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Recalled to Life, Mostly

by on December 5, 2014

There were two things Madeleine hated about being a ghost. One was the obvious. She was no longer among the living. No more chats over coffee with her friend on the Edison City newspaper commiserating over local crimes and politics. No more staring out her little office window at night, listening to the howl of police sirens, wondering whether she could make the rent that month. She couldn’t pay anything now.

The other thing Madeleine hated was the irony of it all. She’d never liked ghosts herself. She had only reluctantly taken on her last case, a starlet named Pamela Percy who had not only become a ghost, but who had somehow gotten herself erased from the space/time continuum. Now Madeleine was part of the choir invisible just like Pamela and the Baleful Burglar, all because she just had to go and die. “Wonderful,” Madeleine said. At least, she tried to, but she couldn’t hear herself speak. She was still floating in space, and apparently ghosts couldn’t talk in space any more than a normal person could.

There was only one thing to do. She had to get herself resurrected. She didn’t have the ability of her mother, who could die and pop back to life in seventeen seconds flat. She also didn’t want to tell her mother of her demise just yet. If she could get fixed up quickly enough, Madeleine could simply show up alive again and no one would know otherwise.  Madeleine would, therefore, have to rely on a close, discreet friend to get her back. Better yet, a relative. She knew one, specifically, a distant cousin, perfect for this sort of thing. Madeleine gathered her ghostly self together and floated back towards Earth.

She landed on a snowy field in St. Petersburg. Madeleine had to admit now that there were a few useful things about her current deadness. For instance, she hadn’t been challenged by Russian air traffic controllers to state her destination and business. Nor had she needed to deal with customs agents or airport security. She just dropped right down in the snow and looked about for her cousin. He wasn’t hard to find.

He sat alone on an old bench, staring down at his boots. Madeleine had a suspicion he’d been drinking. He often did, when he wasn’t doing superhero work. As long as he was sober enough to do what she wanted, she didn’t much care what else he did. “Hi, Gregory,” she said, and winced at the sepulchral tones that attached to her voice. “How’s it going?”

“Maddie?” Gregory said, without looking up. He was the only one who called her that.  “You have a cold.”

“Actually,” Madeleine said, “I’m not sick, I’m dead. I need you to resurrect me.”

He looked up finally, and saw her outline floating before him. “Cannot resurrect you,” Gregory said. “Forbidden.”

“Like heck,” Madeleine said. “You resurrected Captain Cossack just last year, remember?”

“That was different,” Gregory grumbled. He looked down at his boots again, hunching down, intransigent. Madeleine saw he wasn’t going to help.

“Be that way,” she snapped. “I’ll just go home and tell my mom I’m dead, shall I?”

Gregory smiled in an odd, twisted way. “Fine. I will resurrect you. Then you go home to your mother.”  He raised his hand and made a few complicated passes in the air. Then he pulled a vial from his pocket and let a single crimson drop fall to the snow. A red mist rose and swirled about Madeleine. Then, in a blink, it was gone. Madeleine sucked in a breath of frosty winter air. She could breathe again. She’d gotten cynical over the years with all she’d seen, but now, she almost cried.

“Thanks,” she managed. “I owe you.” Then she flew off, fire trailing behind her in the sky.

“You do, Maddie,” Gregory said. “You do.”

She landed several hours later in her own neighborhood. Brimming with sudden excitement, she dashed up the walk to her front door and banged on it. “Mom! Dad! I’m alive, I’m not dead, I’m alive, I am, I-”

The door opened. A hard-faced woman she barely recognized as her mother stared at her. “I don’t know what you’re up to, but I’ll call the police if you don’t stop.”

“But… Mom…”

“Mom? Are you high? I’m not your mother. I don’t even know who you are.” The door slammed in Madeleine’s face.


Now that NaNoWriMo is over, I find myself back in the blogging business. I’m quite eager to get back into the story arcs I had going. First up: Gaseous Girl! 

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12 Comments
  1. Oh, that’s an interesting twist! There’s a price to pay for coming back to life, I guess…

  2. I feel like horns should be tooting your return 🙂 I really love the phrase ‘the choir invisible’, and already being like 90% certain we’re surrounded by ghosts all the time, now I’m not going to be able to help picturing them muttering about in those awkward looking choir robes, arguing over whose pitch is off 😉

    • Or kazoos. I do like kazoos. 🙂

      I admit to not coining the phrase (I got it from the Dead Parrot Sketch), but you know, your interpretation of it as being an actual ghost choir has given me a wonderful idea. 😀

  3. Ha! I love the tone of this one. It’s lighthearted and fun. This world of yours with superheros is just terrific and I always enjoy the tales that come from it. And now I wonder about the ending. What’s up with her mom? Is she not in the same universe? An alternate timeline? You’ve got me intrigued.

    • It’s definitely a time thing. Either Madeleine is in an alternate timeline, or her mom is, or they both are. Time things can get confusing.

  4. Welcome back! I hope NaNoWriMo was everything you dreamed it would be?

    I’m happy that Madeleine managed to get herself un-ghosted, and curious about whether it happened in an alternate universe. Also, I really love this bit: “apparently ghosts couldn’t talk in space any more than a normal person could” – good to know vacuums are vacuums, no matter what you are. 😀

    • I do try to make my stories scentifically accurate when I can. 🙂

      NaNoWriMo was quite fun, and I managed to finish this year, which was super.

  5. Welcome back. More importantly – Welcome back to Madeleine! Been missing her.

  6. This made me smile. Poor Maddie, things not quite going her way. That’s death for you!

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