Sorry for the terrible first few pictures, the game gives me so much trouble when it comes to sims sitting and talking…
The ghost was awake this time when Specter got home, and fully dressed. He kept apologizing for sleeping in the bed and said he had sprayed down the entire thing. Specter just waved his hand dismissively. He was beginning to think keeping his house disinfected was an uphill battle, and maybe it’d be better to just forget about it until the ghost was gone. Though the thought of living with so much spiritual residue all over the place made him feel a bit sick.
The ghost chattered away about various things and Specter mostly tuned it out as he slumped at the counter bar, eating the cheeseburger he had picked up on his way home. The ghost seemed interested in the burger and out of complete curiosity Specter pushed the container of fries over. The ghost took one, being careful not to touch any other fries, then slipped it in his mouth. “Mmmm, it’s so yummy. I haven’t had food in a long time.”
“Can you… taste it?” Specter asked, reaching into his bag for a notepad and pen.
“Sorta… I think it’s kinda warm and salty?” The ghost inquired and Specter wrote that down. “I can sort’ve almost taste it but not quite. But there is something there.”
“Do you feel hunger? When you eat, do you feel full?”
The ghost shook his head. “No. I don’t feel hunger or full. I really don’t know what those mean. I mean, I know what they mean but… I haven’t felt it myself. It’s not the sort of thing I can feel…”
“What sorts of things do you feel?”
“Emotions,” he responded without hesitating. Specter wrote that down with a frown. “Are you interviewing me? Is this the…” The ghost stopped and shrank back a bit, his fingers tucking under his chin in an…. no don’t think of the E word… but it bubbled up despite his determination not to let it come to the front of his mind: endearing. Yes. This ghost was… endearing… ugh… “Is this the experimenting? Part of the–the experimenting?”
“No.” Specter shook his head. “Just… wondering. You said… you’ve felt…” He sucked in some air through his teeth then hissed out the air. “Love? And… heartbreak? You don’t have a heart…”
“I know,” he replied simply. “But I’ve felt the pain of losing someone. He hurt me…” The ghost stopped and Specter watched him, waiting. The ghost shifted in the seat and then sat up very straight. “You don’t believe me at all, do you?”
“Ghosts have very little emotion.” Specter wrote this down, mostly to concentrate on something other than the ghost’s face. “Moat spirits can focus and reflect a single emotion, much like–“
Specter looked up at that. “Excuse me?”
“In ‘Peter Pan’,” the ghost continued with a beam on his face. “Tinkerbell could only feel an emotion at a time. Oh! But no. Ghosts aren’t like that at all. They can feel–we can feel–ghosts can feel lots of stuff. Sadness and anger and love and hate. And stuff.”
“Spirits are mere memories and are reflective of the emotion of those who died. Those who die in anger, reflect anger. Those who die in sadness, reflect sadness. It is why places of violence have reports of violent hauntings.”
Specter set his pen down and looked up. The ghost was smiling brightly. “Um. Did you just dismiss years of credible research in a single word?”
“Um, I guess. Yeah. But it’s not really research. How many of you guys have actually sat down and properly talked to a ghost? Besides you and me. You can see ghosts, you can hear them. What… why haven’t you… just talked to ghosts?”
Specter picked the pen back up and pressed the tip against the paper, slowly licking his lips. “Ghosts cannot truly be talked to. I have stated multiple times that ghosts are mere memories, reflections of the living person when they die.”
“You’re talking to me.”
“You’re very abnormal.” He wasn’t writing or doing anything, just staring at the paper. A lot of his fellow employees doodled a lot, but he didn’t. He felt it was a waste of space on the paper and made everything look unprofessional. “There has never been a reporting of an–” He stopped, unable to even say the word about him. “–an usual case such as yours.” There, that was better than intelligent haunting. Because this ghost was not intelligent. Technically speaking… yes. He was an unusual case of intelligent haunting, an extreme case. But smart-intelligent? No way.
“Can you see other ghosts? I know you can since you weren’t shocked to actually see me,” the ghost pushed.
“Yes. I have… seen ghosts.” Specter began tugging at his beard in frustrated thought.
“Spoken to them?”
“In a manner.”If you call telling them to say their prayers then zap them as they’re pleading for their memory-existence speaking. “Why?”
“Ever interacted with them?”
“No. Now–just–answer my questions! I’m asking you questions, you’re answering. Not the other way around.” He shot his angriest glare at the ghost but the ghost just kept smiling at him in that stupid, annoying way which was just disconcerting. Most, if not all, just backed away and avoided him once seeing that look but the ghost was still sitting there, swinging his legs, looking stupidly happy. Maybe it’s cause he’s such an idiot, that makes him blind to my anger. “You claim to have had a relationship with another ghost…”
His happiness very noticeably faded. “Yes. It hurt me a lot. He hurt me.”
“So, you are gay.” The words came out without him really meaning to.
“I think so… I think I had a girlfriend a while ago but I wasn’t really interested in her, it did make me wonder if ghosts could have feelings and what love really is.” The ghost picked up another fry and stuck it in his mouth. “Then I met William and fell in love and knew I could love. Then he hurt me. I was heartbroken. But another ghost told me, I think he said at least, something about how heartbreak…” The ghost trailed off and Specter caught up with the writing. “I don’t remember a lot of what he said but something about how heartbreak can help a person.”
“Mm. You believe you had heartbreak… without a heart…?”
“Yes,” the ghost said a bit sharply. “I know I did and I don’t care what you say or what you think, I can feel things like that.”
Specter stared at the words he was writing, wondering why he was writing them. Was he really going to hand this ghost in for experimentation one day? “What’s your full name?” he asked, not looking.
“Um. Chance… ummmm…” Now he did look up and saw the ghost looked afraid. “Ummmm… I–I don’t…” The ghost looked afraid and panicked as he squirmed in his seat. “Oh. Um. Chance… um… I–I…”
“It’s very common for spirits to have little memory of their–“
“NO!” Specter jumped when the ghost yelled. “No! I know my name. Chance… just… give me a second… oh Watcher… just–hold on.” He rubbed his head, his face scrunching up tight. “Um. Um. DANEVBIE! Yes. Chance Danevbie.”
“Can you spell it?”
“Spell…? Oh, Danevbie? Um, sure. D… a… n…” Here the ghost paused and scrunched his face up again. “Ehhhhh…. e. E.”
“No, one. I think. Yes. Just one. D-A-N-E-V-B…”
When Chance fell silent, Specter looked up. “Is B the last letter?”
“No. Um. B… B… NO not two Bs. E? No. No wait. Please give me a second. B…e…Yes. D-A-N-E-V-B-E. Um. I think.”
Specter wrote that down, underlined it, and added a note that the ghost wasn’t certain. It was very common for ghosts to have little recollection of their living world. The fact that this one had so much was just another mark in the list of strangeness. What’s your last memory of being alive? Specter looked into the eyes of Chance and the two of them just stared at one another. What year did you die…? How exactly did you die? Questions unable to be answered due to the ghost’s stubborn stance that he had not died.
“Why were you in that house? Did you…?” Did you live there? Did you die there?
“I dunno. I liked it. I was just gonna stay a while but then I found out how much I enjoyed music.” The ghost plucked another fry and happily ate it. “I loved the piano. I miss it. I want to play music…”
Were you an artist when you were living? Specter wrote that down beneath the name. Perhaps in researching Chance ‘Danevbe’ he would find out the truth. Yes. I will track down the truth, and find out just what it is… His chin lifted and once again their eyes were locked. I’ll find out why you’re making me feel… so wrong. It was wrong to feel this way about a ghost. Anything but hatred was wrong, in his opinion.
“Can I ask you some questions now?” The ghost tilted his head looking eager and excited so Specter shrugged one shoulder, giving his consent. “Why is some of your hair blue?”
“Ghost did it.”
Specter tapped the end of the pen against his lips, smiling just slightly. “I was attacked by a ghost and it left blue streaks in my hair. It was a horrifying experience.”
“Oh. I thought it was cause of that blue hair dye stuff in the trash bin in your bathroom.”
He now tapped the pen against the paper, leaving a few little dots here and there. “Mmm. Well. That’s all the questions now, I suppose.”
“Can I ask something else?” Specter sighed, rolling his eyes towards the ghost. “Can you get some groceries? Um. I noticed you don’t have much and… and I want to cook something. For you. I’ll be sure to keep everything completely clean and no… spiritual goo anywhere. I promise. Please let me. Please?”
“Hmph.” Specter finished the cheeseburger, gave up on the fries, and then wandered to the bathroom to get a shower. Why does he want to cook? He’s just bored. Always bored. How can ghosts be bored…? He scrubbed his body and then just watched the soapy water swirling down the drain. I know. I know what I can give him.
After his shower he went to the little closet, digging through until he found an old box near the back. A box he had forgotten about for years. It was still sealed shut. He picked up the little gift bag next to it and checked what was inside. Satisfied, he took the box and bag out to the main room and set them down. “Here. I got these ages ago and had no use for then. You can mess with them if you want. I know it’s old but it’s something to do. Besides bothering me.”
“WAAAAH!” The ghost was flailing around now, jumping up and down, looking exuberant. “You–how come you never opened this before?” He plopped onto the floor and opened the box. “It’s never been touched.”
“No. I have no use for those sorts of things.” Specter watched, feeling how… he suspected… well, it was strange. The box held a video game system, the bag held a couple video games. His dad had bought them for him as a seventeenth birthday present. Specter had thanked him, put them in his closet, and forgot about them until he moved to this apartment where he promptly put them in the closet and forgot about them. A gift. A present. Watching this ghost tear into them so happily made him feel… Sick. Maybe I’m coming down with the flu again or something. He started to turn away but the ghost took hold of his sleeve. Specter looked down at the beaming face.
“This is awesome. Thank you! How come you never opened it though? I used to play video games all the time. I’ve missed playing video games. You know, I was thinking a while ago… um… Oh, I forget when but it was kinda recent.” He was opening the games now. There were three of them. Specter remembered pulling them out of the bag when he was 17, being told he could have friends over sometime. Emphasis on friends. Which he didn’t have, and his dad knew it and was just doing this–all of it–to try and get him to be more social. Which was ridiculous since Samuel was one of the reasons he didn’t really have a social life, giving him rigorous training when he wasn’t in school. He remembered after opening these presents, having a bit of cake and then going out into the woods with his dad and using paint guns to train. Something he knew other people thought was great fun but it was training for him.
Specter winced, rubbing his arm and remembering the feel of Samuel’s hand striking him whenever he was bad enough to get hit with one of the paint bullets. “This is war, Jareth. You never let your guard down. Never give them them an opening.”
“Hey, um, Mr. Specter? I really like all this but I can’t help but wonder something.” Specter was pulled from his memories and realized the ghost was standing up right in front of him. “Are we boyfriends now?”
“WHAT?!” Specter roared, feeling something hotter than anger boiling up inside of him. The ghost did pull back but only a little. “Why the HELL would you say that?!”
“Well, um, we had sex and now you’re giving me presents and–“
“When the HELL did we–we never–we NEVER had–we did NOT!” His chest heaved as he tried hard to scrabble onto some sort of sanity. The ghost was just spouting nonsense, there was something wrong with this–spirit. “We did NOT.”
“Mhm. We did.”
“No–we–didn’t, no, no. NO. Why–how–the–just NO!” Specter’s fingers twitched towards his pocket, wanting to pull the gun on him, wanting to zap this crazy thing into the Nether just to stop the–the—the insanity spewing forth from this–this–thing! “No, no. No.”
“NO WE DID NOT!” He grabbed the ghost by the wrists now and held tight, very tight. “I don’t know what sort of screwed up dreams you have, ghost, but we did not have sex, do you understand me? I–you–you said you–you said you knew what–and then you go and–WATCHER you are a NUTCASE! I’m–I’m surprised you’re not YELLOW!”
The ghost went not-solid and Specter stumbled through him. “There is nothing wrong with being a yellow ghost!” he protested. “I have a friend who is a yellow and he’s nice and he helped me! He’s the one who told me I wouldn’t be able to heal from the broken heart until I was ready to get past what happened.”
Specter was surprised by that. It was… well, extremely good advice. Surely a yellow hadn’t told him that. The ghost was looking determined; Specter realized nothing he could say would dissuade him, just like the whole ‘you did die’ thing. “Okay well speaking of what has happened and what hasn’t happened… we did not have sex. Okay? Repeat after me. We did not have sex.”
“WE DID NOT!”
“WE–DID–NOT!” Specter then let out an animal-like growl when someone knocked at the door. He knew it was his landlady, demanding to know what was going on. “You go completely invisible,” Specter warned. “She’s going to look through the house so go invisible. Completely. I know you can.” The ghost nodded and faded into nothing. Feeling a bit creeped out about that, Specter opened the door to face Mrs. Penstone. “Hello,” he said with a forced smile.
“Now, Specter. I know there was something going on. I heard voices. I heard them, and I know there is someone else here.” She let Mr. Fluffy go and the cat ran in, sitting by nothing and meowing at it. Specter suspected it was where the ghost was. “You know my rules, Specter.”
“I do, Mrs. Penstone. Please feel free to look around all you want.” He stepped aside and the surprised older woman came in. She pulled some glasses out of her pocket and began looking around the room. “The bedroom too, Mrs. Penstone, and the bathroom. And the balcony. Look anywhere you like. There’s nobody here with me.”
Mrs. Penstone peeked into every room and indeed checked the balcony. Specter tried not to give a sigh of relief when the old woman picked Mr. Fluffy up and went back to the front door. “Well, I suppose not. But please try to be quiet.”
“Of course, Mrs. Penstone,” Specter said, opening the door for her. An ugly, miserable thought filled his head. For the first time since living here he wondered about… what the ghost was going on about, really. Mrs, Penstone was so nosy, he wondered how she’d react if she heard that sort of thumping. It was so funny he had to fight not to laugh. What is wrong with me? he wondered, waving as Mrs. Penstone headed down the stairs. Laughing and… all this crap. He shut the door and turned, watching as the ghost faded back into view and he looked a bit worried.
“I think that cat can see me.”
“It’s a cat, don’t worry about it.” Specter pushed some hair back. “I’m going to get a shower. Just… I don’t know. Do you need help hooking up the video games?”
“No, I can get it, thanks.” The ghost watched as Specter went towards the bathroom and a split second before the door closed, Specter heard, “But we did have sex.”
The ghost loved the video games and was practically glued to the TV. He didn’t even bother trying to sleep anymore, he just stayed up playing video games which was fine with Specter since it meant no bad dreams, no tripping over him, and no giving in to those big eyes and letting him in his bed. It was then Specter realized it had only been a few days. Really? It had felt like a lot longer than a few days. Weeks, in fact. Long… annoying… torturous weeks of dealing with this ghost. And giving in way too much, he had certainly made too many concessions. He was going to have to put an end to this.
“I got your stupid stuff.” Specter set the bags of groceries down on the counter. After two days of playing video games the ghost once again asked for groceries, handing Specter a list. He wasn’t going to get them but then went ahead and went shopping since he had been meaning to for a while, not because some idiotic ghost asked him too.
“OH NO YOU DON’T!” Specter froze as this was the first time he ever heard the ghost really yell. “GET YOUR NO-GOOD BUTT BACK HERE! DIE! DIE! DIE!” The ghost was playing a video game Specter had bought the day before. Some post-apocalyptic shooting game. Seemed the ghost was really into it. Though he wasn’t shooting things, he was hitting naked mole rats with a stick which caused their heads to explode. “Hah! That’s right. Sick… little… gross… thing. THAT’S WHAT YOU GET! SUCK IT!” Another mole rat head exploded. Then he paused the game and got up. “Oh!!” His voice was different now, brighter, cheerier, happier. Specter realized then the ghost had reeeallly been into the game. “Oh good. You got everything? Thank you so much!”
“I didn’t do it for you, I was going to go shopping anyway. Stop acting like I did you a favor, because I didn’t. And stop smiling.”
The ghost kept smiling through as he dug through the bags. “Can I fix you something? I wanna cook something.”
“No. I ate already.”
“Oh.” The ghost sounded a bit disappointed. “Well, um, what–“
“I’m busy.” He kicked off his boots before stomping to the bathroom for a shower. Another long day, made longer by a trip to the store. Also made long due to the fact he had tried to do research on Chance Danvebie. With an ‘i’. Not that he existed, much as Specter suspected. But he did find out there was a Danevbie family which included a famous stage actor from a generation or two ago named Cesario Danevbie, and then a lot about a ‘Jacob Danevbie’ which had paved the way for male pregnancy. But no Chance Danevbie. He checked as many birth records and obituaries as he could, but nothing, zip, nada. Though one thing did strike him as odd was that there was a bit of a coincidence. Involving a Serenity Danevbie who had died eleven years ago, on the same day his parents had died. But still. No Chance. So the ghost was making it up, or at least believed he was who he said he was.
Specter pondered that thought during his shower. There was every possibility Chance–or whoever he was–had undergone such a horrific death that he made up a whole new persona… or maybe he had done something so horrible when he was living he had blocked it out. Maybe he knew the Danevbies or something and that was why he took on their name after death. Specter rather wished he could find some psychologist who could analyze the idiot’s brain… NO! Chance did not have a brain, just a memory of a brain. Stop thinking of him as real. Specter turned off the shower and headed to his room, angry about how easily it was getting to be to think of the ghost as someone real.
The day after Specter had brought the groceries was his birthday. He had been at a haunted ice cream parlor when midnight hit, and hadn’t had much time to interact with people after that so it wasn’t until he went into the office in the late afternoon that he realized it was his birthday… and for the first time since EGHB came to be… Specter felt a bit sad. He sat at his desk and looked around the office at the other employees. Because for as long as EGHB had been in existence the employees celebrated birthdays. They passed around a tin for money to buy presents and they threw little parties in the lounge with cake and stupid hats. Specter often put in some money for presents but never joined the parties, he felt them to be a waste of time. And in those years not once did anyone ever pass a tin around for him or throw one of those stupid parties. And not once in those years did Specter care.
He leaned against his desk and frowned, not sure how to deal with the strange feeling of emptiness inside of him. He had not felt this way in a long time. Maybe it was reading about someone else dying on the same day as his parents which brought back memories of that nightmarish time. In any case, there was no one bringing a bag over to him, no one telling him there would be cake in the lounge. No sign anywhere that it was someone’s birthday… much less the son of the boss’s birthday.
Specter tried to concentrate on his work but it was difficult. The unusual sadness kept dragging him down. Making him… depressed. He was very glad when the work day/night was finally over and done with but he couldn’t help but wonder if–if his own adopted father remembered. His 18th birthday had been the very last time his birthday had been acknowledged except once in class during college, he was taking summer classes and the teacher wished him a happy birthday; Specter had just glared and made no response.
No, Mrs. Penstone gives me little things for my birthday, Specter thought as he rode the elevator up to his dad’s office. In the time he had been living there he knew to expect a small box with a card on it waiting for him outside his door whenever he got home. Which was good because when he poked his head into his father’s office to say goodnight, Samuel just glowered and asked, “What are you doing up here?”
Specter realized how stupid it had been to even bother. “Um. I wanted to say… goodnight.”
Samuel went back to shuffling papers on his desk. “Go home and go to bed, Jareth. I think you’ve got a fever.”
Specter left, seething with rage and depression. He drove home a bit a faster than usual, trying not to let the anger get to him but he couldn’t help it. What’s wrong with me? What the hell is wrong with me? I haven’t cared in over six, seven years and now suddenly I care? Why? WHY?! Maybe I do have a fever. Maybe I’m sick.
He parked his jeep and stormed up the steps, grabbing the box that Mrs. Penstone had left for him. He kicked open his door then slammed it shut behind him as he ripped the paper off the box. It was a mug. A really nice mug… except for the picture of Mr. Fluffy on it. A spark of amusement appeared somewhere within him but it faded as the rest of the day’s events poured it out. Then he smelled something… burnt? His head snapped up, fear that a fire had started except there was something sweet mixed in with the burning smell and–
“Happy birthday!” The ghost was holding out a platter with a horribly ugly, lopsided, badly frosted cake on it.
Specter nearly dropped the mug. “Wh… what? How–how did you…? How did you…?”
“Your landlady left that box out on the porch and it was birthday wrapping paper and the card said happy birthday on it.” The ghost’s smile wasn’t quite as big anymore. “I decided to bake you a cake… And I wore the baggies which kinda made it hard and one of them mighta melted a bit when I was getting the cake out of the oven but… oh no… it’s not… it’s not your birthday, is it… Oh, no. I’m so stupid. I’m sorry. I thought–oh no! I’m sorry.”
Specter set the mug down, feeling everything swirling inside his head, feeling–feeling–feeling things that he 1. never thought he’d feel, and 2. shouldn’t feel. But he felt them. And his body was moving without him telling it to. He crossed the space between him and the ghost and took the platter. The ghost looked scared but Specter just set the platter down then faced the ghost… faced Chance again. Without knowing exactly what he was doing, or why, he grabbed Chance and then kissed him hard on the mouth.