A prompt from the monkey, as follows: Even though the waiting room was empty, she sat right next to me. Limit of 500 words.
Even though the waiting room was empty, she sat right next to me.
I was sitting on the cheap metal and plastic chair, fingers having dug grooves into the metal. I didn't trust myself to get up. Wasn't sure what I'd do if I moved.
"You shouldn't be here." I didn't look over. My voice was flat and cold, even to my ears. It was long past visiting hours; security had decided no one was paid enough to try and get me to leave. I look human. I'm not, and didn't hide it from them.
"Wray." She didn't reach over, didn't touch.
I turned my head. "Ghosts don't belong here."
Cam flinched, as if the words were an exorcism. "I'm your friend."
"You're not Bryce's."
"He'll be fine. They're just removing his appendix."
"He's a magician. He can bend the world. This shouldn't have --."
"That doesn't make him perfect," Cam said, even softer.
I could have made a joke, then. Didn't. Nothing came out. I eat corpses, never bothered me at all, but right now my stomach is twisted up in knots, the air thick with the smells of chemicals and death.
This is a place people go to die. I don't say it out loud. At least, I don't think so, but Cam reads my face and raises a hand. Drops it. She's made of magic, like all ghosts: touching me might destroy her, but I can see she wants to.
It pulls me out of the fear. A little bit. "Why are you here?"
"Three weeks before I died, my best friend downed pills. I took her to emerg, sat in the waiting room. Didn't call her family, because they would have blamed her. Didn't call mine because they would have said I shouldn't have made low-class friends in the first place. I sat. I waited. No one should wait alone, Wray."
"He's alone. In the room. With the doctors."
"I know. But I don't think they'd do their best work with you watching them?" she said.
I blinked. She didn't flicker, didn't vanish to some other place, but looked as if she wanted to. I snickered, forced myself to let go of the chair. "Okay. Good. Good point." I ran my fingers over my face, trying to pull words together. "Fuck."
It wasn't "I'm scared." It wasn't "Thank you." But she seemed to get it anyway.
I looked at the clock. I waited.