Who are you talking to? asked the woman who had taken my arm. She stared at me with a sort of fear in her eyes. I still couldnt place who she was.
Her, I whispered to the woman, staring into her bright blue eyes. Carrie.
Shes dead, you stupid girl. Shes dead and gone and shell never be back! SHES DEAD, DO YOU HEAR ME?
Startled, I jerked out of her grasp and stared, numb. Finally, two pieces came together in my head and sparked; I recognized her. Carries mother. She looked...all wrong. Id never seen her in black, before. Shed always dressed in colorful pastels, perfect for the suburbs. All bright and happy. To see her in solid black seemed wrong, somehow. Black was more my thing.
but shes there, I gasped, finally, finding my breath at last. Shes here.
She isnt. Shes with the Lord. You--you heathen pagan could never understand that. Spirits dont walk the earth, and they cant be called back. You cant use her to do your evil spell work! she screeched, throwing her palm out and striking me across the face. More startled than hurt, I stumbled backward. Shes an angel, she snarled in a low whisper. Flying higher than you ever will. Leave. Now. Before I call the cops. With a sniff, she straightened, tall and stiff, and let herself be led away by a sympathetic group of clucking hens.
Icy fear slipped into my stomach and I turned around, searching. But I didnt have to look hard. Carrie was still there, floating a couple feet above my head, staring over me at her moms retreating back, a twisted expression on her face.
Was I the only one who could see her? Why? Because I was the only pagan in the room? Somehow, I was sure that wasnt it. Maybe it was just me. She wasn't really there. A dead girl come back as a ghost? Ha. If it wasn't so disturbing, it would've been laughable. My distress and fear and pain had finally solidified into a delusion. I was nut-job-crazy, that was all.
Once more, Carrie-the-hallucination turned her transparent gaze back on me. How are you? she asked. She began to drift downward, lighting like a small bird on the tile floor in front of me.
Eye to eye, we were the same height, same size, same everything. My memory had that down to a T. Even in life, she had been the brighter one. In death, that hadnt changed.
I couldnt answer her question. For one, I was shocked into speechlessness. Secondly, if I was the only one to see or hear her, meaning if she was a hallucination, I didnt want to cause another uproar and get slapped again.
I needed sleep. I hadnt gotten any since Id first heard that she was in the hospital. I had heard about the accident through the gossip-vine at school. None of her family had bothered to call me.
Tori? Carrie-the-hallucination asked, confusion and alarm spreading across her features. You can see me, right? I know you can. Answer me!
Slowly, I shook my head. I couldnt. Not now.
A funny look contorted her features. Her eyes widening, she looked quickly around the crowded room, seeing the occupants who were still gossiping under excited breaths and shooting alarmed glances at me. Oh. Her voice came small and surprised. I get it. Sorry. Ill see you later, okay?