Sometimes being Jay isn’t enough.
Sometimes even being a Jaysaurus isn’t big enough at all. Sometimes, I feel a little bit like a Jaysaurus is a t-rex with arms not near long enough to hug anyone and I get kind of sad-face about that.
There are weird things about being a Jay, or at least this Jay: I can sense ghosts, now that I can’t see, but I still destroy them when I come into contact with them. Even Honcho doesn’t know why: it might be all because I’m from Outside the universe but I dunno. Lots of other things run into ghosts just fine and it means it’s really hard to make friends with them. So I just tag along with Charlie and make sure to stay away from the ghosts when she goes all ghost-eating, but this time feels all different: the bindings of the house are broken – human ones and all the others too. Something had eaten them all, and is hungry and a lot of kinds of not-nice.
Bad people break more bindings that good people. This is totally a Jay Fact!
I warn Charlie, so she pulls up in the god inside her for power and goes into the house to Ask Questions in a kind of voice that’s really hard to ignore. The parents haven’t see a thing, because they don’t believe ghosts are real and they hit their son an awful lot because they said he was lying when they had to almost know he wasn’t and it hurt their own bindings awful fierce, like a tooth ache behind the eyes, only for the self.
Charlie says ghosts don’t go bad often, not like humans go bad. She says there are Laws, and creatures like what Dyer is now in the Grey Lands, and they pull bad ghosts out of this world and punish them but sometimes things slip between cracks or they don’t find the bad ghosts fast enough. She adds that some ghosts don’t understand when jokes stop being jokes at all, and gives me a very pointed look at that.
I’m maybe trying to make Jay-jokes but it’s all hard because the house feels bad, the kind of broken bindings that the humans have to fix themselves and I’d only break if I fix them, and Charlie asks me to go upstairs while she deals with the ghost and the parents – because she can call the ghost into the world as well as eat it, which I didn’t know before now – and she hurts the humans in different ways by showing them a world that exists inside the one they live in and they’re not up for it at all.
The boy is upstairs in his bedroom, his bum raw from spankings, and he’s all skinny-thin from lack of meals and the worst of his bruises don’t show at all because they’re all deep inside, plus his bindings are all broken, and he’s scared to bind to anyone and the only reason he hasn’t become a ghost – in the bad way – is because the ghost left him terrified of dying. Which is a binding worse than breaking bindings sometimes, if you make them all sour. The room smells awful bad, and I’m kind of glad I can’t see the bed.
I want to hug him, but he’s too scared to hug anyone or even touch them because the ghost did bad-things and he is all scared of me even if I’m a Jay and I’m really good at not being scary at all, and not just because I’m really good at hiding that I’m not human. I can’t even see anymore and I all have a cane and glasses and he’s still all scared, like there’s not room for anything else inside him. And since he is scared of everything I just sit on the floor of his bedroom and say Charlie is all stopping the ghost, but he won’t believe that at all. I think he might if he sees Charlie, because she is really scary even without the god inside her, but Charlie is all busy.
His bindings all crack, because he knows the ghost is downstairs with his parents and they’ve hurt him but he wants to save them despite that and that hurts everything because I don’t think he’d survive the ghost as he is now and I say Charlie is all dealing with it but he won’t believe me, and I get up from the floor, moving between him and the door. He goes to move past, trying to get out of the bed, and he’s too scared to be afraid of me now and that’s really annoying.
I can Do Things sometimes but he hurts too much and no binding I make is going to not hurt him right now, so I tell him I’m not human and we’re here to help, and downstairs is all a screaming and breaking of things as Charlie banishes the ghost. Charlie is busy, and Honcho isn’t around, and the boy is so scared and I can’t help as Jay and I don’t know what I can do, that isn’t all binding and hugging and – and –
and I let him see something else to be scared of to change his bindings. I show him some parts of Jay I don’t show anyone at all, not even me! And he gets how everyone is scared of themselves, and how we hurt ourselves by never trying to and that his parents hurt themselves in hurting him and how you can only forgive if you don’t forget. I teach myself that, too, a little better, and I feel kind of weird after.
And the boy sits back on his bed, and I can feel him staring at me as if a Jay has lots of weird heads to stare at and he’s kind of scared of me instead of the ghost now. I don’t even know what I did, only that I flexed something like a muscle but it wasn’t one and I’m pretty almost certain I wasn’t Noticed but I’m all scared and he gets off his bed to hug me and I don’t dare hug him without hurting him and he goes back into his bed and under the covers when Charlie comes in.
Charlie’s god is a monster-under-a-bed she ate it and kids know that and trust her so the kid believes her when she says the ghost is gone, and she asks if I’m okay and I say nope, because I’m not, and I don’t say other stuff at all. The kid remains under the covers, and Charlie doesn’t know that’s because of me and not her or the ghost so she says his parents will be coming upstairs later and he should remember how scared they are. She doesn’t tell him to be nice or nothing, just to remember.
Charlie takes me by the hand down the stairs and outside. The parents in the living room don’t pay attention to us at all and the place is all broken things but bindings are trying to form again, and I leave them all alone because I’m not sure what I’d do to them right now. I can walk just fine with my cane and sensing bindings but I don’t even try and just let Charlie lead me outside to our van and I let her all hug me inside it until I feel a little better, and I do the same back.
“That was rough,” Charlie says, and she means ruder things. “You going to be okay?”
“I don’t know,” I say, because that’s all true and Charlie doesn’t press me at all and it’s almost lying but not lying and I’m way too scared to say anything else. I’ve been more-than-Jay before, but only when desperate or really mad and most of the time I don’t let myself remember it, but now I can feel it, the rest of me inside me like an itch somewhere really far away and also way to close. Tying not to think about it doesn’t help so I get out my phone and listen to lots of music until I can try and feel okay again.
Some things not even huge hugs can help at all.