The Ghost of Humanity – Part Two
Short Ghost Stories
For lack of anything better to do, he “stepped” back in to his apartment. It took a couple of tries, which involved winding up halfway through a brick wall, standing about fifty feet above an Egyptian pyramid, and one rather awkward incident in a women’s locker room somewhere in Scandinavia, but he got there eventually. Everything was just as he had left it, from the appropriately coffee-stained coffee table to the pizza boxes on the kitchen counter. Staying here held no real appeal, though; he hadn’t even liked it much while he was alive. Upon seeing his much cherished Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles clock hanging crookedly on the wall, Jeremy suddenly recalled that, according to various social networking websites, a friend of his was hosting a party that very evening. He had never been a real partier, but he had also never been dead, either. After taking one last look around his old apartment, he left.
Jeremy hadn’t seen this particular friend in years, but had bumped into him online a few months ago and added him to all of his “friend lists.” Rob Wellington had never exactly been going places, physically or metaphorically, so he guessed that the best place to look for this party was Rob’s parents’ house. Having gotten better at using his new method of transportation, Jeremy arrived in only three tries and hardly wound up inside any solid objects at all.
Upon “stepping” into the Wellington household, he beheld the expected scene: drunk college kids jerking wildly in approximate time to music that seemed to consist solely of bass and, occasionally, screaming. Good old Rob. After wandering through the house for a bit, Jeremy stopped bothering to move around people. Yes, it felt slightly invasive to go through them, but they couldn’t seem to tell, and the place was packed wall to wall with people – not going through anyone would be a nearly impossible task.
Finding Rob himself wasn’t difficult. As usual, he was attempting to impress girls eight years younger than him with, as he put it, “my mad boozing skillz,” which mostly consisted of his nearly dropping bottles of alcohol while flinging their contents almost everywhere but the intended red plastic cups that have become an icon of underage drinkers everywhere. Of course, the girls were entirely entranced by his display, possibly due to the effects of drugs, but most likely due to the fact that they were around eighteen years old and, therefore, complete morons when in the presence of alcohol.
After watching Rob’s performance with increasing dismay, Jeremy decided to attempt making contact. Using all of his will, he focused on moving one of the many magnets on the refrigerator, as had been done in every poltergeist movie he’d ever seen.
Dejected, he stared at his target intently, hoping to gain Rob’s attention by giving him that indescribable feeling of being watched. If anything, this was even more of a failure, because Rob finished his show and left the room after about five minutes. Desperate, Jeremy did the metaphysical version of jumping up and down and screaming at the top of his lungs. This resulted in absolutely nothing, aside from wishing he could breathe heavily and make an angry face.
Frustrated and still alone, Jeremy left the Wellington residence. He returned to his apartment out of sheer habit, so upset that he couldn’t interact with the world around him that he didn’t even notice when it only took one attempt to “step” there. After calming down, he tried to decide what to do next. However, since “do” generally involves physical interaction of some sort, he narrowed it down to “go” and “see”.
In an effort to keep himself occupied, Jeremy travelled to every monument, museum, and natural wonder that he could think of. Because he no longer had a pesky brain to hinder his memory, the list was pretty extensive.
It took him two days. Apparently, the world was not as big as he had once thought.
The voice hadn’t lied when it told him that he would have no one to talk to. Not only was he unable to interact with the living, but when he desperately tried to find other souls, there were none to be found. It had only been two weeks, and he was rapidly running out of things to do. Did this happen to everyone? An eternity of loneliness and boredom hardly seemed to fit into any grand plan for humanity that Jeremy could fathom.
But maybe that’s it. Maybe humanity doesn’t have a purpose at all. Perhaps there really is a higher power, but it doesn’t care about some highly evolved apes. With this new perspective, Jeremy could understand that perfectly; from the outside looking in, humanity was a big joke, and not even a very funny one. In its hubris, the human race as a whole had consistently failed to realize its own insignificance. After all, what put a human above a cat or a sea urchin? What, for that matter, made beings consisting of organic matter so much more important than, say, a rock? Maybe the secret of life was that life didn’t matter.
With that thought, Jeremy was no more. There was no sound or fuss; he simply ceased to exist. It could have been that the brief afterlife he had experienced was a lesson in humility or, perhaps, a prank understood only by the deity that had designed it. Whatever the purpose of this misadventure, the results were same: another soul was no longer in existence.
Contrary to what people might think, the universe noticed; it simply didn’t care.
PREVIOUS: THE GHOST OF HUMANITY – PART ONE
more by KENNY STONEMAN
Photograph by Harmut Tobias