From ‘A Confabulated Compendium of Anecdotes’ by Melissa H. North.

Gaston

But now as he leaned over the basin, he realized he had become his father. Clutching his chest, he breathed in and staggered to the edge of the bed. Sweat poured from every pore in his body as he swung his legs onto the well-worn softness of the mattress. He clenched his teeth and let out a hiss as another surge of pain assailed his heart and he told himself – I don’t want to die. I’ll change, I’ll make things better. Pain sprung like a cleaver in the center of his chest, and he gasped loudly and choked before his body slackened.

“I’m telling you Daisy, something is wrong. I can feel it,” Beatrix’s husky voice said as she turned to look at her sister. “Fine! I can’t rest with you nagging every five minutes. Let’s go and see then.” The two women rolled to the edge of the bed and struggled to a sitting position. They were bound by flesh from the shoulder to the hip. One had to be aware of the other’s intentions to prevent harm by tripping hazards and the like, but over their twenty years they had come to know one another intimately and now had the ability to know what the other was thinking before she even thought it.

The girls were born as conjoined twins and with an innate ability to conjure and perform spells of witchcraft, which made living in one place extremely difficult. Townsfolk always kept their distance, worried that the sisters would pass on their ‘disease’, or curse them to an eternity of hell if they said the wrong thing.

Beatrix lowered her head and furrowing her brow said quietly, “I had a vision. A vision of death and manifestation. I can feel the darkness surrounding us now.”

Her eye lids fluttered as she turned to her sister.

“I feel it too. Let the spirits guide us.”

The two women stood and rolled their necks in a clockwise circle, cracking the tension, as long strands of flame-red curls swayed with the motion. Without another word, they left their wagon and walked towards the small blue and white one a few hundred yards away.

Beatrice and Daisy approached the wagon and began mumbling incomprehensible words to themselves; a gusty wind responded. It burst forth, increasing in velocity as the long dry grass flung backwards.

Raising their heads and arms they said in unison, “I am a witch, a shepherd of this world. I am here to claim the soul of the stricken.” The wind howled around the wagon then eased and stilled, allowing the twins to enter.

Gaston lay on the bed motionless, his mouth slightly ajar and his eyes open. His eyes were like a dead fish, lacking shine, and his skin already cold to the touch. The women each placed a palm on his forehead and mumbled a chant.
Do not dwell in the past

Do not dream of the future

Your work on earth is not done

In spirit please help find the one

Our savior, then you may rest

Save Cirque Monter en Flèche

 

A loud rumbling noise made the bed shudder violently and it continued as the women’s voices grew louder and stronger. Their conviction was unyielding as the noise lessened and the shuddering stopped.

A white mist lazily began to swirl from Gaston’s mouth, and as it left his body it formed into a likeness of him. Soon it was half the height of the dead man and the same shape, except the spirit faded at the edges, and having no feet, it hovered in the air.

“Oh, thank God, I thought I’d kicked the proverbial!”

“You have. Geez, you were a ninny in life and you still bloody are when you’re dead!”

Beatrix’s anger blazed momentarily before she added, “You are a spirit.”

“And until you finish the job you were meant to do on earth, we must put up with your sorry ass,” added Daisy as she poked the mist spirit with her finger.

“Don’t! I can feel that!”

“You shouldn’t be able too,” she replied, looking at Beatrix who shrugged and added, “It’s because he’s only just died. His feelings will disappear in time, just like they did when he was alive.” She drew her lips into a thin tight line which relieved a hurt that still stung, and Daisy reached with her free arm and touched her shoulder.

“He was always an ass, Sis.”

 

Melissa North told us:  “My upbringing in the Brisbane, Australia was inspirational as my young creative mind overflowed with ideas and images. After marrying I moved, with my husband, to the North West region and have lived here and in the Lockyer Valley long enough to see both my children born and raised. 

“I return to Brisbane every year to our family home. I have always loved telling stories and so writing seemed to be the next natural thing to do. I love the journey I am on and would like to share my creative adventures with the youth of Australia and the world.  As an Author, I am creative, imaginative and original with a unique writing style that provides a reading experience unlike any other. I’m so appreciative and delighted by the positive response my work has received. I’m looking forward to sharing my future stories as they come to fruition.”

You can find Melissa on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, her blog and her website.

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