FICTION Caleb's Possession (A Ghost Story)
Caleb felt he was possessed but his family didn’t notice. Well, he didn’t know for sure, but he had not felt like himself for a long while. When he tried to pinpoint the change, he didn’t know when it happened. It was a more gradual creep. A shadow that drew darker, stronger, and more confident as it edged its way into his very being.
His family seemed like strangers to him now. He would eat with them, barely tasting the food, keeping his body alive because he didn’t know what else to do. How weird their faces were, their voices, carrying on st0ng but muffled like a party in another room. He could barely understand what they were saying, but the noise irritated Caleb. He could clearly hear most clearly the painful sounds of civilized eating: the scraping of metal against ceramic, the clink of ice in glasses, and the hideous sounds of chewing and swallowing. His mother bit into a chip just now, snapping something inside of him. She crinkled the bag to close it and all he felt was a hot hatred.
His father had spinach stuck in his teeth and grinned obliviously. His sister slurped her drink and he caught a fragrance emanating from her that told him she had not showered in some time. These were hideous creatures. Who were they? Ther were alien to him.
He felt he could see them so clearly now, and they couldn’t see him at all. They didn’t even notice him. They were so caught up in their stories, their gossip, the drama of their lives. His dad hated his boss at work and his coworker who just got a raise. His mom hated his aunt Peggy and the neighbor that had just moved in. His sister was sullen, obnoxious, obsessed with a boy band. What were they even talking about? It didn't matter.
And their animal hunger disgusted him, ravishing their meal as if they were not savage beasts. Everything was so bright here. The light stabbed his eyes with little dancing pricks.
Caleb wanted to go home, but he had no idea where that was. By all accounts he was already home, was he not? This was home. This was his place to sleep, his shelter, his safety. But it didn’t feel comfortable.
Perhaps he would feel more comfortable in bed, Caleb thought. A heavy feeling came over him, kind of like exhaustion, but more like a fog. He wondered if he could even climb the stairs to his room, it felt impossible. Time almost stood still as he pushed away from the table, his legs felt like lead, and his brain was a green swamp, sloshing about, and obscuring almost everything.
Like a zombie, he made it to the bedroom, which also smelled vile to him. But it was his stink so he didn’t mind it so much. His senses seemed to be dulling from their heights experienced a few minutes ago.
Caleb sunk into the bed, and wrapped himself up in a cocoon, hoping for that sweet release of sleep to come over him like a spell.
But sleep did not come. He laid there helpless in the restless darkness. Blinking. Dulling. His own thoughts had slowed, he could not even daydream.
He turned his head and saw a glow under the door. It called to him, a promise to quell his restlessness. He shook off the covers and opened the door, prickling with excitement for the first time. When he opened the door, Caleb found he had stepped into a technicolor dream world. Candy Colored. A narcotic calm settled over him, warming his bones. It caused his brain to stop whirring, and finally, be at peace.
It was a brightly colorfedpixelated paradise, an island populated by animals. He had stepped into his favorite video game. A girl rabbit greeted him kindly and asked if he would like to have tea at her house. He most certainly would.
Caleb spent a long time with the creatures. Time, in fact, started to stop existing. He had never felt more comfortable in his entire life. He explored the island and visited homes. Each animal house was more charming than the next. He went fishing with a frog, his best friend. They didn’t catch anything. They just liked to go and enjoy the calm.
One day, out of nowhere, he saw a door, a regular door. It was harsh and fuzzy. His eyes were not adjusted to the world he had come from, so it looked so strange. He could barely stand to look at it.
Still, he found himself to be very curious. Flashbacks of his old life came flooding back, some of the memories were heartbreakingly good. Other memories were like hot burns on his soul. The door called to him, it pulsed. Caleb suddenly felt a powerful loyalty to his old life, to that fuzzy world. That strange, imperfect world of the door.
Before he understood what was happening, Caleb's hand grasped the knob and turned it. And justlike that he was back in his room. Everything was gray and lifeless.
His eyes immediately saw his bedroom door and he was terrified to open it. There was no glow coming from it, not anymore. He knew it would be real life and he had no idea how much time had passed, or if time had passed at all.
But he opened it anyway, with trepidation, and crept into the hallway. He held his breath as he turned the corner and saw his mother. It sent a chill down his spine because he was afraid of her, afraid that she would scream, that she would be angry, sad, relieved, and confused. The strong emotions of his mother terrified him.
But she didn’t didn’t react to him at all. She looked right through him, and walked into the bathroom.
“Mom, it’s me,” he said.
He walked, or maybe floated. to the living room and found that there was a candle burning next to a photograph of himself. Seeing his face in the golden glow felt so strange. What had happened to him?
His mother came into the room again, this time on the phone. “It’s been 3 weeks since Caleb went missing, I can't believe it. Time doesn't exist anymore," she said.
"Where am I?" Caleb thought. "If I'm not here, where could I be?"
He closed his eyes and when he opened them he was back in this pixelated world. His friend frog was there waiting for him to go fishing.