Wednesday, November 02, 2005


Here is what I gave the class (yeah... I know... lots of general possible ideas... not enough info, already working on it):

In an old rundown Victorian in a dark city Brandon slammed his fist on the table. "Leave me alone old man!"

A dark figure swooped over his head. He could feel its anger . "This fight is over. You lost. Leave me in peace."

Looming in the corner, the shadowy figure seemed to sigh. He just doesn't understand, the figure thought to himself as he watched Brandon down another shot. He never did like whiskey, but the boy seemed to live by it these days.

The lights flickered, the faucet dripped; it was all too much for Brandon to handle. Each day he understood more of the past, and the more he understood, the more he drank. His memories of his father had changed. Brandon had realized why they always had to move, why he never had any friends, why everyone else always seemed so happy. Its hard to make friends when you're a ghost, or training to be one. No one else had to share every nightmare in the neighborhood, feel every fear, fight every battle. No one even realized how real their nightmares could be, and now dear old dad wanted him to take over the family business. Brandon looked up at the ghost of his father. His voice shook with imprisoned tears, "I can't handle it. I won't live in those nightmares."

You are the last in our line. Can you really just walk away?

Stop it! Stop invading my head!"

Think of all those people that you are killing.

"Shut up shut up shut up shut up SHUT UP!"

You have the power, you always have. Don't turn your back on those who need you.

"What about Mom? She needed you. What about Debbie? What about me! How can you tell me about letting people die when you," Brandon paused for a moment. He was seething. As he refilled his shot glass and threw the strong liquid into his mouth, he glared at the ghost of his father, "You let them die."

At least I tried. You won't even do that. The ghost man was tired of arguing with his son. Believing he had more time, he had let Brandon try to find a normal life for a while. I guess I waited too long, he thought to himself. He watched as Brandon ran his hands through his thick auburn hair.

"How could you let them kill Mom, Dad? And how could you let them take my wife?"

Brandon had learned to deal with his mother's death. He had stored the memory in the attic of his mind, along with many other parts of his childhood. But then one day it all came flooding back. That was the day that Debbie died. Déjà vu. It happened again. Dad failed again. He knew that his father was still "on the job" since he was still here on this plane, even if it was in a spirit form. If he remembered right, his dad had one week to turn over his charges to him after his death, and Brandon was going to fight him every step of the way.

When his dad failed to answer the question, Brandon got up from the table and started across the room. His fingers trailed over the dark wooden table and as he passed the old stained sink, he let go of the shot glass in his other hand. It hit the rusted drain with a clank that seemed to echo through the stagnant air. Brandon glanced out the open window at the walkway that ran between the red brick house next door and his own. No one was around to witness his father's uninvited presence in the land of the living. Overhead, the lamp cast an eerie yellow light on the olive green walls and swung ever so slightly, almost as though an invisible hand had knocked against it. Ominously ticking, the wall clock added a surreal feeling to the room.

Brandon still could not believe all this was happening. Why did he move into that house? He and his father had been estranged for years. He didn't need the money. Well, he did but he had been perfectly fine in his one bedroom apartment. Now that he was here, he realized why his father had willed the house to him. "I should have just sold the place," Brandon muttered under his breath as he reached the doorway to the front room.

Thoughts of the last few years of freedom washed over him. How foolish to think he had escaped. Dad always did joke about how his family never had to worry about looking for work. Brandon just believed he was trying to stay positive. Sure, there were benefits if you ever had the guts or time to use them. To sense fear, to be able to know what a person was most afraid of; those things could be put to good use. The society does take care of expenses, but at what cost? Dad never had any friends as far as Brandon knew. Work and sleep, work and sleep, at least since Mom disappeared. What about all the people whom Dad had helped? They never even knew he existed. The job never got any easier. People often fantasize about being able to do things with their minds. If they only knew how much they actually did, and how hard it was to clean up after.

The society had named them Knightguards. The description in the job book was fairly vague, but Brandon knew all about it. He had grown up with it after all. The Knightguards were responsible for getting people through their nightmares alive. No one ever remembered them once they had woken up, which meant the job was done right. The world most "normal" folk would call the dream world, known as Kirworld to the Society, is just as real as our own but we only enter it in our sleep. It has something to do with the frequency that Kirworld operates on. Sometimes some of those who live in the Kirworld would travel back with the dreamer and enter our world. Part of a Knightguard's job was to take care of this little complication. If you ever woke up in the middle of the night, looked out your window, and saw something that couldn't be real, then you have seen a Kir. That's what the society calls them anyway. Many of the strange creatures people report seeing everyday are just escaped Kirs that were never caught. Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, the Easter Bunny, Santa Clause, all Kirworld escapees.

In his musings Brandon had forgot his father. Now, as he stood in the doorway the black wispy shape swelled up in front of him.

The time has come for you to join the society my son. Our talents are must be used for the good of everyone.

“And end up alone like you? I don’t think so,” Brandon replied.

I wasn’t always alone. I friends and I had my family. I was happy, but that changed when I lost your mother. Many of our friends died in the fight and after that, well, I could bring myself to get too involved in other people’s lives. Besides, I have always had you and the job keeps me busy. Or, it did keep me busy.

“I’m going to bed. Hopefully, I won’t be seeing you.” And with that Brandon walked out of the room. He made his way around the table in the dinning room and nearly tripped over the large overstuffed couches in the parlor. It took a few moments to regain his balance, during which he realized maybe he had indulged in one shot too many. He continued to inch across the dark room toward the entryway that contained both the front door, and the stairs to the second level. When he reached the light panel on the wall, he flipped the switch that would illuminate his way up the stairs. “No point in taking chances,” he muttered to himself.

He started to climb the stairs and began to realize whether he could see or not, might not make the difference in his ability to reach the top. Each stair gave a little creek as he stepped and the banister felt unsteady in his hand. On a normal day he would have feared for his safety, but tonight he was completely focused on getting up the stairs.

Once he reached the second level he immediately went to the left. His goal was that first door, the bathroom door. Drinking can produce a very strong need to become intimately acquainted with the bathroom and all that it can offer. After washing his hands and face with cold water, Brandon walked down the hallway, flipping off the door leading to his father’s old study as he passed. At the end of the hall was his father’s bedroom. He was going to sleep in his father’s bed. The thought of it was troublesome but Brandon was too drunk and tired to care. Without thought to his clothing or shoes, Brandon fell onto the bed and passed out before his head hit the pillow.

Back in the kitchen, the ghost of Brandon’s father thought about the situation at hand. He knew Brandon was too drunk to think straight so there was no point in telling him about what would happen when he fell asleep.

Time to start your training my son.

And with that, he faded into the darkness of the night.


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