“Let me out! Please! Let me out! I didn’t do anything! Please!” I banged on the glass, trying to keep solid since if I went un-solid my hand would hit the zappy barrier. “Let me OUT! LET ME OUT! Please!” I banged the glass. “Please…”
I had been begging for a long time. Every time Samuel came into the room I started up, not stopping until he left. Most of the time he did scans of me inside the glass cell but a couple times he would send the electric stuff into the cell to knock me down, and then he’d handcuff me and drag me over to that metal table with straps. He’d strap me down and zap me with stuff. It hurt. It really, completely hurt.
“Samuel, let me out, let me go, you can’t do this to me!” I slammed my hand against the glass and then slumped to my knees, feeling exhausted. “Please.”
“You just don’t give up, do you?” he snorted from the desk with the computer.
“No,” I replied. “Now let me go. I’m sure you’ve gotten all the information you need. Let me go. Now.”
“Go?” He scooted the chair around. “Outside? Or into the Netherworld? You still want to die, ghost?”
“No!” Because I didn’t, not anymore. After I had some time to really think about it, I realized how stupid I had been. I was letting a broken heart and no memories dic… dicta… dict… er, say how my life was going to go. Or death, whichever it was. I still wasn’t sure. But it didn’t matter anymore because whatever it was, I wanted to stay.
Samuel got up and came over, tapping on the glass like little kids did on aquariums or places at the zoo. “Good because you won’t be dying. I need you.”
He smiled, that horribly creepy smile. “Research. Experiments. To know more.” He ran a finger down the glass, making an awful squeak sound. “You see, I want to–“
But he was cut off as someone’s voice filled the room. Specter’s voice. “Samuel?”
I perked up and looked around. But Specter wasn’t in the science room. Samuel got out his phone and rolled his eyes towards me. “Kids can be such a nuisance, don’t you agree?” Then his phone rang and, after he pressed a button on the wall, he answered it with a smirk. “Hello? Jareth?”
“Samuel, where are you?” I heard Specter’s voice from both somewhere in the room and Samuel’s phone. I looked around and realized the sound was from a speaker.
“I’m… a bit busy at the moment,” he said. “I–“
“SPECTER IT’S CHANCE I’M TRAPPED!” I yelled, pounding on the glass. “HELP ME I’M BEHIND ONE OF SAMUEL’S BOOKCASES!”
“–am a bit busy at the moment,” Samuel kept talking, as if I wasn’t screaming. That’s when I realized I sounded a bit muffled. I kept pounding and screaming until it hit me that he couldn’t hear me. “Did you need something?”
“I needed to take a few days off of work,” Specter said through the speaker and the phone.
“Oh?” Samuel’s face tensed up and he looked really mad. “Why?”
“Some things going on. I need time off.”
“Like at the cabin?”
“No,” Specter said all tense-like. “It’s nothing. I just need time off.”
I slumped on the ground, rather wishing Samuel had soundproofed the glass box both ways because hearing Specter’s voice was hurting me, so much. “Fine. Time off,” he said, eyes all narrowed as he stared at me. “Maybe you should take some of that time off to see a psychiatrist. Because something is wrong, Jareth. I can tell.”
Specter made a grumbly, growly sound. I knew that sound, it meant he wasn’t being very trustful towards what Samuel was saying. It sounded like the growl he gave me when I promised him there weren’t mushrooms in this one pasta dish I made. “I’m fine,” Specter spat out. “And where are you? I’m getting this strange… echoing sound.”
Samuel moved a bit and smiled. “You’re not fine. You’ve missed work, and when you do come in you seem so… distracted. This has been going on for four days. And now you want time off? My dear Jareth, I am worried.” Ahh four days, that’s how long I had been in here. It seemed longer, really.
“Things haven’t been for the best, of late,” Specter replied. “A–a friend of mine is in trouble.”
“You don’t have friends.”
There was a bit of silence and then Specter sighed. “So, I have the time off?”
“Yes, on the condition you also see a psychiatrist.”
“And tell them what, Samuel? My boss thinks I’m going crazy because I haven’t killed enough ghosts lately?
“I’m your father.”
Samuel got this horrible, scary, creepy look on his face at that. “I am perfectly aware I am not your biological father, but it doesn’t change the fact I am worried about you. Or what I’ve done for you. If I hadn’t come in when I did, that ghost probably would have killed you as well. Stop treating me like I’m your enemy, Jareth. I’m not your enemy. Ghosts are.”
I frowned at that, and then my mouth opened a bit when Specter said, actually said, “I’m beginning to think not all of them are.”
“I’ll see you later, Samuel.”
“DON’T YOU–” Samuel was cut off by a clicky-beepy noise. He stared at his phone then with an enraged scream threw the phone at the wall. It shattered, pieces scattering across the floor. I shrank back in my cell as he banged his fingers against some of the buttons to the keypad. I was worried he was going to shock me, or worse–kill me. But the only thing that happened was my cell became all non-sound-proof. Samuel fumbled in his pockets, hands shaking as he lit up a cigarette and took in a big lungful. Then he breathed the smoke out as he stared into my eyes, and said in a calm tone, “Some days you have to wonder how you’re able to not kill people.”
He took another suck of smoke and then left me alone, shaking with fear for Specter.
The days began slowly blending into one another. Samuel became my everything. My link to the shred of life I had left. He didn’t always come in–though it was very hard to keep track of days. I didn’t know when was day and when was night. I asked for a clock to be put in the room but Samuel ignored me. Sometimes he’d leave the speaker on and I could hear what was going on in his office. I think he did this just to torture me.
One time I heard Specter. He and Samuel were arguing, and again I was fearful for Specter’s life. Specter was asking for more days off, Samuel was scared for Specter’s sanity. Samuel urged him to see someone, and Specter insisted he was fine.
“And what you said before? About ghosts not being the enemy?” Samuel asked.
I pressed against the glass walls, eagerly waiting for Specter’s answer which was, “I never said that.” I frowned and felt sickened, and betrayed.
“You did. On the phone.”
“You must have misunderstood me, Samuel. Ghosts are monsters that deserve eradication from this world.”
“Bastard,” I said, kicking the glass. Though I wasn’t sure what ‘eradication’ was. I figured it was something like ‘radiation’ or ‘rads’ like from one of my favorite games, where if you got a lot of rads you got sick and died and stuff. Samuel said something and Specter said something and they both said stuff but I couldn’t listen anymore. I pressed my hands against my ears and curled up on the floor, crying until I drifted into sleep.
Fog, endless fog, endless white fog–creeping, curling, pulling. Cold. Hot. Pain. I began to forget things… except for that fog, the pain, and Samuel. I tried to hold onto what few memories I had left rattling around my head but they rattled away before I could get a good hold of them. Faces slowly disappeared from my memory.
My own name left me.
Everything left me, until there was just me–whoever I was. Me, the fog, Samuel, and the endless pain he put me through.
I looked up at the ceiling, listening only sorta to the voices over the speaker. Samuel, and his kid Jareth who he hated absolutely. I knew he hated Jareth cause after each time they talked, Samuel would come into the room and smoke and talk about killing him. I wondered, once in a while, if Jareth knew.
“Come on,” Samuel said one time after a fight. He came over and tapped at the keys. I left the cell and went over to the table, laying down so he could strap me. “You’ve become such an obedient little rat,” he laughed, smoke drifting over me.
“That’s what I am… isn’t it?” I asked, confused by that comment. Was I ever anything else?
“Of course it is.” He tightened the straps then stuck a wire into my leg. Pain–incredible pain–tore through my body. I began screaming, fading in and out of solidness, desperate for the pain to stop. SerenityHenriMiraKayleeEmmaRuthWilliamSpecter. This strange thing ran through my head at the absolute peak of pain and then I blacked out, as I always did. Well–I whited out. Everything was white when this happened. Foggy white.
There was also this light, often. In the distance. I usually tried to go towards it but could never find my way. Most often a voice would tell me to turn around, it wasn’t my time. The voice usually sounded like a person–like when I talked, or Samuel talked. But sometimes it didn’t. Sometimes it was in my head, not my ears. Sometimes it was a language I didn’t know. It felt weird and ancient, filling my whole body. But even though I didn’t understand it, I knew what it was saying. ‘Go back, it’s not your time’.
I’d wake up, sobbing and begging Samuel to stop. I was back in my cell by this point, occasionally getting the energy to pound at the glass. Samuel was sometimes there, sometimes not. When he was there he was very interested in his computer. “Please,” I begged. “Please let me go.”
But he wouldn’t. I was his lab rat, his obedient little lab rat. I wasn’t sure what sort of research he was getting from me but he was getting something. He kept hurting me. Kept laughing at me. Kept talking about how ghosts were evil. I tried telling him I wasn’t evil but I wasn’t so sure. Somewhere, a dim memory (very dim) of someone telling me that I had done something horrible when I was alive and when I died I just blocked it all out.
Maybe I was a killer when I was alive, maybe I hurt people and did terrible things. Maybe I deserved this pain. Or maybe I had completely passed on and this was hell.
“Is this hell?” I asked Samuel one day.
He looked at me from behind the smoke from his cigarette. “You’re the devil. Not me,” he said before turning out the lights and leaving me alone to dwell on that thought.
I’m the devil, I did something wrong, I was a devil, I want to die, I am dead, someone save me, someone, anyone, please, whatever I did wrong I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m so, so so, so SORRY!!!!
I rocked back and forth, whispering to myself, begging forgiveness. Samuel came in one day to hear that and he just laughed and laughed and wouldn’t stop laughing. “Who would ever forgive a monster like you?” he asked as he hit the buttons to release me.
I got up and instead of going to the table, I tried attacking him. I threw myself at him, fists swinging, voice screaming. “I’M NOT A MONSTER I’M NOT A MONSTER I’M NOT A MONSTER!” I scratched him and kicked him and nearly bit him before being paralyzed.
Samuel dragged me to the table and strapped me down. “You are,” he hissed, shoving wires through me and turning a dial. “You’ll pay for daring to touch me.” He hit the switch, and I couldn’t even scream. The pain was too much. If I was a real person I think my soul would have been ripped out of my body.
Voices filled my head, overlapping, talking all at once. A woman laughing and telling me to stop going through walls. A man whispering, telling me we couldn’t go to a funeral. A girl squealing with delight that I made her so happy. A voice with a strange accent singing to me. And then a deep voice that was almost familiar. “You really are something, Chance.”
And then a ringing sound, a flash of white–and that fog. But there was something in that fog. Something blurry and far away. Walls. A room. People.
I saw in the room. Four people–two men, two women. None of them saw me. They were all looking at a wall. I squinted but couldn’t see anything on the wall. Then one of the men turned and he was almost right in front of me inside the fog. A gentle, soft, careful voice came out of his head and into mine as he reached out and touched my cheek in a comforting way.
“It’s not your time, Chance. Go back.“
I tried to speak but couldn’t and then there was pain. I screamed and the man disappeared and suddenly I was in the room with Samuel. I was panting heavily and writhing, trying to get free. Tears soaked the table beneath me. Samuel was watching me with narrowed eyes, as if suspicious of something.
“What did you say?” he asked. I squeaked and then began panting some more. “You said ‘Specter’. How do you know him?”
“I… d-d-don’t…” I gulped, still writhing.
“DON’T YOU LIE TO ME!” he roared into my face. “How do you know him? Tell me or I will kill you!”
I closed my eyes and smiled. “It’s not my time yet.”
“I don’t know anyone named Specter.”
He yanked me from the table and threw me into the cell, using the handcuffs he sometimes put on me that no matter how un-solid I went I couldn’t get free from them. As soon as the cell door shut I felt the paralyzing feeling go through me and I was on the floor, unable to move. Samuel hissed out something I couldn’t hear and then he left, slamming the door shut. Soon I heard through the speakers him yelling at Jareth to come into his office now. I wasn’t sure why, but I had the feeling I had done something wrong. I tried to hold it together to hear what happened next but the fog took me, and I fell asleep.
Samuel seemed to be in a terrible mood the next few times I saw him. He was shaky, smoked more than usual, and kept pacing around and talking to himself. He mumbled a lot about Jareth and often glared at me. Twice he asked me more about Specter but I told him both times I had no idea who Specter was, cause I didn’t. “Is that another ghost?” I inquired the second time, and that seemed to be the end of that. At least, the Specter stuff.
My name… is… something… I’m… from… where? My family… no… I died… how long ago? What happened to me?
I woke up with a start, trying to figure out questions but not being able to answer them. I rubbed my head, waiting for… who? Samuel. Ah yes. Him. He didn’t keep me waiting long. Or maybe he did, I really couldn’t tell. He came in, complaining about Jareth as he paralyzed me. “There is something wrong with that kid. I did everything, and he just pushes, and pushes. He has no idea what I am truly capable of. No clue.”
He dragged me to the table and strapped me in. He put out his cigarette against my skin, or tried to. I went un-solid and the cigarette went through me and against the table. “What are you capable of?” I asked.
He smiled. “Everything.” He reached for the wires but before he could stick them in me there was a scraping sound through the speaker on the wall. “What the…?” He frowned, looking at the speaker. “We must have mice or something.” He began messing with the dials and then there was a soft thumping sound. “Ugh. Of all the times…” He shook his head and moved away from me, going to the door. “I swear.” He opened the door and then gave a startled yelp.
I turned my head, surprised to see there was someone coming into the room. Just coming in like she owned the place. Her shoes softly thumped against the tiled floor and in one smooth movement she pushed her glasses up her nose. “Hello Samuel,” she said. “I’d suggest shutting the door unless you want the whole place to know what you do behind closed… bookcases.”
Samuel shut the door though his mouth was still wide open. “Dr. Rood. How… how did you find me?”
“Oh, it took long enough. I admit, hiding in plain sight is quite the move.” The woman looked around, momentarily looking at me before her eyes moved on. Looking at the equipment in the room. “Everett’s Ghost Hunting Business? I really expected you to at least change your own name.”
“Get out. GET OUT!”
“Or what?” She turned around to look at him. “You’ll call the authorities? Very well, call them. Let them in this room. Explain to them.”
Samuel sucked in air. “Dr. Rood. You… don’t look a day older.”
“Whereas you look much older. All the stress is my guess. As well as the smoking. Such a bad habit. Those can kill you.” The woman reached up and her fingers twitched over her cheeks as she smirked. “Or perhaps something else will.”
“You’re threatening me?” Samuel laughed, though the laugh sounded really forced and kinda scared. “All right. Look. Why don’t we… talk about this?” He began moving towards the part of the room that I knew had really dangerous items. A cupboard with guns in it. Then the woman pulled out a gun, a regular gun. She leveled it, pointing at Samuel. He quickly put his hands up but kept moving towards the cupboard. “Hey whoa! Doctor Rood, I think we should–uhhh, look, why don’t you tell me… what you’re here for? Maybe?”
“You know perfectly well why I am here and if you think I am going to monologue while you get something to kill me?” she asked, and then I screamed as a banging sound filled the room. Samuel gave a garbled cry and fell out of my sight. “You are very much so mistaken.” The woman put the gun away and went over, bending down and then straightening back up.
I watched as she opened the cupboard. She sighed as if what she saw was pitiful and then she went out of my sight. There was scuffling sounds, a grunt, and then she went over towards his desk carrying a machine in her arms. She set it down and then turned on his computer. I just watched silently as she put something into the computer and then went over to the other part of the room–past me. I swiveled my head, watching her. She began unplugging things and taking them over to the desk. She was… stealing them?
“Um,” I finally said. “Um–hi.”
But she ignored me. She was struggling with moving a big machine. I was sometimes in the tube. It didn’t really hurt it just kinda scanned me? I think? But she was moving it and I was just about to ask her how she was gonna steal it but she picked up a heavy metal thing and began smashing the machine. I flinched as she smashed and smashed until finally she stopped. She tore a bunch of inside machinery out and put that on the desk.
“Hi,” I said again. “Um. C-could you maybe… help me?”
“You’re a ghost, get out yourself,” she said, not looking at me.
“These um, straps are, uh, holding me down. I can’t get free. Could you, um, maybe free me? Ma’am? Please? Um, I c-could help you. Carry those things.”
She froze and then slowly, reallllly slowly, turned. “Excuse me?”
“I could help.”
“You’re a ghost, you cannot touch anything,”
“I can!” I said brightly, hopefully. “I can go solid and carry things! You free me, I can help you. You can’t carry all that stuff yourself.”
She came closer towards me, face all tight and weird looking. “Who are you?”
“Why are you here?”
I shifted around on the table. “Samuel captured me. I don’t remember how. But he’s been experimenting on me because I’m so different from regular ghosts. Please free me, ma’am. I’ll help you with that stuff.”
She put her hand down and her finger went through me. I apologized and went solid, asking her to do that again. She touched my hand and jerked back went her finger poked my hand. “You–you…” She stopped, pressing her lips together.
“See? I can help.”
“Very well.” She began undoing the straps and I sat up, about to thank her when I saw Samuel’s dead body on the ground. I yelped and shrank back. “He got what he deserved, a sentiment I am sure you would agree upon if he’s truly been experimenting on you. Come.”
I slid off the table. “Y-yes ma’am… um, Dr. Rood.”
“My name is Dr. Rosso.”
“But he said–“
“He was mistaken. Carry this.” She put something big and heavy in my arms. I nearly buckled under the weight but managed to hold it up. “What is your name?”
“I don’t have one. Why did you kill him?”
“You ask a lot of questions.”
“You asked me some questions. You asked my name. And other stuff. I just figured I could ask you something too, uh, Dr. Rosso. Ma’am.”
She stared intently at me then her lips twisted in a smirk. “I can already tell you’re the type to be infuriatingly annoying.”
“Oh. S-sorry. Um. What’s in-fur-i-ating?”
“Follow me.” She scooped up a bunch of stuff and left through the door. I followed, not sure how we were gonna get out of here but instead of going through the door in Samuel’s office she went to the window which was open. There was a thing outside. Like, something… Argh I couldn’t remember. On the sides of buildings. Window washer things. Yeah, those. Dr. Rosso put stuff on it and indicated for me to do the same. I did, and we returned to the other room and got the rest of the stuff.
Then she climbed out of the window and I followed since I didn’t know what else to do. It was night time and really dark out. “Thanks for saving me,” I said, fidgeting. Then, since I didn’t know what else to do, I threw my arms around her to hug. “My hero!”
She stiffened under my hold and then hissed, “Get. Off. Of. Me.”
“Ooh, s-sorry.” I let her go and beamed as we traveled down the side of the building. The windows that we passed were covered with dark stuff. I tried to see what it was but I couldn’t really tell. We got to the ground and I helped take the stuff off the window washer thingiemabob. At first I didn’t know where to go but then I saw she was going towards a waiting truck. There was a man leaning against the truck.
“Wh-what took so–” he started to say but then he saw me. His eyes went very, very big. “Jay, wh-what… wh-who…?”
“A ghost Professor Everett had tied up,” Dr. Rosso said, putting whatever she was holding into the back of the truck. I put mine in too and went back with her, and the man, to get the rest of the stuff. He looked a lot like her but I didn’t want to make Dr. Rosso any more infur… infuriatinged so I didn’t ask who he was, but he kept looking at me like he knew me or something.
“Thanks again for saving me,” I said when everything was in the truck. “So, uh… bye.”
“Bye?” The doctor raised her eyebrows as she opened the door to the truck. “I do not think so. You’re coming with us.”
“B-but–” the man started but he frowned, going all quiet when Dr. Rosso scowled at him. “Only if I can t-t-take care of him,” he finally said, in a rather stubborn way.
“Very well. You can feed him and take him for walkies, for all I care.” She didn’t even look at me as she waved at the truck. “Get in.”
I looked at the man, confused and kinda worried. If she killed Samuel like that and took his stuff would she just experiment on me? But the man was smiling in a way that made me feel all cozy. “It’ll b-be okay,” he told me.
I nodded and got in the truck. and settled back between the man and Dr. Rosso, then went invisible since it would make traveling easier. I assured the woman I was still there and I reached down to put my hand against the man’s hand to reassure him. I tried to make myself all reassured as well. But… well, I did trust the man, he had that sort of smile. But the woman made me feel all creepy. Almost like I had just gotten out of the… er, something and into the… uh, fire…? Er, something like that. And that’s how I felt.