Geist, Geist, Baby


So I don’t have too many “large” sections of my story yet, but I did kind of write out short descriptions of the ten different types of ghosts featured in the story. So that’ll be my excerpt I suppose. ONWARD! And keep in mind that this is all rough draft, unedited nonsense. And it probably won’t even be in the “final” draft of the story anyway; it was just a good place to kind of stop and describe the ghost types.

Anyway.

The encounter with the suspected Drone that afternoon had left him shaking; upon returning home, he quickly dug out his Bureau manual – something he hadn’t touched in years – to check and see if he had actually seen a Drone and not just an unusual looking lower form of ghost.

However, he was familiar enough with the lower types that he suspected the latter not to be the case. The lowest type of ghost, the Ghostlet, was one he had seen since he was 21 years old. His first encounter with this type of ghost involved all the typical encounters with Ghostlets. Nick had been playing video games in his basement when he’d heard a commotion upstairs. Upon investigating, he found an odd, clumsy being stumbling about in his kitchen, knocking over things on his counter and opening and shutting every cabinet it could find.

Luckily, Nick’s childhood fascination with ghosts had carried on into his teen and early adult years, and he was studying to become an employee of the Bureau of Death and the Deceased. He recognized right away that the being was a ghost and, specifically, that it was a Ghostlet. The characteristic clumsiness, as well as the way it stuttered when it finally spoke to him after he’d calmed it down, suggested as much. After much stuttering and sputtering from the ghost, Nick eventually gathered that he wanted out of the house, but had forgotten how houses worked since becoming a ghost. He had been opening and closing the cupboards to try and find the exit. Nick had led it to the door and the Ghostlet, clumsily grateful and apologetic for the mess he’d made, disappeared down the road. Nick had never seen him again.

But he’d seen many Ghostlets since then. Apart from the clumsiness and stuttering, he knew them to be characterized by their close appearance to their human counterparts. They were, of course, the ghosts closest to the living in terms of timeline. Thus, they held on to their physical human forms, sometimes even appearing indistinguishable to humans for those who were near enough to their deaths to see them. In fact, the Ghostlets had been one of the last recognized ghost types, as those who didn’t see them felt no experience – good, bad, or otherwise – from them, and those that could see them would often confuse them for living beings rather than ghosts.

But the Phantoms were different. The next step up, the Phantoms were the “stereotypical” ghosts that a lot of people thought of when they heard the word. A Phantom ghost was one who had lost all the “flesh” of a human and, unlike a Ghostlet, stood like an almost transparent projection of a human being. Social, drawn to humans, and naturally curious, the Phantoms were the ones most often accidentally photographed and the ones that many haunted house claimers used to justify their assertions that ghosts lived in a property. As harmless as a ghost could get, the Phantoms were usually the most benign of all ghost types. Their friendliness led to a particular law being passed that stated any house occupied by a Phantom could also, should both parties agree to it, be occupied by a human or multiple humans as well. Of course, as is the case with any other ghost, only those close enough to their deaths could see the Phantoms. They were common – not as common as Ghostlets, but a ghost that was seen frequently by the common person and by those in the Bureau.

Standers were Phantoms but with social anxiety disorder. That was the lighthearted way Nick’s manual had treated them and how it explained the difference between them and the step from which they evolved. Shier than Phantoms, Standers were usually stranded amongst people solely due to the reason that while many felt as if they could float through walls and floors at this stage in their existence as a ghost, moving through solid, non-organic objects was something that didn’t happen until a ghost was, at the very least, a Blue Type. But the Standers always seemed to be confident in their ability to warp physical space around them and were always disappointed when they’d planned to use this ability to escape sticky situations but were instead left to deal with the people around them, many of whom able to see them.

The next progression, Blue Types, were another general ghost stereotype. Blue Types were the first ghost stage able to transfer through matter, and thus were the ones that often appeared sliding through walls or beneath rugs or between stories in a house. True to their name, these ghosts emitted a soft, blue haze about them. Blue Types were commonly lonely and liked to be around people, but were more elusive than the Standers, as they could finally fade through a wall or drop through the floor when they no longer felt like being social.

Blue Types, like most ghost types, were often very quiet, their presences felt more by sight and touch than by audible cues. However, as they progressed in age, the Blue Types became Drones, the loudest of all the ghost types. The sign that a person hadprogressed from being able to observe the Blue Types to being able to observe the Drones – and thus, the sign that a person was that much closer to their own death – was not seeing this new type of ghost, but rather, steadily becoming aware of a low, persistent, unreal hum that seemed to be emanating up from the ground wherever the person went. The sound came from the sidewalk, from the pavement, from the garden, from the trees. It was all-encompassing and, for many, something that was difficult to deal with during the first year or so of having to get used to it. In fact, though it took a couple of years to do so, doctors and psychiatrists finally correlated the relationship between when many individuals progressed enough Witness Levels to be able hear the Drones and when many people tended to experience mid-life crises.

Ghosts that progressed past Drones quieted down once they entered their next stage: the Haunters. Haunters floated. They floated everywhere. They followed people, followed cars, followed flocks of livestock around farms. Perpetually curious about the human world they’d left behind, Haunters were always observing, and doing so quietly. In fact, a great number of people nearer to their deaths than most tended to appreciate the Haunters the most, as they were the calm, quiet sanity that followed at least a decade of having to hear the Drone’s low, mournful whine.

Once a ghost progressed to a Soul Slick, they stopped being bound by many of the laws of nature. Soul Slicks were small – the smallest, usually, of all the ghost types – and failed to resemble their original human form even in the most basic sense. Abstract, elusive, and commonly quick to move from location to location, the Soul Slicks were usually the ghosts responsible for misplaced items, objects moving without seeming to be moved by anything that could move them, and for many mirror experiences involving ghosts.

Soul Slicks, after a substantial period of time, became Whispers. Television static that seemed to talk, voices on the phone line that seemed to be there behind the steady drone of the dial tone, garbled words that crawled out of the sink drain as the water sucked and spun down – these were the work of Whispers. This form of ghost was fragile, fleeting, and difficult to capture, even by someone who was advanced enough towards their own death that they could clearly see them. Most were too fragile to  attempt a possession, and the rare Whisper that managed its way into the being of a living being usually had little time to do anything with the body before the being’s life expelled it as if it were a poison. In general, as it stood, Whispers possessed no desire to interact with living things. They were, in most cases, a higher level version of the Standers.

As gentle, fleeting, and shy as the Whispers were, Screamers were the exact opposite. It was common knowledge that a ghost could not cause the death of a creature in any way (apart from, perhaps, a human having a heart attack from fright – which in itself was rare, since everyone spent their lives with ghosts and thus were rarely startled by them). However, if a human came into contact with a Screamer, it was not unusual for them to feel like this common knowledge was about to meet the ultimate test.

Screamers were aggressive. As such advanced ghosts, many of them were attached as strongly to their respective residences as any human would be. It was widely assumed that Screamers, like every other type of ghost, knew that it could not cause mortal harm to a human. However, very few of them acted without the restraint provided by this knowledge. Reports of Screamer encounters usually involved some sort of struggle or trauma – being thrown down stairs, getting slammed against walls by the ghost as it hurled itself through behind, furniture thrown about and causing blunt force trauma, and various other injuries that resulted from the interaction of an overly aggressive ghost and a terrified human.

Then there were the White Lights. The top level. The end. The point at which there was nothing beyond. Nick’s manual had had a surprisingly thick chapter on the White Lights, despite the fact that the first sentence of the chapter somewhat shamefully admitted how little humans knew about this final ghost form.

All information about White Lights, he’d read, had had to be gleaned from those rare and often traumatized individuals who had, for some reason or another, seen their White Light as they faced the brink of death but who had then been grabbed and pulled back into the world of the living. These people, few and far between, all seemed to have slightly different experiences with their respective White Lights. Some said their Light spoke to them. Others said that their Light was silent, but had beckoned them closer with a cold, bright, finger – like appendage. Even others said that their White Light had appeared so far off in the distance that they had the compulsion to run towards it in order to not let it escape.

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