I woke up and looked at the clock. I was up a half an hour before my alarm as usual. My insomnia seemed to be getting worse and worse instead of better. I’d tried every pill the doctor had prescribed without any luck. Even the strongest one didn’t seem to have any effect on me or my sleeping patterns. It bothered my mom how little I slept so after trying the pills for a few days before convincing my mom that they really weren’t working. She seemed disheveled that I didn’t sleep twelve hours a day like a “normal teenager”. I’d never let her know how far from normal I had always been.
I’d been able to see and hear spirits since I was three. I used to tell my mom all about it but she claimed I was just seeing things or making things up since I was so little at the time. Eventually I figured out my mom would always consider me a liar and there was nothing I could do to convince her that her assumptions were false. I was open about it at school which didn’t earn me very many friends which probably worried her just as much. Most of my friends were just as sensitive as I was and we shared many of the same experience. We all started young with our abilities and they all endured with it.
I rolled out of bed and walked to the kitchen. I spotted my older brother there staring at the refrigerator. He’d died in
six months ago and was here sometimes. I think he stares at the refrigerator because he used to get orange juice out of it everyday before he left for the war. He never spoke when I asked questions so I didn’t have the option of finding out. Sometimes I wish he would speak so I could at least understand why he was still here, why he hadn’t moved on. Iraq
When he noticed me watching him he slowly began to disappear. I wasn’t much surprised at this either. He had the wounds he died with in the war, most of his face was hanging off of his face and all of the skin seemed badly burned. His uniform was in tatters and made it easy to tell that he had died in an explosion. This was one of those times when I wondered where else he disappeared to during the day. I was sure home wasn’t the only place he had to visit. I know when I joined him in death that home wouldn’t be the only place I visited.
I was worked out of my focus by our cat meowing. She wanted me to open her can of wet food since I was the earliest up. It was pretty well accepted here that I always fed her in the morning since my mother worked odd hours. Since her dry food was left in a feeder everyday it wasn’t hard to neglect doing it for a few days and have her not starve, no matter what she liked to think. I grabbed a glass of orange juice and walked into the living room.
Turning on the news I didn’t expect to see anything surprising, at least not by my standards. More crime as usual. The churches in the area were still being burned down by some gang the cops hadn’t caught yet. More school shootings were happening in various states and were causing our home schooling rates to have a steady rise lately. Even online schooling was starting to go up some. The fire in the nearby mountains hadn’t been put out yet and they were considering evacuating all of the nearby homes to prevent the human death count from rising past zero. As it was the forest service lost nearly a million dollars worth the campgrounds and buildings.
In a way I wasn’t surprised that the forest service was loosing all of these buildings since they spent all of last years profits building and renovating all of the buildings currently on the property. That couldn’t have been good karma considering I have a feeling mother nature doesn’t like having what’s left it taken over by urban sprawl so the white collar cowboy could experience the woods in a “modern and clean” way. Why anyone thought it was camping to sleep on a concrete slab and being able to shower every day was camping I would never know. It was so much better to be away from it all in the middle of nowhere and camping for real, even if it meant smelling like a rotting skunk when I came home.
Engrossed in the news the backdoor spontaneously opened. I barely glanced behind me and noticed it was my friend Justin. He knew we hid the spare key in the front pocket of our gnomes felt pants and pretty much came and left whenever he felt like it; we could never get rid of him anyway. The only time he ever left was when he decided he needed to sleep which was about as much me these days. After he decided to stopped smoking marijuana is system switched into insomnia. He didn’t seemed to mind it much since it meant he got to spend more time with me. Considering he was like a brother to me and a son to my mom. I’m sure if his parents would let him move out this is the first place he would come. It was less haunted here and he had a chance to relax without seeing the dead.
Justin walked into the kitchen and came back with a glass of orange juice and plopped down on the couch. With the exception of the all black clothing and the excessive eyeliner he looked like he was meant to be one with the couch. He wasn’t the biggest fan of the morning news but I liked to watch it so I felt a little more connected to the world. Not to mention most of the stuff that wound up on the morning news ended up happening here on a smaller scale, not that anyone ever noticed. Whenever something happened in a small town no one seemed to ever seemed to care what small town news was unless they lived here.
“Any plans for today other than the morning news Cindy?”
“Knowing you our plans today somehow involve a funeral and doing something the sheriff will give us a long lecture for before letting us go home.”
“Considering the sheriff is my older brother I think I have the right to give him as much trouble as possible as long as I don’t do anything majorly illegal.”
“Knowing your brother he’d find a way for you to get away with murder. Both of your parents were druggies when he was growing up, I’m sure he wants you to have some sort of better life than he had.”
“For me a better life would involve getting away from a small town where an unknown street gang thinks its okay to burn down churches and kill the few monks that had lived in them.”
“You hate the churches and everything they represent. You’ve admitted to wanting to burn them down on a couple of occasions.”
“Just because I want to burn them down doesn’t mean I want the monks to die. They may be crusty old things who have never seen a vagina in their life but they still have the right to not being slaughtered like pigs. It just isn’t fair no matter who you are and what you’ve done with your life. It makes me wish we still had the mafia that only went after the people that owed them money.”
“Unfortunately the days of the mafia have ended. Now the world of organized crime has been given over to a bunch of teenagers that can’t even shoot a gun in a straight line none the less hit the broad side of a barn.”
We both laughed. Unfortunately we knew the areas gangs weren’t much to laugh at. We’d lost a friend to one because the gang member he had been shot by could shoot the gun in a straight line. He also knew how to aim it at a target and had managed to make our friends death quick and painless at least. The one other gang member I had met wouldn’t have been that kind to any of his victims. He was one of the ones that liked to play with the person for awhile, make sure that they suffered before they died as a lesson to any of the other people that crossed his path. Neither of us was sure how this proved anything to anyone considering the victim was always dead in the end and, more often than not, couldn’t tell their story.
We both sat there quietly for awhile. It wasn’t long before Justin decided he was to restless and downed both his and my glasses of orange juice and grabbed my house keys. I followed him out and watched him lock the door and start to walk away.
“Did you put the key back in the gnomes pocket?”
“Does anyone but me use that key or even know where it is?”
“I doubt it but with the way you are with keys I know it won’t get lost if it stays with the gnome.”
He took the gnomes key back in the pocket it belonged in before continuing off of the back porch. I followed him as quickly as I could but it was always hard for me to keep up with him. My dwarfism stunted my growth so badly I never got past three feet five inches. Justin, who from what I could tell was completely normal, made it to six feet two inches. When he finally noticed I was struggling to keep up he waited for a bit and them picked me up. Generally I wouldn’t mind walking there and meeting people wherever we were going but this morning I wasn’t told.
After about five minutes of walking we came into the graveyard. My brother had been buried here since my mother hadn’t wanted to opt for the free burial at the military cemetery one hundred miles away. I couldn’t say I had blamed here there, I wanted to be able to leave flowers here from time to time as much as she did. Justin found my brothers grave with ease, as if he’d come here multiple times before. As far as I knew I had never admitted that my brother had been buried here. Justin must have been asking questions of the rest of the town to figure out where he had been buried after we had become friends. We sat there enjoying the sunset and watching the dead watch us, enjoying the good friendship we both enjoyed as sensitive children.