[Kaimee]: 5.Contest Entries.The RiddleRose
Winner of the Ghosts of Ourselves Contest!
The Ghost Queen: [Kaimee] - 5.Contest Entries.The RiddleRose 1,614 words.
"I call myself the RiddleRose, but that's neither here nor there really, because I don't actually get to have a name."
A single eyeball seemed to materialise in the air, swivelling to track the faint outline of the child, who was having difficulty maintaining form. No matter, she'd have eons to practise.
"Go on girl, tell me your name, and then I'll tell you why it isn't."
"My...my name?" The child mist thinned out a little more, in confusion.
"That thing you used to call yourself, your parents chose it, people yelled it I suppose, you know, that word that followed you everywhere.. oh I don't know! It's a name, who doesn't know what a name is?"
The child form found weight suddenly, and fell to the ground with what should have made a thud. The feet, in a tangle on the ground where it had fallen, seemed to have a more solid appearance. It was anger, the old ghost knew. "I know my name you spirit, my name is Paz." The words fell hollowly, echoing, the oldest ghost trick.
"Ha! But now, you know, I get to tell you the fun bit, the introduction bit, the bit I've always loved the most! It's marvellous really, the others used to compete to do this bit, and then we'd have to draw straws, and I'd have to cheat, and -"
"Ghost!" The interruption silenced the excited ghoul for a moment, and a flowered tea cup lifted itself to somewhere in the air below the single eye. A distinctive hmph could be heard, and a slurping, and then the RiddleRose continued it's story. "You have no name, you child ghost,' satisfaction tinted the air with a sickly sweet taste, rather like the old ghost's Long Island ice tea. The child Paz coughed the scent away, and the RiddleRose continued. 'You don't exist. You are neither here nor there. No personality, no identity, no body-"
"I have an identity! I exist! I'm here, I exist, how can I not exist?" the young ghost cried, stumbling over a clump of grass in her effort to stand, frightening up what looked like a...yes, it was a ghost toad. "Oi, I was sleeping 'ere!" The ghost toad shot a measuring look at the child outline and then a baleful glare - as only a ghost toad can do well - at the eyeball. It ignored him.
"Ah, but if a tree falls in the woods, does it make a sound?"
"But that's, that's not-!"
"Hold on, hold on, look, stop it!' The child ghost finally interrupted and the back of the eyeball formed a bloody string of flesh. It began to drip into the tea. "Just two drips now.. there. Now, if I really existed would I want to drink my own eye juice?"
The ghost Toad took a look and seemed impressed "That's something mate, you've got quite an act there, why that's something to rival even the 'eadless 'orseman that is."
"Thankyou very much Toad"
"But that's... that's stupid, and incredibly disgusting."
"Neither here nor there you little ghost foetus you! The point is that you don't exist, you have no name, but since it doesn't really effect anyone but us if you do exist or not, since they can't see you mind, I suppose you're allowed to have a name after all. But don't go calling yourself it." With that, the eyeball lowered itself into the teacup and the lot fell with a plop out of the air and into an oily cloud of mist floating about a foot above the tussocks. It then began to travel, looking bizarrely like a tiny boat. "But wait!' The young ghost form tried grabbing it and merely felt slightly sick to her mistily formed stomach as the oily cloud crept through her wrists, 'You can't go yet, you have to explain!"
"No 'ope there I reckon, you'll not get a bit of sense out of that one, ridiculous blighter if ever there was one I reckon."
The RiddleRose turned at that and retorted "I did explain, you have no name because you aren't anything, but if you really and truly want you can have one anyway, no one really minds. I mean, the Ghost Queen has had about nine names this morning, I think, or is it ten? She may just have been making a joke with that last thing, no one would really want to call themselves the Hairy Goat, I mean -"
"Shut up you stupid spirit! The Ghost Queen? Who is she? Can she tell me who I am, why I'm here, can she fix this?"
"Ha! Fix, that's a good one.." threw in the Toad.
"Oh no dear, she isn't a queen really, we don't have a form of government. She just rather used to like doing this thing where she'd go into visible form you see-"
"Visible form?" The eyeball heaved a sigh and little blood clotted tendrils pulled it up to see above the rim of the cup, about on level with the toad. "Really, you must stop interrupting child, you're giving me an eye ache! Now, where was I?"
"The Ghost Queen."
"Ahh yes, her. Well she used to absolutely adore this trick where she'd materialise as a head - just a head - and flop around on the floor while a voice would cry 'My crown, my crown, the usurper has stolen my crown! Where is it?" until she flopped right down onto the crown and the spiky bits would stab into her eyeballs and she would then cry "My kingdom is blind!" and-"
"She can't help me, can she?" The despair of that question made the RiddleRose pause for a bit and her eye rested on the child with what some would term concern but, lacking in facial expression, might just as well have been glee. "No child. She can't. You're dead, you don't exist."
"If I don't exist then how do you know I'm dead?"
"Well, I wasn't going to say anything but you see the thing is you're rather fat for a ghost dear, we ghosts usually come into this world as mere whisps of nothing much, and here you are with a ghostly outline of a body. The ghostly outline itself suggests that you are a ghost, hence the death part, and this obscene weight issue... We-e-ell. That could only suggest one thing."
There was a pause. The child Paz looked at the eyeball with expectancy, and the eyeball sent out tiny veins to paddle it about in the tea. The Toad ate a fly and watched on.
The eye coughed, and whispered "You have to say 'one thing?' dear."
"Ooh err, not pulling that ol' tale out again are you, right lot of bollocks that is" The Toad was definitely gleeful.
"Yes, one thing. Death by chocolate."
"I was joking, but really, it would be truly amazing wouldn't it to-"
"Ghost! How did I die? Tell me!" The RiddleRose sunk back in it's teacup and stared at the sky, watching the whisps of ghosts passing by faster than the clouds. A sigh bubbled up through the tea.
"You never died child, you are here by mistake."
"Mistake? How could this be mistake? Tell me ghost!"
"You're asleep little child, and when you wake you will have a name, and no memory of this, and once again I will cease to exist."
The eye stared up into the sky, and the clouds were reflected in it's iris as time that is forever spiralled into a second.
And a child woke up with feet oddly heavy, and buried her nose in the soft folds of blanket to escape a sleepy sweet smell.
And a memory of a voice seemed to go with the smell, but dashed just out of reach as the child's mind sunk again into slumber.
And somewhere that isn’t anywhere and doesn’t in fact exist at all, except if you think it does – and if you yourself exist in the first place mind you - an odd little boat sailed over the tussocks, occasionally slopping tea from it’s sides.
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