Lost in the Eternal Passage

by Strange Teller

Preface

Ghost Story


I'm floating above the earth, I see how there slip, in enormous areas which somehow open beneath me, lost spirits, birds which scan the heights, forgotten places, loved places... It's not the same feeling as the chaos, however - that chaos from which, once, everything took birth.

I've already forgot how it is on Earth. I only see everything like in a suspended mirror, I hear everything like I would hear the nature's echoes in a valley, forgotten by time...the sea's noise in a shell.

Closer...No, I don't want to get closer.

But only to keep this image like a precious memory and then, to take flight, forever, the flight to eternity...

I'm floating above the world. I am still a wandered spirit, a lost entity in an ocean.

What is the price that I have to pay for immortality?

I am a spirit. A ghost.

I died.

I am born.

*

Intro. I got to lord Scotwave's house after a long and relatively tiring journey, even though I enjoyed unusual landscapes as much as I could and I tried to taste to the full the eagerly awaited feeling - the one of being in a holiday.

The Lord honored me by inviting me to spend a week of my holiday at his castle after he had read some of my short stories that he had considered satisfactory, enough for wanting a closer contact with me, and, even though he hadn't promised anything yet, he wasn't excluding the option of a collaboration with a Scottish publishing house.

I almost got lost in the immense gardens which were preceding the actual entrance, then I was guided to the room, where I left my luggage and made myself comfortable.

Shortly after, I got ready for the famous five o'clock, although not before staring somewhere at the window, very far, where my soul was fading away, maybe, to get to...In the place where the sunlight blessed the excellently kempt gardens and the artesian wells.

"So, you think this world is nothing more than a passage? A passage through which our souls are wandering to the infinity? A gate?"

I agreed, nodding. I didn't see the point in starting to repeat the theory out loud.

"But don't you think, young writer, that there is a price that you must pay for this? A kind of charge for the boatman on the River Styx?".

Lord Scotwave looked at me through the lens of some vintage glasses, while he was slowly puffing away at a pipe which was equally vintage.

Easily confused, I let the silence prolong a bit before answering.

"I bothered more about the interfering of worlds, the perfecting consummation of our fate. Yet, of course there is a price, maybe even a sacrifice. Nothing is born from nothing, and the humanity doesn't expect from us (at least from us, the ones who understood) other words, other speeches. But acts.

"Very well, young man, very well...".

He stuffed in more tobacco, with an air of satiation. I couldn't appreciate what was he expecting from me and to what extent would my answer bring him any peace, but I let things take their own natural course.

By night, after I've visited a bit of the green area, I got back into my room and I've watched a couple of shows at the old, but still working TV, not in the mood, switching between a channel to another. However, I was satisfied that I could somehow interact with people and, this way, I didn't feel too lonely next to that wood furniture, observing the pendulum on the wall and the somehow erratically hanged paintings in the whole room.

I remembered, for a second, my family, then, thinking that, maybe, I'll even write something on this holiday, I laid down in bed to fall asleep.

One minute, two...three...

The pendulum struck midnight, with a long ring of the bell.

The bed has violently shaken, then I heard how the phonograph started to play, letting the accords of an old love song to overflow in the room.

Suddenly, I was very frightened, because I was alone in the room, and the lord was sleeping in the attic.

"You and me, alone, dancing on the melody... Forever in a strange fantasy", I could hear the song's lyrics.

Then, the silhouette of a young, attractive, translucent lady, showed itself in the room.

I wanted to scream for help, but she signaled me to shut up.

"My father loves this song so much", said a voice coming from another world.

"Okay...Okay", I stupidly mumbled, then I pulled the pillow and the bedsheet over my head, so that I won't see or hear anything.

However, I knew a ghost has just visited me - and I also knew that this was only the beginning.

*

In the morning, the next day, I found a note from the lord on the table:

"Young writer,

I am sure that you already have an idea about the places that you've seen here, as well as the local hospitality.

For two days, I'll be gone due to business - you'll enjoy, I suppose, to find out that I'll visit, in this journey, a popular Scottish publishing house, opportunity for me to talk about the possible new contracts.

Rachel would be happy to...

Forgive me, I don't know what I was thinking.

I hope that the deepest day but also the deepest night to be your eternal source of inspiration. Herewith, I give you an envelope for your current expenses.

We will meet again soon.

Best regards,

Lord Scotwave".

Ufff... I didn't even move on from the last night's incident that, here I am, left alone in this castle which is as enormous as frightening. What am I going to do?

Let's hope the news coming from the publishing house will be cheerful, at least.

At the thought of it, I postponed any new walking and even spending from the small capital generously left by my host and I put a white sheet of paper in the typewriter.

An idea had just crossed my mind...

"I was sitting alone in the room, crushed by the memories, profoundly desiring to forget...At least for a day. For a moment.

Then I heard the phonograph's record spinning, letting an old song speaking about love to be heard ...About a suspended fantasy between two worlds.

You and me... forever.

I am dancing with a translucent shape, arrived from on the other side of the world, of a girl who had sometime lived on Earth...Who had suffered, like me. Who had loved.

I can't touch her, because she is immaterial. I can't kiss her, because her lips are as cold as Death. I can't fully understand her, because she is on a superior existence stage than I am.

But I can feel her, I can guess her experiences...I can swear eternal faith to her.

Because - isn't it so? - our passing on Earth has a price.

A price I am willing to pay, in the name of the most peculiar and baffling romances...To put a seal on the running from the oblivion. From the void.

Together. Forever, in a strange fantasy...".

The tables have started to vigorously shake, the glasses have fallen on the ground, becoming shatters. The light bulbs have cracked, leaving me in the dark.

I strongly felt her presence, before I could see her. I simply knew I wasn't alone in the room anymore.

The pendulum has struck again, even though it wasn't time yet.

Then the shape I saw the first day of my residence there manifested, giving me the creeps.

"Did you ask me to come? Have you talked, right before, about love?", her voice could be heard coming from the other side of the ground.

"Who are you?...Why have we met here?", I asked her, while I was looking at her fascinating bright and clear silhouette, vintage white, spotless, intangible clothes.

"We've met here because this is our destiny", she whispered to me. "My name is Rachel...".

"What? Rachel?".

I suddenly jumped on my feet.

"For God's sake, what is this...".

"We will meet again...if you believe in love", said the petite silhouette of the girl, before dematerialize.

Alone, for two days...In a haunted castle.

Talking to a ghost.

*

Until the lord Scotwave arrived again to the peculiar house in which I was occasionally staying too, I didn't try to understand anything more. I didn't write anymore, I didn't invoke the creature who had already started to fascinate me.

I only walked through those fabulous gardens, wandering about their beauty and the way they were taken care of, but being almost fearful at every step for Rachel not to appear again, somehow, from behind a bunch of flowers, in the form of a creature who had no home in this world.

I've tasted the English tea with a rare lust, I've tried not to think of anything.

Time has passed very slowly, much more difficult than I would believe, but, in the end, I got to the long-awaited moment.

The lord came back, more refreshed than ever, early in the morning, getting off (which was suiting him well) a wonderful horse.

"Good morning, lord Scotwave. How was it?".

"Good morning. Pretty well. Although I am afraid that I do not have the happiest news from the publishing house. So far, they do not publish anything new. But do not lose heart - there is, however, a possibility in the autumn...".

"Do not worry. I do not surrender so easily. If I have inspiration, I will undoubtedly write and I will try my luck in the autumn...".

We didn't talk anything else until lunchtime - I let him rest, and I tidied up in my room.

In front of a rich meal, however, I started to tell him some of my thoughts.

"I do apologize...but something isn't letting me sleep at all".

"Tell me, young man. I am listening to you", he told me while he was reaching out the fork for the marinated anchovy.

"What did you intend to say then in the note? Who is Rachel?"

He almost choked on fish.

"No, nothing...It was a mistake. I do not intend to talk about this subject."

"I don't want to trouble you either...but I saw, in the room in which I'm staying, the ghost of a young girl...I clearly saw her, as I am seeing you. It even seemed to me that she is talking to me while I was writing a short story...I found it very strange."

"Ah...okay. I will only speak once about this. I had a girl, whom I enormously loved. She was highly educated in Arts. At 20 years old, however, she was strangled by a maniac. She left me alone, forever inconsolable. From time to time, her ghost is haunting the castle...Of course I didn't drive her away, she is, even now, the light of my eyes...She soothes my loneliness. The ghost of my Rachel."

He wiped off a tear in the corner of his eye, then he started to cry.

"It is so hard for me without her...my priceless girl...".

"Oh, I feel so sorry, lord Scotwave...I didn't know. Alright, I won't disturb you anymore with my silly questions."

After drinking the coffee, we took a little walk outside, then I left him alone - he was saying he wanted to take a nap. As for me, I got back to my room - partly to rest, partly to write.

Soon, I put a new sheet of paper in the old typewriter on the table.

"Together... Forever, in a strange fantasy...

A time forgotten song, in a room in light and shade...Me, dancing with an etheric shape, whispering hot words, even if we can't ever be, really, together...Because we belong to two different worlds.

We met here because this was our destiny...Now I am sure of this.

My love...I love not only you, but even the space around you...The intangible clothes you're wearing.

What deal should I sign so that we will be forever together?

Because I love you, you know this very well, and I won't be satisfied with only with the song from the phonograph.

It's heavily raining outside, thunders splitting the skies in two. A storm of unprecedented violence troubles the writer who is missing his lover Rachel, in an obscure room of a haunted castle..."

The table rattled again, the walls trembled.

I watched, horrified, as a ruby-colored liquid started to slowly drip from the ceiling until it formed a true puddle. It was blood.

Then the ghost reappeared, with a silhouette even clearer than usual.

"Did you call for me? Did you say that you wanted us to be together forever?"

"Rachel...my love...yes, that is what I wrote. And that is what I think as well."

"Just a moment...did my father tell you anything about me?"

"Yes, Rachel, he told me how you died and how much he cared about you....the poor old man has it very hard, I'll help him as I can.."

"Yes, it's partially true. But don't believe everything he says, sometimes he adds details that aren't true. More than that, you need to know something very important about him.."

"Oh? What, exactly?"

"Join me in the attic...I have to show you something".

Controlling my fear, I climbed a staircase that creaked all over, then I went into the attic that was full of old scraps, dust and wooden chairs that cracked without being touched.

A pale, yellow light was sneaking through the only small window that connected this to the outside.

In all honesty, I didn't really want to prolong my stay there.

"So, Rachel, what did you want to show me?"

She took an old manuscript from a drawer that had, as I realized, some of her father's work on it, along with a copy of his papers.

On them I could read, stupefied, his full name, as well as the year in which he died.

Lord John Scotwave, born the 18th of January 1905. deceased the 4th of May 1980.

Presently, it was the year 2020.

I got chills down my spine.

"See? He has as much to do with the real world as me", said Rachel unexpectedly.

"Yes, I can see that..."

We quickly went to exit the attic.

Incredible.

I was, actually, truly alone in that castle. At least, by the rules that were known to me.

I hope that, by the end of my stay here, I will not go completely insane.

*

That night, though, I slept peacefully. The furniture didn't crack and snap anymore, glass didn't break, and Rachel didn't make her presence felt.

I decided that I would play innocent to the old lord, to not let him know what I found out form Rachel. He could turn aggressive, even really violent, if he knew that his secret was out in the open.

It would probably be hard at first, but in time i will get accustomed to this role as well.

I spent half an hour watching the news, which(at least them!) were surely from the current year. Floods, earthquakes, plagues, snowfall in full-blown summer.

Oh, God!, I told myself, and went downstairs to have breakfast with Lord John Scotwave.

If I survive, maybe I will eventually find out the truth about the fate of the world, about the Mayan predictions, about the prophecies of Nostradamus. Because I just about had enough of these apocalyptic news.

"Do you want the tea hot?", asked the lord, like a waggish and very welcoming host.

"Yes, thank you", I gracefully replied.

I wanted to ask him one more time about the autumn offer of the publishing house, but I changed my mind.

"We said that we wouldn't talk anymore, but...I realized that I am also troubled by something", said Scotwave in a heavy tone.

"Yes? I am listening to you".

"Rachel...Are you saying you thought she was talking to you?".

"Yes, sure, that is what I've said...But I can assure you that for me the conversation with her is a pleasure...".

"I believe you, I believe you, that's not why I am asking...did she tell you something about me, by any chance?".

I held in my violent feelings incredibly well - but, however, I am sure that for approximately one-quarter of a minute, my face was as white as wax.

"No, no", I quickly added, to save the situation. "She really didn't mention anything, I would have remembered for sure".

"Ok, then...See, don't believe everything she tells you, sometimes she makes up things...If you somehow feel you want to become closer, you would better know something...".

"Yes? What exactly?. I started to become curious.

"Rachel, after she died, started to take vengeance on men...No matter if they were maniacs like the one who has strangled her or perfectly normal...You have to know that she is harsh, cruel, bloody...Under the guise of love and an old song from the phonograph, she attracts them in her room, where she kills them and drink their blood...She seals her gesture for eternity".

I felt like fainting. Things started to get entangled pretty bad, worse than I could, even for a moment, imagine, and I realized that I had not even the slightest chance to find out who is lying and who is telling the truth in the whole story which was happening since I came to the castle.

I am alone with two spirits and nothing seems to be able to save me...

"I will take into account what you are saying to me, lord John Scotwave", I said. I bit my tongue until it started to bleed, but too late.

Even in the mail, he introduced himself simply, as Lord Scotwave. The only place where I could possibly see his first name was in the dusty papers that Rachel had showed me in the attic.

"You've told me that you didn't talk about me with my girl, right? What did you find out, young writer?", he interrogated me, using an already threatening tone.

"Nothing, nothing, I assure you...", I said, then, without waiting the follow-up, I ran upstairs.

I got into my room and I closed the door three times, also putting a nightstand in front of it, in any case.

I stayed for a few moments, then I sat down in front of the typewriter and I started to write.

"Forever together...A peculiar song, living in time, above time...

Now I know what I have to do to be together forever...

In order not have to hopelessly look for you in daylight, not to be afraid I will lose you each time when the night fades away...

As your father used to say, there is a price you have to pay for it. Like a fee for the boatman on the Styx River.

I hope I learned something from the passing on Earth.

Rachel, you had never showed me your room...I wish so much to dance there on our song, to be just us two, in perfect union, living the same dream, becoming one...

It's all I still desire. To transcend our love to the eternity.

You and me, alone... Killed by the melody...".

The furniture vigorously cracked, the glasses started to clang on the table, and almost in the same instant the weak silhouette of Rachel appeared.

"What did you say? That you never saw my room? That you want us to dance there? You don't imagine how much I've expected this moment...".

"It's wonderful, my dear", I said and I wiped a tear which appeared in the corner of my eye. "Wait for me just a minute...I have left to work out a single thing."

I heard the lasting crunch of Rachel room's door.

I gathered all the typed files from the desk of which a temporary owner I was and I gave them a title: Lost in the eternal passage.

Then, I added, in red: For the Lord John Scotwave, towards the autumn offer of the publishing house.

*

Epilogue. It's wonderful...I am starting to learn what freedom is...

If you knew how much I've been waiting...The ghosts' world, the eternal love world...

I have to fly to infinity... One day, the readers will wait for me there...

I'm floating above the earth, I see how there slip, in enormous areas which somehow open beneath me, lost spirits, birds which scan the heights, forgotten places, loved places... It's not the same feeling as the chaos, however - that chaos from which, once, everything took birth.

I've already forgot how it is on Earth. I only see everything like in a suspended mirror, I hear everything like I would hear the nature's echoes in a valley, forgotten by time...the sea's noise in a shell.

Closer...No, I don't want to get closer.

But only to keep this image like a precious memory and then, to take flight, forever, the flight to eternity...

I'm floating above the world. I am still a wandered spirit, a lost entity in an ocean.

What is the price that I have to pay for immortality?

I am a spirit. A ghost.

I died.

I am born...

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