was just a bit too much older than she was and she was a bit too much different than I was.

I shouldn't have been chosen. But I was.

Maybe the above reasoning explains why, at first, everything was very faint. There were only shimmers and soft bumps in the night, muffled whispers and slight odors. Perhaps I accidentally snagged his string, and as time went on, the string slowly transformed into something that closely resembled a wire. Or maybe he did search for my string in particular. I guess I'll never know. I don't think he ever had a chance to tell anyone else.

All I know is that when he grabbed on to me, he grabbed hard. I could feel it.

The suffocation.

It would have been more perilous to ignore him. Because you might not believe it, but the living can be just as dangerous as the dead.

I just hope I never get so desensitized that the whole "being dead" thing doesn't give me the heebie-jeebies. It's perfectly healthy to be a bit wary of the deceased.

Really looking back now, I suppose I did the right thing, morally speaking. It was the stupid thing, too, obviously. I wouldn't recommend trying it at home. But at least I know what to do if it happens again, and at least I know what happened.

I don't know if curiosity really did kill the cat, but it almost killed me.

Are you curious?