Karen the Ghost

     “They can’t see you, Karen!” argued Caleb, one of many zombies residing in Cranberry Memorial Park, a cemetery along the edge of a typical town in the suburbs. “You have a date of death, tombstone, and a coffin six feet below -just like everyone else in this cemetery! They cannot see a ghost! Stop complaining –please! Some of the departed here would like to rest, you know.”
“I’m DEAD! I’m miserable! I can’t do ANYTHING!” Preoccupied with other thoughts, Karen gave no care as to listen to what Caleb was saying. Her mind was busy gazing past the gates, soaking in the scenery of the beautiful world far away from her own. Two girls around Karen’s age strolled down the sidewalk eating ice cream cones. They reminded her of how she had lived –until her untimely and tragic death years ago. Ever since the day of her interment in Cranberry Memorial Park she was forced to watch her former schoolmates and the other neighborhood kids live on without her, strolling along past the cemetery without even giving a glance in the direction of her lonely, grass-overgrown grave.
“Hello, Ruby!” Karen shouted out to one of the girls licking the ice cream. No matter how long she kept up her routine of greeting her friends she never received a reply in return.
“Shut up!” Caleb whined, poking his blood-soaked zombie head outside of his crypt door. “How many times do I have to tell you? She can’t speak to you now! Karen, they know you’re deceased. They will not reply to you because to them you no longer exist.
“What good is being dead to me, stupid zombie? I want to be able to leave the cemetery –to return to my home, my friends, and go to school again! Get away from my, Caleb! I hate you! Why can’t you just leave me alone?” Karen spotted a stone lying beneath a tall pine tree. “I’m going to throw that stone at you if you can’t keep your undead mouth shut! Oh, just because you have a beautiful crypt and have been in here longer than anyone else doesn’t mean you’re the boss of me!” She ran to the stone and bent down to pick it up. To her dismay, her hand completely phased through the stone. “I HATE being a ghost!” she screamed and stormed off towards her grave to sulk in the shadows. Caleb stuck his head back inside his crypt and sighed.
The phantom Noux floated out of his grave and perched himself on the roof of Caleb’s crypt. Peering down through the door he waved a greeting to Caleb. Caleb stuck his head back out of his crypt. “Hello, Noux,” he said. “I suppose you haven’t any sleep, either?”
“Not in the slightest bit,” the phantom answered, shaking his head in disappointment. “Karen has been the most intolerable lately.”
“I wonder when she will figure it out,” Caleb whispered. “She should be close.”
Noux laughed. “I don’t think she ever will, Caleb.”
“It’s a pity,” Caleb sighed. “I was so sure she would discover it in no time at all!”
“I’ll give another attempt at some rest,” Noux said. “Goodbye for now. I shall speak to you again at a later time.”
“Good luck.” Caleb watched as Noux sunk back down into his grave.
Karen passed Caleb again whining as usual. “Figure out what?” she snarled. “Don’t think I didn’t hear you talking about me to Noux!”
“Noux and I may discuss anything we wish,” Caleb answered. “And the contents of our conversation were not meant for you. Go cry and complain as usual but leave everyone else to their business. You are quite a brat, Karen. Perhaps Ruby does not visit because she is glad to be rid of you!”
Enraged, Karen screamed “THAT IS NOT TRUE!”
“SHUT UP!” Noux wailed from his grave.
“It might as well be, Karen.” Caleb shook his head in disappointment. “I should have known that you wouldn’t figure it out.”
“Figure out what?” Finally Karen had enough of Caleb and her troubles. “Well, I don’t care about you anymore! I don’t care about this cemetery anymore! I AM NOT A BRAT!”
To Karen’s astonishment Caleb smiled. Maybe the stupid zombie ate his own brain for breakfast or something of the like.
“Getting closer,” Caleb hinted under his breath.
Filled with the fury of a wild banshee Karen screamed with the loudest ghostly wail she could, “I AM NOT A WORTHLESS DEAD GHOST! I AM A SPIRIT WHO CONTINUES TO EXIST IN THIS CEMETERY. THERE IS A WORLD BEYOND THE CEMETERY AND I WANT TO EXPERIENCE IT AGAIN! I DEMAND THAT I LEAVE THIS DISMAL CEMETERY AT ONCE!”
Caleb’s smile turned into a laugh. “Karen!” he exclaimed. “You’re a ghost! Phase through the cemetery game and rid of the misery yourself!”
Karen was completely shocked at the zombie’s response. She admitted that in her anger she failed to realize the possibility Caleb had just explained. Yet she was still confused. “But you said they wouldn’t be able to see me,” Karen said. “I am dead. Completely dead. I have a grave. I can’t even figure ‘it’ out, you just said so yourself!”
“Karen! You just figured it out!” Caleb answered. He turned in  the direction of the cemetery game to see Ruby walking past once more. “Go see your friend, Karen! You figured out your answer!”
Karen wanted to watch Ruby pass the gate but she was interested in what Caleb had to say first. “I still do not understand.”
“You are not just a dead ghost any longer. You are a spirit -a spirit with a desire to continue on living despite your premature death. Karen, you may have a grave and a tombstone but so do I. Scientifically speaking a zombie should not exist. You should not exist. But yet, somehow we still do. I learned throughout my residence in the cemetery that you are only as dead -or alive- as you truly believe you are. Every day you wave to your friend at the gate. But not once did you ever attempt to phase through it! Go catch up to Ruby, Karen, before she leaves. Everyone, everywhere, is somehow dead. Yet everyone, everywhere, is somehow still alive. You, Karen, are still alive. Now that you believe you are alive you ARE alive, therefore Ruby will answer to you as she did when you WERE alive.”
Wasting no time to thank Caleb Karen dashed to the cemetery gate. Exactly as Caleb predicted she passed through it exactly like the stone she tried to throw. “Ruby, wait for me!” she called as she floated beside her friend.
“Karen, it’s you!” Ruby answered back with a delighted expression on her face.

——

April 21, 2010.

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