Forever Yours

Submitted into Contest #221 in response to: Write a story where ghosts and the living coexist.... view prompt


Fantasy Horror Teens & Young Adult

This story contains themes or mentions of physical violence, gore, or abuse.

If I had gotten to choose my last words to Wesley, I would have said something like: “I love you forever.” Or: “You’re my home.” Or: “It was always you.” You can infer how besotted I was from the painful predictability. Three years and two months of togetherness, and those burnt-honey eyes still made my skin tingle. So did the way he sucked in his cheeks when he tried not to smile. And the way he nodded enthusiastically when I rambled about the happenings of the latest book I was in the middle of.

It was Wesley, after all, who had saved me at that party four years ago. It was Wesley who noticed I was slumped over on the beat-up couch while everyone else danced on the beer-soaked carpets. My clearest memories from that night were the sharp cedar-soap scent of his sweater and the brush of his fingertips on my neck. The rest was an icy feeling of wrongness that slowed my blood and thickened my tongue.

It was Wesley who carried me up and out of the noise, Wesley who found my purse and used my phone to call 911, then my parents, and then my sister, who all met us at the hospital. Physically I was unhurt, spare for the heavy concentration of gamma-hydroxybutyric acid in my system. 

A date rape drug. Somehow it found its way into my Dr. Pepper. It was the second week of 9th grade.

Wesley tiptoed around me for the next year, always in my orbit but never as close as I wanted. But when he finally melted into me, gentle and protective, I knew it would have to take an act of God to separate us from each other. Not that I was religious.

The car crash happened at 8:43 p.m. on a September evening. He was on his way to pick me up before the party - Shelley Lock’s parents were out of town until tomorrow morning, and a third of the school intended to take full advantage of that. I’d stashed a stolen bottle of cheap vodka in the back corner of my closet to bring. For Wesley, of course. I didn’t drink. 

So no, I didn’t get to choose my last words. They were spoken a few hours prior to his premature demise, after the final bell when we met at my locker:

“Ezra is just an old friend,” I pleaded. “Nothing has ever, or will ever, happen between us. Just stop obsessing over this, and I’ll text you before the party.”

Then, I’d turned on my heel, stomped out to the parking lot, and slammed the door of my brother’s old Toyota. 

That was the last time I saw Wesley. I mean, the last time I saw him in his body, obviously. 

It set a really awkward mood when his ghost showed up. 

So yeah. I never made it to the party. 

Neither did Wesley. 


The evening sun cast long shadows across the cemetery, and whispers of wind brought the woody scent of autumn leaves and smoke. Wesley’s spectral form stood beside me, distinctly not casting a shadow. He was both familiar and unsettling. 

It had only been three weeks since his passing, but I still wasn’t used to it. Of course, I’d interacted with ghosts before - my biology teacher, an uncle, a few grandparents, a handful of kids at school, and plenty of neighbors - but never anyone close to me. Not like Wesley was.

“I miss you,” I quavered. Hesitance and longing compressed the walls of my chest, and Wesley’s ghost repeated what he’d said at least a hundred times that day.

“I’m still here.” 

He reached out, translucent hand passing through mine. It was a sensation like plunging my hand into cold water, and I shuddered involuntarily. He pulled away. 

“I’m sorry, Jade.” He slumped, clearing his throat like he did when he was embarrassed.

“I wish…” 

“I know.” 

We stood, the two feet that separated us somehow spanning the distance of life and death. 

“Just… Do me a favor,” he said.


I tilted my gaze to meet his. His eyes, once pools of amber, were now the bottomless obsidian of every ghost’s. Dark and dangerous, like yawning caverns you could fall into and never claw your way out. 

“Don’t let go of me,” he said, voice an echo. His tone shifted, softening and sharpening at the same time. “And don’t speak to Ezra again.” 

I bowed my head in a conflicted nod. 

Wesley brushed a ghostly hand against my cheek. My skin erupted into goosebumps. 

“I’ll always be with you now,” he murmured. “Always watching over you.”  


My mother dried dishes in the kitchen, speaking over her shoulder as she did so. 

“I know it’s not ideal. But with your dad unemployed, it’s our only option.” 

“Mom, it’s the middle of the school year, I can’t just–”

“Your credits will transfer,” she interrupted. I ran both hands through my hair in frustration, grasping at the ends and pulling. 

“It’s not just school, I’ve got soccer, and guitar lessons, and–” 

My mother turned around, setting the towel on the counter. 

“Jade.” She crossed the kitchen to where I stood and placed a hand on my cheek. “I wish there was another way. Believe me, we’ve considered smaller apartments in Aberdeen, but even there, the prices have risen astronomically in the last three years. There’s nowhere we can go to keep you in the same school district. It’s got to be out of state.” 

“But Wesley,” I sniffled, and she drew me to her chest in a hug. 

Ghosts were tethered, you see. They could only exist where their lives made quiet imprints on the world around them, like impressions in clay. Memories, works, and other things they left behind bound them in a state that wasn’t life, but wasn’t quite death either. Roaming too far resulted in the spirit fading to nothingness. Wesley’s spirit would remain forever here. 

I sobbed against my mother’s shoulder as she stroked my hair. 


The winter frost had arrived, settling in a sleepy fog over the field. I saw Ezra’s puffy jacket first. His sneakers left muddy footprints in the grass as he hurried toward me, breaths coming in puffs. 

Yes, I had promised Wesley I wouldn’t speak to Ezra anymore, but I couldn’t move out of state without seeing my oldest childhood friend one more time. We met in the park by his house, where we used to waste away reading fantasy novels under the cool shade of oak trees. 

“Jade!” His call echoed across the grass, and something inside me twisted. It was irrational, but my final words to Wesley, and then Wesley’s order to keep away from Ezra, had fused Ezra to the fresh sting of loss in my mind. I had lost them both to Wesley’s death. 

He stopped a few paces in front of me, then shifted uncertainly. I pulled him into a hug. When he emerged, he seemed slightly relieved.

“Listen,” he started. “I know you don’t want to talk to me. But even if you hate me now, you’re still my friend.”

“I don’t hate you,” I whispered. 

“Well. That’s good. It must be hard without Wesley alive - I get that. I felt weird around my sister’s ghost for a long time. But you’ll be okay.” 

“Not if I never see him again.” I huffed. “When I leave, it’ll be like he’s actually dead. It’s not like he can give me a call or write me a letter.” 

Ezra smiled sadly, then pulled something from a backpack I hadn’t realized he was wearing. It shimmered in the afternoon light. 

“Maybe this will help.” 

The object appeared to be an opalescent amulet, attached to a long, silver chain. I suddenly felt breathless, like I’d been running. I reached out, feeling the chain’s tarnished metal, then searched Ezra’s face. 

“I never got it to fully work,” he explained, “But it gave me a few hours with her. It might let you… Be with him one more time.” He trailed off, looking down at his wet sneakers. “It won’t be for long. But it works.” 

“What do you mean?” I squeaked.

Ezra sighed. Then, he began to explain to me how I could temporarily reanimate my dead boyfriend’s ghost. 


On the last night in our apartment on Fortimer Street, I invited Wesley’s ghost - should I just call him Wesley? - into my bedroom. My mother kindly averted her eyes, allowing us to retreat up the stairs together. Wesley had never been allowed in my room alive, but his ghostly counterpart lacked the element that made teenage boys threatening to parents. To put it politely, you couldn’t bear children with ghosts. 

The odd assortment of necessary items were scattered across my bed: the amulet, Wesley’s soccer jersey, a candle, and a knife. 

“You’re sure you want to do this?” I faltered, twisting the jersey between my hands. A gentle smile tugged at Wesley’s lips, and he reached out to cup my chin, stopping short when he noticed my slight jerk backward. He clasped his hands together. 

“I’m sure,” he said. “Are you?” 

I willed myself to gaze into his dark eyes. My stomach lurched at the sensation of falling into them. 


I turned off the lights. 

We sat opposite from each other, cross-legged on my bed, with the candle positioned between us. It didn’t matter where the jersey was, so long as it was here - a piece of Wesley’s imprint on the world. It still smelled like him. The amulet hung from my neck. Outside, the moon’s faint glow struggled to press through a thick layer of clouds. 

I struck a match, holding it over the candle wick until it ignited, then shook out the match and set it aside. Next, I grabbed the knife. 

Knifepoint against the fleshy part of my palm, I made a slow, deliberate cut. 

The pain wasn’t as shocking as the crimson blood that flowed freely from the wound. I let it run down my wrist, still holding my hand over the flame. 

Drip. Drip. Drip. 

Three drops extinguished the candle. Quickly, I held out the amulet, allowing it to intercept the thin swirl of smoke that rose. As though it had stolen the candle’s light, the amulet began to glow, soft and pulsing. 

Ignoring the sting of my palm, I slipped the stone from my neck. Wesley leaned forward for me to place it upon him, and I lowered it over his head. 

For a moment, nothing happened.

Then, like a sunrise, the amulet’s light began to seep into Wesley’s chest. The light bled outward, washing him with color as it went. I sat motionless - watching, waiting. There was a surge of strange heat, like an otherworldly fire, and I had to shield my face. 


When I opened my eyes, the Wesley I had known sat in front of me. 

“Hi,” I breathed. A smile spread across his face as he watched me take it in, then examined his own body in perplexed delight. 

“It worked,” he said, as though he couldn’t believe it himself, and took my hands in his. They were calloused and warm. 

I shoved everything aside, closing the gap between us, then pushed him back onto the bed. 

Our kisses were electric, hungry. The amulet’s glow was the only source of light other than the faint touch of the moon, and the overwhelming presence of Wesley scrambled my senses. An indefinite amount of time passed.

When the pace finally slowed, we simply gazed at one another in wonderment. I took note of everything - the flush in his cheeks, the ragged rise and fall of his chest, the feverish softness of his skin - and noticed, with a pang of disappointment, that his eyes remained a ghostly black. But in every other way, he was my Wesley, the one I’d loved since he saved me all those years ago. 

Hours passed in quiet whispers and kisses. When I finally thought to check the time, it was nearly three in the morning.

“I should see my family,” Wesley sighed, brushing my hair back. “Before it wears off. I can feel it waning - I won’t be here much longer.” 

“Stay,” I begged, knowing it wasn’t fair to ask. 

“I love you,” he said, planting a final, resolute kiss. And then he was gone. 

My Wesley. 

If only I had known what he intended to do with his final stolen hours of flesh and blood. 


My phone buzzed. 

It was still dark outside. I reached for the phone, eyes blurry with sleep, and tapped the screen. 

There was a text from Ezra. It read:

Please pick up. 

Blinking in confusion, I checked my notifications and realized I’d missed seven calls from him. I tapped the call-back button. 

“Hey,” Ezra answered immediately. He sounded breathless, and the background noise whistled like he was outside.

“Hey - what’s going on? Is everything okay?”

“Yeah. It’s… Nothing. You can go back to sleep.”

“No, I – I’m awake now. You said, ‘please pick up’.” 

“I know,” He sounded strained, like he was losing his voice. 

“What’s wrong?” 


“I’m coming over,” I said, standing and pulling on my shoes. I suddenly felt very lucid. There was silence on the other end of the line for a moment. 

“I’m in front of your house,” came Ezra’s calm reply.

I didn’t have time to register my rapidly accelerating heart rate before I was down the stairs and out the front door. Under the streetlight stood Ezra’s tall form. But his posture was wrong.

“Are you okay?” I called when I got within earshot. 

“Everything’s fine. I didn’t mean to scare you.” His voice was like a scrape. Finally, I got close enough to step into the pool of light provided by the streetlamp. 

His normally sturdy stance was uneven, off-balance. He huffed like he had been running. 

“You are scaring me,” I said. “Tell me what’s going on.” 

It was then that I finally looked into his eyes. Midnight black. 

And then I was falling. 

Ezra caught me in his arms, holding me upright. 

“It’s okay,” he whispered against my hair. I jolted, backing up a few steps. He didn’t seem to be a ghost - his skin was warm, I’d felt it. But his eyes…

“Ez, your eyes. They’re like a ghost’s.”

“Don’t say his name,” he snapped. I shook my head as though that would clear it. There was something familiar about the expression behind his eyes, not just because they were black like every ghost’s. The look was… Possessive. 

“Ezra – ” I whispered. 

“I said don’t say his name.” His voice was a growl. My lungs stalled as my brain struggled to catch up. It took a moment for me to understand, and even still, I thought I must be losing my mind. Maybe I was dreaming.


Wesley’s grin spread across Ezra’s face. Those eyes. They were Wesley’s. It was Wesley, or Wesley’s ghost, but in Ezra’s body. My glimmer of ecstatic joy was quickly eclipsed by confusion. 

“I knew you’d recognize me, even if it had to be in his body.” 

“What… How did you…?” I stuttered, unable to land on the proper words. 

“The amulet,” he smiled and pulled the chain out from under his jacket. "Now we can be together in real life, Jade. You can touch me.” 

He took my hands, and there, in the amulet’s glow, I noticed hand-shaped bruises around his neck. My heart stopped.

“Where’s Ezra?” I asked.

Ezra - no, Wesley in Ezra’s body - frowned. 

“I told you not to talk to him again.” 

“Where is he?”

Wesley sighed. 

“I know you were fond of him. I’m sorry about that. But I needed his body if we were going to be together.” Wesley reached to caress my cheek, but I stiffened. His frown deepened. “You’ll have plenty of time to get used to it.”

I shook my head again, trying and failing to keep a firm grip on reality.

“Is he a ghost?” I managed.

Wesley raked a frustrated hand through his hair. 

“No, seeing as I’m in his body,” he grunted. “He didn’t exactly get a proper burial. I had to persuade his spirit to… Move out.” 

“No.” My whole body was shaking.

“He was barely awake when it happened.” 

“Those bruises - you killed him.” 

“His body is fine.” Ezra’s familiar voice, now edged with Wesley’s anger, was sharp. “He hardly felt any pain. It’s like his spirit just fell asleep. For good.” 

“Oh, Ez,” I whispered. “I’m sorry.” 

“You always favored him,” he accused. “You grew up with him. How was I ever supposed to compete?” He scowled, face reddening.

“I told you it was never like that.” 

“Because he didn’t have any guts. It was only a matter of time - when it came down to it, you would have chosen him. He was too important to you.”

“He was my friend.” My voice broke.

Wesley laughed. 

“I thought if you saw me as your guardian angel, you’d forget about him. What kind of friend would let you go to a party alone and get yourself drugged at thirteen years old? It was his fault - the way you couldn’t see beyond him made me do it. But even after I saved your life, you still cared for him.”

I gasped, knees going weak.

“It was you.” 

Wesley - the one who saved me - had been the one who drugged me in the first place.

“I had to,” he spat after a moment. “Or you never would have noticed me.” 

The sun crested the horizon, flooding the sky with indigo and gold. I glared into Wesley’s black eyes, then memorized the curves of Ezra’s face. Both of them were dead.

“I’ll miss you,” I said. 

Then I took the knife out of my jacket pocket and plunged it in the center of that monster’s chest.

October 27, 2023 21:00

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Amanda Fox
18:04 Oct 31, 2023

Ooh, that was an unexpected twist - nice work. And I love the ending, but the knife came out of nowhere for me. Is there a way you could work it in so we know Jade has one in her jacket?


18:19 Oct 31, 2023

Thanks for your feedback - this is a great note! I can't edit it anymore because it's been submitted, but a line as she's leaving her room to go meet Ezra might solve this. Something like: "Before I rushed out the door, without even knowing why, I remembered the knife on my bedside table and hurriedly stashed it in my jacket pocket."


Amanda Fox
17:49 Nov 03, 2023

That would work perfectly!


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