Okay, I'm continuing on from Coolerbs on the Flash Fiction from last week! I saw this, read it, and loved it! The top green on is the first 500, the second purple one is the next 500 and then, the bottom blue one is my work... enjoy!
Everyone knew talking to the dead was a bad idea.
It always ended up creating all manner of messes for the rest of the world to deal with. The riddles the dead would weave…people knew better than to listen to them anymore. If Osama Bin Ladin hadn’t thought he was following his ancestors plans, he probably never would have become a radical. Hitler wouldn’t have become an elitist. Hell, most serial killers start off by listening to the whispers of the dead.
That said, a lot of people were willing to break their rules to carry out the wishes of a lost loved one. Only problem was, quite often, they didn’t realize that the echoes people left behind weren’t really them anymore. Just the worst of them would remain, the parts they wanted to leave behind and never think about again. Their darkest secrets, their worst desires, their most wild, inappropriate thoughts. Remnants weren’t human anymore. Just a concentration of evil, all their former goodness stripped away forever.
Cory already knew all this. Knew it better than most people, in fact. Not many people were willing to study old messages from the dead as a career, let alone be insane enough to actively attempt to communicate with them. Cory had been deliberately talking to the dead for the better part of six years now, carefully recording each interaction, extensively analyzing every aspect of what the dead would say.
Granted, some of these conversations were more significant, and traumatic, than others.
He’d talked to his “grandfather” a total of twelve times now. Each time was more difficult than the last. Even though Cory knew, logically, that the man talking to him wasn’t really his grandpa anymore, it was impossible to completely dissociate the evil remnant from the kindly, world-wise man Cory had known.
The first time they’d spoken, he’d told Cory to kill a judge. He’d said the man had murdered more than one criminal to keep them from revealing his many affairs. Cory, obviously, hadn’t done it. Truthfully, he didn’t believe any facts he got from the dead. They were all spinning their own, manipulative stories, not to mention that their memories were skewed by how little of their original self was left.
Still, every time he spoke to his “grandfather” and the man wondered why Cory wasn’t doing as he’d been told, it got harder. Having the man who raised you, the man you respected above all others, being disappointed in you was never easy, and Cory still hadn’t managed to totally separate this remnant from his grandpa.
The longer you talked to a specific remnant, the harder it got. All the research said it. And, by all accounts, no one who spoke to the same one thirteen times had managed to evade either ending up in a psychiatric facility, attempting to kill someone, or committing suicide.
Because that was what the dead did. They tried to get more people to join them.
Then, on the thirteenth visit, as predicated, something changed. Cory could feel it through the entire day leading up to it. The night before; he could not sleep, his pumping heart becoming the soundtrack of insomnia. He spent the night staring at his ceiling, fiddling with the air conditioner; too hot, then too cold.
On five hours of rest he went through that day, the clouds echoing his mood with long dark streaks, pressing up against each other, as if they were stitched together. He stopped a moment to look up at them. The hints of rain gave the air its own taste. As the rain began to drop, he raced towards the facility.
The facility itself was a strange location, by anyone’s standards. The rifts that allowed the remnants to bleed through had popped up on the earth surface, with little care for what stood there. Both hospitals and playground alike, leveled in the rush to study. The buildings were built up around the chambers that contained the phenomenon.
The rain was already splashing on the nape of Cory’s neck, sprinkling across his face and fogging his glasses. Yet, he stood and looked around for a moment, remembering the swing set and the long yellow slide. It was there he had first met his grandpa, when he had first been introduced to the man who would influence his life. He had not known who this man was; just an elderly man who always laughed at his jokes, no matter how juvenile.
A particularly large drop of water hit him on the upper eyelid, and he was forced from his memory. He brushed it off, and pulled out his keycard. The I.D. picture display was a much happier version of him; a much more naïve version.
The machine accepted his card with a flash of green light, and he walked inside
Besides the various monitoring areas, and overly long hallways, the building really only consisted of one room. It was a circular area, cameras all pointing at the center, recording even the slightest twitch from the pit on the floor.
That was really the best way to describe it: a pit. Darkness ebbed from it, the bright lights of the room doing nothing to diminish it. A ring of electricity spiraled around the edges, keeping anything that might escape from moving beyond it. “Grandpa” had learned that well enough during a heated conversation.
Cory was not sure why, but he felt dread as he powered on the various devices. The beeping of monitors filled the quiet room. The cameras all swiveled in their sockets and focused on the platform. A long stream of light pumped down the pit. In response, shrieking noises came from within. A few hands reached up towards the edges, only to be electrocuted back into their place. Only one allowed through.
It took a few moments, but he eventually appeared. Rising up from the pit, like a toy at the claw machine. His skin a translucent blue, his eyes were white globes; devoid of irises.
“Hello, Cory” he said.
Cory pulled a seat around and sat down, “Hi.”
“You still haven’t killed the bastard judge.” He said.
“You’re still on about that?” he groaned, “Thought we’d talk about something else.”
“Like what?” his ‘Grandpa’s’ eyes glowered at him.
He heard the rain become heavier outside and thunder grumble like drums overhead, “Like… are you really my Grandpa?”
“Of course I am.” He snorted, “I know everything about you.”
Smiling the young man nodded, “Oh yeah, sure. Any dead person could say that when they make contact with a living human because they have to mind-meld. But, you sure as shit don’t act like my Grandpa… you’re a remnant, and you’re hiding my Grandpa.”
The old man said nothing as he looked down, then sighed, “So what?”
“So what? So, my Grandpa wouldn’t get me to kill some judge I know nothing about. And before you start bitching, I’m not going to begin stalking him like some sicko.”
“Listen kid, all you have to do is kill him… that’s all I’m asking.”
“Bargaining… jeez aren’t you past that?”
The remnant stood there in silence, knowing Cory wasn’t going to be forced to do anything, “Listen, you should know by now that your Grandpa is long gone, and I’m using him.”
“Yeah, yeah, I know. You’re highjacking his body and all, but really do you have to blow this bullshit over me again?” Cory snapped, “I’m not doing it!”
Lightning flashed outside and they were plunged into darkness for a moment. When the lights came back on, Cory’s Grandpa was gone, “Dammit. Lost contact.” He stood, turning toward the computer to see how it all went down; as he knew it would have recorded everything, even when the power went off – as it was working off its battery. Looking at the screen, he watched the last moments of the conversation. The lightning flashed. The lights went out and came back on. In between those two events, a low-grade energy reading was picked up on the cameras before they switched off. It read outside the force field which he had set up.
Looking up quickly, Cory realised the remnant was lose, “Crap!”
“Crap indeed.” A voice at his shoulder whispered in his ear. He jumped back, running into the corner of the desk, looking around but finding nothing as the voice continued on in his head, “You’ll never find me, Cory…” it took on a sing-song tone, “I’m in your head… I’ll drive you crazy.”
“No!” he shouted shaking his head, “Get out!”
The voice whispered up close to his left ear, “Make me.”
The doctor came into his room and watched him with two other interns next to him as he sat by the window looking out at the day mumbling to himself.
“This is Cory.” The doctor said, “He checked himself in here last year and was fine for about a week, then he started talking to a man called ‘Grandpa’. He believes he’s been talking to the dead…”
Cory turned around and looked at the doctor with white glowing eyes, “Don’t talk to the dead… don’t talk to the dead… don’t talk to the dead…”