Hello once again, today we have a very lengthy chapter, I’ll give you that. It’s, the lengthiest(?) chapter so far, which at my current state, is something I don’t really mind. I’ve got two more weeks for this, so I better wrap this up, and this chapter is a nice touch. I’m bringing everyone in, I’m giving a bit more about both characters, and it’s not even over yet. This is probably going to be a 2(?) chapter arc, so this is the first chapter of this arc, and the ending of it is going to incorporate one of my favorite anime tropes(For all you who don’t know, I love anime). But anyway, let’s see how this unfolds, shall we? Word count: 31,717 Here you go, Chapter 16 of “Home For The Unwanted”.
“And then I saw it!” Spear opened his arms in a dramatic motion, appearing as if he was about to embrace someone. The entire building was gathered under a single room; the mess room, they dubbed it, and sat around a large round table. The lights were dimly lit, and the door and windows were shut and curtained off to give the room a prevailing sense of darkness. Although, Ryan wasn’t sure why they just didn’t do this on the second floor’s storage room; a room that he had wandered in to by accident which had no windows and was spacious and dark enough to simulate the experience.
“It was!” Spear made a dramatic pause before the big reveal, holding his breath and watching the indifferent, suspenseful, and sleep-deprived faces of the people gathered.
“A ghost!” Spear waited, silence fell across the room, and the faces of each person remained the same. Spear kept a wide eyed expression to further emphasize the point that he had indeed met a ghost. A cough broke into the silence, and Spear was left standing in the middle of a room filled with eyes that screamed fallacy.
“Spear. You know….. Ghosts don’t exist, right?” Walker said, seeming to have just recently joined in on the fiasco and has grasped Spear’s delusions.
“Yeah. Even, I don’t believe in that stuff,” Hailstone added with a distinct hesitation and stiffness in her voice.
“That kind of stuff is for kids,” Hailstone ironically added with the same stiffened tone that was on the verge of breaking. Ryan looked over and noticed Hailstone had begun grabbing her arms and was slightly shaking, however, Ryan could have been mistaken in the lowlight. Ryan preferred this, as if he did catch Hailstone in the act of being afraid of Ghosts, he would surely not hear the end of it, he thought.
“I’d like to see this ghost to believe it.” Carrier added with great disdain.
“I think I’d like to meet Mr. Ghost as well,” Winter added with a soft tone. Ryan found the sentiment as quite amusing, but he couldn’t figure out why. At this point, Ryan had never really thought about the afterlife, nor did he think much of the topic. He saw death as death, and people came and went by in a flash. Ryan never gave it a second thought. Ryan experienced death quite closely to him, but perhaps it was because of his age, and perhaps it was because that he’s never really cared much for it before that the topic doesn’t affect him. The afterlife is not a norm, nor is it a part of a norm. At this point, Ryan thought that the afterlife, was the epitome of emptiness. Nothing happened, nor, was it any fun. After all, Ryan has realized that the nothingness he used to embraced, was anything but warm.
“If he likes to play games, then call him over!” Runner enthusiastically said, seemingly ignoring any negative connotations that a ghost would usually bring.
“What if he doesn’t want to play games? He could be dangerous.” Sunflower warned.
“Who says this ghost is a guy? What if it’s a cute girl? I want a cute girl,” Lorna added without much regards to the current topic, and with much disappointment as she felt sad over the fact that she did not have a “cute girl”. Winter looked up to Lorna as she said this, and Lorna smiled and patted her head with affection, “Aw. I have the cutest girls I could ever ask for.” Ryan was left wondering how the discussion derailed from a horror story, and so did Spear as he lost his patience.
“This is not the time to be playing games!” Spear’s voice boomed out in the darkness of the mess room. Everybody stopped and looked at him like he had just begun a speech.
“You don’t understand what I saw. It was a monster. A humanoid white figure that had fangs and claws, and red eyes!”
“Is that how ghosts look?” Winter asked quietly.
“I was lucky that I had a flashlight, but if it saw me in the dark, it would have devoured me!” Spear was getting quite worked up about the topic, and so was Lorna once she tuned in, “Wait, where did you get a flashlight?” She asked.
“I found it in the trunk room.”
“So that’s where I left it….” Lorna replied dejectedly with pride. It seemed that she was more interested in the whereabouts of her belongings then the actual ghost, Ryan thought.
“Does it only eat you in the dark?” Runner asked. Ryan figured that the concept of a ghost only eating during the dark sounded like a fun game to Runner. Although, Ryan wasn’t sure what to think of Runner finding possibly being maimed to be a fun game. Ryan hasn’t tried out a game like that either, so he couldn’t say much about the matter.
“I heard ghosts haunt people. They latch onto a person and drain their energy,” Carrier added before Spear could speak again.
“Drain their energy? Like a vampire?” Winter added, albeit with her usual tone, she had a bit more flair once the topic of a vampire arose.
“I don’t know. Seems pretty hard to me, but I think if you can endure it, they’ll eventually leave you alone. They’ll see that you aren’t fun anymore and find someone else.”
“A vampire….” Winter slowly began getting wistful eyes, which no one picked up in the dim light.
“Monsters aren’t scary! Bring it on!” Spark added with as much enthusiasm as Spear had. Ryan truly did believe that Spark would be able to lead a charge against a blood ravaging monster if he so wanted to.
“Hah! Don’t be ridiculous. Monsters don’t exist. There are only us and animals!” Hailstone added, with a much more frantic tone. Ryan noticed that Hailstone began rubbing her hands together and looked across the room in search of something. Thankfully, Hailstone didn’t notice that Ryan noticed her, he thought.
“Guys!” Spear yelled out again, breaking up all the discussion. He was losing his breath, and once he had rallied everyone’s attention again, cleared his throat.
“This is a serious matter. Don’t you guys get it? If it remains here, we’re all in trouble!” Spear insisted again upon the dangers of the ghost. However, only Spark and Hailstone seemed to have radiated enough excitement to match Spear’s. Ryan was still rather quiet in the whole round table.
“We have to get rid of it!”
“And how do we do that?” Walker asked, as he tuned back into the conversation.
“We ask it to leave!” The room slowly turned into silence again. The roundabout method that Spear had thought was too normal, many of the children thought. For a spectacle such as a ghost, there must have been a more flashier way of eradicating it, Ryan thought. Surely asking a ghost that is haunting a place to leave wouldn’t be enough.
“And if it doesn’t work?” Hailstone quickly added.
“We have to fight it! We drive it away!” Spark suddenly proclaimed, with his arms out and a wide grin hidden in the low light.
“Enough!” Lorna suddenly got up, and went over to the door. With one big motion, she swung the door open, letting in a ray of light that unexpectedly blinded Ryan for a brief moment. Lorna made a big scene as she stretched her arms out and grunted loudly.
“All this ghost talk is making me hungry!” Lorna yelled back into the room. Her stomach began growling as she did, and once she realized that she could no longer hold it in, she turned with a sad expression and limped off to the kitchen.
“I’ll make sure she’s fine,” Ryan said as he got up and walked towards the door. Ryan thought the situation in the room was quite choking in its own right, and that the atmosphere of it all was hard to follow for Ryan. His norm usually had interactions between a recognized group of speakers, but it wasn’t until quite recently that his norm had branched out to much harder to follow conversations. At least for Ryan, having to listen to multiple people and run different ideas through his head for each person was taxing. Ryan couldn’t find a right place to interject his own ideas, to refute, to joke, or to have fun. Ryan was simply an observer. And that feeling made him relapse. That feeling made Ryan slip into a realm not of his own, and to a norm that he did not wish to visit.
“Slow down, will you?” Ryan said as he walked into the kitchen and saw that Lorna had been stuffing her face with a chicken sandwich. The speed at which the morsel of food in her hand had disappeared baffled Ryan, and Ryan knew that eating at such speeds was surely not good.
“You hungry too?” Lorna asked with lettuce hanging from her mouth. Ryan looked over to the table where an assortment of bread, ham, and vegetables were spread across the table. Ryan was unsure of how Lorna was able to take out each of the items in the short time that had passed, but didn’t question it for long.
“On second thought, this is all mine.” Lorna added as he noticed Ryan looking over the table. Lorna’s tone was different when she was hungry, Ryan thought. She wasn’t exactly playful, nor was she exactly serious and mellow. In a strange sense of it, Ryan thought that Lorna sounded over protective.
“Don’t worry. I’m not hungry.”
“Then why did you follow me?” Lorna said barely understandable as she stuffed her mouth with another sandwich.
“Needed some fresh air.”
“Fresh air?” Lorna swallowed the food in her mouth before continuing, “Could have went outside. ”
“Could have. But, then I wouldn’t get the company.” Lorna smiled to Ryan’s unknowing boldness.
“What’s on your mind? Other than me, of course.” Lorna asked, with a sarcastic tone to emphasize her snide remark.
“Nothing–” Ryan paused, and thought again about what he wanted to say. He knew that Lorna would want him to be open to her about what was on his mind, and Ryan knew he had nothing to lose if he was honest.
“Actually, yeah. Something’s been on my mind.”
“Let me hear it, lover boy.”
“When Spear started talking about ghosts, I started thinking.”
“Actually, half the time, you shouldn’t take Spear seriously. He’s a smart kid, but can’t get his words exactly the way he wants them. He notices things, more than the other kids. He’s just awkward, sometimes. Sometimes.” Lorna motioned for Ryan to continue, acknowledging that she had cut him off.
“Right. And Spear might be just seeing things. Spear might just be saying things and we’ve lost the meaning somewhere in all the fantasy. But, one thing does hold true about what he said.”
“Oh?” Lorna’s tone lowered, and she noticed Ryan looking down onto the floor. His eyes slowly rose, but they looked down casted.
“Ghosts come from the dead. And, I’ve seen death. Maybe not seen, but I’ve experienced it. I know people who have died, but I don’t feel much for it. Not now, not even then.” Ryan’s voice seemed to have trailed off, and Lorna’s own breathing seemed to have steadied.
“So you’re worried?” Lorna spoke softly, and clearly.
“I don’t know if I’m worried or not. But I’m just….. Not sure about it.”
“What aren’t you sure about?”
“I…. Don’t know.”
“What don’t you know?”
“Look!” Ryan yelled out unexpectedly. Lorna was indifferent, and had spoken to warrant a response from Ryan. Ryan slowly calmed himself, and as he did, Lorna grabbed a cup and poured water into it. Before Ryan spoke again, Lorna took a quick sip.
“I really don’t know, okay?” Lorna left the cup to her lips, and let her eyes sink into the edge of the cup.
“I just, can’t think of anything. When I hear death, images of my–” Ryan stopped.
“When I hear death,” Lorna interrupted Ryan’s line of thought, and brought the cup down. She swirled the water inside. The notion seemed less suave to Ryan, as it wasn’t coffee, he concluded.
“I see friends. I see workers. And I see lost time.” Lorna placed the cup onto the table, and looked into Ryan’s eyes. She had a weak smile on, and her hair, which was ever so bright in the light of the day, seemed dark and full of rot in the darkness of the kitchen. However, it wasn’t so much as it was rot, Ryan thought, but that it was lifeless. It didn’t glow, much like Lorna’s current state.
“When I hear death, I remember things that I would rather not. I remember my past. I remember the things that I could never bring back.” Lorna paused, and gathered her thoughts. She weighed whether telling Ryan about her past, and about her current talks with Amanda was a smart decision or not.
“I used to have people in my life that I pushed away,” Lorna found it fine to stretch the truth to get Ryan started. All she needed to do, was keep Amanda and any business with blue uniforms a closed canon case.
“I had people that I was unknowingly close to. And once they had passed, I had come to realize how much they meant to me. I couldn’t understand them, but once the time had come, and once I had learned, I realize how much I missed them. That’s what death is to me. A missed opportunity. And unless you can take all you can, death will always be meek and morbid.” Lorna felt like crying. She felt like screaming out and chasing her past away, but she knew it would mean nothing. Lorna played with strings, but once those strings were cut, and once the wood that brought it together had grown moss, Lorna changed. That’s what Lorna wanted Ryan to understand, and he did, to some extent.
“But don’t let it bother you,” Lorna added for insurance.
“Just let it all out. What does death mean to you? What do you see?” Lorna asked, while looking straight into Ryan’s tired eyes.
“Death…..When I think of death images of my family appear.” Lorna didn’t expect the revelation that she received, however, the possibility had been on her mind.
“Images of my father, and images of me.”
“Your father’s dead?” Lorna asked bluntly, with a pained expression.
“Yeah. He’s dead. He died when I was still young. Younger than I am now.” Ryan gave off a small secluded chuckle.
“I never gave it much thought. I was so stuck in my own world that I didn’t–” Ryan quickly stopped, and corrected himself, “I couldn’t think of anything or anyone else. But, I’ve changed. I’ve changed Lorna. I’ve really changed.”
“Yeah, you have Ray. You have.”
“And now that I can think of these things, I think I miss him.” Ryan’s eyes began watering. It was a strange sensation for Ryan. Ryan was never the person to cry, nor did he think he was. It wasn’t a part of his norm, no. It was a norm all on its own, Ryan thought. Ryan could cry.
“Lorna, you–” Ryan stopped, and cleared his throat, “Thank you. Lorna.”
“For what?” Lorna added, with her usual playful tone.
“Nope. Don’t want to hear it.” Lorna skipped across the kitchen and to the door.
“The only person to thank is yourself.” Lorna left the kitchen with her energy, but shortly poked her head back in to add a remark, “Spear’s probably going to have us ghost hunting all night. If you want, stay and have some fun.” Ryan considered it, and thought that the idea of hunting a being that might not actually exist would not be fun, but the idea of staying overnight with everyone was. Ryan smiled to that thought, and smiled again once he realized that he had to clean up after Lorna. Although, he didn’t mind. Lorna skipped her way back to the mess room, and despite having said her feelings and having heard Ryan’s, there was still one fact that she was wondering about. Lorna could guess as to what the answer would be, but she didn’t want to. Nor could she make an accurate assumption, after all, it was Ryan. Lorna wondered where Ryan’s mother was.