The Chronicles of an Overseer: The Case down the Road
By Marcus Ramirez
Everything felt so hallow as I overlooked the hundreds of students that passed by me on our way to school. They laughed and teased each other, while others snickered at others trying to feed their overbearing egos. I was alone in all of this, and for the first time in my life, I realized I didn’t like any of them. What’s sad, out of the many diversified faces I see, they all seem similar and it torments me. They might as well all wear white masks with the same happy smile on them, because behind them is no different to me. But I too share their common interests, their hobbies, and their idea that they are their own individual person; I use to at least, but now, it is hallow.
“What do I like?” I have never asked myself that question, but instead went with the flow of others and assumed that is how life “is”. Even now I still continue to do it. Here I am, double checking my schedule to be sure I have the right first period, following along with the rhythm as everyone else does the same. “Is this what I want?” I’m not sure. I’m not sure of anything I want, but I think for once in my life I want to find out. But as I try to pull away from the heard of people, I end up stepping side by side into the classroom with them. “This is for the best right?” Maybe. If I want a successful future this is where I start, but I don’t even know what I want from my future.
Sitting down, I take in a deep breath, feeling the heavy strains from my thoughts, and the claustrophobic pressure from the surrounding kids deciding who will sit where. I give them no attention, while I keep my dead stare at my desk. I can’t even attack them for being the way they are because I too was like them, and unlike me, they have something to believe in. Whether it is sports, art, or what their future could be, they all have a passion. “What do I have?” Nothing. When I wake up it’s because I’m told to, if I play basketball it’s because I’m told to, and if I have good grades, it’s not because I want to achieve something or feel proud of my work, it’s because I was told to.
I’m not even sad about this realization; I’ve just accepted it as fact. “Should I feel sad?” I have no one to tell me the answers to these questions. When I made the winning shot for our biggest basketball game we’ve ever had, I went over to my dad and asked, “How did I do?” Not because I wanted his approval, instead, I wanted to seriously know how I did. I wasn’t sure if I did good or bad, and it didn’t matter how many people cheered for me, nor did I care what my teammate’s opinions were on the matter. The only person to tell me the answer was my dad, and his answer was a plain, “You did fine, but could have been better.” These people who around me, the ones who seem like nothing more than masks to me, at least they were the ones who chose their own answers this morning, no matter how similar they may be. I want that. I think that is my first answer to myself. Even if all my choices end up being the same as they are now, I want to be the one who said, “Yes.”
Classes flew by, but that’s mostly due to the teachers only introducing themselves, with not much else to work off of. The first day of high school was over, and the tryouts for the basketball team were being held in the gym. I went as I did every other year, but this time I feel a strong contempt for it all. “I can’t believe it, can you?” A familiar voice asked as his arm came crashing down on my shoulder. I looked over to Zach who was smiling with glee as he spoke again, “We are finally high schoolers!” He looked down at me for an answer back, but he would have to settle for a weak nod. I had too much on my mind to give any heed to Zach, and I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to be here. Squeaks of shoes skidding on the gym floor, tired yells from an old coach, and clean sounds of a basketball gently passing through the net were all familiar in a pleasant way; but I want all of those things to remain as they are- nostalgic.
The swift sound of a basketball torpedoed inches pass my head, landing firmly in Zach’s hands. My heart gave a brief pause, and I was a little shaky considering how close that was. The coach had passed a ball over to him, and then he followed it up by shouting over to him across the whole gym, “All right, Zach Towers, you are up!” Towers wasn’t his real last name, but people have been calling him that since his growth spurt in sixth grade. It’s an incredible stupid nickname, and everyone who has heard it has agreed on it, but stupid things find a way of sticking, containing their own bittersweet smell. Another thing people agree on is that we look exactly like brothers, which does still hold true today. We both have blonde, short hair and other similar features like our light-blue eyes. It never bothered me except when I’m mistaken for the younger one, since, oddly enough, I am older than him. But that foot that he has on me, and everyone else around him, makes him seem like he’s grades above us.
“And Ethan!” The powerful and scratchy voice from our coach chose me as his next victim, “You better be ready too, you’re up next! I hear a lot of good things about you from your last coach!” Are they good? They must be because of how much recognition I get from everyone, but why don’t I feel proud about it? If I keep doing this will I ever have self-gratification for myself, or will I continue in this moot state? I don’t want this. Along with my first answer today, that will be my first choice. I turned almost like a soldier heading into duty, and marched onwards, leaving behind everyone.
Passing by, I could hear the other boys mutter between themselves, “Hey…where is Ethan going?” Like dominoes, they all caught on that I was leaving one by one, until Zach and my coach noticed as well. “What the hell, where are you going Ethan?” Zach tried to call out for me, but I had to turn my back to him, at least for now until I found out what I want. The coach gave one last spat, “Hey! Ethan! These are the only tryouts, so if you miss them, that’s it kid!” I knew what was going to happen, I could practically feel the back fire from all this, but I had to do it.
Walking out of the gym was easy; it was the tenacious walk home that I dreaded the most. I knew what was waiting behind that front door, but I braced myself for all the fallout to come. It didn’t take long for word of me bailing on tryouts to spread to my dad, and as expected, he was furious. That sport was everything to him. If it ever meant spending time with me, it had to revolve around basketball, but not only that, the coach I brushed off was the same one he had in high school, so you can see the bar I had to reach. “What the hell were you thinking by disrespecting Coach Marvin?” I’ve never seen this kind of anger from my dad; don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen him madder than this, but never directed at me.
“I’m sorry, but I didn’t want to be there.” My words were as straightforward as my demeanor, and I didn’t find myself frightened in my dad’s presence.
He scoffed at me then blew out steam from his nostrils, “You didn’t want to be there? Is that what you are telling me?”
“We have been working for this all summer, hell your entire life practically! I even built you up to Coach Marvin, telling him how excited and prepared you were. And this is how you repay all of this generosity? An asinine reason as, ‘I didn’t want to be there.’ What is wrong with you boy? And what is that even supposed to mean?”
I took a moment to actually think by what I said, and as I said the reason in my head, it felt uplifting. “I don’t want to play basketball anymore, dad.” I stood strong with my words, “Nothing about it makes me happy.”
He simply looked at me for a minute, showing how disappointed he was in gestures alone. Finally his mouth started to move, but his voice was quieter, and somehow, more stern, “You are more stupid than I thought, son, if you think that you can just up and quit like that. What brought this on, a girl? I swear to god if it’s for a girl-”
“No. I quit because I’m done.”
My dad just paced around like a madman, thinking of what he could even say to the anarchy I just spoke. He probably would have a better time trying to push a whole building at this point. With no warning he gave an outburst, “Just go to your room! I managed to convince the coach to give you another chance, and this time you will be there! You have until tomorrow to decide how you will apologize to him, now get out of my sight.”
And with that this annoying debacle is over. I crashed on my bed exhausted from my dad’s barking, and as I lied down, my cat leapt on top of me like a feather. The waves of purrs came easily as I scratched the back of her ear, and when I managed to get fully comfy, a faint knock tapped twice on my door. “Yeah, mom?” I called out to the obvious figure behind the door, and with slow creek of the door opening, there she was, holding a plate of warm dinner. She smiled her way over to me, holding out the plate, and speaking softly, “You know your father isn’t as mad as he seems, he just wants to be sure you have every advantage for your future, and you are okay.” I never thought I would get the middle ground speak from my mom; usually it’s reserved for my older brother. Placing the plate on my desk, she sat herself at the end of my bed, “So what is this about you wanting to quit basketball?”
My mom asks nearly the same question as my dad did, but from her mouth it comes out completely different. I adjust myself to look at her more clearly, and I speak as straightforward as before, but a little more warm, “I don’t want to play basketball anymore, that’s all there is to it. I’m tired of not being happy of what I do.”
Her eyes hurt, she seemed to take that last line personal, “How could you not be happy, you have exceeded all your other friends at basketball, and shown how amazing you are. Thinking any less is a crime.”
“But I don’t, Mom, I don’t feel accomplished. I want to try and find something new that I love, not what dad loves.” My body slouched, and my eyes defeated, I exposed how empty I was.
She thought to herself for a moment, and then placed her hand on mine, “I don’t want you to be unhappy. If you need to find yourself then go right ahead, and if your dad has problem, he’ll have to deal with me.
“Really?” I probably had quite the astonished face.
“Yes, Ethan. As with your brother, I’ll love and support both of you through any of your decisions. I want you guys to be happy with whom you are, and your dad is not the one who controls that.” She smiled again, filling me with hope for the days to come. I was too happy to control it, and quickly wrapped my hands around my mom, hugging her with joy. For once I chose how this happiness came to me.
The next day came but with a different weight to it. I managed to get dress and ready before I needed to make any contact with my dad, and I quickly headed off to school. I knew I would get fleets of questions pertaining to yesterday, but I didn’t care. If they have any problems they will be the ones who have to deal with it. But what I wasn’t ready for was what Zach had just said to me, “Ethan, man, if you’re feeling sick like that again, you should tell one of us. I was wondering what was up with yesterday.” I was shocked and was a loss for words, but as he continued his whisper across our desks, things became clear, “Yeah, your dad called Coach Marvin up and told him you were super sick or something. Good thing your dad has connections; otherwise you wouldn’t be able to play this year. Also, this plays out in your favor, since you get to skip second period for it.” He quietly sighed over my “luck”.
I was about to clear things up, but the teacher spawned in between us like a deadly assassin, “Would you two like to teach this class instead, you both seem good enough to talk for an hour straight.” Some of the kids giggled at our suspense.
“Well, I mean if you really want us to Mrs. Stein, I could take over for you.” Zach charismatically joked with her, and the others students applauded him with their laughter.
She didn’t seem to care much for his joke, but she quietly stalked her way back to the front of the class. It was unnerving how she didn’t respond back to Zach, and he too looked at me with that same thought. But first period ended, and before I could tell Zack the details, the teacher called him back into class just as we were outside of the doors. He looked at me like it was his time for the guillotine, and sulked backwards. “Wait, I need to tell you something!” I said before he vanished into the class completely.
“Tell me later I think I’m trouble, but good luck with tryouts!” He said as the door to the classroom shut before my eyes, giving a loud, “Slam!” and pushing my hair back. I had a weird feeling in me like I didn’t want to tell him the truth, and suddenly it seems I do care what he thinks about all of this. And now second period is here. I went to my class anyways, hoping to ignore going to the gym altogether, but even the teacher there told me to go, and before I could actually explain how I feel about basketball, I was shooed away by him. I wanted to say no, but now I’m starting to get nervous and self-conscious. I wanted to run, but my legs steadily walked towards the gym. I built up some courage inside, and was close to turning back around, but just then, two boys from my old team ran by in their P.E. uniforms. They both noticed me and waved over, speaking with pride, “I heard about yesterday, Ethan! I hope you still make it in, we’re counting on you!”
Maybe I should just go; maybe this is a sign from the universe. This is my path, and I’ll just have to learn how to find happiness in this. If don’t everyone will be angry at me, and my dad will yell even more. I say I don’t care, but here I am caring as much as possible. I spoke all that nonsense about everyone being the same, but maybe that is how life works. I could turn away my current life and not be happy with what I end up with, and then I’ll be nothing more than an empty husk- worse than I am now. I’m nearly to the point of falling over in tears, and the pressure in me continues to grow. But as I was moments from imploding I saw a safe haven; somewhere to completely shut out the world around me. The library door was a pin needle away from actually being closed, and I knew that at this time of day the library is off limits to everyone. There shouldn’t even be any staff members in there; it was too perfect, but maybe that’s why it is open. There could just as easily be a janitor or the librarian waiting in there to catch me. I tried peeking through the foggy windows, but nothing could be made out. I took in a breath, betting on my luck and opened the door far enough for me to slip in. I wasn’t thinking clearly, but that’s why I needed this.
When I entered it was devoid of any noise, and the presence of any living things couldn’t be felt. I tiptoed pass every isle of books to be sure I was completely alone, but as I reached the back of the building it seemed luck was not in my favor. I dodged behind a bookshelf, cowering down and hoping I wasn’t caught. I was only able to get a glimpse of it, but all I saw was a single girl. She seemed too young to be staff, so must have snuck in here as well, which explains the door. But I couldn’t be sure.
“I’m not going to rat on you if that’s why you are hiding.” The girl spoke to me, nearly causing me to have a heart attack. Her voice was cold, monotone, and sounded very uninterested, but somehow she still managed to almost kill me. “Are you going to just sit there on the ground, there’s plenty of chairs around.” Again she managed to shock me with that un-threating voice.
I walked out of my cover with my hand rubbing my head embarrassed. My voice was a bit shaky, but I still spoke up, “Sorry, I wasn’t sure if you were staff or not.”
Nothing else, just a plain, “Nope”. She didn’t even give me the courtesy of looking at me while she spoke, so I can’t fully tell how she looks. This brought my attention to her unusual outfit. I say her outfit because it looked like something I would see at a convention, not at a high school. The type of bizarre clothing she was wearing, I couldn’t even name off, but all I can say is it looks like it is from the 18th century, but more modernized. I knew she had a skirt on, but it was quite poofy, other than that I was at a lost. I wanted to make a crack saying that’s why she is hiding in her as well, but making fun of someone for wanting to be different would be a huge contradiction to how I’m trying to conduct myself now. I’ll admit I liked the combination of black and purple on her clothes, though.
I realized I had been staring at her this whole time, and quite intensely too, but I’m unsure if she even noticed. It was strange, like I was invisible to her. I was beginning to feel very awkward, so I went ahead and took the chair right in front of me. It didn’t help anything as I was now sitting across from this girl with nothing to do or say. Making conversation with this girl seemed more strenuous than it was worth, but I didn’t know what to do with myself. I took a chance and opened my mouth, “Um, my name is Ethan, yours?” Only silence follows, but I giving up this easily would be a waste, so I tried making an ass of myself again, “So, why are you hiding in here?” Every move I take I am more uncomfortable than before, and it doesn’t help this girl doesn’t respond to anything. Her attention remained consumed by whatever it was she was drawing, but when I lifted my head up to see it, she blocked it with her other hand. At least I know she is aware I am an existing thing in front of her, that’s one step; my next one would be a much harder task.
“What are you drawing?” I calmly asked, but she once again doesn’t respond. I sighed backwards giving up on this girl as it seems I would have a better time asking a fire hydrant its life story. I looked at the clock, which was the only thing filling this void of silence, to see that it has been only five minutes since second period started. I didn’t even know what to do after it was over. Whether or not I should just go back to class or continue to ditch was undecided in my head, and I came in here in the first place to not think about it. Uneasiness was overcoming me and I needed something to distract me, so I looked over to girl with one final effort, and an idea sparked. I opened my backpack, and pulled out a paper and pencil. I quickly started to draw whatever came to mind. From the corner of my eye, I saw that the girl stopped drawing and was trying to sneak peek at my paper now. Following her lead, I covered up her view with my other hand. She pulled her head back hastily, giving off a, “Hmph.”
After a few minutes, I stopped drawing, leaving my two hands on the paper to keep it covered up. I looked up to the girl grinning, and remaining still. She stopped her pencil as well, murmuring, “What?” Her monotone was gone, but it was now replaced with annoyance.
“I caught you staring at my picture, I’ll let you see what I drew if you show me yours.” I prompted her with a slight insidious edge to my voice.
To my complete surprise, she flung her head up immediately with a devilish smile and with her hands on her paper like mine. I would not have guessed that kind of reaction, but I was baffled by how cute she was to think straight. Her face was small and doll like, but her eyes were fiery and intense. And, though, odd, her dark-purple mascara really matched her tone, clothes, and her eyes. She must have contacts in because even her eyes were purple. I wanted to take in more of her features, but her now brash voice, interrupted my daze, “What kind of lame deal is that? I have been in here for hours drawing my picture, but you came in for ten minutes, and you think that is a worthy trade! Ha, I pity your desire to see my creation." Her movements were energetically animated, bouncing her two pigtails around like a child.
Her voice was still soft, but it was now accompanied by this condescending tone, and was brash. Her personality flipped like a switch, and I was unprepared by how different she became from moments ago. All this new information threw me off, but I quickly shook it off, rebutting her claims, and making sure to talk to her with the same amount of enthusiasm, “So you underestimate my talents! You see I am a master artist, and could draw anything ten times better than you could.”
“Lies!” Her voice stabbed at me, but I took it in stride.
“If you think I am lying then why don’t you show me your picture and prove it!” I smirked at her.
She chuckled off to the side, looking at me with pity, “There is no way I am being tricked by an amateur, such as yourself, but that was a nice try- even if it was a rather weak attempt.”
I knew that wouldn’t work, and especially with how smug she was acting, but it was a good way to gain insight on her. I use to be on the debate team, so sizing people up through their words was rather easy for me. That was another thing I was pretty good at, but my dad pulled me out of it, saying how he didn’t like how it interfered with basketball. Never the less, the ability stuck with me, and based off of her smug attitude I would say she has a big ego, which is probably the easiest personality trait to attack. I looked at her with a raised eyebrow, and spoke humbly, “Hey, if you don’t want to show me, then by all means, you don’t have to. I know how great my picture is, and there is no reason I should have to trade mine for an inferior picture; I was just being nice.”
Her cheeks pouty and red, she spoke hurt, “Then prove yours is so magnificent! We’ll trade and we will see who looks like the fool!” She begrudgingly handed me her paper, as I handed her mine.
I took a gander of her drawing and was pleasantly surprised. It was a beautifully drawn picture of a cabin next to a lake, with a waterfall in the background. All the shading was done perfectly, and though I am no expert, this did look like a master piece. “Wow this is-”
“Is this a joke?” She cut me off midway, but I knew why. She continued pursuing for answers, “This is a picture of a cat, and one that could have been down better by a first grader. You tricked me!”
“There is no trick here, I believe my picture to be a masterpiece, and no one can tell me otherwise.” I looked at her with a victorious smile, and started laughing to rub it in more.
She pouted her face, which made her look adorable, but I wasn’t losing my footing again. “I was tricked by a moron…what does that make me?” She paused very slightly, “Oh well, you win. You can keep the picture I don’t want it anymore.” The sound of defeat was in her voice.
“You can keep mine too; I molded it after my cat!” I said a little too proudly.
“No it’s stupid.” She crumbled it up with no remorse, and tossed it on the ground. It stung a bit, but it’s not like I actually thought it was real art. Before I could say anything more, she went digging into her bag. I didn’t know what else to do as she was probably going to pull out another paper, so I stuffed her picture in my backpack.
“Amy…” She slid out of her mouth while looking through her bag.
“What?” She keeps throwing me off guard like that.
“My name is Amy. You gave me your name, so I thought it was only right I gave you mine.” She sat up, but with nothing in hand.
“That’s a nice name Amy.” That was a really stupid compliment, and I think she thought so too as she gave me an estranged look back, but I didn’t know what else to say.
Amy moved her small hands on her chin, ignoring my compliment altogether, and stared at me with a deathly look. Her gleam only strengthened the longer she stared at me, and I felt like she was inspecting my insides with how hard she was staring. I was honestly terrified of what she was about to do, but all I could do is wait. I thought she was trying to get back at me in a weird way, but then she spoke, “Yes, you will do.”
I jerked back confused as all hell of what she was pertaining to, but she just continued to pierce into my soul. Then she started to nod as if I said something to her, but I was completely motionless. Regrets crossed my mind, and I was wondering if it was a good idea to engage with this girl. “Yeah, that could work…” She trailed off in her words like she was responding to something I said, so I quickly paced my eyes around to see if anyone was here.
“What the hell are you talking about, and to who?” I blurted out unexpectedly, but Amy looked like she snapped out of a trance, and started to laugh hysterically.
In between her laugh she blurted out, “Oh yeah, you can’t hear.”
I slowly stood up, hoping to be unnoticed, but sadly she caught me in the act. “Hold it!” She yelled out from the top of her lungs, as she jumped up on top of the table. Her knee high boots slammed with great force onto the table, causing me to crash down back on my chair. Her finger pointed right between my eyes like a sniper ready to take out its target.
“Ethan!” She yelled at me as a commander does an army. All I could do was nod compliantly, and ready myself for what was to come. She put her other hand behind her back, “Will you make a Soul Bond with me!” As she finished her sentence she pulled out some kind of contract that was written on incredibly old paper, or so it seemed.
“I-I’m sorry, what?” I continued to stare at her scared and confused.
She pulled her finger back with her hands on her hips, and looked at me devilishly, “Allow me to explain my proposition. I am what they call an Overseer of the Dead! I help the ones trapped here in purgatory to find their way out, and move on. You seem to be the right one for the job, so I want you to make a Soul Bond with me, and help return the dead to their eternal resting place!” Her words ended triumphantly, but they were having the opposite effect on me.
“What?” Is there anything else that would be better to say to the nonsense she just spouted out? I have no idea what to respond to first. Should I ask who “they” are, since they seem to know what an Overseer is? Or how about what hell this all means? I looked to her dumbfound, with nothing else to say.
Amy scratched her head with a confused look as well. She glared at me like that was all the explaining that needed to be said, and weakly asked, “So will you? There isn’t much more I could explain, I think.”
I stood up from my chair, and backed up, making her lose her formidable stance. “I’m sorry I’m not really into that make believe stuff.” I spoke calmly, and turned around, thinking that this is a good time to make my exit.
“Wait!” She said while jumping off of the table and blocking me from the door. “Listen! This isn’t ‘make believe’ and I’m not crazy. This is real and I need your help, so please, Ethan, will you join with me. You seem like the right guy for the job.” She grabbed my shoulder, and looked up at my face. She was nearly a foot shorter than me, so I could probably brush her aside quite easily, but her face was desperate and I didn’t want to hurt her feelings.
“At least explain this more to me before I decide…” There was no way I could turn her down without hurting this girl feelings. Playing along might be my best choice right now, so for now, I went along with her weird fantasies.
Amy’s face lifted and glowed immensely, and she spoke with such high spirits, “Yes! I will convince you, Ethan!” She pulled me over back to the table and had me sit, and she then took her place across from me. Sliding the contract from before onto the table, she started to explain again, but with more detail, “This is a contract that will create a Soul Bond between us, and what that does is connects us at a spiritual level. Once we are bonded, you can share parts of my power, helping me in my duties as an Overseer.”
Continuing to play along, I asked, “And what are your powers?”
Her smile growing big with excitement, as Amy states, “I have lots, but the most basic one- the one that makes us who we are- is the ability to see and hear ghosts. And with that we can help these wandering souls find their way to the afterlife.”
I’ve given up thinking rationally and chose to fully indulge her, seeing just how much she has thought this through, “Okay, so how do you have your powers? Since you said the way I would get them is to make a…Soul Bond.” That sounds like a special move from a Saturday morning cartoon.
“Very observant, I see I chose wisely.” I was taken aback by that random compliment. “Some of us are born with this unique power…while others can attain it from being close to the dead, but, normally, after you are ten it is impossible to get it without a Soul Bond.” Amy seemed dismayed talking about that, but she chirped back up in an instant.
I would ask which way she got hers, but it was probably best to leave it alone, instead I asked a different question, “So how do I make such a bond.”
She flew to my side holding one of my hands with both of hers, with the fabric on her fingerless gloves feeling incredibly soft. On the verge of a waterfall of tears, Amy asked with hopefulness, “You really want to know?”
“Yeah, I mean helping the dead sounds pretty cool, I guess.” I was having a hard time mustering up any enthusiasm behind my words, but hopefully she couldn’t sense it. Going through with this contract also sounded fairly safe, and if it would make her happy, why not?
Amy excitedly pulled out a quill from somewhere, and pointed at the contract with it as she kneeled next to me. She spoke formally as she explained the requirements, “You see these two blank spaces.”
Through the paragraph filled paper, written beautifully in cursive, there was two blanks within it all. I nodded in compliance.
“The first one reads, ‘…The soul’s name that is bonded to this contract, will be connected to Overseer ______, and will remain as so until the end of time, or until the requirement of request has been completed…’ Since I am the Overseer I’ll right my name here.” Amy huddled over the paper as she slowly wrote out her name in cursive.
It sounded more like she was asking me to marry her than make a “Soul Bond”, but I still sensed no harm to me made through this. The only thing that bothered me was what could the request be; I tried reading more of the contract while she wrote her name, but the cursive was too stylized it was hard to read. “And what is the request I have to fulfill?” I timidly asked.
Just as she finished up, Amy pointed to the next blank space, “I will explain, don’t worry. The only requirement I have for you is to solve a murder, and that is all.”
She ended that as if that was simple enough, but I was also confused by this since my job as an Overseer was to help the dead. I’m sure helping a ghost “move on” implies I have to solve a few murders, but now I’m getting too into this. “Amy, wouldn’t I normally be doing that anyways?”
“You are smart, Ethan, and yes, some of them do require you to solve them, but the one I want you to do is more specific. We will get there when you are ready, though.” Amy placed down the quill next to me, and smiled as she finished.
“And once I figure out this specific murder, what happens by completing this Bond?”
Amy turned her head back at the paper, and spoke disheartened, “You will no longer need me, as you will be a true Overseer, and you can do as you want after that.”
The way she treated this was surreal, and I think she may actually believe this is real as real can be. I was starting to have doubts about going along with this, and I didn’t want to hurt someone who was mentally disturbed, but I was seeing this through. I grabbed the quill and glanced over to Amy, “So I’m guessing all that is left is signing my name?”
Being struck by a large amount of glee, Amy replies, “Yup, just about.”
I tried making signature as fancy as the rest of the document, but I think I failed quite horribly. While signing I thought to myself, why am I doing this? Maybe having a little belief in something so strange was, actually, quite fun, and being weird was refreshing compared to the normal way I’m supposed to conduct myself. That was it, though. I made the bond, and, sadly, as expected, nothing happened. Part of me was actually let down; it would have been cool if what Amy was saying was real, but I knew it was her just having an overacted imagination. When I looked over to Amy to confront her about it, she was digging away through her bag. I put my hand on her back, in a comforting way, and was about to speak, but she beat me to it. “There it is!” She said happily as she flipped open a small pocket knife. The blade flipped inches from my face, causing me to panic and fall backwards.
“W-What the hell did you pull that out for?” My voice was on edge while I pulled the chair back up.
All Amy could do was laugh at my stupidity, but she calmed herself down and said with ease, “Oh, all you have to do now is cut your finger, and stamp the contract in your blood.”
That was it. I was done playing along with this dumb game. I brushed off my pants, picked up by backpack, and headed straight for the door. I should have expected something as stupid as this, but nope, I thought it could have been some fun. With my back turned, I told her one last thing, “Sorry, but I’m done playing this game. Once you talk about hurting yourself, you can count me out.”
Amy’s eyes followed my actions with horror, and like before, she jumped up and blocked my way to the door. “Please Ethan, we are so close to finishing this, and I promise you, this is real! I wish I could prove this to you, but the only way to do that is to do the Soul Bond!” She sounded more desperate than before, and her eyes twinkled with tears, but I was done with this and her craziness. I didn’t know how to explain how this was insane to her and none of what she is saying is true, but listening to everything Amy said I knew she would not hear to reason. It saddened me to do this, but I brushed her aside with my arm and left without speaking. There was no way I could look at her as I pushed her away. I could pretty much feel her broken stare, hindering on me like I would turn back at any minute.
Being weird, being normal; nothing seemed to fit me, and I was more lost than I was before. I couldn’t take any of it, so I stumbled out of the school while my head was heavy with emptiness.
“So you were with a girl.” My dad gawked at me as I was making my final steps to leave the school, revealing him behind me. I didn’t foresee him being here, but I should have. I didn’t have the strength to look at him, or deal with any of shit. I was pissed off at him, the school, and most of all, me, so now wasn’t the best time for confrontation. The storm was right behind me, though, and it was charging at full force, the only thing I could do was charge at it back.
“So?! Are you going to just ignore me again? Or is your little girlfriend more important?” Turning around in a fury, my dad’s thick skull was right in front of me, spitting on me as he talked. I didn’t even know how he knew Amy was in there, but I think it’s safe to assume he was guessing.
“You’re not even going to look at me…if you’re going to screw up your life and not even man up to this then don’t make stupid choices in the first place!” He continued to keep badgering me, but I kept my eyes centered on the glossy floor. I didn’t realize at first, but my fist involuntarily tightened together, nearly ripping the skin on my palm. I had nothing to say to him. All that was to be said was spoken yesterday.
“I knew something was up with you, so I came to make sure you didn’t mess this chance up too, and look, here you are ditching tryouts! I had to convince a lot of people to let you have this second chance, and all you do is shit all over it! What is wrong with you, Ethan?” The school bell rang aloud, singling that kids would be leaving their classrooms soon, but all I could think of is how infuriating this man is.
“Just stop.” I forced from my tightened jaw.
My dad leaned back from my face, and spoke quietly, “What was that?”
“I said stop!” I screamed at the top of my lungs, shocking all the kids who just entered the nearby hallways. I was embedded with rage and only wanted to yell, “Stop trying to force this on me! Stop yelling at me constantly, and stop being a jackass! I am done with basketball, and not you or anyone else in this school will change my mind!” My breath heaved with exhaustion, and in between my gusts of air, I could hear the other students gossiping and staring at us. My dad, stunned speechless, looked around to see our audience.
“We’ll finish this at home.” He said with a cold tone, grabbing my arm forcefully, and marching out of the school. I gave no struggle. Instead I was happy he was taking us away from this place.
There was nothing spoken on the car ride home, so I could so was wonder what Amy was doing, and how heartbroken I really made her feel. Maybe I could apologize tomorrow, but that may make things worse as well. Not getting involved was probably the best idea, and considering how weird she was, we probably weren’t meant to be friends. Besides, I have bigger things to worrier about.
We pulled into our driveway, but there was a familiar obstacle in our way. My dad noticed it right away, and muttered to himself, “Why god are you pushing me this much.” It made me question how my brother and I could possibly be related to this man, but I didn’t feel like arguing with genetics. Recklessly, my dad veered his car around the one already parked in our drive way. He took a moment to get out, most likely to avoid dealing with what was in our house, but he looked at me with disgust, and aggressively flew open his door. I waited some time before letting myself out, as I too had something I didn’t want to deal with. I eventually got out, and was cheerful to know who would be sitting in there.
“…at eight or so, I’m not completely sure because derrick made some late plans for tomorrow and…” My brother stopped mid-sentence when he noticed me, and his face lifted.
“Hey, Vic.” I greeted him happily, and I honestly felt that way. It was nice to get some sort of joy out of today.
Vic, though, took it more extreme as he always did, and he jolted over to me in seconds nearly breaking my back in his hug. He spoke playfully to me, “Just a simple hey, Little Brother? I haven’t seen you in weeks and this is the greeting I get?” He lifted me up high in his greeting. It seems like everyone is freakishly tall in this town.
“Sorry…I’m not in the best of moods today…but it is great to see you...” My words gushed out of the mouth with each squeeze from Vic.
He finally set me down, and he began to laugh with realization, “So that’s why you are here so early, and why dad is so upset. I wanted to surprise you, but I guess you managed to get me instead.” Vic then placed his hand on my shoulder, and gave a concerned expression, “Mom told me everything with Dad, and I want you to know, I know how you feel, and I’m here for you.” It meant so much to have people on my side, and not telling me what was best.
“So I’m guessing your father found out you didn’t go to practice then?” My mom chirped in from the background, as she sat on our big couch, with a cup in her hand.
“I didn’t know what to do Mom…My friends were still talking about me trying out, and even the teacher was in on it. I was trapped, so I hid out in the library, but Dad eventually found me.” I fell onto the couch defeated and wiped, and looked over to my supporters.
Vic sat next to me, and crossed his arms, speaking irritated, “Dad always has to impose his ways on us, Ethan, that’s what I told you before.”
“Vic!” My mom scolded him, then spoke, “Your father was raised in a different age, and you need to see things from his view. I get that he can be hard, but I don’t want you turning Ethan against us.”
“Mom, I don’t see why you always try to protect him, and using, ‘a different age’ is ignorant in itself. We are his sons and he should support us as you do, and…” Vic cricked his head back, looking down for a moment, “No. I am not getting into this with you again Mom. If Ethan is turning on Dad, then that is because of him, not me.”
No word from my mom, as she stared into her cup thinking to herself. She never knew what to do in times like this, especially when someone told her off like that. I love her, but my mom was never a smart woman, and she gets stumped fairly easily; which again makes me think how my brother and I were created from those two. “I’m going to go speak with your guy’s father; it was great seeing you, sweetie.” She finally spoke, giving Vic a kiss on the forehead afterwards.
Vic swung his head to me looking about as lost as I was. He blew some air out then slapped on the couch, “Okay! Let’s get out of here for a bit.”
There was no need for discussion, as we both raced out of the house. We hopped in his two door car, and pulled out as quickly as we could. Halfway down the road, though, and we didn’t say anything yet. It was starting to remind me of another car ride. “I always liked this car a lot.” I tried to start some sort of conversation.
Vic laughed through his nostrils, and said proudly, “Better say your goodbyes then, because I’m selling it soon.” He smirked after that, but I was confused by his statement.
“I’m guessing you’re buying a new one then?”
“That’s neat and all, but why do you sound so happy about it? Is the new car an awesome one, or something?” I was genuinely disappointed. This was the car that Vic would take me around town in when he would come to visit. Since he lived a town over, there wasn’t that much of him I saw when he was kicked out of our house, but when he did, all or memories were connected through this car in a way.
“I’m trading it in for a nice minivan, believe it or not.” He laughed out loud, looking a tad nostalgic.
“But why a minivan? I thought only soccer moms get those, and I mean it’s not like…” Then it hit me, and excitement overcame me, “Wait! Are you going to have a kid?”
“You nailed it, Ethan. We’re adopting one.” He glanced over to me for a second with a smile.
I was astonished, but I inside I was so happy to hear I was going to be an uncle. As I question him further, I tripped over my words a bit, “I thought you said you would never want to be a dad?”
“When you meet the right person, things change, and I think now is a good time to start a family. That was one of the reasons I came down today.” He gave me a moment to let everything sink in, and then asked hesitantly, “So what do you think?”
I wasted no time to answer back, “What do you think? This is amazing! I’m so excited for you!”
“I’m glad you think so fondly of the idea; I still haven’t told Mom or Dad, and the way Dad is right now may be a bad time, though, anytime is probably a bad time...” That hit me hard, and I now my selfish endeavors make me feel more like a burden.
“I’m sorry Vic…If I would have known I could have behaved for Dad, but now…”
“Dammit, Ethan!” Vic slammed on the breaks, shifting off to the side to avoid traffic. He turned over to me and spoke with fire in his eyes, “This is not your fault, and so don’t you start blaming yourself for it; it is all Dad’s, and it has always been him. You have been nothing but obedient to him, and the one time you want to do something selfish, he gets pissy about it.” Swelling from his anger, Vic took a moment to center himself. “Listen, Ethan. You can’t let Dad choose your life for you, and if you want to go and do something stupid or crazy, you should. I’m not here to say rebel everything they have to say, and never listen to them, but you have to be your own person.”
I took in everything Vic had to say, and held it for a moment. He was reiterating the same thing that was plaguing my mind, but hearing him say it to me put it all into perspective. “Stupid and crazy” I wanted that. I want to do something people don’t normally do. I want to not care about the consequences and blindly go for what is ever in front of me. I was going to do it, and I knew what the first stupid thing I wanted to do was. “Vic!” I looked at him with fire in my eyes.
“Yes, Little Brother?” By Vic’s smile, I could tell he knew what I was going to ask.
“I need a lift back to the school!”
“Well…I’ll be honest I wasn’t expecting that, but if there’s something there you want, then let’s do this!” Vic revved his engine, and taking off dangerously into traffic. This wasn’t even that crazy, but I wanted to do it; I want to see where it leads. It was weird and stupid, but that’s what I need. It took very little time to retrace my steps back to the school, and as we slowed down to a stop, I prayed she would still be in that library.
“We’re here. I hope she is worth Dad’s wrath.” Vic laughed it off, but I was surprised he guessed it right. He looked at my puzzled expression, and answered my question, “Pretty obvious it’s a girl. Now go get her!”
I wanted to tell him it was a girl, but he had the wrong idea about it, but telling him I want to make a fake magical bond with a girl would be harder to look serious about. Ignoring it, I pushed opened the door, and sprinted off into the school, waving back at my brother. I shimmied up the steps, and slid pass multiple doors, hoping no one would see me. I was nearly out of breath by the time I made it to the library door, but my efforts were in vain. It was no use, and no matter how hard I shook the door, it would not open. I wasn’t even sure if she would be in there or if someone told her to get out. None of it mattered though because the door was locked, and I saw no other way of getting in. My will was broken, and it made me think about just going to fourth period, but seeing all of their faces after the scene from earlier would be too hard. While I thought of another idea, I heard the door behind me open. It made me jump inside, and when I went to see who opened it, there was not a soul. I wanted to think why, but I was now presented with a new opportunity. I stopped thinking, and decided to only act.
I crept through the door, mimicking as I did earlier from today, and stalked around the library to see if anyone was here. And there she was, still with her head cocked down, and drawing away. There was no telling if she noticed me approach her, and I wasn’t sure if she was ignoring me or not. Standing here like a moron made me happy around this girl, and I loved feeling this way. I took a moment to gather what I wanted to say, but then I saw what she was drawing. It was another cabin by the lake, but it was from a different perspective this time. “Amy…” Slipped out of my mouth, and we both flinched from it. She steadily looked up, with her eyes sparkling from the sunlight coming in through the window. We both didn’t move, nor did we say a word. What could either of us say? But I had to think of something. I spotted that her mascara was a bit smudged, and her cheeks were red. I made her cry? Not only that, but she was still crying up until now? Amy’s face changed to an expression of deep pain when her eyes tried looking anywhere else besides at me. Today has been a good day to upset people, and make myself feel horrible. I knew what I had to say now, so I braced myself for the stupidity that I was about to utter.
“Amy, I want to make a Soul Bond with you!” Breaking the grim aura, I pointed my finger directly at her, and kept my expression stern.
“R-Really?” Her voice crackled and shot out right after me. That was the last thing she expected me to say, and her face started brighten up.
“I would want nothing more.” I laid down my finger, but I face was as serious as ever. She looked all around, like she was searching for something or someone, and then hastily flew to her bag on the ground. But Amy stopped midway and shifted her eyes to me asking, “Are you sure?”
I gave an undeniable, irrefutable, “Yes. I really do, Amy.”
“But what you said earlier-”
“Was stupid, and I am so sorry…I promise to never push you aside again, and I want to make up for it now, in blood.” I held out my hand for her, and she understood my commitment.
“Okay.” She said simply with a grin. She pulled out her small pocket knife and the contract; she handed me the blade, looking at me intently. I knew she was skeptical now, but I was determined to prove to her how serious I was about this, so viciously I made a small slit on the tip of my finger. After a second passed, the wound was made apparent to my brain, and a stinging surge attacked me. I couldn’t help but to drop the knife, and hold my finger tightly in my palm while letting out a painful moan.
Amy let out a tiny giggle, and spoke pitifully at me, “You have a very low tolerance for pain I see.”
“Whatever. Just tell me where I need to stamp this.” Speaking hastily, I wanted to get this over as quick as possible. I hope this doesn’t get infected.
She pointed down at the contract, “Right here by your name.”
I slammed my finger down right as she moved her own hand, but then I regretted hitting the table so hard with an open wound. I waited for a second, looking into Amy’s eyes as they dazzled with excitement. She just stared at my finger in bewilderment, like she, herself, never believed I would do it. Lifting my hand up, I felt the gross, sticky blood separating from my finger and the paper, and suddenly, my heart felt as if it had dropped ten stories inside my chest. Energy surged through me, like a new morning day, and the pain from my finger wasn’t as bad as before. This random feeling, it was odd. Was it from doing something insane as this? But when I looked at Amy, she only stared at me with a gasp. Under her breath, she said, “You actually did it…this is it?”
“Uh, Amy?” I wanted more from her than that. I already knew I was crazy for doing this; I didn’t need her to tell me.
“Oh yeah, here…” She handed me a band aid, but as she did I could see her hand trembling. Amy was having a hard time mustering up words. I took the band aid from her and opened the seal to see a pink design with little dog’s faces on them. I shook my head with disappointment, but what do you expect from a girl like her. I wanted to ask her what do we do now, but I was unexpectedly blocked from talking when a woman spoke out, “I think that band aid suits you quite well, Mr. Ethan.”
I was embarrassed someone else saw me do this, but I wasn’t about to hide anything. I turned to respond to the much kinder voice in the room, but as I looked I flew back into the table, pushing it up against Amy.
“Ow, Ethan, that hurt.” I couldn’t even muster a response for Amy because of how terrified I was. It was real, it was all real along. There she stood was a transparent woman, with her skin pale-grey and ever so slightly illuminated. She just existed there, smiling at me. My body stopped moving and my eyes couldn’t blink. Everything I knew was wrong, and nothing seemed like reality. I was sweating furiously and wanted to scream, but my chest was too tight to do it.
“I think he didn’t believe about the contract, Ms. Amy.” The ghost placed her barely visible hand over her mouth, laughing and mocking me.
“Well he believes now, isn’t that right, Ethan?” Amy got up and walked around the table, and banged on my back, laughing with the ghost. “Say hi to Mrs. Wallace, she is our first case together. Remember you’re an Overseer; this is your life now!”
This was it. I decided to something crazy to choose my own path, and now it seems I’ve stumbled into someone else. I didn’t want to believe what I was seeing, but the proof was right in front of me; my new life was right in front of me, but I’m not sure I’m ready for something so life shattering. Looking over to Amy, though, as she laughed at my expense, I wondered if I really could except all this, and become an Overseer of the dead. Only one way to find out I suppose.