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Whenever your number's up, keep this in mind--it takes a while to become acclimated to the idea that you are dead. Some of the spirits I see floating around here never quite grasped that. It took me a while, but once I figured out what had happened, the laws of this side of the universe started to make a little sense to me.
I learned a few things. Take your traditional haunting for example--furniture slides across the floor, creepy noises, ghostly sightings. That might really be the work of ghosts. Some do it because they are confused, some because they are bored, and some do it simply to be vindictive. There are a lot of dead that hate the living. As time (I use the term loosely because around here we don't have clocks or pay much attention to calendars) went by, I learned a few of these tricks from another former writer. He's got it down to a science. Ed, as I like to call him, takes great pleasure in haunting his former Baltimore home.
The spirits of the dead are not the only thing roaming this side of the curtain. Pick up a newspaper and you're apt to find a story about a guy who flips out and slaughters his entire family. The newspaper story will tell you how perplexed his neighbors and coworkers are, how he worked a straight nine to five, how he volunteered at the homeless shelter on Thanksgivings, how he refused to take a dime for mowing the yard of the old lady across the street. Then one day he slices up his children with an electric carving knife.
I'm going to let you in on a little secret--he had help!
There's an entity on this side. Some people would call it a demon, but for the sake of our story we'll call him Mr. X. Mr. X is a parasite in a fast carcruising up and down the street waiting for someone to leave their door open so he can stop in for a quick bite. The door doesn't need to be wide open, just a crack is satisfactory for Mr. X.
Let's take the loving father from the newspaper account. He may have been having an affair or maybe he'd screwed over a business partner. Doesn't really matter. Mr. X saw this little indiscretion and slipped through the opened door. The next thing you know, Daddy is standing in the nursery with blood on his hands and he doesn't know what hit him.
In all honesty I'm not sure what Mr. X is or what motivates him, but I can tell you that I'm seeing more and more of them. On your side, you won't make out his shadowy form, but if you want to see him, just pick up a newspaper. He can look like the local dog catcher, or your neighbor, or your priest.
I've seen him at work many times since the first night, the night he used a city garbage man as a vessel to bludgeon that girl to death with a Fender Stratocaster guitar. The newspaper account of that one said that the killer, who was found sobbing in front of a four-story brownstone a block away, had snapped after a run of bad luck that left him in hock to an unhappy bookie. It said that the garbage man was planning to plead not guilty by reason of insanity. The last paragraph mentioned a writer who was hit by a moving van near the spot where the girl was murdered.
Now let me stress this--I'm no hero, but I do know how to carry a grudge. And so, after a visit with my writer friend from Baltimore who is an expert on the macabre, I set out to try and destroy Mr. X.