Gliding silently through the air, I gaze down at the graveyard with a baleful glare. Spirits walk about their graves, conversing with each other, relaxing.

Enjoying their afterlife.

I haven’t eaten in days and these cretins are living the high life in a Catholic cemetery, great stone angels standing high over graves, swords drawn out as if ready for battle. My slitted eyes can see the spirit of two young boys walking along the edges of the graveyard, looking through the foliage at the world outside their hallowed ground.

I swoop low and quiet over him, coiling into a tight cylinder so as to dive down into the bushes on the other side of the consecrated earth. Even here, I can feel the holy energy crackling against my frame. My tail coils and uncoils errantly, the stinger sliding in and out from the proximity to the holy ground. Looking through the brush, I catch sight of the young child.

He’s no older than eight, translucent and giddy about… something. It looks like he and another child are looking at something outside the graveyard. Fluttering around the bush line, I see there’s a koi pond.

Or more precisely a koi pond with frogs croaking in the warm night air. My smile stretches across my ray-like body, the pale luminescence that my underside casts dimming as I slither along the ground to stay out of sight. I come close, listening to the words being exchanged between the two boys.

“…and I haven’t played with a frog since I died, James. All I’m saying is I’ll pop out and grab the frog and bring it back in here while you play scout for me. You make sure none of the adults see me leave, and if one looks this way you act like you’re playing with rocks or something.”

“David, we’re not supposed to leave the graveyard for any reason,” James, a lighter voice, reasoned with him.

Shut it, James, let David make his own decisions… I think bitterly.

“Look, all I want to do is travel eight feet outside and grab a frog. What could go wrong?”

“I don’t know, but the rules are there for a reason. And I think we should follow them, David. If you sneak out, I’m going to tell you!”

“James you little snitch! You’d go to Mom and tell her I snuck just eight feet out of the graveyard?” David sounded indignant, something I could relate to.

“If I have to, yes. We have these rules to keep us all safe from the monsters outside, and we all have to do our part in making sure that we’re as safe as can be,” James said.

“That’s some bullcrap man, I’m my own boss and don’t need anyone telling me what to do!” David said.

“That’s what got you killed in the first place, that attitude right there!” James said.

“I died of pneumonia you idiot, over a hundred years ago,” David said.

“Yeah, from playing out in the rain when you should have been inside!” James insisted, his voice growing louder.

That I didn’t need. Closing my eyes I began letting out a soft crooning noise, barely above the sound of a whisper, but enough to calm their rising emotions.

Unrolling myself flat on the ground, I coil my tail into the underbrush and smile into the dirt. Due to being incorporeal, I can just rotate my eyes backward and be able to see David’s spectral leg as he steps out of the protective wards of the Catholic cemetery, and onto my own folds. He steps fully out, staring back at James, who pokes his head out while begging for David to stay inside.

A part of me toys with the idea of trying to ensnare both of them, but I disregard it quickly. The adult ghosts will come looking to see what’s happening once I capture the child, some might even be tempted to try and help him. My stinger shivers in anticipation at the idea, curling like that of scorpions at the idea of fresh prey.

David steps off of me and walks over to the koi pond, looking at the frog and marveling at its, I don’t know, froggy nature. I slither up behind him quickly, lurching up and wrapping my flaps around the petulant boy quickly, before the shout from James can serve as any help to him. My tail curves up around my head and pierces the top of the ghostly child’s skull, causing him to begin screaming in earnest now that he can feel actual pain.

I can hear other spirits rallying to James’s panicked cry, so I quickly drain the ectoplasm from David through my tail, pumping the psychokinetic force through my body, boosting my own strength, allowing me to squeeze the boy even tighter, draining every last drop of ectoplasm from him like the last bit of toothpaste from a rolled up container. Letting him go I flap up into the trees, just as three ghosts, each bearing a spectral weapon, come rushing from the graveyard. David’s shriveled form lies partially over the koi pond, his eyes vacant and his body emaciated. There is a chance I didn’t get all of his ectoplasm, and that over the next fifty or so years he could make a recovery.

But I can feel his energies, his memories, pulsing through my spectral body. I cackle, flapping about in a circle as I feel myself grow a few inches larger all around, the pent up energy forcing my frame to swell. The ghosts look up at me, some crying out in shock and fear, others in anguish.

A spectral arrow flies past me, forcing me to look down at the ghostly archer with his longbow standing in the middle of the graveyard. With a wicked smile, I cackle once more before flapping away into the darkness of the night, leaving the poor spirits to try and look after their own.


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