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I look at the watch on my wrist and groan in anticipation. “Come on, come on. He’ll be so mad at me if I’m late again,” I think. But, the people in front of me don’t go any faster. I tap my foot as I stare down the red hand on the sign across from me. I hear a voice behind me say something.

I squint my eyes and look behind me, “What is it you said?”

“I said maybe you should get a car, aye? Instead of walking ‘round like the rest of us and being so rudely impatient!”

“Who are you to tell me anything, you-” I open my eyes to see it’s just Gregory. I sigh and look down. I mumble, “Great. Now I look nuts.”

“Well, why would you look nuts, Jeremy?”

I shake my head and rub my temples, whispering, “Because I know for a fact you’re not visible to anyone else right now so I look even crazier than I already do in these stupid clothes. It’s 20XX for the love of God! Why do you have me wear a petticoat and all these more than just vintage clothing.”

He pats my shoulder and smiles, “You know why, Jeremy. Now, let’s go. The little man is waiting!” He pushes my shoulder.

I groan and walk forward, completely ignoring him touching me. “Thank everything that the coffee shop is close and then I’ll be done with him for the next month. Just have to make it through the next hour and I’ll be fine,” are the thoughts that come up over and over in my head. I walk faster to the coffee shop and move my head in a way to say “Okay, go sit down” but he still stands with his hand on my shoulder. I try rolling it to just have him let go and it doesn’t work. So, I’m forced to stand with him in line. I order my scone and I get his chi tea. He lets go and goes outside while I sit down. When he comes back in, I can see everyone staring at him and I can hear the horrible things they’re saying about him. It makes me chuckle. He kind of deserves it.

He walks over to me and sits across from me, taking the tea into his hands. He smiles at me, “Hello there, gentleman.”

I groan and pick at my scone. “What do you want to talk about this time?”

“Why must it always be about me? Tell me of your life!” He says, in the most condescending voice I can think of.

“You know my life. You live in my house, like a freeloader that has no business there whatsoever.”

“I’ll have you know that I-”

“Owned my house before I was even thought of or before my grandparents were even thought of. That you had the deed before I even had hands. I get it. But, still. I’m here so you don’t kill my family while we sleep and so you can finally go whichever way you’re meant to go.”

He gasps dramatically and clutches his hand to his chest, “Agast! How dare you think I’d do anything to harm poor Susanne! She has tea parties with me and everything.”

I put the scone down and scowl deeply at the former man in front of me, “Don’t you dare bring up my daughter or how you ‘wouldn’t hurt her’ when I’ve seen you throw her across the house because I refused to go on one of these stupid meetings with me since my own mother was in the hospital! Or how you held a knife to her face as she slept because I wouldn’t spend time with you when I was supposed to be working on my work.” I sigh and shake my head, looking down, “Are you positive you weren’t murdered?”

“No! Why would anyone want to hurt me?!” He seems genuinely confused, but like I may have sparked something.

“I don’t know! Maybe because you’re an attention hog, loud, annoying. During the time you were alive, your sexuality wasn’t exactly allowed in any kind of way. I know you told me that you and your partner were found out by your sister. Did anything come from that or did she keep quiet?”

“I… I don’t remember.”

“Great. Like you never remember anything. Well, I did some research on you and your sister. It turns out, she died about a year after you. In the records it says by hanging, but it doesn’t really specify the reasons. I tried looking up her family, to maybe get a read on you and the only thing I could find was that you were tested to see if you’d drown or float. So, what I’m guessing, is that you and your sister were killed for being quote unquote ‘witches’. I’m guessing you because they found out you were gay and knowing you, you’d never apologize for nor ignore it. Then your sister, I don’t know because of the fact people could say you were a witch for looking their way and every test was basically rigged to kill. I just know that technically, you were murdered.”

“You see, Jeremy, I remember nothing of my life other than who I am before you and small things you help me dig up. I don’t know if I was seen to be a witch, or if I was seen to just be wrong. My sister could’ve been the one to call me a witch for whatever reason. I don’t remember much of how I was with my family other than my father died when I was an infant when on a hunting trip and that my mother never remarried. Then, as you told me, she would’ve been seen as an outcast. So, maybe because of her I was called a witch once old enough. Or perhaps it was my partner who did so to save his own hyde. I don’t know. All I know is that I’ve been tortured for the past centuries because of the fact no one was willing to help me. Until you.” He looks down towards his own hands, “I know I’m a pain, Jeremy. I have been since I was small. I don’t know why of that either.” He pauses for a moment then looks up at me with a “Eureka!” look on his face. “I know this may seem small, but we must go to the lake by the house. The one with the roses that grow around it. We mustn’t wait!” He stands and immediately starts running.

I look around and chuckle nervously, “He’s my cousin, out of town. He’s a method actor.” I chuckle again and run after him.

I finally catch up with him at the lake, completely out of breath. I hunch over and say with a hundred breaths in-between each word, “You… What… Are… We… Doing… Here… Exactly?”

“Jeremy! Finally!” He motions to the lake, “Here. Here is where it happened.”

“Here? Is where you died?” I stand up and roll my eyes, “Of course it’s right behind my house.”

“I’m sorry, but it is. Now, if I’m correct, there should still be something here.” He begins to search around and I sit on a stump and watch him. He frantically looks and I close my eyes, leaning back a little. I can hear sticks and leaves going everywhere in his looking. I should probably ask what he’s looking for but I don’t quite care after everything he’s put me, my partner, and my daughter through. He can do some work for once. After a few minutes, he yells out and I open my eyes to see his smiling face. He holds a golden ring in my face. 

He grabs my shoulder and I groan, “Oh, God, not again.” Any time we find a piece of his puzzle, it takes him back to the point and he always drags me along. It’s like traveling time but I don’t want to do this.

We’re transported to the lake, but the house is much smaller and the lake has much more greenery. Gregory stands by me. There’s two men by the lake and one looks like Gregory. We walk closer to them because they won’t pay mind to us anyways; it’s as if we’re ghosts here. I can hear what they’re saying.

The man with Gregory says, “I, Michael, take you, Gregory, in this ceremony of love and light. One that’s not to be known by any persons but us. I take you, this day, to be my husband and my partner until we are both in the gates of heaven.”

Gregory smiles nervously and looks down, mumbling, “According to the preacher, we’re not meant anywhere near the gates. We’re not even allowed on the clouds of-”

He’s stopped by Michael’s finger, “You, shush. This isn’t about them or about anyone but you and I.” He smiles and lifts Gregory’s chin. “Now say yours.”

Gregory nods and exhales, “I, Gregory, take you, Michael, in this ceremony of-”

“Aye! Stop this! Now!” is screamed in the distance.

A worried look shows on both of their faces, when Gregory whispers, “Uncle.”

Suddenly, a group of men and few women appear from the trees. The two men turn around towards the crowd. They both have a look of panic while the mod has one of disgust and anger. My own heart starts to race as I watch.

“Why do ya have my brother’s ring in your hand there, Gregory? Have you finally found a girl worthy of our family’s hand?” says the main man of the group, who has a gun in hand. I’m guessing it’s his uncle.

“N-no, Uncle. I was just holding it to show-”

Michael takes Gregory’s hand, “We were having our own expression of love since you won’t let us do it in the church.”

“Oh, a sham marriage it is, now? Oh, well. I can’t be having my brother’s ring involved in this. Not in this abomination you call love. It’s wrong and you know it, Gregory!” He steps closer to the pair, his grip tightening on the gun. “Just hand me the ring, boy then we can all just forget of it and make everything go back to normal.”

“I… I don’t want what’s normal, Uncle. I want what makes me happy.”

“Even if it means your soul is in hell forever and your father’s ring being on your finger in sin!’


There’s a gunshot sound and Gregory clings to me. I watch him fall into the water, his collarbone shot and his mouth and nose quickly filling with water as he fell back into the water. His body struggles and Michael screams as he’s taken away by the crowd, looking back at Gregory’s body becoming limp. His hand opens and the ring rolls out of his hand.

    We transport back to the present and he’s crying on my shoulder. “I wish I’d never known. I wish we never found out, Jeremy. My heart hurts.” I pat his back when he suddenly stands up.

“Michael? May-Anne?” He looks in a direction where I see nothing. His arms open as he walks towards it, before he turns around to look at me. “Thank you, Jeremy. I don’t know where I’m going, but thank you. Tell little Susanne that I love her and that her fake teas is the best I’ve ever had.” He slowly starts to fade away. And, for some reason, a tear falls from my eye.

March 11, 2020 10:20

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1 comment

Nusa Zam
08:59 Mar 19, 2020

This story was really good! I liked how you focused on HOW he died - it gave it a bit of mystery! Other than the tiny typo in "I refused to go on one of these stupid meetings with me", it was fantastic! Also, what year is it set in?


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