Chapter 24: Conversation With An Immaterial Woman
I woke up in the floor. Lacey was cradling my head in her lap. She looked down at me with a loving smile.
“What happened?” I asked.
“You passed out from exhaustion.”
I could feel her lap beneath my head. Not as a memory, nor as my imagination, but as if she were real flesh and blood. She took her hand and touched my cheek tenderly.
“Am I dead?”
“No, you’re not dead.”
“Then how is it I can feel your touch?” I bit my lip, trying not to cry. To feel her was the most peaceful, wonderful sensation I’d ever experienced. I felt as if I were in the presence of an angel, not a ghost.
“You remember the gun, Cole?”
“I touched a physical object and brought it onto the spiritual plane. And now I have touched you in the same way.”
I sat up. “I’m on the spiritual plane?”
“Yes,” she smiled. “But I can’t hold you here for long. I just wanted to hold you again before I go.”
“You know the rules, my love. Spirits linger to finish things. Once these things are completed, they have to go on to where they are supposed to. I think my time here is finished.”
“What was it you were supposed to finish? To make sure your killer was gone forever? To see that he never comes back again?”
“No, this was my unfinished task.” She leaned into me; I felt her hand on my beating chest. Her lips touched mine and I could taste her favorite lipstick, catch the scent of her skin. It was like a first kiss, but born more of love than desire. It was a taste of lost years, all the times we were too busy to share a kiss or say I love you, wrapped up in a single act of hearts. I put my hand to her cheek and felt her soft skin against my palm. I couldn’t help but cry. Everything I had ever hoped for, the chance to say goodbye, to kiss her that one last time, it was here.
“I love you,” I whispered in her ear.
She clung to me and whispered something back. “I will always love you,” she said. “Always.”
We held each other in silence, our tears falling on each other’s shoulders, knowing that the time would be coming soon.
“Hold me until I go,” she said, and we sat there in the floor awaiting the end of her phantom existence.
I don’t know how long we had sat there, wrapped up in each other’s touch, listening to our own heartbeats, feeling our own breaths against our skin. But a thought occurred to me.
“Lacey, can you take things with you from the physical world when you go?”
“I can’t take you,” she answered sadly.
“No, not me. A keepsake, something to remember us by.”
I reached into my pocket and found what I was looking for. I pulled it out, holding the object out to her. Her wedding ring.
“Take this with you. Someone removed it from your grave, but it belongs on your finger.”
She didn’t take it. “It wasn’t in my grave.”
“What do you mean?”
“Deacon took it off my finger right before they closed the casket.”
“Yes, I watched him. I thought he just wanted it as a reminder. Where did you find it?”
“Close to a dead body. A man who thought that the next to die was myself and De…oh crap. Lacey, let me go. I have to get to Deacon.”
“Why? What’s wrong?”
I slipped the ring back in my pocket, as she let me go. I felt disoriented for a moment as I shifted from the spiritual world back to the physical. The room spun in a circle, causing me to wobble on my feet. I had been unconscious when she took me onto her plane of existence, but now I was wide-awake, and the effects were near nauseating.
“Yes.” I steadied myself and reached out to her. Of course my hand passed through her now.
“What do you mean, everything’s wrong?”
I looked right at her. “Why haven’t you gone yet, Lacey? If it’s over and done with, if a wrong has been made right, you should have left by now. I’ve seen spirits go when their time is through. They don’t stay any longer than they have to. And yet here you are. Unchanged. Unfading.”
“Maybe I’m meant to stay with you.”
I felt the ring in my pocket. Something wasn’t right. She should have faded long ago. Her killer had met his final justice. He..
“No, I don’t think so. I think everyone has been played. We’ve been toyed with and used until it’s down to just two of us.”
“You and I?”
“No. Deacon and I.”
“You’re not making much sense, Cole. And you’re scaring me.”
“Think about it. What happened the night you were killed?”
“Please, I don’t want to think about that.”
“Okay. Let me tell you then. You are walking on a dark street on the way home. Someone comes up behind you. You never see his face, do you?”
“No. It was too fast.”
“He does…what he does to you, and then kills you, but never once do you see who he is.”
“What are you getting at? We all know who it was. Dexter Dean was the Kaleidoscope Killer.”
“No he wasn’t. I thought he was. All this time I’d been sure of it. But even Dexter’s brother had tried to tell me I was wrong. Dex was a dupe and we all fell for it. He’d crossed the killer somehow, and so the real Kaleidoscope saw an opportunity. He set him up to take the fall. He knew my anger would send me over the edge, and I’d be vengeful without question of the hard facts.”
“No Cole, that can’t be. The evidence..”
“It was planted somehow. The real killer was behind it. He even arranged to have Dexter let go, told me where I could find him. He planted the seed for me to take an innocent man’s life, and that’s why Dexter came back in Summer’s form looking for revenge.”
“If Dexter wasn’t the Kaleidoscope Killer, then who was?”
“Advocate For The Dead ” 2017 Paul D Aronson. All Rights Reserved.