Over the Hedge
Born of Water, Part Two
27 october 2004
Jacob had told us a little while earlier that a friend of his from out of town would be staying with us for a week, so I shouldn't have been surprised when I awoke to find a new man sleeping on the other couch. Still, it had been a rough night, and it took me a moment to remember what was happening and calm down. Matt and Judy came to the living room while I was calming down, and I had to assure them that I was just surprised and that nothing was actually wrong.
I learned that his name is John Matteson, and we talked a fair bit over shared smoke breaks on the fire escape. The conversation that stands out the most to me, however, happened later that night. We had been watching some new ghost hunters show, and while we were smoking after an episode I decided to ask what his views on the matter were. I wasn't sure what to expect; I knew everyone else in the apartment was some form of pagan, and held to views fairly similar to mine on the existence of ghosts and the means to contact them. John had been fairly open so far about who he was, but there had been little discussed about his beliefs except that he was not in any of our communities.
"How would you take the idea that not everyone needs rituals or special devices to see ghosts?" he suggested. I took a long drag and thought about it.
"I...would be interested to hear more of that." When I turned to look at him, he was staring up at the few stars visible in the city.
"I don't normally advertise it, I got a lot of crap for it growing up, but I can see spirits."
"What. Just like, all the time?" He nodded. "Are you sure?"
"Yes." I looked up at the sky with him for a minute in silence.
"What do you see now?"
"Stars, mostly. The things that tend to be up there are really far away. There's also a pretty pissed off ghost going down the street yelling about all the buildings, but I'd rather he not know I can see him. I'll never hear the end of it if he knows someone is listening." I wanted to know if he was telling the truth, but knew I probably didn't have time to run inside and grab supplies, so I bit my arm to draw just a little blood and tried to open my eyes to the spiritual realm. What I got instead was a sudden, painful static in my mind that felt like it was physically pushing me away from John. I must have winced because he turned to check on me and then sighed, touching my arm next to the bite. "Right. Sorry, I should've probably mentioned."
"Mentioned what?" I just managed to hiss as the static got worse.
"Stop trying to cast the spell." I opened my eyes and focused on the physical world. The fire escape, my cigarette, the man trying to clean the spot of blood off my arm, the light breeze coming off the lake a few blocks over. The static died down and I took a deep breath. He let go of my arm and turned back to the sky.
"What the hell was that? How did you know how to stop it?"
"I break magic. That's what happens when you try to do it too close to me." I flicked my cigarette into the alley and tried to gather my bearings.
"I, uh...I think I'm gonna go back in." He just nodded. As I went to grab the doorknob, though, I stopped and turned back. "Have you seen her?"
"The ghost in the bathroom. She's why everyone else uses the downstairs one."
"Everyone except you."
"Not yet, but thanks for the tip. Who is she?"
"I-I don't know yet." He made a 'hm' sound and turned to me.
"Are you asking for help?"
"Okay. I'll be in in a minute." I nodded and went inside. I'll have to look into this. Who the hell breaks magic?
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