What was your dream gift for your sixteenth birthday? Car? Motor? New, awesome computer? I’d like to get one of these… but fate gave me something else.
To be precise, two dead women. No, no, they weren’t ugly, but also not particularly alive.
But not from this my bad luck began…
From the beginning I was ‘different’. Actually ‘strange’ is more accurate word. I don’t mean some bizarre hobbies, or behavior (although it also affected this), but seeing something that an ordinary person shouldn’t see – spirits.
They followed me/levitated after me since I only learn how to walk and speak, so I could ran away from them with a scream, cursing. They always spoke to me, but I didn’t get a chance to understand them at least once. They were generally… how to say… very ‘ghostly’. Almost like in horror movies. Or in those about nice Casper (if they don’t intend to strangle you). Half-transparent (if you look at them carefully) with a pained expression on their faces. The thing is, these spirits could touch you, and vice versa, if they wanted to. However, touching them wasn’t the worst part. Strangely, they chose ME as their agent in the world of the living and wanted something from me all the time. Fortunately, and unfortunately, I didn’t know spiritualish, so I couldn’t help them, even if I wanted to.
I looked up from a magazine about cars. Apple Pie ran to me and jumped on my back.
Apple Pie was my younger sister who recently celebrated her sixth birthday. She liked to repeat words twice, as she always did when she wanted to tell some story.
“Come on!” I said, ruffling her hair. “Spill it out, you rascal.”
Apple Pie took a deep breath and the words came from her mouth like an avalanche. This time was about a kid from the kindergarten, who buried the ball in the playground and did a few mole mounds to scare the gardener.
I smiled. Even though we were siblings, somehow we weren’t alike. Apple Pie loved to talk, had short fair hair, dark eyes, and chubby cheeks. On the other hand, I wasn’t very talkative, had a rather violent temper, and fought a lot as a child.
“Toby?” My mother looked into my room. “Ah, there you are, Apple Pie. I was looking for you everywhere.”
“Mom! Mom!” Apple Pie gasped, pausing her story, which almost developed into a novel. “I was telling Toby about Mike Michaels, who pranked the sitters –”
“Alright, calm down,” mother laughed and patted her head. “Tell me about it later. Now go downstairs. Aunt Theresa came and brought delicious cream puffs!”
“Cream puffs!” Apple Pie cried and jumped to the corridor, still shouting, “Cream puffs! Cream puffs!”
I snorted with laughter. Mother looked at me carefully. I stopped laughing.
“What?” I asked.
“You’re not studying,” she rather stated than asked.
“Don’t you have a test tomorrow?”
“Mmm… I don’t think so.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
I pretended to think about it.
“’Mmm’ is because I’m hungry” I said. “And ‘don’t think so’ is probably because tomorrow is Sunday.”
“Then on Monday! Oh, you know what I meant!”
“Okay, don’t get angry.”
She gave a disgusted look on my magazine and left, muttering under her nose, “You could cut that hair, you look like an Indian!”
The day didn’t start well. Mother always got irritated with my hair, when my bad luck was going to show up –
I ducked instinctively and a brick with some paper landed under the door. I rushed to the broken window and cursed so ugly, that I was surprised myself. Any moment the neighbors could call my mother to complain. Some two brats laughed and fled. I sighed and untied the paper. Just as I thought, there were familiar words:
Get lost to loony bin, you freak!
I crushed the paper in my hand.
“U-u-u,” I suddenly heard behind my back and jumped. “We’re in a bad mood?”
Behind me hung a spirit. It had such devious smile on its pale face, that I had a strong desire to hit it.
“For YOU I’m always in a bad mood,” I growled, passing the spirit and lying on the bed. “Give me a break.”
Spirit howled piteously and flew to the ceiling, nudging the lamp that creaked dangerously.
“Leave it!” I warned, sitting down.
“U-u-u,” the spirit sang again. “What can you do to me, mere mortal?”
Then it hit me it was a poltergeist – the worst kind of spirit. They’re very stubborn and it’s not easy to chase them away.
“Go away, or I’ll go get a pepper spray,” I threatened.
After so many years grappling with the spirits, I realized the pepper spray has a similar effect on ghosts like silver on werewolves.
But apparently this ghost was different, because it chortled in response to my threat and approached the shelves full of miniature robots and cars I designed.
“No!” I shouted, throwing myself toward its direction, but a few hundredths of a second too late.
Shelf fell on the floor with a bang and my models crumbled to pieces. I thought I’d explode with anger. I chased after the giggling poltergeist for about five minutes, when someone knocked to the door.
“Toby?” I heard my father’s voice. Damn it, he already returned from work! “What’s going on there?”
“N-nothing!” I called, landing on a desk and throwing books on the floor. I cursed. “Everything’s good!”
“If you have any problems, you can always tell me. About everything,” father said.
“Right,” I grumbled. “I guess you really want to know my ghosts’ problems. No!” I screamed, when the spirit torn my drawing of newest robot, which I didn’t start making yet. “You monster!!”
“Naughty boy, naughty boy,” the poltergeist sang and vanished at the same time, when my father came in.
When he saw the state of my room, he frowned angered.
“That’s enough, young man!” he said sharply. “I know it’s your birthday today, but you’re grounded!”
“Great,” I muttered. “I wasn’t going anywhere today anyway.”
“The whole month!”
“I can stay at home for a month,” I agreed. “Just send here Apple Pie from time to time, so I know what’s happening in the world.”
Father gave me last rough look and left.
I sighed heavily and covered my face with a pillow.
“Bad luck after bad luck…” I muttered.
I was dozing off, when I was awakened by a doorbell.
“Toby, open!” mother called. “I have hands full and your father went out!”
I growled with dissatisfaction, but got up and trudged to the front door. Before I reached the handle, something in my head told me not to open it, but I ignored the feeling and opened the door.
I saw two girls, more or less my age. One was a tall, black-haired Asian with brown eyes, and the other one was a little shorter blonde with a little drugged look of gray eyes.
“Toby Noel Stewart?” the black-haired girl asked.
“Depends on who’s asking,” I grumbled.
“I’m Nelavarasi Lee and this is Krish Ross. We’ve come to take you to the Avalon, new daimonar.”