Ghost Boy Blues 20

Twenty

“What’s wrong, Stella?”

Anne’s voice brings me out of my thoughts of superiority and makes me feel weak again.

“A boy is following us,” her aunt answers.

Anne turns her head to look behind. If she could see me, she’d be staring right at my face. As it is, I am invisible to her.

“No one is behind us,” she says.

“No one you can see. But he’s there, trust me.”

I want to scream at the woman and tell her to shut up. Even though I’d like Anne to know how much I like her, this isn’t the way I’d like to handle it.

“Aww,” Stella says. “I can feel his feelings.”

Now I’m really freaking out. I’ve always kept to myself, never revealed to anyone my innermost thoughts, but Stella seems to be able to pick them up like bread crumbs on a trail.

“He’s shy,” she continues apparently reading me as I’m thinking. “Oh..and I thinks he’s smitten with…”

“Stella, don’t do the ghost thing anymore, please.” Anne is very unnerved, looking all around her in a small panic. “You know they creep me out.”

Oh great, I was a creeper when I was alive, and even more so now. It’s just my luck. The one girl I’ve been crazy about and she doesn’t like ghosts. There must be a group of angels on a cloud somewhere having a smoke and a laugh at my expense.

Stella is smirking. “There’s nothing to be creeped out about, Anne. They are just like you and me, except dead.”

“Stella, stop it!”

“Okay, okay. I got it! No ghosts…”

She turns to me. “Hear that? She doesn’t like you. Now please buzz off!”

They are heading for the front doors. They are leaving. I don’t want Anne to go. She seems to be my purpose in all this. Everything I think about now leads to her. And I feel like Stella is taking her away forever.

I had a similar feeling last Summer at the Vans Warped Tour. Anne had been there with some of her friends. I had been there with…well, my dad. He had no interest in punk or emo, but his favorite 80’s rock band The Alarm was on the tour this year, so he decided to embarrass me to no end by insisting we both go. I’d wanted to go anyway, but to go to a music festival with one’s dad means you won’t be catching the eyes of any girl. You’ll just seem like a bigger loser than you actually are.

So anyway, The Alarm were onstage singing about love, hope, and strength, and I was trying to stay close to Anne and her friends, so I could work up the nerve to go and talk to her. It wasn’t like the time when I wanted to catch her at her locker and lay a kiss on her. That was a silly notion. No, this was more serious and not so pushy. I wanted to just introduce myself, see if she knew me, or had heard of me, anything to open the door and hopefully step into her world. But it hadn’t worked out. While I had been distracted by the band, and my dad’s very poor attempt at rocking out, she and her friends managed to disappear into the crowd. I ditched dad and walked through the crowds the rest of that day seeking for some kind of sign of her. I never could find her amongst all the screaming music fans, but hours later as I stood at the front gates, I spied her out in the parking lot. She was leaving the venue, moving away from me and every opportunity I would have. In desperation, I tried to call her name. But she couldn’t hear me. Just like today as I watch them go through those front doors and into the sun. Anne doesn’t even look back.

Today my determination is stronger than at Vans, though. I follow them through the door. Or at least I try to. I don’t quite make it. I can’t step over the threshold. There’s something there stopping me. It’s nothing I can see. It’s like an invisible wall, an impenetrable barrier that won’t let me go no further than the doorway. I try to get past it, or go around it, but I can’t. I beat my fists against it, raging at my apparent imprisonment. For some reason I am trapped here. Stuck in school forever.

I watch them go across the parking lot. Tears are welling up in my eyes. Part of it is sadness to see Anne leave. But another part is anger at my predicament. I lean against the invisible barrier, hoping someone will at least see my frustrated tears running down it, as if ghost tears are visible or something.

They get in Aunt Stella’s car. It’s a paisley VW beetle with a bumper sticker that reads: Co-exist. Yeah, like we can co-exist, the live and the dead. We have our own separate rules, and none of them seem to be compatible with the other. I wish I was dead. Just stone cold dead. Not existing on another plane like this. But I wish to be nothing. For my mind to be turned off so I can no longer have these human, living emotions. They seem worse now that I’m spirit and can’t do a thing with them. Maybe I shouldn’t even be chasing after Anne like this. Perhaps I need to let the notion go that I could be something to her.

Continue to Ep. 21

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“Ghost Boy Blues” 2018 Paul D Aronson. All Rights Reserved.

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Ghost Boy Blues 19

Nineteen

Stella, the self proclaimed ghost whisperer, doesn’t seem to stay in one spot for long. I notice how she moves about the room, never standing still for more than thirty seconds. To some this may seem like the behavior of someone who is loaded with nervous energy, but I believe it’s for protection. She keeps watching me out of the corner of her eye as I’m going to lunge at her or heave a paperweight off of Deaner’s desk. I guess she’s not very popular with spirits. She doesn’t seem all that popular with her niece, either. It’s not that Anne doesn’t like her. I just think she embarrasses her. The assistant Principal and Guidance Counselor appear uncomfortable too, as they watch her saunter around the office, picking up things, touching this or that, as if she can pick up psychic vibrations or something.

“I thought of being a teacher once,” she says, though it’s not clear who she is really talking to, them or me. “But I wouldn’t be able to tell the live students from the dead ones.”

“Stella!” Anne shouts in irritation.

Her Aunt laughs. “Oh, relax Annie. I’m just playing. You know I love a good reaction.”

The other adults laugh with her, but it’s strained and nervous.

“Can we go now?” Anne protests.

The woman sighs. “Okay, okay. Let’s go see what Jeremy did to your mother this time.” She turns to Deaner. “Do I need to sign her out or something?”

“At the front office. Yes.”

“Well, it’s been a pleasure meeting you,” she says to them, then glances my way. At first, I think she is going to say something rude, but she just gives me a quick, condescending look, before saying to Anne, “Let’s go, chickie.”

Anne slings her backpack over her shoulder and breezes past her aunt. She doesn’t even speak to the other adults. Deaner tries to flash an encouraging smile in her direction and says, “Take whatever time you need. Hope your mother is going to be okay.”

Part of me wonders if the school staff would be half as nice to Anne if she wasn’t an honor student. Probably not. People like me, live ones that is, always get lost in the shuffle. We are too insignificant. No wonder the adult world holds so many distinct social classes. They train us to frown on others when we’re young.

Passing through the walls and emerging out in the main hallway, I see both Anne and her aunt Stella. They haven’t wasted any time and are moving down the corridor at a hurried pace. Stella is speaking to Anne in hushed tones but I am too far away to hear. I pick up the pace to catch up as they round a corner towards the main office. I manage to hear Stella say, “Your mother loves you Anne. It’s just she has always loved the men more.” Then they are in the office.

I don’t follow them in this time. I know they won’t be long. While I wait in the hall, I look over at the trophy case against the wall across from the office. I never have noticed it before. Never put much thought into such things as achievement. Inside the glass case, there are award plaques, trophy statuettes with names engraved on their bases, and other notable displays of the school’s best students. Of course, Anne is in there among them. A plaque for school spelling bee champion, a trophy for gymnastics regional champion, and a photo of her in costume as Galinda in the student production of Wicked. From this, one can determine that Anne Taynor is amazing. She is more than adept at spelling, sports, and singing. I beam with pride, though I don’t know why. She never gave a damn about me in life. She never even knew I existed, and even if she had, she wouldn’t have been interested in an underachiever like me. Girls like her don’t date the class loser. None of those things matter now of course. All I care about is that she’s happy, and when she and her aunt emerge from the office, I am determined to follow them out and make sure Anne is going to be okay.

I follow them down the hall as they head for the front doors. I see the afternoon sunshine coming through the glass. I wonder if when we get outside if I’ll be able to feel the warmth on my face. Or is that another thing that is completely lost on ghosts? I am pondering this when Stella turns around and looks at me. Her glare says she is irritated.

“Stop following us,” she says in a firm voice. “I know there’s something else you could be doing.”

For a moment I do stop, as if she has some kind of power over me. But then I realize, Hey, I’m dead. I don’t have to listen to her. I don’t have to listen to anyone.

Ghost Boy Blues 20

“Ghost Boy Blues” 2018 Paul D Aronson. All Rights Reserved.

 

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Ghost Boy Blues 18

Eighteen

When you’re dead, thoughts come out of nowhere. They aren’t always linear, or even clear, but when they come, they seem to dominate everything else. Looking at Anne, she looks like a deer caught in headlights. I catch a quick vision of an oncoming car, a distraught Anne, an emptying of her soul. And then it is gone. Not only do thoughts come out of nowhere, they sometimes disappear before you can analyze them.

Before I can try to grasp the thought again, there is a light tap on the door, prompting Assistant Principal Deaner to say, “Come in.”

The school secretary, a white haired woman whom some say has been here just as long as the building has, poked her head inside. “Pardon the intrusion, but Miss Taynor’s Aunt is here.”

I breathe a soft sigh. Despite being spirit and without form, a room can still get stuffy and claustrophobic. Deaner’s office might be simple and quaint, but I feel like I might be having the beginning of a panic attack for ghosts. I don’t know why but suddenly the room doesn’t seem so pleasant anymore. I am overwhelmed by the feeling of impending doom. This heavy weight is descending, dimming the room before my very eyes. I wonder if I’m having some kind of waking bad dream. Or perhaps this is the way nightmares are for ghosts. Maybe we can’t determine between awake and sleep. That it all runs together with no differentiating between the two.

A tall woman walks into the room. She almost looks like she stepped out of 1969 and the hippie culture of that time. She’s wearing a long flowing dress of psychedelic design, topped with a leather vest. It looks like there are runes burned into the leather. I think I recognize a few from my dad’s favorite Led Zeppelin album, the one with the guy carrying the bundle of sticks on his back. The woman’s hair is long, blond, and intricately braided. She has a couple necklaces she’s wearing. One has a pentagram charm, the other an Egyptian ankh. As she steps further into the room, I notice she is wearing open toed sandals. Her toenails are painted black with the eye of Horus on them.

“ Anne,” she says in a thick southern drawl. “Poor child. Come give Aunt Stella a hug.”

At first, I don’t think Anne is going to do anything, and I don’t blame her. Her aunt is so freaking weird. But then she gets up and allows the woman to envelop her in her arms. The woman is much taller than Anne and it reminds me of a polar bear hugging a penguin. It’s easy to see the teenager is embarrassed.

Unfazed, her aunt turns to the other adults in the room. “Hi, I’m Stella Taynor. Nice to meet you,” she says to them, extending a hand, though it’s clear she’s addressing the sole living male in the room.

He shakes her hand. “Assistant Principal Deaner.”

She smiles, though she has a curious look on her face. “Did I have you once?”

He is taken aback. “Um….excuse me?”

“I went to school here. About fifteen years ago. Were you a teacher then?”

He breathes a sigh of relief. I guess he thought she was trying to hit on him. “Oh yes. Yes of course. I was. But not here. I transferred about eight years ago.”

She seems to look him plane down and replies, “shame.”

“I’m Miss Watkins,” our guidance counselor interjects, trying to dislodge this conversation, wherever in the hell it’s heading.

Again, Stella the weird is unfazed. Or maybe she’s just oblivious, I’m not sure. She smiles at Miss Watkins. “And what are you?”

“I’m Anne’s guidance counselor.”

“Ah…of course you are.” She doesn’t shake the woman’s outstretched hand. Instead, she turns to me. “And you are?” She asks.

I am startled half out of my wits. Did she just speak to me?

“Uh….w…what?” I stammer. “Excuse me? You can see me?”

She turns back to the others. They all have looks on their faces that belie the fact she might be half crazy. “Just kidding,” she says. Then she reaches in her purse, which looks more like a potato sack, and pulls something out. “But if I wasn’t, here’s my card.” She hands it to Deaner. “I’m something of a ghost whisperer,” she says in a hushed, secretive tone. I notice she gives him a wink as well, which appears to fluster the poor man.

He’s not the only one flustered however. I’m thinking, Oh crap. I’m really in trouble now. Anne’s aunt, if she is indeed a whisperer, might have the ability to get rid of me, to send me on to wherever she thinks I’m supposed to go. But I don’t want to go anywhere. I’m just trying to find my place in all this. To discover where I belong. There has to be more than just being sent to the light or whatever.

Continue to Ghost Boy Blues 19

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“Vampire Boys Of Summer” 2018 Paul D Aronson. All Rights Reserved.

Vampire Boys Of Summer (revamped) Ep. 19

 

Vampire Boys Of Summer (Re-vamped)

19: About The Scars

Haru pointed at the falling star, his finger following the faint trail it left in its wake.

“Hey, there you go. You can always wish on that star that people won’t lie to you anymore. “

“No, I wouldn’t wish that,“ I replied.

He turned his head to look at me. “Oh. What would you wish then?”

“If I tell you I won’t get it.”

He sighed and returned his gaze to the stars.

“I don’t know why I can’t trust people,” I said.

“Scars.”

“Huh?”

“Scars. Sometimes hurt can heal, but there is always a scar left over.”

I thought of my legs. All the scars from the cutting I had done. They weren’t super horrible, but if I wore a skirt too far up the leg I’m sure people would stare. Personally, I thought I looked ugly in dresses, and the cutting scars didn’t help.

For a moment, I thought Haru had read my exact thoughts because he continued on with, “until someone comes along and takes them away.”

“Takes what away?” I asked, already knowing what he meant.

“Scars.”

I looked down. “Some scars can’t be removed. Either they have been there too long or the wound keeps scabbing over.”

He nodded and pursed his lips. “Pretty smart for someone who has had only sixteen summers to think about it.” He paused for a moment and flipped a blond lock off his forehead. I didn’t say anything but just admired the gracefulness of the action. Then he turned to me and repeated it by brushing one of my dark locks away from my eye. “Here is where you’re special,“ he said. “I trust you.”

I didn’t know what he was getting at. He took a deep breath and closed his eyes. When he opened them, he was looking right at me as if he wanted to climb inside my soul. “I’ve had every summer since 1281 to think about the scars we leave.”

My mouth must have dropped so low it scraped ground. “1281?” I nearly screamed. “Holy shit! You’re kidding, right? This is another one of your just kidding moments.”

He shook his head and I knew he was telling the truth. No wonder his eyes looked like he understood everything around him. He was nearly a thousand years old. “Oh my god, this can’t be happening,” I cried. “No, no, no.”

I stood up and ran my fingers nervously through my hair. I was turning in circles, just looking for a place I could run to. After all, he was a lot older than I had been thinking. And I mean a lot. This was beyond creepy; it was downright disturbing. Hot Asian boy moves in next door. Not only is he gorgeous, but he’s also a vampire. And to top it all off he’s old enough to be my great great great something or another.

“I can’t deal with this,“ I said, panic written all over my face. Hell, he’d probably been married two dozen times at the very least. It was at this moment I decided to cry. It wasn’t a conscious decision; it was just something that happened. Overwhelmed with everything, my world crumbled around me. If he had broken down in front of me earlier, then I had come apart at the seams. And he was the only one who could hold me together.

The moment the tears hit my cheek his arms were around me. Despite him being the reason for all this, I collapsed into his embrace and sobbed against his chest. He didn’t attempt to do anything more than hold me. His arms were gentle and comforting and I thought I heard him sniffing my hair, but to be honest, it was probably the sound of my own sobs.

We stood there like that for a long time; me caught in the safety of his affectionate grasp, he standing stark still, a sentinel to guard me and my fragile heart. “I’m sorry,“ he whispered. In that moment, I think he knew that no matter what, I was lost to him, and he a forbidden thing for me to want and desire. As my tears started afresh, my thought was that Romeo and Juliet had it easy.

Walking across the yard and heading home, I thought to myself, sometimes I didn’t get Haru. Part of me had wanted to, but what he had told me tonight was a definite game changer. Sure, he was the best piece of eye candy that Chelsea Valley had ever seen, and there were things about him that were endearing; things that most girls wish their boyfriends were. But was that enough to overcome the obstacles that lay before our friendship? There were some strange, mysterious things at work with Haru, and I wasn’t sure how I felt about them.

As I moved among the trees away from his house, I knew he was still on the porch, standing by the deck chairs, watching me walk away. He had let me go easy enough when my body language told him my cry-fest was over. When I said I had to go because it was a school night, he didn’t protest; he just backed off and said that he hoped to see me tomorrow. I didn’t commit to that, but something within me said I’d like to see him too. Still, I tried to tell myself it wasn’t like I wanted to see him every waking moment. He wasn’t my boyfriend, and I hadn’t fallen so crazy for him I would do anything to be by his side. That was stupid. Oh, is that why you went jumping through the trees to get to him tonight, my little inner voice teased.

Maybe Haru knew something I didn’t. Certainly he had to know he was irresistible to a girl. Would he use that to his advantage? No, I don’t think so. When he was holding me, comforting me, there was nothing like it. It was pure, real, and honest. It wasn’t using or lying. I could feel it in the shudders that went through me. At first, I thought it was a reaction to my sobs, but it wasn’t. It was me wanting him to hold me forever.

Suddenly, something came out from behind a tree and blocked my path. I stopped short. I would have jumped clear out of my skin and screamed, but it wasn’t a scary figure at all. It was another beautiful vampire boy…

Continue to Ep. 20

“Vampire Boys Of Summer” 2018 Paul D Aronson. All Rights Reserved.

Ghost Boy Blues 17

Seventeen

Assistant Principal Deaner is behind his desk. His office is sparse, much lighter than I imagined. There’s only a few pictures on the wall, mostly of his family. There are no awards certificates, no educational recognitions, not even a diploma. The place screams humility.

It is my first time in this office. In my life I never had to get summoned here, which is pretty good, I suppose. You only come to Deaner’s office if you are in trouble or something bad has happened. One look at his face and the way in which he eyes Anne tells me today it is the latter. Before he opens his mouth, I know this visit isn’t to go over her academic record, no matter how promising it looks.

“Miss Taynor, please have a seat,” he says, offering her a chair in front of his desk. She does as he says, carefully folding her skirt under her. She glances at Miss Watkins, who sits down in a chair next to her. The guidance counselor reaches over and pats Anne’s hand in a gesture of reassurance. I find myself getting nervous about what is to come.

Deaner sits in his own chair behind the desk and folds his hands in his lap. “I have some unfortunate news,” he says. “There has been an accident.”

Anne pushes a lock of hair away from her face. “What kind of accident?”

He clears his throat. He seems to be a little uncomfortable with this. “It’s your mother. She’s…”

“Is she dead?”

Her response surprises them. Assistant Principal and Guidance Counselor look at each other, neither one quite sure how to answer.

After some hesitation, Deaner manages to reply. “Um, no. But she is hospitalized.”

“Not life threatening,” Miss Watkins adds. “Your aunt is on the way to pick you up.”

I’m looking at Anne now. Her eyes are tearing up, but she doesn’t seem ready to let them fall in front of the adults. I want to go to her. Wrap my arms around her and convince her she can cry on my shoulder if she needs to. But I know that’s impossible, unless I take over one of these adults and then try to console her. I think that will be just a little too creepy for her though.

“Why isn’t Jeremy picking me up?”

If the question throws me off, it seems to throw off the adults even more. They look at each other and the distress I see on both their faces tells me the answer before they speak it.

“He’s being detained by police,” Deaner answers. “They are questioning him about the incident.”

I notice they don’t give any detail about what has happened, but Anne doesn’t appear bothered by the omission. It almost seems that whatever happened, it was expected. And though I’ve never heard of this Jeremy person before, I can take a guess. Dad. Stepdad. Her mom’s boyfriend. I know it’s not a sibling, because she’s an only child. You learn these kind of things when you are obsessed with someone.

“The incident,” Anne says flatly. “What exactly happened?”

“Um, they’re not sure yet, “ replies Deaner. “We can’t really say…”

“Is there anything you wish to tell us?” Miss Watkins interjected. “It can be confidential if you wish.”

“No, not really. I mean, I knew one day he’d hurt her. That’s what he did, right?”

“We don’t know. All we’ve been told is she has some facial injuries. She apparently called police and then told them that she walked into a door during their argument.”

Anne scowls. “Of course she did.”

The Assistant Principal rifles through some papers on his desk. I know he isn’t looking for anything. He’s just nervous. “Well, take all the time off you need, Anne. If you need a couple of days, or even more….”

“No, I’ll be in school tomorrow. They aren’t going to ruin my education too.”

I’m seeing a new side of my dream girl I have never seen before. Angry and determined. Anne has always been a good student. Exemplary I’d say. She gets good grades, treats teachers and other students with respect. I can see her being valedictorian or prom queen easily. But here in the office, she is letting her guard down and showing a side of herself no one else gets to see. And though it throws the adults off, it adheres me to her more.

“You know, she’s not the first person he’s hurt,” she says, and for a moment I wonder if she is saying this for Deaner and Watkins’ benefit, or her own. “If they don’t do something, she won’t be the last either.”

“I’m sure the investigators will do their best to get to the bottom of things.”

Anne just nods her head. I know she doesn’t believe that. Things have apparently been bad at home a long time. She wears one face at school, and it’s not the same as the one her family sees. All this time I have thought her a charmed girl, leading this perfect little life of joy and happiness. Until now, I’d never even seen a frown on her face, much less anger or resentment. But here it is. Behind Anne’s walls, the rest of her world is crumbling. I wish I could have seen this side of the wall sooner. I know it wouldn’t change things. I’d still be unnoticed, an unknown and unseen admirer, but maybe in life, I could have done something for her. I don’t know what, but something to let her know that on this side of her wall she was not alone. Her problem is a lot like mine used to be. Except mine didn’t run me over; hers did.

Now where in the hell did that come from?

Go to Episode 18

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