[Story] Story a Week 22

[[ Prompt: A story written from the perspective of someone dead/undead

This one was tough because I have a lot of undead characters, so it was hard to choose! I’ve also written most of them several times, so instead I chose to write from the perspective of one of the ghosts that haunts the grounds of the Fairsong Academy. ]]

I didn’t realize at first that I was dead. That probably sounds unlikely, how could I not know, after all? But I didn’t remember dying, and I still don’t. I remember the panic, trying to bar the doors and hiding the children in the hayloft. I remember the sound of them, the unnerving grinding of bone and the awful chattering of their teeth. And I remember the smell, that sickly sweet unmistakeable smell of rot — but all around us. But the actual moment? I don’t remember it. I think that’s probably for the best.

When I woke again, I was upset that Tik had let the house fall into such disrepair. I told myself I would have to scold him for it, perhaps even cut some of his wages. It had been months since we died, but of course I didn’t know that then. I was so assured that everything had somehow been fine, the scourge had passed on and we could rebuild. I didn’t know where anyone else was, I assumed they were somewhere safe. Maybe still in the hayloft. But I saw Tik, and Tik was real, and doing his best to repair what he could. But he was only one man and he could only do so much against the elements and time. I watched the paint begin to flake, the bricks to crumble and the vines to overgrow the gates. When the winter storms came, they tore the shingles from the roofs and scattered dead leaves through what was once our warm and welcoming house. What an outrage! I assured myself I would speak with him about it.

That’s when I figured it out. I had suspected, I think, because I couldn’t remember the last time I’d felt hungry. It was just something I’d forgotten about, I was certain that I’d eaten recently, but I couldn’t remember what. I could picture us all, around the table with the candles burning brightly, and feeling happy and safe. When I went to speak to him, Tik went as white as a sheet. He stumbled and nearly fell over a broken chair. “You’re a ghost,” he said, and that was that. I didn’t scold him. I’m not sure he would have heard me anyway. There are a lot of things you need to figure out as a ghost, and I still don’t know what all the rules are. Eventually I found the others, or some of them at least. I found my wife in her sewing room, where she was happiest, spending a lazy afternoon working at her embroidery. All of her things were gone, of course, long ago claimed by looters or the elements, but she went there anyway. Our daughter preferred her room, but she was upset that she could never find her dolls. What sort of person would take dolls from the dead? I never found out. I suppose Tik must have seen the looters, or maybe it was before he returned to the grounds.

When the mage came, at first I was upset. I didn’t want this stranger in my house. I thought about trying to chase him away, especially when he began to make repairs and change everything. What was he doing? This wasn’t how my house was supposed to look! It was gaudy and ostentatious, the extravagance of youth. But he left our special rooms alone, for the most part, and kept them locked to afford us our privacy. And as time passed, more mages came to the school, students and children. Even I could feel it, how warm and alive the place felt. It was different, yes, but it was still good.

There is one girl who is very interested in us. She reads books and performs little rituals to get our attention. I believe she means to study us, which is both puzzling and a bit amusing. I’ve never thought of myself as the subject of study, and I doubt we are all the same. But I don’t know, I haven’t read the books. I am not certain if there is a way to communicate with her; she has a board with letters that I could spell things, but it’s so awfully tedious to speak that way. I would write our story if I could, but I cannot, at least I have not been able to yet. They cannot hear us very well, though I think she hears a bit better than most. I want to help her, she seems so earnest, and I don’t want us to be forgotten. I think there must be a way.

 

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