Jeremy always had a vivid imagination, though he did not realize until later in life, how this would impact the world around him.
Even as a child, Jeremy would insist to his parents that he had visited a vast array of people while he dreamt at night. His parents, of course, believed that his dreams were nothing more than an active imagination, until one morning, while at the breakfast table, Jeremy described a dream to his mother that caused her to drop a bowl of cereal onto the floor at her feet.
The dream that he described, involved an elderly man named, John. So far, his mother paid little attention to the details, but when Jeremy relayed a message from John to Jeremy’s mother, she couldn’t help but take notice. The message was,
“Peggy,” Jeremy began, “do you remember that time at the lake house when you fell from the old oak tree?” That was when the bowl hit the floor. There was no way Jeremy could have known about that. They had never discussed it. It happened to his mother when she was seven years old. If the John that Jeremy was speaking of was the same John, then he was talking about Peggy’s father who passed away years before Jeremy was ever born. There wasn’t even a picture of her father hanging anywhere in the house.
“Jeremy, can you describe John to me please?” Peggy asked.
“He was a little bit taller than you, mom, and he had funny hair. It was black on both sides and white in the middle. He looked like the skunk from Bambi.”
It was a perfect description of her father.
“What else did John have to say, Jeremy?”
“He wanted you to know that he still watches over you and he said he never stopped loving you. Oh, and he called you his peanut. That’s so silly,” Jeremy said with a chuckle.
Peggy knew for certain that it was her father that Jeremy was speaking of, but she could not understand how this could be possible. All she knew for sure, is that there was something special about her son, and he somehow was able to connect with people that were deceased. It was a miracle.
Later that evening, when Peggy’s husband, Jack arrived home, she excitedly began to explain the phenomenon to him before he had a chance to take off his coat.
“Take it easy, honey. Slow down. You’re not making any sense at all,” Jack stated.
Peggy could tell already that her husband had the same doubts that she had earlier. She had to prove it to him somehow. She called Jeremy into the room.
“Jeremy, did John say anything about your dad?”
“He only said that he didn’t know dad before, but he said that he seems like a good man.”
Still doubtful, Jack said, “That doesn’t prove anything, Peggy. I think you two have been stuck inside this house for too long. You are going stir crazy. Maybe we should go away this weekend to the cabin. What do you say?”
Jeremy started jumping for joy at the thought of going to the cabin. Peggy was less enthusiastic, but not because she did not want to go away; it was because her husband thought she was crazy.
On Friday night after Jack got home from work, they packed their bags, loaded the car, and headed thirty minutes outside of town to a rustic cabin on a murky lake.
When they arrived, Jack began to unload the car while Peggy started tidying up inside the cabin. Jeremy decided to go explore. When Jack noticed him missing, he dropped what he was doing and went to search for him. He found him standing by the edge of the dock staring down into the water.
Trying not to startle him, Jack walked up to him slowly, and in a quiet voice said, “Hey big guy, what are you up to?”
“Just looking at the water, daddy. Why is it so dark? I don’t think I want to go swimming in there.”
“Well, it might not be great for swimming in anymore, but it is probably great for fishing. What do you say you and I grab the fishing poles first thing in the morning and see if we can catch us a big one?”
“Oh boy! That sound like fun!”
“Okay, then you better get inside and get ready for bed. We need to be up while the fish are still sleeping so we can catch them when they just wake up.”
“Alright daddy, I will,” Jeremy said as he ran back to the cabin.
Jack finished unloading the car and went inside as well. Peggy had boiled the kettle and was pouring it into two mugs. Jack could smell the sweet, rich scent of hot chocolate as soon as the water hit the powder.
Jack lit a fire in the fireplace and the two of them sat down in the loveseat sipping on their drinks. They gazed into the flickering orange and red flames, feeling the warmth on their bodies. It had been years since they came up to the cabin, and they were taking in every enjoyable moment. Peggy laid her head upon Jack’s shoulder and caressed his thigh with her hand. This helped her forget about the stresses of life and remind her about why she fell in love with Jack.
When morning arrived, Jack dragged his tired body out of bed at 5:00 AM then headed into the kitchen area. He was surprised to see Jeremy sitting at the table with a half-eaten bowl of cereal in front of him.
“Are the fishes awake yet, daddy?”
“Not yet, Jeremy. Let’s eat up quick and we can walk down to the lake.”
They walked down to the dock, and sounds of crickets and croaking bullfrogs filled the darkness. Jack held the fishing rods in one hand and Jeremy’s hand in the other. Jeremy was left in charge of the flashlight, but he had a difficult time keeping it pointed in the direction they were walking. He was too interested in the noises all around him.
Jeremy spotted something glowing in front of his nose and called out to his father, pointing with the flashlight.
“That’s a firefly, Jeremy. You might see a lot of them around here.”
Jeremy followed the firefly’s movements until it disappeared in the trees. When they reached the dock, Jack prepared the fishing rod for Jeremy. When he handed it to Jeremy, he began to give him instructions on how to cast the line, but Jeremy told his father that he already knew how.
Sarcastically, Jack asked, “Oh, you do, do you? Why don’t you show me then, smarty-pants?”
Without hesitation, Jeremy tipped the rod back over his right shoulder, and with a quick flick, he cast the line perfectly twenty feet from shore. Jack sat there flabbergasted. He could not believe what he just witnessed.
“Where did you learn to cast a fishing rod like that, Jeremy?”
“John taught me,” he replied without hesitation.
“John? You mean the man from your dream?”
“Yes, daddy. He is standing right beside me.”
Jack stood silent for a moment, trying to spot any signs of John’s ghost around Jeremy, but he saw nothing, yet he still believed in his son’s stories for the first time.
As the years went by, Jeremy grew accustomed to seeing these spirits from another realm. At times, he could not tell the dead from the living. To him, they all looked alive. By the time he turned twenty, word of Jeremy’s gift began to spread worldwide, and it wasn’t long before he began to receive phone calls, letters, and emails asking him to contact friends or relatives of complete strangers. Even the dead were asking him to relay messages to their living loved ones. Sleep was becoming more and more difficult each day. What was once considered a gift, was quickly becoming a curse.
It was three days before Jeremy’s twenty-first birthday, and his father and mother were out planning a surprise party for their son. They booked a hall and a DJ and invited all his friends and relatives to help celebrate. It was getting close to dinner, and yet his parents were still out. He thought this was a little unusual since they had not even called, but he shrugged it off and started preparing dinner himself.
Dinner was almost ready, and he was excited to see his parents’ reaction when they saw what he had prepared. That is when the doorbell rang. When he answered it, two police officers stood there with solemn looks upon their faces.
“Are you Jeremy Walker?” one of the officers asked.
“I regret to inform you that there was an accident. Your mother and father were killed in a head-on collision earlier this afternoon.”
Jeremy stood there stunned, unable to fathom the news that he just received.
“If you would like, son, we can escort you to the morgue so you can identify their bodies.”
Jeremy shut off the oven and left with the officers. At the morgue, they led him to a brightly lit white room with stainless steel tables and a wall filled with large drawers that Jeremy knew was where the bodies were stored. On the tables in front of him laid two bodies covered with a white sheet. The coroner folded back the sheet covering the faces of each corpse to reveal his parents. Their faces were scarred from shards of windshield glass, but still recognizable.
Later that night, after Jeremy was finally able to settle off to sleep, he felt a gentle hand caress his face. When he opened his eyes, his mother stood above him with his father close behind. The scars that once covered their faces were now gone, and they looked happy and peaceful. Jeremy’s eyes filled up with tears.
“Don’t cry, my son,” his mother said. “Our bodies may be gone, but our spirits still live, and they will always live within you. Plus, with your special gift, we can still see each other every day if you wish.”
“Your mom and I are sorry that we ruined your birthday party, buddy,” his dad said. “I know you were looking forward to it.”
“That’s okay, dad. It wasn’t that big of a deal. I will get Aunt Gladys to help me contact everyone and let them know what happened. I love you guys so much, and I am going to miss you.”
“You are going to be fine, Jeremy. Your father and I are always going to be here whenever you need us.”
His mother began to sing a lullaby that she sang to Jeremy when he was a baby, and the soothing sound helped him fade back off to sleep.
In the morning, Jeremy called his Aunt Gladys, but instead of cancelling the party, he asked her to spread the word that the party was now going to be a celebration of life for his parents. Everyone was already invited, so the last-minute notice should not have much of an affect.
Everyone showed up including family members who turned down the birthday invitation. Jeremy soon saw how loved his parents were. There were so many people, that the caterers ran out of food, but nobody seemed to care. They stood around telling stories about times that they spent with Jack and Peggy. People were laughing, crying, and hugging for hours.
At the end of the evening, while cleaning up the mess left behind by the guests, Jeremy spotted three figures seated in chairs near the back of the hall. When he drew nearer, he noticed that it was his parents along with his grandfather, John. They all stood up when Jeremy approached.
“Thank you so much for the wonderful send-off, Jeremy,” his father said. “It was wonderful seeing everyone together.”
“You guys are welcome. It was the least I could do.”
“Happy birthday, by the way,” his mother said.
“Thanks mom, I almost forgot that today was my birthday. It’s good to see you all again.”
“You have grown into quite the young man, Jeremy,” said John. “You have made us all proud.”
“Thanks, Grandpa.” Jeremy realized that this was the first time that he referred to John as Grandpa. A smirk came over his face. It felt good to smile.
Jeremy’s gift not only allowed him to speak with the dead, but he also acted as a portal for those spirits who wished to walk among the living and visit their loved ones. He was sure that he was not the only one in this world with these abilities, but it felt good knowing that whenever he started missing his loved ones, that he would see them in his dreams.