I am a ghost of a man; a mere specter of the man I once was- quite literally. Around and around I roam feeling vicariously feeding from the emotions of others. If only I could feel for myself I would not have to haunt the halls of the living, watching as the flame of Life burns itself out again and again.
Yes, I have said that I cannot feel, but that's not entirely true- I can feel the Emptiness. It hurts as a pain would hurt and disheartens as sadness sometimes does, but it is neither. It is devoid of all real feeling, all human emotion, lacking in every way. How could I have ever envisioned such a fate as this, O' Lord?
Where it is I come from and whence I departed, I scarcely remember- but remember I do. I was once a lonely soul, living in a lonely body, and leading a generally loathsome existence. In a state full of mountains, forests, and poverty I roamed, contributing nothing whatsoever to society as a whole. Never was I allowed to forget this fact, so often did those that claimed affection towards me call it to my memory! Oh, how tormented my mortal life had been! But is this truly any better?
One might think that I should not miss those painful and conflicting emotions and they might have a very valid point. I am, however, constantly searching for some thread of a feeling to grip, some semblance of a humanity that I've never possessed. I watch as people go about mundane lives, ever searching as I do for someone to connect to or something to feel some way about.
Often, I find nothing but humans without their humanity, flesh without spirit, direction without drive. On some very rare occasions, though, I venture across a living being with warm blood pumping and a fiery, purposed soul. One of these souls was a physical beauty aptly named Gloria.
When I had been alive, I surely would have yearned for her body and may have even become attached to her bountiful heart via my own cold organ. Her name was a fitting one, for she was most certainly a glorious creature to behold! Her hair was a perfect ember shade of red, her skin supple and creamy, her figure lithe, and her smile bright and welcoming.
It was New York City where I first noticed her, smiling at me, or so I thought! Her shining hazel eyes, filled with the contentment of a love overflowing, stared directly into mine. Her ivory teeth shone in the afternoon sun as she waved a friendly 'hello' from across the busy street. Then he passed through me; the man to whom Gloria had actually been beckoning.
In that moment, ever so slight as it was, I was filled with that contentment and that love. I wanted nothing more than to merely be in her presence, to bask in her radiance. I cannot feel, you see, until I enter the living or they enter me. To simply watch gives me no real satisfaction; I must become a part of my subject.
That feeling, as a young and handsome man passed through me, was the best I'd ever had, even when considering my time as a mortal. I was so taken with her, so eager to feel her love, that I almost couldn't move. And that is saying a lot for a free-roaming spirit. I was so struck with it and with her that I almost lost sight of my fair Gloria.
The pair of them, looking ever-so happy, clasped each other hand-in-hand, and strolled into the subway system. The wretched subway system of New York City! A subway- especially this particular subway- is not an ideal place for me. I choose my hosts carefully, lest I feel something I do not want to feel or see something that I will wish I'd never seen. Believe me, it happens more often than one would care to admit. In any case, let us just say that the inside of a subway car is not an ideal place for me and that it is extremely hard to discriminate.
Passing through a number of unwitting New Yorkers, I felt greed, fear, hope, lust, iniquity, uncertainty, and a plethora of thoughts and emotions. I made my way through the throng, though, and took an unoccupied seat opposite Gloria and her lucky young man. I wanted to immediately jump into this boy, to feel the warmth of her love beside me, to know the secrets of her heart's charity. I sat, though, still as an invisible statue, and did not move even as I should have.
Gloria's lad sat smiling broadly and honestly- such as my earthly flesh had never had occasion to do- as the train took off like a bolt, destined eventually for the end of the line. The car stopped and the doors opened, allowing passengers to unload and board, but this was not my object's stop. I watched her talk to her man, rambling exquisitely about a day of inner-office politics and gossip, as a rush of new feelings instantly enveloped me.
So intently had I been watching my two prey, that I had effectively blocked the image of all others- living or dead- and had not seen the man about to take my seat. Even as we became 'one', I knew not what the man looked like, but his own self-image. It was loathsome, egocentric, and very lonesome, his world-view and knowledge of his own position in it.
He looked, as I looked, at Gloria- and I saw through his eyes. Those same eyes began to roam, much to my aggravation (and a little to my delight). This newcomer glanced at the young man (his name was Scott), let his eyes fall back upon my desire, and scanned her neck-line all the way to her low-cut cleavage. His heart pounded blood into his ears as he stared, his entire being filled with the lust, the longing, the desire.
Evil thoughts passed freely through his head, showing me bits of his horrid imagination: Deep cuts in her perfect skin, blood running between her breasts, his hands around her throat, his cock inside of her. He felt the power- I felt the power- coursing through his veins; the god-like euphoria of that last moment with someone. He knew I was there. He could feel me, I was sure of it, and he wanted me to know what he- what we- were going to do. He reveled in it. It was then that I experienced something I hadn't experienced in literal ages- a feeling purely my own: Anger.
As his eyes continued to venture down her form, his deranged imagination ran wild and my rage developed into a thing of pure ecstatic beauty within me. This new emotion, which was an ancient emotion, was foreign as an old friend might be upon his long-awaited return. This feeling is good, I thought, anger is a gift. How can I use this gift?
Gloria's tender legs spread ever so slightly as uncrossed and recrossed them, allowing this vile fantasist a a clear look at her white panties. Her legs closed upon the physical image as quickly and as innocently as they had opened, but my host had what seemed to be a photographic memory to compliment his very vivid imagination. The image of those undergarments remained solid in front of me, blood soaking through, turning the clean white cotton a dirty crimson. Stains dripped onto the bus floor, as red as my rage.
I've walked among humans for all of these years, having not one emotion that was not stolen from the heart of another, then here is this blessed gift of such extreme anger! I should have felt joy with this rage, being relieved of my after-life-long affliction, but all that I could feel was the sweet, seething, soothing anger. Everything would be okay now, I knew it. Anger is my gift.
My symbiont could feel it, too, of that I was certain. His morbid desire fueled my mood and further heightened his desires until a burning hatred took the both of us over. I wanted to hurt him; to make him suffer. That pleasure he felt running presently into his loins; I wanted to cut it off and stop its flow permanently. I wanted to cut it off and stuff it forcefully down his throat, much as I knew he would do to Gloria. Perhaps, came his thought to my mind, I will use the lad's member for that bit of pleasure. What so you think my spirit friend? I know you're there, so you might as well partake in the festivities. I feel your anger, your hatred. Did these people hurt you?
Communication with the living- now there was something new! I hadn't had a conversation with any living soul since I had been flesh and blood myself. Whether he knew of my existence or not was of no consequence, however, nor was his desire for me to be a part of his scheme. My anger was not toward Gloria, nor even Scott, but was directly solely at this psychopathic killer. A killer he was, too, I could feel the blood on his soul, tainting it like an old death shroud.
You wish to watch from the shadows, he expressed through concise and direct though, That's fine with me. I know what kind you are, though. You feel that blood pumping, demon? It prepares for the kill. His blood was indeed pumping fiercely, fueled by my rage and his blood-lust. The train stopped again, letting off and accepting new passengers that I took absolutely no notice of. I felt that this was his stop, that he had a meeting to get to, but he hesitantly stayed. This was not Gloria's stop.
The realization his home as any thought of his probationary meeting melted to the back of his consciousness- This man was really going to kill these two kids as he had killed others, in and out of prison. The last vestige of his legal responsibility to check in with his PO vanished with a, Fuck him. It was replaced by re-lived imaginings of his most recent kill- A woman sprawled in a pool of her own fluids and used in every way. He would do the same to Gloria, he imagined, but he would keep her alive longer. He was going to enjoy his last evening as a free man.
He spent the remainder of the ride envisioning his plan, working out all the details, dwelling on those horrible images. The car stopped again- This was Gloria's stop. My carrier had an erection as he stood to follow the couple, trailing casually behind them and taking no pains to hide it. I thought to flee, to jump into another, to get back into the subway car, to simply remove myself from what was to come, but my smoldering anger stayed me.
Was I to watch as this sociopath followed Gloria to her So-Ho loft, dispatch of Scott quickly, and take his time with his prize? How could I bear to watch this woman who so enthralled me, so mesmerized me, die at this man's hands? My head (or lack thereof) set to spinning and my ire rose to the point that I thought I might explode right there on 42nd street and diffuse the entire situation.
My host's heart pounded even harder in anticipation as Gloria and her companion entered her building. Slipping a sweaty hand into his jacket pocket, I felt it close around something metal and heavy; perhaps a small crowbar or large flashlight. Now demon, he thought, You will watch David work. See how I keep them in my sight.
So his name was David! Perhaps I could use that bit of information somehow, even in my incorporeal form. He entered the building just as Scott and Gloria arrived at the elevator and pushed the 'up' button. Hands sweating and heart thumping in his chest, David strolled nonchalantly toward them. "Going up?" He asked in a natural British accent. "Of course, you couldn't be going down."
Gloria nodded and smiled uncomfortably. Scott replied as if he had a frog stuck deep down in his larynx. "Of course. We're on the top floor; the Penthouse as they say. A very drafty loft, I say."
The elevator doors opened with an annoying ding and we all stepped in, Gloria and Scott taking control of the buttoned helm and David taking a position in the rear corner. I tried to exert my energy, to move David's limbs toward the door and away from my Gloria, but to no avail! Scott slapped the button for the 30th floor a little too forcefully and turned to David-to me. "What floor you need, pal?"
"Just below you it would seem," replied David, thinking to buy time till the 'penthouse' and hope no other boarders joined the foray. When they were turned both away, he planned, and if they were to make that one mistake, he would quickly bludgeon Scott, leaving only frail Gloria. She would stand not an inkling of a chance against the hardened Englishman David. He had been in and out of the penal system- here and back in Britain- all of his life and had learned his lessons hard on unyielding concrete streets. This is going to be fun, demon. You think I can get them to their flat before anyone notices? Maybe a cute little maid will wander long and we'll have something more Romanesque.
My entire being strained against David's physical will as Scott hit 29 on the control panel. I knew that my host, my captor, was going to wait until they were very near their destination before making his move. I could only hope that someone with a bit more physical prowess than a maid would board the elevator; preferably a cop, but they're never around when you actually need them. That's one of the laws of physics. To David's surprise- and my own- Gloria turned on him, catching his gaze and holding it fast. "Who do you know on twenty-nine?"
I felt David's pulse increase as he gripped the object in his pocket tighter. I could feel now that it was a very thick piece of industrial steel, sawed-off to make a crude club. It wasn't an uncommon weapon on the streets on NY, where just being in possession of a handgun is a felony. "I just moved in, actually. The movers should be along with my furniture and articles first thing to-morrow, but I fancied I might stay the night rather than waste good money on a second-class hotel."
"Oh," said Gloria, immediately disarmed. "You're in 2913 then? I didn't know old Hubert rented it out already. A little cleaning and that place should be in excellent shape. Plus, you've got one of the best views of the city. It's better than mine, actually, off your south balcony. I love that view."
"Yes," said David, smiling broadly and watching the floors tick by: 4, 5, … "It's a magnificent view. That's what sold me, actually. Perhaps you can come enjoy it with a cup of tea or a Long Island Iced Tea, if that's more your custom."
"Now that," said Scott, "Is a great sentiment from an outstanding model of a gentleman." This is going to be too easy. Like lambs to the slaughter, demon. Would you like to help? Give me your power, you shadow of life!
Pushing his mental ravings to the side, I focused on my anger, the only emotion I'd had since I'd felt Death's cold embrace. I could see his anticipation, images of his hand swinging his steel rod repeatedly, bashing Scott in the skull until his brains oozed out. I pushed them away. I paid no attention as they bantered back and forth and the countdown to the Penthouse and to doom continued: 18, 19...
Perhaps another time, demon. You hear that, they're too good for our tea! Wait till we get up just a bit higher, ya' condescending little cunt. Calm down, spirit, you're getting too exited too soon. You'll blow your load like that, trust me. That's it, the two of you, turn on 'round. 24, 25...
Everything I had went into my anger, writhing inside this lunatic, furious to be helpless as he murdered two innocent people. The floor was fast approaching as David's heart-rate fast rose, nearly beating out of his chest. I could feel just the slightest tightness there, which must have been imperceptible to him, for he paid it no mind. He focused on the floor counter. As soon as the door opened on the 29th floor and he saw that it was clear, he was going to make his move and quickly re-close the door. Then, to the Penthouse and to fun... 27, 28...
With a force that came from nowhere, I managed to reach within myself- within David- and grab the essence of our combined hearts. I grabbed at it, pushing myself up and squeezing as if I were trying hard to choke someone. The elevator stopped just as David's heart started to falter and the doors slid open. Nobody stood ready to enter. It was his perfect opportunity, but all he could do was gasp for breath. What is this, demon! Let me go! We have work to do on this Earth, you and I! Can't you feel it?
His words meant nothing to me, nor did they even begin to penetrate my wall of hatred. I was so angry that I hated this man, I hated Gloria for drawing him, I hated myself for existing, I hated the world for its ways, I hated every wrong, I hated every right, I simply hated. David fell to his knees, sweating profusely as I continued to apply pressure to his heart. With the anger I had coursing through me, I could have killed him instantly, but I wanted him to suffer. He enjoyed the suffering of others. If only I could give him all that he'd inflicted!
Let go, dog, I command you! You are but a demon! I am one of His! I kept the pressure steady as he fell backward, staring up into the elevator's fluorescent lighting. Gloria and Scott hovered above him, both trying to help, both shouting for someone to call 9-1-1. The very fact that these people David had been about to torture and kill were now trying to save his life pushed me deeper into my anger. Oh, what a gift, what a way to use this gift!
I tightened my grip a little further, taking his breath completely, then giving it back. I felt almost real again as I knelt above him, gripping his heart in fists of pure fury. When I mentally replied to David, I spoke with a deep, authoritative tone. If you are one of His, He can have you! I hate; therefore I am. You have let me feel again, though, and I must thank you. It was simply misfortune that you happened upon me. It cost you your life.
David wanted to reply, but could not. I had squeezed again, this time taking his consciousness with his breath. Others were beginning to fill the elevator, trying to do something for him. They passed through me, this way and that, filled with compassion, fear, hope, determination, love, and not a hint of anger. My own anger I felt begin to subside, but I kept a tight grip on David's heart. I tried to stand and his lifeless body fell to the floor. The form of a spirit remained in my grip, its cold eyes staring into my own soul.
So this is you, is it demon? You're just a spirit aren't you? I'll have my revenge on you! Before he could even finish start threat, let alone make good on one, David began to fade. Invisible hands clutched at him, pulling him into another realm. It was clear by the look on his face that it was a realm he didn't like the looks of. As the image of his spirit faded, so did my anger, replaced with something I thought I'd never feel: Peace. I saw the light it in distance. I knew that this peace could last forever. I embraced it with everything that I am.