Haunted | 18
By: Mary Bennett
It sounded like tiny diamonds were trickling to the floor. A flood of them were flowing nonstop. They sparkled like the fresh snow on that sunny morning. My heart was aching at the sight of him, but I was unable to make any words to comfort him. All I could see was the pour of tears quickly turning to ice on his pale cheeks.
A cold sweat overtook me as I shot up in bed, breath ragged. My body was shivering, as if I had actually been in the snow only moments ago, but that was impossible. There was no snow in fall. I ran a hand through my short hair before propping my forehead on my knee. I tried to steady my breath by taking deep breaths, but they were too shaky. Instead, I maneuvered rather stiffly to the side of my bed and placed my feet firmly on the wooden floor. It was warm, which was a stark contrast to my own body temperature.
I fumbled around on the nightstand for the switch to the lamp. Once I found it, I pushed the button and welcomed the soft light that illuminated at least the immediate area. The nightmares never ended. With a small sigh, I retrieved the ragged, black spiral-bound notebook and flipped it open, searching for the first unused page I could find. Lazy scribbles made while only half-lucid were inside, but I finally found a page that hadn't been touched. I opened the desk drawer to find a pen or pencil. Hell, even a marker would work. Random objects had to be shoved around, but I finally found a pen and began to work on recalling what I could remember.
I saw him again. He was crying. His tears were frozen, as usual.
My own tears fell, thanks to lingering emotions from the nightmare, onto the page, and I quickly wiped my cheeks and eyes. After a small sniffle, I began to write once more.
I'm tired of writing about these damn nightmares. Even when I don't sleep, I feel like he is there, watching me. The sleeping medicine is a joke. I still wake up in the middle of the night, even if it isn't as frequent. I still hallucinate, if that is even what it is.
I clicked my tongue at my own words, fed up with pouring my guts. My psychiatrist read them, claiming she didn't judge me, but who wouldn't? I did sound like a crazy person. Hallucinations? Nightmares? No wonder my parents were at their wits ends. My brother didn't even want to claim me. It was bullshit.
A knock sounded at the door before it was cracked open, letting more light pour in. "Sammy? Everything okay in here?"
I looked up at the silhouette wedged between the door and doorframe. How she managed to stay friends with me was a question I heard asked of her frequently. For the sake of her sanity, I always lied. "I'm fine." I gave a small laugh to hopefully add effect, but who knew if it actually worked.
"You screamed like a banshee," she murmured doubtfully before pushing the door open wider. Her tiny arms were crossed over her midsection, but she was impossible to make out. "Nightmares again?"
I paused before responding. I had heard it all before. He was my friend, too. You just need to move on. There is no changing the past. Why live with the regret? How was I supposed to let someone go who wouldn't leave?
At that moment, something, though most likely someone, moved in my peripheral vision. I had grown accustomed to not even bothering to look, however. Not while someone that everyone else could see was talking to me. The last thing I needed was for people to accuse me of flushing my medication. "Ah, yeah," I responded and let out a groan. "It was so freaky!" I laughed and gave a false shiver. "This guy had a knife and he was chasing me! Then I got locked in a car or something. I'm not really sure. It gets kind of foggy." With a shrug, I stretched my arms and gave a yawn. "I'm so tired. This medicine is really kickin' my ass. I'm gonna go back to sleep."
"Write it down?" I finished, holding up the notebook I still held in my hand. I gave a wide grin, but I couldn't see the red-head's expression. "I'm fine, Jess. Calm your tits. Now let me sleep. Sorry for screaming and junk. Now go to bed. I know you have an early shift." I fell back on my bed, but my eyes popped open nearly immediately when I felt something more like a person than my oasis of blankets. Something solid, like a human's head, was blocking my view. It also felt like I had fallen into someone's lap. I nearly screamed, simply because it was surprising and, admittedly, awkward. I shot up, trying to laugh but sounding almost nervous, then hopped off of the bed. "Oh my god. I'm fuckin' parched, though. Gonna get a drink first. Oh, and grab a smoke. That sounds good. 'Night, Jess!" I moved past the small girl and hurried into the hallway.
An over exaggerated sigh sounded behind my back, but Jessica didn't argue. "Fine, fine. But you better tell me if anything is bothering you, alright?"
The clinking of ice was the only sound as I rested against the counter of the kitchen. I welcomed the solemn noise, not ready for what was sure to follow. Lying was almost as tiresome as the sleepless nights.
"Jess is still a nag, huh?"
My breath hitched, even if this was nearly a daily occurrence. That joking, easy-going tone never changed, even if he had somehow hit puberty. How that was possible I had no idea, but how was any of it possible? Instead of responding, I placed the glass to my lips and drank greedily, not ready to speak yet. For the longest time I was so happy I could see him. It was only me. That had been both a gift and a curse. I had him to myself anytime I wanted him, but I was shunned by nearly everyone; except Jessica, as ironic as it was.
When the drink was finished, I let my eyes wander. There he was, seated on the counter like any normal, well maybe not completely normal, person. Shaggy, dark brown hair was nearly falling in his grey-blue eyes. A beaming smile was on his face and freckles sprinkled his nose. There were no diamond tears or hollow eyes. Memories of the nightmares overtook me for a moment, causing me to shudder, and he seemed to notice, because concern warped his face as he watched me carefully.
I didn't respond. Instead I walked past him, as if he didn't exist, and grabbed my cigarettes from the counter behind him, along with a white lighter. He decided to follow me through the joined living room and to the sliding glass door to the courtyard. Once I had shut the door behind me, he began speaking again.
"The silent treatment, huh? That's cold."
I narrowed my eyes at him and clicked my tongue. "You know I can't talk to you when people are around." I lit the cigarette and inhaled deeply before blowing out smoke and speaking again. "Unless you want to see me end up in a hospital again?" The accusing tone was accidental, and I instantly regretted it when I saw him frowning. My heart felt like it was being squeezed by some icy tendril, though that was nothing new.
"I don't. You know I'm only joking." He took a seat on the bench I had taken a seat on and looked over at me. "I still can't believe you actually took up smoking."
I rolled my eyes and made a point to blow my smoke at him this time. "I thought you found it hot. What happened to that?"
He waved the smoke away, as if it could actually bother him. "We were thirteen. The hot chicks in movies did it. Sue me."
I laughed and flicked the ashes. "That seems like forever ago."
"It was only seven years! Don't talk like you're an old woman already. You haven't even had a boyfriend!"
Whose fault is that?
"Don't blame me," he retorted.
"What the hell, man?" I glared at him before giving him a playful shove. "Stay out of my head."
"Your head? You're just easy to read, like you always have been."
"Sure," I replied dryly. If that were true, a lot of things surely would have happened differently.
7 Years Ago
Hurry, hurry, hurry. I had been running so late! That day had been so important! Why my mom had demanded that I basically answer a freakin' questionnaire was beyond me! It was a small town. What was the worst that could happen in a place where everyone knew everyone?
I wound through the trees, breath coming out in thick clouds of smoke. It made me smile a bit, thinking of how Caleb's eyes lit up when the badass chicks in action movies lit up a cigarette. If I could be strong like them I could win him over. It would cost me a friendship, but I had known him longer. Jess hadn't even asked how I felt about it before she began flirting with him and basically putting herself out like some slut! It was basically like she stole him by offering her virginity or something.
The tree line finally broke and I slowed my steps, eyes bouncing around like crazy, searching for him anywhere. Birds were chirping, but I couldn't hear any other noises. No footsteps signaled someone else might have been there. My heart sank a bit, the excitement and agitation slowly turning into worry. I was late. Where was he?
My answer was a snowball to the back of my head. I winced before turning sharply, only to see the lanky Caleb nearly doubling over in laughter. "Your face!" He yelled, holding his stomach. "I scared the hell outta ya, didn't I?"
I narrowed my eyes before bending down and scooping up my own snow. "Ass hole! I said I needed to talk! Not have a snowball fight!"
He stopped laughing and suddenly took on one of his rare and sexy, for lack of better words, expressions. "I see . . ." he murmured and took a few steps forward. I was rising from the ground, snowball in hand. I didn't trust his calm demeanor one bit.
It was a good thing I didn't, because another snowball was sent soaring toward me, irritating me even more. Right as I threw my own, he was running off, passing by me only to thump my forehead. "If you win, I'll listen. Sound good?"
"What's up? Why are you thinkin' so hard?" He asked, waving a hand in my face.
Ashes fell from my unsmoked cigarette and I blinked my eyes a few times, trying to focus on what was happening. "My bad. I guess I am more tired than I thought."
There was another long pause before he finally spoke again, this time standing in front of me when he did. "Sam, there's a favor I want to ask you." His voice was steady.
I looked up at him before flicking my finished cigarette to the side. "I can't believe you sound like you think I would say no." I grinned at his half smile and leaned back on the bench. "So, what is it?"
His eyebrows furrowed as he thought, before he scratched the back of his head and gave a small chuckle. "Actually, there's a spell I want you to do."
"Huh?" My voice was flat and confused. What did he expect? Basically, he was asking me to do magic. Since when did that exist?! Though, a ghost was right in front of me. Who was I to say magic of some sort didn't exist also? Maybe that was a stretch, but when a ghost asked for some magic, who was I to disbelieve?
"I know, I know. It's hard to believe." He shrugged and gave a big smile. "But I found this book. I even got it translated. I can tell ya the spell and what you need. It has to be performed on Christmas. I also need my body, or any body really. Preferably male. I can reenter the body and I will be alive again."
My jaw fell open, too stunned to speak.
I closed my mouth quickly and jumped up, grabbing him by the shoulders and shaking him. "The hell, Caleb?! Why'd ya wait so long to tell me?!" My voice was much too loud and I instantly drew back, returning to my seat on the bench before looking around for anyone that could be watching. The lamp post next to my bench only illuminated the empty sidewalk that connected the two-story apartment building with the other one. That was lucky, but I didn't feel any less paranoid. It didn't matter. My hopes were high. Maybe, just maybe, if he was alive again, things could go differently for once. This time he wouldn't slip through my fingers.
How did he disappear? No. No, that wasn't it. What was that loud crack? Wasn't there a splash? My heart began racing, my fingers finally going numb, but not from the cold. All feeling was being lost as I ran forward, panic overtaking me.
"Sam! Stop!" His head finally appeared, but from the ground. His hair was sticking to his forehead, color drained from his tan face. "D-Don't come cl-close!"
I tried to stop like he ordered, but my feet flew out from under me, sending me to the ice with a loud thump and brief wail of pain. "Caleb!" I screamed, maneuvering so that I was on my hands and knees, crawling toward him. How did he get so far away?
His head disappeared again and I screamed for him once more. There was no response. I screamed again, over and over, until he resurfaced. I was so close.
"Sam! I s-said stay aw-way! G-go get help!" His voice was trembling, but louder and more firm than she had ever heard it. The urgency and panic was breaking through with ease.
"No!" I screamed, crawling faster. "I won't make it back in time!"
My knees were burning as they skid across the ice, as were my gloved hands. I didn't care. I had to reach him. When I did move close, I heard another loud, ominous crack. It caused my heart to sink with fear. I was going to be sick. "Caleb! Please! Get out!" I was frantic. I couldn't think coherently. I was inching closer, despite the warning the ice had given me. I fell flat on my stomach, reaching out as far as I could.
"Sam! It's g-going to br-break!"
I moved closer, ignoring him. I was within reach, if he would just grab my hand. "Please, Caleb! Please just let me pull you out!"
His fingers wrapped around mine and I instantly latched on. Unfortunately I was only pulled forward. His upper body barely made it out of the water before more ice gave away beneath him. Icy water splashed up on me and soaked my hands, but the needle-like feeling was dulled in comparison to the fear I was feeling.
Tears finally began to pour down my cheeks as I gripped his hand tighter. "Caleb," I sobbed. I had to save him. I needed him. He was always there for me. He was my other half. Who was I without Caleb Hewitt?
I couldn't find a way to pull him out! Every time I pulled, I only moved closer to him. There was nothing to hold onto, and the ice only kept breaking. His lips were turning blue as he shivered uncontrollably. Fed up with being on my stomach, I sat up on my bottom, determined to get some sort of leverage. The cracks sounded more frequently, and before I could utter a word, he had used his strength to shove me back on the ice, sending himself under water. More ice fell away, where I had been sitting. I stood up, nearly falling in myself before scrambling back. "Caleb!" I screamed. "Caleb, you bastard! Why did you push me?!" I screamed at the top of my lungs, completely overwhelmed with shock and fear. He wasn't surfacing. What was I supposed to do? Leave him? What if I could find him under the ice? I could break through a more solid spot and pull him out! I fell to my hands and knees and began shifting snow out of the way, searching for him, trying to avoid spots too close to the broken area.
I searched. For so long I searched, beating my fists against the ice, screaming for him.
"Samantha!" My body was being shaken violently. My eyes opened wide, my cheeks stained with tears and my throat throbbing. For a brief moment I saw Caleb in the corner of my room, but pale skin that nearly looked tan due to the mass amount of freckles and fiery curls quickly engulfed my vision. Tears brimmed her grass-colored eyes that were set ablaze with worry. "Sam!" She yelled again before wrapping her arms around me and holding me tightly. "Sam, please calm down," she pleaded gently into my messy hair.
At one time she had hated me. She had been one of the first to claim that I killed Caleb and she had said that she hated me and wished it was me instead of him. She was the first to leave me, but the only one to come back.
I fell limply into her embrace, like a rag doll. My shoulders shook with defeat as I let out a torn sigh of relief from waking from that nightmare I relived too many times.
It was finally the day the nightmare would end. Caleb would be coming back. Even if he didn't love me the way that I loved him, having him back was enough. It was time Caleb wasn't only mine anymore.
The knife was like a weight in my hand. My gut had suddenly begun to turn as we started the ritual. Caleb was standing next to the pentagram where a corpse covered by an old blanket was placed. A single, decaying arm was hanging out. The sight of exposed bones wasn't nearly as putrid as the smell of decaying flesh. Before me was my study desk, completely void of anything normal. A large bowl was in the center, while another bowl full of burning ingredients was placed somewhat to the side. Even the somewhat floral scent it put off wasn't enough to mask the smell of death.
Caleb moved away from the pentagram to approach me. A strong hand was placed on my shoulder before giving it a gentle squeeze. "Hurry, Sam. We can't waste time."
They weren't the words I was looking for, but what could I expect? I was holding him back from living again. I took a deep breath and slid the blade across my palm, wincing at the searing pain it sent through my arm. I bit my lower lip as I held my hand over the bowl and squeezed, letting my blood drip into it.
"Good," he murmured, almost as if he was in a trance. "Now, repeat after me."
I closed my eyes and retracted my hand. I heard him move across the room, back to the pentagram.
"Hac nocte Saturnalicius. Offero tibi meum sánguinem. Animam meam."
I inhaled deeply and opened my mouth, letting the words flow just like I heard. Their meaning I had no idea of. "Hac nocte Saturnalicius. Offero tibi meum sánguinem. Animam meam." As I finished the words, it felt like a fire rose up in my stomach, spreading through my veins at an alarming rate. It caused me to open my eyes and gasp. I hadn't expected that. It was working?! Excitement overtook my nerves and I looked to Caleb, to see if he felt the same way. No excitement was to be seen. His face was solemn, almost as if he was a different person. It was almost unsettling. His eyes were not focused on me, but on the body instead.
"Pro alterius vita. Dabo vos anima mea."
Something felt wrong. His eyes had suddenly turned to me, but they looked shadowed and almost hungry. "Pro alterius vita." I stopped abruptly, my energy feeling like it was being sucked from me. The window in my room slammed open, letting an icy breeze pour into my room, swirling around me and sending chills through my body. My knees felt weak and I fell forward, grabbing onto the edge of the desk for support. It slid forward a bit from the force, causing a grating sound that was barely audible over the howl of the wind.
"Sam? What's goin' on?"
Caleb's eyes flew to the door, an eagerness suddenly emerging in him. I could see the longing he had been hiding and it stung.
I started to open my mouth to respond to Jessica, but Caleb was suddenly in front of me, hand over my mouth. Something about him was different. He was warmer. My eyes drifted to the body on the floor. Nothing had changed about it. What was happening? I looked back to him, confused. A soft smile was on his face as he spoke. "You'll understand soon, Sam. Just finish the spell. You owe me this much."
My knees buckled a bit before I steadied myself against the table. He removed his hand as tears began to fall down my cheeks. I owed him this much? I tried so hard to save him. I still was. "Dabo vos anima mea."
Was the room suddenly warmer? Why had his skin been so hot to the touch? My mind was feeling fuzzy, almost as if it was fading. Was I going to faint? For a moment, I nearly lost my balance once again and shoved the table further away, into him. He reacted and jumped backwards, bending over as if he was actually in pain. I didn't feel anything. My body almost felt like it was . . . floating. I lifted my hand to my face, trying to regain focus, but stopped abruptly. There was no blood. It was as if I had never cut myself. I could almost see through my hand. I was going to faint. I was dreaming. When was I going to wake up?
"Sam! Finish the spell! You let me die! The least you could do is bring me back!" His mouth was set in a snarl as he grabbed my shoulders, holding me steady.
What was happening? Why wasn't I waking up? Why was he saying this to me?
"Sam?!" Jessica finally screamed, hands beating against the door. "Who is in there with you?! Answer me!"
"Jessica! Help me!" I yelled. Please. Please save me.
"Sam? Why won't you answer me?! Get the fuck away from her!" The door was shaking against her weight, but it wasn't budging.
I looked to Caleb, mortified. How could he do this? "I let you die . . ." I echoed hollowly.
"That's right," he responded sharply. He grabbed my chin and forced me to look at his face. "You did this to me. You called me out to some secluded area and chased me onto the weak spot of the ice! You killed me!"
I shook my head and shoved him back. "No! I tried to save you! I yelled for you until I couldn't speak! I dug through the snow and ice until my gloves were soaked and my fingers fucking bled! I would have stayed out there until I died, too, if someone wouldn't have seen me!" I ran my fingers through my short hair, gripping it near the scalp and shutting my eyes tightly. "I tried to save you! I always tried to save you!"
"You killed me!" He yelled and grabbed my wrist, ripping my hand from air. "Open your eyes!" I shook my head and he shook me and repeated, "Open them, dammit!"
I bit my lower lip, willing myself to keep them shut, but he sounded so defeated and angry I couldn't help myself. I opened them slowly. He was crying, like in my dreams. This time his tears were liquid. Sparkling liquid that rolled down his cheeks.
"You want to save me? Then do it. Please."
I choked on a sob and contemplated my options. I didn't want to die, but I didn't want to see him die again. This time it could really be my fault. Jessica was the only person I really had left, and wouldn't she be happy if Caleb came back? Maybe I would be forgiven by everyone. . . Defeated, I nodded my head once, letting him know I agreed. It would be nice for this all to be over finally.
He smiled and released me, stepping back to give me some room. "Reditum ex tuum præsidium. Luficer mi rex."
I inhaled sharply, recognizing the name Lucifer. That I didn't like. What was I going to do? I couldn't escape. Jess, please save me. "Reditum ex tuum," before I finished, the door was broken open, Jessica's body crumpling inside onto the floor.
Caleb was frozen, eyes settled on the red head he missed so much. I looked from him to her before running to her side, grabbing onto her rising form. "Jess! Can you hear me?!"
There was no reaction. Her eyes had found the only warm-blooded person in the room, Caleb. She was speechless, and he seemed to be as well. I felt like a third party, like I did back when we were kids.
"Caleb?" She finally managed to murmur out loud, rising to her feet in the process. "Impossible! Where's Sam? What's going on?! Is this some fuckin' prank?!"
I stood at her side, trying to shove her and scream in her ear, but nothing was working.
"Jess," he started, moving to approach her.
Jess instantly took equal steps back, holding out her hands. "I don't know who you are, but Caleb is dead! He died a long time ago!" Her voice was cracking, trying to sound sure and strong.
"It's me," he argued. "I swear it is. Remember where you had your first kiss? It was at Sam's house, while we were waiting on her to grab her swim suit to go to the pond to swim."
I remembered that. I had seen them and it had taken all of my strength not to cry in front of them.
"Where's Sam?" Jess demanded. Her hands were balled into fists, eyes avoiding him completely. I was standing right in her view, but I suddenly didn't want to be seen.
"Jess! It's me!" He was moving toward her again, but Jess' words stopped him in his tracks.
"I don't care! I've moved on!" She was glaring now. She looked past him and to the altar and rest of the room, eyes going wide in horror. "This? Is this what brought you here?" She looked to the body and bit back a scream before rushing to it. "Sam?!" She screamed, throwing the cover back.
I slid my hands down my face and sighed loudly. There was nothing I could do at all.
Jess looked somewhat relieved, through her horror, to see what looked to be a male body on the floor. She quickly jumped back, bumping into the altar. She turned to it and placed her hands on the table.
"Wait, Jess. Please listen. I can come back. It will be like I never left. If you just let us finish."
"Us?" Jess repeated harshly. "So Sam is here? What have you done to her, Caleb?! You can't just sacrifice someone else for a second chance!"
"Sacrifice?" He retorted dryly. "I think this is more of a trade. It was her fault I died."
That stung, even if I knew he would say it. What I didn't expect was for Jess to cross the room to him in a few steps and rear back her fist before drilling it into his jaw. "How could you?! Do you know what she has been through since you died? I put her through . . ." Tears finally broke through and she covered her face. "Bring her back, Caleb. I beg you to bring her back."
A chill settled over me as the cold of the room suddenly hit me like a wave. My teeth began chattering and I felt warm tears begin to fall once again. "Jess?"
Finally, she looked at me and relief and pain washed over her. "Sam," she whispered before hurrying to me and wrapping me in her arms. I wrapped my arms around her and cried with her, a smile on my face. Caleb was nowhere to be seen in the trashed room. For the first time in a long time, I felt at peace.
On this night of Saturnalia
I offer to you my blood
In exchange for the life of another
I give you my soul,
For the return of one from your hold
Luficer, my king.