I ran. Ran through the streets of my hometown, ran through the hills and valleys until I was as far away from everything as possible, once again I sought to hide. This was a different kind of hiding though, I hid for the very same reason a child hides when they’re in trouble and that is what I wanted. I wanted to be in trouble, I wanted someone to come find me and rebuke me for throwing the mug across the bar. After countless years in this desolate world I was finally able to change something, to force people to recognize my existence.
After my discovery I tried time and time again to effect the world of the living. At times I succeeded. Small things really. I was able to move objects very subtly, like the hands on a clock or pushing a bowl of sweets closer to a child as her mother’s back was turned. Eventually I worked out that the more I willed, the more I resolved to make something in the living world move, the more likely it would be to be able to do it. After spending time in purgatory with very little to do my desire for entertainment was a strong one. Whenever I could, I relived my boyhood mischievous ways; taunting, teasing, pranking – I felt I had some life back in me. I suppose if I had not died that day under the tree I would be well into my years as an adult, more mature, however in this world between heaven and hell I had not aged a day, mentally or physically.
Once again for a time – for that is all I had, time – I wandered the land playing mischief where I could. It was a hard earned thing where I had to exert every fiber of my essence in able to make an object move, but it was worth it. However even the most mischievous pranks can become repetitive and eventually I grew bored of the little terrors I was able to inflict upon the world. Don’t get me wrong, when given nothing to do I was quite happy to haunt a local family or make mischief with some stuck-up busybody, but even the dead get restless.
One day I found myself wandering the hilltop with the apple tree once again. I came here often, as if drawn to not only the place but the point in time in which I died. I still had the apple with me, it had appeared in my hand as I reached the base of the hill as if it too wanted to return home. The tree in which it came from was still standing tall in the center of the hill. I had no animosity towards the tree, it had played a part in my current situation, yes, but it was no more to blame than the apple I held in my hand.
As I reached the base of the tree I sat down, my back against the trunk, to watch the grey grass sway and the purple sun hang in a near-colourless sky. It was at that moment I heard giggling, a boy stood in front of me, incorporeal like any other living ghost. He laughed and pointed towards the top of the tree. For a moment I had thought he had aimed his gesture at me but I turned around to see a young girl climbing from one branch to another. Immediately I knew dread, I watched as she climbed higher. It was hard to see details on a person due to the ghost’s translucent nature but the girl looked to be of a similar age to me, I had only hoped she was a better climber. She wasn’t.