It was the night that he would never forget. How precisely it began was anyone’s guess, as the starting line was quite fuzzy. His earliest recollection involved finding himself driving along an empty road. The details were quite clear and easy to remember, as was the finish. The location was unrecognizable and the road unknown, but the scenery looked a touch familiar. All was still, the trees hovering over the road lay silent with the dead of the breeze, and even the wheels and engine of the car emitted no sound, as if it were hovering over the road.
Before long he was out of the vehicle and in the company of a young girl, no older than twenty years of age. His world froze as he could not help but watch and admire the radiant gaze she casted towards him. Despite being well versed socially, this was a new experience for the young man. Her brown hair and brown eyes seemed to glow in a way that he had never witnessed from the formerly dull color, as the shine of her spirit illuminated his heart. As she approached him, he could not help as though feel like it were a fantasy, quite fitting, as he knew that he was indeed dreaming. Situations like this are restricted to the imagination and forbidden from reality. As she made her way towards him, a loud buzzing sound began to ring all around them, as the girl frantically placed a note in his hand.
Within the blink of an eye, Eric was back at home, waking up in his bed the next morning as the clock continued screeching in his eardrums...
Eric has just met the girl of his dreams, quite literally. Unbeknownst to him, this fantasy is going to become as real as the love and affection he feels towards her. However, nothing is ever easy when it comes to an attraction as strong as this one. All is fair in love and war, and as Eric is about to learn, the battle for his heart is just beginning...
Twenty-three years old and fresh out of college, Eric had enjoyed many a dream and dated many a woman; he was generally not the fantasizing daydreaming type. Nothing compared to the magnitude and unprecedented raw emotions that permeated from that dream however, as he took a few moments to collect himself as he sighed and reminisced about the night gone by.
As he walked into the bathroom to prepare himself for the day he just so happened to glance down at his hands before washing them, and he was thankful for doing so, as he saw something unusual on his hand. Eric was stunned, as something was written. A series of numbers appeared to be scribbled. The more he thought about the phenomenon, he seemed to recall a tingling sensation during the dream when she clutched his hand. Must be purely coincidental, his logic dictated towards him, despite the fact that he had not touched an ink pen in weeks and had not been in the vicinity of anything that provided a rational explanation. Was it possible that it was a message from the beautiful girl, some type of psychic or telepathic transference?
Eric’s heart skipped a beat at the notion that it might be her phone number, or some other type of communicative tool. It was not a phone number as there were only five digits, much to his chagrin. One, Four, Three, Two, was the series of numbers, at least from what he could gather as they were barely legible. The pattern failed to make any sense, and with nothing further in the way of clues or numbers, the distraught young man abandoned hope in his mystical search and had breakfast.
The despair and dismay of the day fades as Eric falls asleep that evening, replaced with the delight of the previous night as he begins to dream. Once more he finds himself with the gorgeous girl of his dreams, hair flowing like an angel as he holds her hand and opening his mouth to deliver a deep, tender kiss before he speaks. Might as well make the most of this dream after all! “What is your name?” he asks the delicate beauty in a soft voice.
“Emma Hill,” she responds with a voice as gentle as he could have imagined and as tantalizing as her rich brown eyes.
“My name is Eric London,” he mutters, his voice trembling more noticeably than at first.
She nods slowly, smiling. “Yes I know.”
“You do? How do you know me, I don’t recall ever having seen you at Coastal,” he replied, inferring the name of his alma mater. She stares blankly at him confusingly in response as if she does not understand.
“What did you give to me last night, your phone number?” he asks.
“I do not have a telephone machine. That is my address,” she replies.
It is now Eric returning the favor by delivering a look of confusion, a look that transforms into panic as the aroma of smoke fills his nostrils and an orange blaze of fire crawls along the ceiling. “We’ve got to get out of here,” he says tugging her hand.
Along the way out the door he lost his grip, finding himself outside as the fire slowly spreads along the rooftop. Emma appears in the doorway as Eric lifts himself up off the ground. He begins to feel dizzy, as he knows that he is drifting back. The dream will soon be over. “What street?” he shouts to her, acknowledging her initial message to him, and eager to learn of her location before he wakes up. “Badger Road,” she replies in what could best be described as an elegant whisper, as Eric awakens in his bed again, with her voice echoing in his mind as if she were there standing in the room beside him.
This time there was more information to aide in the search of telekinetic prowess, in the form of a name and street address. Furthermore it was Saturday, enabling Eric as much time as he needed to put on his detective hat and play the role of supernatural sleuth. Unfortunately it soon appeared as though all the time in the world would be of no help in uncovering any answers.
Inquiring into the whereabouts of 1432 Badger Road, Eric was saddened to find that there did not appear to exist any residence or address with that label anywhere, not in the United States or even nearby Canada for that matter. Although the girl said that she did not have a telephone number, Eric thought it was still worth a search in the directory, as he flipped through the yellow pages. There was no Emma Hill to be found, but he kept the page bookmarked in the hope of tracking down a relative. Things were quickly looking dire. In fact, there was no Badger Road anywhere to be found on any street map in a five hundred mile radius area. Desperate, he began phoning through each Hill in the book, casually and awkwardly asking for Emma, and receiving nothing but a response indicating a wrong number. After dialing four numbers he began to accept the fact that the dreams were based solely on a figment of his imagination. There was simply no trace of her to be found.
That is, until he found something a trifle unsettling. Given that it was 2008, he was able to conduct his search beyond the mere contours of a phone book and street map, spending twenty additional minutes scouring the Internet for proof of the existence of an Emma Hill residing at or near a Badger Road. Tucked away in the results provided by the search engine was a newspaper article from 1912 that positively matched her name and the street.
It was not a major headline adorned with any “extras,” rather it was nothing more than back page fodder, a side note. From the tiny microprint Eric could make out that the article involved some type of calamity, a fire of some sort. Three pictures were included in the article, and in the second photograph included a grainy image of the girl from his dream, Emma Hill. The terms “succumbed to fire at the age of twenty” and “Badger Road,” stole the breath from his chest as a shiver caromed down his spine and filtering throughout his extremities as if they were falling asleep.
Rising to his feet in order to shake off the unsettling feeling, the physical exertion was no match for the mental gymnastics that clamped down upon his mind and left him exhausted, uneasy, and struggling for answers. They were dreams. The experiences each night felt very artificial and surreal, with the exception of the aura of Emma and the searing heat of the fire. She was real, just as was the deadly blaze. The warmth of her presence was now replaced with a chill that clouded the air. If his worst thoughts were realized and she was a ghost, how did she know who he was? What more, what ulterior motives did her intentions entail? Eric had never met a ghost before, much less date one. He had not even believed in them, and now he was in love with one.
There was no official town historian that Eric could speak to in order to learn more about the incident, but an elderly neighbor of his did happen to work as a librarian, and was the best he could hope for. If this were a movie, the elderly man would know firsthand a wealth of information from the tragedy, and whom Emma Hill was, where she was born, died, and buried, in addition to merely knowing where she lived and the whereabouts of a Badger Road. This was real life and the elderly neighborhood had never heard of a girl with any such name or a road named after any wintry critter, although he was able to inform Eric that he might be able to find out from a source or two that knew the history of the town better than he did. When asked what his interest was, Eric lied and said that his cousin was doing a report on an off-mentioned historical remnant from the town.
Creating a fictional cousin and lying to the elderly to obtain information would generally be frowned upon, but Eric was justified in his actions given that there was no way he could tell anybody the truth. Three hours later, the phone rang and the raspy old voice of the elderly man began to speak, informing Eric that there was indeed used to be a Badger Road in town, and that it had been renamed Morrison Road after a city surveyor in the early 1930s. What more, this was not a faraway road in a mysterious area; Morrison Road intersected with a thoroughfare that Eric had recognized, given that it was distanced only a handful of miles away.
Initially wishing to wait until Sunday morning to investigate the area, his eagerness gets the better of him as he sets out to track down his gorgeous ghost, unwilling to leave his dreams up to chance that night of another encounter.
Pulling out of his driveway, his heart begins to beat as he shakes his head and lets out a nervous bout of laughter, “So it’s come to this! Can’t believe I’m actually doing this,” he says to himself. Within minutes he was rumbling down the busy thoroughfare of Range Road before making the turn onto Morrison road. Things began to feel a little bit eerie as he drove deeper into the wooded area, with not so much as another single car within the vicinity. The still of the trees made their calm presence known much as they did during his dream. A dense fog began engulfing the area as he switched on the bright headlights to make his way through the thick of it.
Then, the faint outline of a house took shape, almost appearing out of thin air just like a ghost, as he pulled in the gravel driveway as the car slid to a crawling halt. 1432 Badger Road, this was the place, and it looked just as it had in his dreams. Walking up to the sidewalk, he stopped in his tracks as the door opened slowly, so slowly as to make a nice cliffhanger for a commercial break. Swallowing the lump in the back of his throat, his eyes widened as Emma greeted him in the doorway.
“Eric!” she exclaimed, a look of excitement on her face.
“Emma,” he whispered, before repeating it so it was audibly discernible to her ears as he reached the doorstep. “Are you...this sounds ridiculous, so I’m just going to blurt it out. Do you happen to be a ghost?” he asks.
A saddened expression overtakes her face as her smile vanishes away as a frown takes its place. She looks into the ground in sorrow before eyeing something off in the distance, before returning her gaze to the love of her death, and acknowledging the truth with a slow nod.
“You know I’ve never dated a ghost before, and I’m not sure I have been clamoring for a long distance relationship,” he says with a chuckle in an attempt to break the sullen moment. The door opens automatically as she places her finger on his lips as he shuts his mouth. Raising his hand to her chin he looks into he deep brown eyes of his dreams and kisses her tender lips. Amazing how everything can change in an instant. Logic, as powerful as it may be is no match for the elixir of love, a raw emotion so powerful that it can transform a scientist into a fool, or turn a man from a preacher into a heretic while under its spell.
Eric was no match for its might. Analytical reasoning and logistical concerns fell by the wayside. Whatever negotiation of terms or formalities were not written or spoken between the two of them, as the two engaged in conversation simply by reading their facial expressions and eyes. Nothing needed to be said.
It was fitting that Eric was a young man of average looks, he was no star athlete and had never been popular, but she was all Emma could ever ask for. For the gorgeous girl next-door looks of Emma, she likewise was no ones idea of a supermodel—-but she was for Eric. That’s the way it goes, and as impossible as love may seem, it is between a man and a woman, there are only two sexes, and it is not as if one must find a match of blood type to find a mate. Had he glanced around Eric may have noticed that Emma was telling the truth when she explained that she did not have a telephone machine, nor was there a television or computer, just a collection of turn of the century wooden furniture and a phonograph record player. So immersed and enamored with Emma he was at that moment, that he would not have noticed a cauldron of buried treasure if it was spilling and spitting gold towards him or raining down from the ceiling upon him, much less a lapse in time. Funny how sometimes nothing else matters.
At some point Eric caught a glimpse of the bright yellow moon outside, as he lead the girl of his dreams outside. Reluctant at first to leave, she gave in and stepped outside with him. She would have gone anywhere with him after all, and the feeling was mutual. It was beautiful outside her home, as her family of farmers had a field that stretched as far as the eye could see. Under the moonlight, it was special.
“I would have thought that you would be cold, cool, icy to the touch, given your ghostly quality?” he asked as he gently caressed and held her hands. As every young man learns, sometimes the best play is to abstain from speaking.
“Being with you has warmed my heart along with my spirit, that is what you are feeling,” she explains as he looks up into his eyes. His reply would prove to be slightly more profound than the last words he had spoken.
“Emma, love does not come from the lines of a poem or from the pages of a storybook of fairy tales. It does not come from the bright glow of the moon lighting up the sky or all of the stars up there shining down into your eyes from heaven. It comes from the way I look deeply into your awe-inspiring eyes and down at your lips, and”...he exclaims as he kisses her so deeply and meaningful that he can taste her soul along with the essence of her restless spirit, one that had waited for years for Eric to come along. Eric could have died right then and there and it would hardly have mattered, for he could live another million years and this moment was never going to be toppled on his list of memories. He clutched her with his arms as he juggled his breathing with what was the more important exercise. The two continued embracing each other, each wanting it to continue forever, with neither wanting the moment to end. In a way, it never would.
At long last it subsided as the two smiled at each other, before continuing to walk in the field holding hands. Eric did not know what he was talking about; he just began to speak, as his former clumsy anxiety had been replaced with a sense of invincibility. Unable to feel a change in sensation along the palm of his hand, no more than a few paces later he looked beside himself and she was gone. Looking back towards the house, down at the ground, up in the distance, and all around, she was nowhere to be found.
“Emma!” he began calling out, baffled about the loss of his girl. Did she disappear on purpose? How could she do this, he thought? Hey you!” a voice boomed from the distance, only this was not the sweet and gentle caress of Emma, rather it was the harsh, shrill tone of a stark raving mad homeowner, none too pleased about a trespasser at this hour of the night.
“Excuse me, sir, have you seen a young lady come through here?” Eric asked in a disheartened and defeated tone.
“I ain’t seein’ nothin,’” the man responded with grammar a dictionary short of mediocrity. “You got trouble?” he asked.
Taking one more glimpse around, the realization dawned upon Eric that Emma was gone. “No, no trouble. We were just playing a flashlight tag game with friends, I apologize for disturbing you and trespassing,” he said as he left the area, holding his head down in shame, not unlike Emma had done when pressed about the current state of her existence. Glancing up at the address of the home, 1432 Badger Rd. had been replaced with 3444 Morrison Rd, and the exterior of the house was clearly remodeled and different from what it had been when he had pulled up earlier.
Eric had endured some long and perplexing drives home from dates in the past, but each of them had paled in comparison to the wrangling that was taking place in his head this time. Would she return to him? Should he return to her? Did she just seek one deep kiss before she was on her way to eternity? It would be just like a woman to pull such a stunt, even in death.
Unable to sleep upon arriving home, Sunday was long and agonizing before the love struck young man indulged in a glass or three of wine and took a nap around five o’clock that evening as the sleep deprivation finally caught up and got the better of him.
As the REM cycle of sleep began playing in his brain, the voice of Emma called out to him, repeating the same statement over and over. “Come back, I cannot leave. Come back, I cannot leave.” Over and over again, like a chorus in an awful yet agonizingly catchy pop tune. The dream began taking shape, as he saw her and embraced her yet again. “Stay with me, we can be together forever,” she whispers in his ears, beckoning him to come be with her by her side. The two share a kiss as the fire returns to the home, flames rolling around the walls and ceiling and turning the house into a cauldron.
He knew what would happen if he stayed behind, and although he was attracted to her beyond words he could not help but decline to follow her, as Emma sadly understood. This experience did feel very dreamlike as he felt as though he were walking backwards out of the house and around the falling embers, as his eyes remained affixed on the girl. Taking a glance at her one last time, he left the yard as smoke exits the specter of the burned house. Looking back, he sees that the house has disappeared into the mist, with only faint clouds of smoke remaining from the rubble. He knows that he is leaving Badger Road for the final time.
This dream was different aside from its sad ending, as it felt almost pre-ordained, fabricated and conceived as if it were a movie preview, a coming attraction for what he could expect to happen if he made the trek up to Badger Road again. A warning, perhaps from Emma, perhaps from his subconscious, it didn’t matter. Eric could not move forward on his life to follow this ghost into the afterlife, if that was indeed what she was asking for. Timing is everything, and this was hardly the time or the place to follow in such fatal footsteps. That being said, the quick dream was in no way a fitting final chapter. Eric had to return and say goodbye once and for all, and he had to do it in person. The majesty of the kiss under the moonlight and stars very well may not have been eligible for duplication, much less improvement, but he needed one last kiss, just as Emma did.
It was about seven o’clock and getting dark by the time Eric had left his apartment to make the final trek into the past and into his heart. The prior evening he ventured up Morrison road wearing shaggy clothes, not expecting to find anything. This time he had showered and was freshly shaken, dressing as well as he possibly could have for the occasion.
There was no still in the air this night, rather a cool breeze that had the trees around him dancing. Other cars made their way down Morrison as a sinking feeling came over him. What if the magic was gone, and that dream was the final goodbye? Such a notion was too painful to imagine, although he accepted the fact that he had to get used to it either for, as the goodbye was coming in the event that he was able to see her once more.
Pulling up to the Morrison Road address, his heart sank as the house of 2008 stared back at him. Lowering his head onto the steering column, Emma’s words returned to him. “Come back, I cannot leave,” they seemed to whisper in the wind, calling out to him to continue his mission. Unsure of whether those words originated in his head or from beyond, he glanced up to find the house just as he had remembered it the first time he set foot on the property. The friendly Badger Road address greeted him, as he smiled and leapt out of the car. Emma was waiting for him as he reached the door.
“You disappeared last night because we went too far outside? You can’t leave your house, is that correct?” he asked as he responded with a nod. “I could live here with you forever, would that not work?” he asked, desperately seeking clarification and resolve as she began retreating back into the home.
“Emma, Emma wait,” he cried out as he followed her inside. “That dream I had this afternoon, did it mean what I think it meant?” he asked as she nodded once more. At that moment Eric knew what was going to happen, he had lived it before, at least in his dream. The final moment was approaching, the last goodbye. He did not understand how all of this worked, nor could he ever fully understand it all. Just how she found him, why she could see him in dreams, but would not be able to do so any longer, her attachment to the house. The rules were not fully clear, and if there were any loopholes he knew not of them. What he did completely understand was that the time was nigh, and he was not going to waste what remained of it by asking any further. This was the end, the final moment that he feared.
“Emma dear, I love you more than anything I have dared love before, but I cannot leave behind my life. There are others there that I love too, family and friends, I may not know much about you aside from our time together but I am sure that you can understand this,” he explained to her as she wrapped her arms around him, looking up at him like a puppy dog, only this girl wanted a kiss.
“I want you to come with me,” she whispered in his ears just as she had in the dream. This moment proved to be the final goodbye as Eric kissed her with all of his might, all of his passion, and all of his heart, a heart that from its very bottom, had produced so much love for the girl that he would have to repay to his aching muscle massive amounts of debt given the loans of emotions it had provided to him.
Kissing her as if a hangman was standing nearby readying the noose and waiting for the end, in a sense Eric knew that such symbolism was very telling of the truth, as the fire began crackling and heating up the interior of the house. The traumatic scene that had once ignited flames of heat while extinguishing the spirit of Emma had ingrained itself on the physical location of 1432 Badger Road and was replaying itself in the fabric of time like a broken record, immersing Eric in it.
For the young and love struck this moment was not the time to conjure up images of tragedy and catastrophe, or similes and metaphors, and despite the scalding temperatures nipping at the skin of Eric, it was no match for the fire burning in his heart.
It was time to go, as Eric followed through on the promise he made to himself to leave behind Badger Road forever. Now was the final goodbye, as the heat increased in tenacity and now began physically burning both Eric and Emma. The time to safely leave the house had passed, as the fire and ceiling fell all around them as they continued to embrace. Leaving her behind forever would be far more painful than any agony a mere fire could inflict, and a life with an insatiable void was far worse than death. Funny what we realize in the heat of the moment.
It was not so bad, and would all be over soon, a formerly heartbreaking ending was receiving a heartwarming reboot, and in its wake would be a new and glorious beginning. Emma’s nightmares had crumbled away in the fire, and the dreams she shared with Eric had now become a reality, as her unfinished business was at last complete. Amazing how a kiss of affection can change even the most steadfast of plans. Timing is everything, even if the timing does not make particular sense at that particular moment under the circumstances. Everything does tend to happen for a reason in life—and sometimes in death.
(Based on this Story Jam)
Fruit from this Jam:
339 by Nemon
Child Design Inc by Nemon
Brendan by Conor O'Sullivan
Pain and Comfort by Aleks
Forever in Love by JuliaTannenbaum
My Wife the Zombie by
Badger Road by ryguy25
False Positive by patrick holloway
Let it Grow by sophierose
Darkest Result of Love by Tim
Love by sausau
Confession by MichaelThompson
The gaze by Ines
Paraselene Love. by Persia-Lili Moharerr
key to life by
Tea by aravio
The crazy friend ship fall out. by
The Desire to Feel by