Originally posted on my Ko-fi
When Victor opened his eyes, the first thing he saw was a crying child.
His feet instantly carried him towards the poor soul, a little girl no more than five years old hugging herself as she knelt on the pavement, her light brown pigtails bobbing with her sobs. Victor checked for oncoming cars as he got on his knees beside her.
“Are you lost?” he asked gently, keeping a distance of a few feet. He didn’t recognize the girl, and he knew everyone on the street pretty well.
The girl didn’t seem to hear him, as she just continued on crying, her face buried in her hands.
“Don’t bother.” Another voice, sharp and articulate, made Victor snap his head up. A young woman was walking toward him from the other side of the street, followed by a group of three others. She wore a patronising smile as she approached, her startlingly blue eyes adding to an altogether dangerous appearance. “She always does that,” she said, nodding at the girl.
Victor wasn’t sure what to say. How did this woman know the girl? And why were there so many new people on his street?
Come to think of it, why was he out here?
Suddenly, he had a gut feeling that something wasn’t right. He looked around for answers but couldn’t quite put his finger on it.
The woman chuckled. “Even if it weren’t for your eyes, I could tell that you’re new.” With a nod, she gestured to her little gang. “Come on. I’m Eva, and these are my friends. We’ll show you the ropes.”
“Eyes?” Victor blurted out. “New?” It seemed like there was something glaringly obvious staring him in the face, but his brain was being too slow to work it out.
One of Eva’s friends shook his head. “Really new.”
Eva’s lips thinned in irritation as she looked at Victor expectantly. “You’re going to want some answers when your brain finally allows you to realise what’s happening.”
Victor didn’t understand who she was. He didn’t know what she was talking about. But the one thing he knew for sure was that a child was crying, and he couldn’t just leave her there.
“Sorry, but I’ll stay here for now. Maybe I’ll catch up with you later.”
“Pfft. Good luck with that.” She cast one last smug, amused look at him before leading her group down the street. “Don’t say I didn’t warn you,” she called back over her shoulder.
Victor turned his mind back to what he could understand. “Hey,” he said to the girl. “I’m Victor. I’d like to help you, if you’ll let me.”
The girl slowly pulled her hands away from her eyes and Victor barely stifled a gasp. They were bright blue, just like Eva’s.
“Help?” the girl asked, her voice pitifully wavering.
“Yeah, yeah,” Victor said, trying to recover from his shock. “However I can.” He paused, wondering how to ask the girl about her eyes without possibly making her upset again.
The girl frowned at him, her tears all but forgotten. She looked intently at him as if trying to figure something out.
“What?” he asked.
Instead of answering, the girl reached out and placed her hand on top of Victor’s. And it went right through.
“Gah!” Victor jumped up and promptly fell back down, staring at his hand. He clenched and unclenched his fist. He could feel his hand. He looked over at the girl; she was absolutely solid. And yet…
“Ghosts,” the girl said quietly, tears pooling in her eyes as she looked down at her hand.
And then Victor remembered. The accident. The pain. The blackness. And then…
“No. No way.” He managed to stand up this time, though his legs were shaky. He looked around for Eva, but she was gone.
Only now did he realise why he’d woken up on the sidewalk, why the girl was sitting in the road, why he didn’t recognise anyone. But it was impossible. Ghosts weren’t real.
Victor found himself sitting back down. His mind was so overloaded that it was just blank. He couldn’t feel. Everything was just numb.
“It’s okay.” The girl sniffed as she sat down in front of him. “You’ll get used to it.”
“Then why are you crying?” he asked.
“Because nobody likes me.”
The obvious cry for help pulled Victor from his unbelievable revelation. “I like you. And I might have to change our deal from earlier. I think I need you to help me first. Do you think you can do that?”
The girl’s expression lifted and she nodded. “The first rule of being a ghost is that you can’t touch anything.” She passed her arm through the pole of a mailbox to prove her point.
“A ghost,” Victor murmured.
But was it the end of a life, or a new one just beginning?