“My lady,” the gardener hissed, “you shouldn’t be doing that! You could get hurt.”
Lady Rose lifted her gaze from the machete and shot Tolias an annoyed look. “If I didn’t know how to use one I wouldn’t have picked it up.”
“Are you sure-”
The noblewoman bent down and tied the twine tightly across the floor. She cut the remaining string and used it to bundle up her bags. To assure herself nothing would fall out.
“You should leave the manor, Tolias. Lest you get more involved.”
Tolias stuck out his weak whiskery chin, “Your safety is my priority.”
“What about my happiness? I could never be happy knowing I put a friend in danger. Leave. You helped enough.”
Tolias hesitated and then said, “If you ever need aid- you know where to find me, milady.”
A sweet smile graced her pretty face, “Why, I know my dear friend. Now run! He should be here any minute!”
One nod and Tolias scampered off, leaving a noblewoman- no older than 20, dressed in modest men's garments.
Rose lifted her face to the moon, letting the warm still night settle in her flesh. This would be the last time she ever sets foot in such a luxurious manor. The last time she ever stood in her family home.
Thank the heavens!
“Where is he?” She murmured, her delicate features scrunching in disapproval “he’s always so…”
She smiles down at the voice that called up to her. The man was slender-shouldered and thin. His face was angular and sharp. His smiles crooked and his fingers were too.
She loved him to pieces.
He grins even wider at her response, “Are you ready m’lady?”
“Of course, my prince.”
He was not a prince. He was a shoemaker, a peasant who had no business knowing a noblewoman like herself. Except for the fact that he knew her and loved her and that she knew him and loved him.
His name was Oliver Crossan.
Swinging a leg over the balcony she gripped the rope in her hands. Her hands were already sore, not used to holding onto the rough rope or supporting her own weight but that only encouraged her to move down the rope faster. She was halfway down when she heard the yell.
“Rose! Above you!”
Instead of looking up like she was warned to do she looked for her love. And screamed when she saw him in the arms of the imperial guards. The guards that accompanied the prince wherever he went. The same prince who wanted to marry her-
“Rose? Whatever are you doing dressed like that?”
Dread curdled her stomach and she looked up, still clinging to the rope, “Your highness! Please! Spare us!”
Leaning over, he plucked her from the rope-like she was nothing- setting her on the balcony. Hands firmly on her shoulders as she was forced to watch Oliver-
-her love die.
It was swift. One second he was breathing, looking up at her with scared eyes, devoid of humor. Another second he was limp and scarlet and not breathing at all.
“You shouldn't have tried to run away,” the prince whispered, “I always get what I want-”
Even when he put a hand over her mouth, she did, even when she tried to shake him off her. Even when she tried to kick and scratch at him. Machete in her side was forgotten.
She struggled so much, clawing, screaming, writhing away from this! This murderer! That she toppled right over the balcony and fell to the garden below.
Her whole body screamed on impact. Her mouth was wet and hot and salty and burning. And so was her leg, which ached and burned terribly. Guards were instantly surrounding her, angry screams echoed through the night, not from her,- but as her love, one second she was alive… and the other she wasn’t.
Dude, this is gonna be the best live stream ever!
Man, RIP dude.
HAHAHAHA, don’t die hubby!
Can you show us your dimples before you die?
Oliver Cross smiled as he scrolled through the podcast comments.
Before turning his phone from the creepy, reportedly ‘haunted’ manor and back to himself.
“I’m not dying, you guys. Just looking through the manor- plus!! You guys were the ones to suggest this! So if I do die, “ he grinned cheesily, “it’s on you!”
The comments went wild after that;
OMG, don’t leave us TT
Listen to haunted by Tay tay
He put the camera so that he was recording the manor and not himself, “Okay, so rumors say that there is a beautiful ghost haunting the top floors. I personally think that's just an excuse for them to not have to climb all these stairs but what do I know?
“I feel sorry for the people of this time period- especially the ladies. Having to wear those heavy-ass dresses and climb all those stairs just to dramatically fling themselves on their bed- not gonna lie. I’d fling myself onto the bed too if I was forced into a corset.”
The place was very dusty. He was sneezing more than talking. And there was an oppressiveness to the air that was really depressing him. He climbed the stairs, creaky from disuse.
“Man, these stairs are making me feel fat- not gonna lie.” He stopped on the third step, “Wait, quick poll- should I go up or should I explore the first floor more? I only have two hours so-”
CLIMB THOSE CREEPY ASS STAIRS LOVE!!
GHOST CHASE! GHOST CHASE!
Oliver scoffs, feigning disgruntlement, “You guys really must want me dead.
“Alright, let’s climb these stairs, hmm,” he hums, looking at the dark corridor, the flashlight on his forehead and the one on his phone, doing enough to clear up the immediate surroundings, “nothing suspicious so far and I’m already on the second floor- but look! Look at that painting! It’s of a man though, so not our hot ghost girl. Let’s keep looking…”
He peeked through a few rooms, nothing interesting that caught s eyes, until further down the hall he noticed a room that had a balcony.
“Oh, guys! Look! A balcony view! I bet a girl lived in this room. Maybe it’s our ghost girl? Anyway, let’s see if there’s a sick view!”
Oliver crossed the threshold and tapped on the dusty bed, it was stiff under his fingers. And his fingers were immediately dusty, leaving dark marks on the bed. So of course he smacked the bed with his free hand and was instantly rewarded with a face full of dust. He sneezed, not having to check to know that his followers were laughing at him.
He kept walking to the balcony, having to use a bit of muscle to get the balcony door to open up. “Ah, guys!” Oliver exclaimed, “the view is crap.”
It was true. The view was mostly taken up by a stone wall covered in vines and a garden that hasn’t been tended to in forever.
He turned the camera on selfie mode, grinning at his own reflection, “Look at this view instead! Ain’t it prettier? Where should I go next? Another floor up? Or-” he trailed off noting a flurry of activity in the comment section, the messages were coming so rapidly that he had to hold the screen to be able to read a few;
The ghost! It’s behind you! And she’s hot!!!
Is this a prank? It looks really authentic!
He snorts, “Ha ha guys, very funny,” his gaze flickers up at his own reflection and he sees it. Her. The ghost.
He drops his phone, off the balcony, and screams.
Instantly, he covered his face, on his but, his back pressed against the stone balcony.
“P-please,” he whimpered, “don’t hurt me!”
He peeked up at the ghost, through trembling fingers. The ghost was looking at him...oddly. Her almost translucent features were colored richly and her face was twisted with confusion and hurt.
“Why do you cower? Oliver, it is I! Rose,” she drifts closer and Oliver scrambled back “you know me.”
His eyes darted around the room, looking for any hidden projectors, “Hahaha! This is funny guys! You can stop now!”
She stared at him, still confused.
“I get it! You need to keep business coming. Keep people with a death wish to give you their cheddar cheese but- I just wanted a live stream and I dropped my phone because of it!”
The girl drifted closer and he stood, she was just a projection!!, so that they were nearly chest to chest.
“I’d like a refund! And compensation for my phone- AGH!”
There was an iciness to where her finger brushed his cheek, and projections don’t leave icyness!!! “I missed you so Oliver- but what are you talking about? And why did it take you so long to return?”
“Uhm listen, Rose, right?” She nodded, “this is my first time ever coming here so...uhm- why am I even talking to you? You’re not real!”
Rose looked stricken, “Of course, I am. And of course, you’ve been here before. It was, Saturday, June 14th of the year 1847, just three days ago, when we planned to-”
“Ah! See,” Oliver pointed out. “I was born 2002! I’m 21. So...it can’t be me who you're talking about.”
Rose drifted back, “Is your name not Oliver Crosser?”
“No!” Oliver waved his hands, “Er, well, yes! Not exactly, my name is Oliver Cross- without the ‘er’.”
She shook her head, “Is this a joke? And why are you speaking so oddly? Your accent is so… different than last week. What have you been-”
“I’m American,” Oliver interrupted, “and I’m from Queens- my accent is just fine. Just because it isn't a pretty British accent doesn't mean-”
“That’s not possible,” she murmured, long dark lashes brushing her cheek, “it was our dream to go to the Americas! You couldn't have gone there and back in just a week-”.
She really is beautiful. Oliver could admit to that. And something about the way she felt and talked was too authentic for some cheap stage tricks. This girl was the real deal.
Her hair was long and dark and smooth, her face dainty and heart-shaped. Very expressive. Her figure was lean and curvy, like a barbie princess.
But instead of a dress, she was wearing pants and a too big for her figure shirt.
“Well,” the girl smiled up at him, “you are confused but it’s fine. I'll catch you up later. We should get going before the Prince of Qui-”
It struck him that she wasn't speaking if she knew she was dead.
So, abruptly, he stuck a hand through her stomach.
He cringed at how icy it was and she gasped as if offended and startled all at once. And then she screamed. Staggering away from him, “What did you do to me? Ollie?! What happened to you? Your hand just went through me-”
Then her gaze narrowed, “And why are you wearing such ridiculous clothes?!”
“I’m not the man you’re looking for, girl- I wasn’t even born in the same generation as you.”
“You are confused-”
“I’m not though- you are!”
She turns her back to him, crossing her arms distastefully. “If you didn’t love me anymore then you should say it like a man rather than play with my heart-”
He sat on the musty bed, “Listen, girl- you are dead.”
She frowns at him over her shoulder. Lips tremblings.
“I-go! I-Just leave me alone, O-Ollie. You have changed. Come back when you have-”
“What’s your name?”
“You know my name.”
“Yes, Rose, right?”
“You are being cruel-”
He stared at her, half awkward, half scared.
She was crying and trembling, her features showing such disappointment and hurt. Oliver- the one she speaks of must have been her lover. 200 years ago or so. And ‘Ollie’ must look a lot like himself.
Oliver of the present felt a tug that kept him in the room and kept his speaking, “Remember, what’s the last thing you remember?”
She huffed, “I was dressing for your visit. Preparing everything.”
“Alright, how late is the Olliver you speak of?”
“Of what year?”
“Have you left this manor?”
She shakes her head.
“Have you left this room?”
She shifts, “No, I never had needed to…”
“You weren’t hungry?”
There was a confused and scared expression on her face. Dread pulling on her features.
“And has anyone in the past...days… talked to you? Entered your room?”
“And that’s normal?”
“No,” a delicate hand flies to her chest, “it’s not.”
He stares at her. Oliver wasn’t sure what would happen once he convinced her that she was dead.
Nothing was happening.
“But I feel so...alive.” She was pacing back and forth, her hair sliding in a fluid manner. She really was beautiful. “I can’t possibly…!-”
Maybe if he can try to trigger some memories…
“Where was he supposed to pick you up?”
She drifted to the balcony, looking down at it. Fingers touching a musty stiff twine-like rope that was tied there. She pulled her hands back sharply, inhaling like someone who has been punched in the gut.
“I was supposed to climb out my balcony. He was supposed to have a horse ready for the both of us.”
“I’m still waiting.”
Oliver pushed out a breath. It was too easy. Of course, it didn't work.
She turned sharply to face him, eyes soft. “Tell me about yourself.”
Oliver sat on the bed, not caring that it was dusty as hell. And he talked about technology and his mom. His apartment in Queens. His thousands of subscribers. Why he was in the manor at all. The school he went to. The whole in-the-wall restaurant he liked.
And she listened. Sitting on the bed next to him. Humming, asking soft questions from time to time.
He asked her about her life- and she told him. About meeting the other Oliver. About her family. About the cruel prince from another land. About reading in the gardens, to hide the fact that she was reading from her father.
Everything she said was fascinating.
Eventually, they lapsed into silence. And she spoke again, “I have a confession.”
“I knew that you weren’t my Oliver and that I was dead the moment I touched the string tied to my balcony. I just wanted you to stay.”
He looked at her, “Why?”
“You remind me of him. I think you are his reincarnation. And that the universe, or some divine entity, made it so that you had similar names. So that I can move on.”
“Really?” questioned Oliver, “Did it not work? Since you're still here and all..?”
She placed a hand on the bed between them, leaning forward, “Don’t you know, silly boy? Most endings are signed with a kiss?”
He feels some heat flood his cheeks. Oliver swallowed, not expecting her to be so...forward.
She smiled, “May I?”
A single jerky nod. Her laughter was lemonade. And her kiss was a sweet popsicle. He closed his eyes, letting her cool ghostiness kiss him. When he opened them...she was gone.
YOU’RE ALIVE?!??! THANK GOD!!
NOT FUNNY, DUDE!
those special effects were so fake bruh
“I have decided,” Oliver cleared his throat, “to no longer explore haunted houses.”
He laughed as the comments drilled in. Demanding details, expressing whines, calling him unsavory names.
80 years later.
A girl runs across campus, frizzy hair surrounding her head like a cloud. Her freckles are dark against especially pale skin. Leaves crunch b beneath her feet, running with much momentum.
A boy turns the corner, hands full of flyers for a new protest. She bulldozes him, scattering bright posters across the sidewalk.
“I’m sorry! My name is Megan Block! Korean History major! I’ll pay for any expenses!”
The boy, (Greg Williams), ginger hair mussed up, glasses askew, squints at her. Taking note of the name. “I’m holding you to that!” he yelled after her. Not sure if she heard.
Two souls find each other.
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