Alastor was amazing in solid form. I just couldn’t get accustomed to the sight of him even though I had been staring at him for hours.
He was breathtaking to look at, his skin so detailed I could almost make out a faint stubble on his cheek and all about him clung the faint scent of the outdoors, tinged with a slight aroma of honeysuckle. He was lying beside me, his shirt sleeves rolled up to reveal lean, but muscular arms. Now and then I would catch a glimpse of his bare chest through the open collar of his shirt.
It was strange, but just the sight of that small bit of naked flesh made me blush. I tried not to look, but every time I glanced over my blood would burn at the teasing glimpse of phantom skin.
His lips would twitch into a smile every so often, the action making him even more handsome. I wondered what it was exactly that would make a ghost smile. When I asked, he only smiled wider and confessed that he never thought this day would come.
I was getting so sleepy. Head splitting yawns kept overtaking me, but I stayed sitting up in bed with him stretched out beside me just like a real person.
It was one thing to have him appear in my room or speak to me in his ghostly voice, but that was nothing compared to the delicious thrill of having him so close.
He still seemed too good to be true, too perfect and beautiful to really be there. I couldn’t take my eyes off of him.
Hesitantly, so afraid he would fade again into the shadows, I reached my hand out to touch his.
“Don’t!” He commanded and pulled away. The doors to my bathroom shut with enough force to rattle them on their hinges.
I drew back at his reprimand. His voice was so harsh. I felt it vibrate through me. I glanced back at his face. He was watching me with extreme intensity. I fought the urge to run away from him. After all, where could I hide that he couldn’t find me?
Pulling up my legs and wrapping my arms around them, I tried not to focus on the sting of his rebuff.
“Why not?” I demanded.
Alastor held my gaze, but his eyes became dark and sad. “Because what you see is not real. It takes so much strength to be this way for you.”
“What do you mean?”
“I’m here with you, but this image of me is just that—Only an image, an illusion. I don’t know what would happen if you tried to touch me.”
I turned over what he said in my mind. A frustrated sigh escaped my lips.
“What is it?” He asked in a whisper as if being careful not to frighten me again.
“I can’t even touch you,” I answered, more than a little surprised by the note of emotion cracking in my voice.
“I’m sorry,” He whispered in a low and soothing tone.
“I know it’s stupid,” I apologized. “It’s just frustrating that we can’t even touch.”
A smile turned up the corners of his flawless lips, “Is that what you want?”
I looked down at his perfect face with his teasing blue eyes. Suddenly, I wanted very much just to be able to touch his hand.
“Yes,” I confessed. “I would like that.”
His smile grew wider, “Then I shall try to do as you wish.”
Even though I was watching him, and he never moved an inch, I suddenly felt invisible fingers traveling down my neck and arms. I jumped and looked around, but there was nothing visibly touching me. I felt a scream rising in my throat as the sensation died away.
Before I could recover, I felt the world shift and suddenly I was back in time and standing at the window. I was looking down and watching for Alastor to come home. I could feel the wetness on my cheeks and remembered thinking back then that I had cried so many tears waiting for him to come home.
The image spun around and was replaced by Alastor and I arguing on the staircase. He was moving toward the door and I was following him with my skirts gathered into my hands. I felt myself calling after him, but there was no sound. He turned back to me once he reached the door and ordered me to stop my hysterics. Alastor walked out the door and it slammed behind him. A coldness swept over me and my tears ceased at that very moment.
I was spinning again, this time further back, to me in Alastor’s arms. I closed my eyes as he reached out his hand and touched my face. I knew that touch; it brought me back to my room where Alastor the spirit was with me.
“I’m sorry,” Alastor said without changing expression. “I was trying to give you what you wanted.”
I took a few deep breaths and tried to slow my pounding heart, “It just startled me. I remembered so much about us all at once. It was a little overwhelming.”
He looked at me intently, “Don’t be afraid.”
“I’m not afraid.”
“Do you trust me?”
Did I trust him?
“Yes,” I answered without hesitation.
The invisible fingers were back again, caressing my hair, my face. There was no warmth to the touches, just a constant tingling sensation over my skin. I was watching him, but he never moved, even as unseen hands lifted strands of my hair.
“I have waited for you for so long,” he said with serious eyes.
I didn’t know how to respond to that, but a part of me loved hearing it. I allowed him to keep his ghostly fingers in my hair, not moving, even as he rose up on one elbow.
“Are you still not afraid?” He asked, suddenly seeming just as unsure as I was.
“I am afraid,” I confessed. “But not of you.”
He leaned closer to me. If he were an actual living person, I would have been able to feel his breath on my shoulder. The tingling sensations were still moving over my body, but I was unable to move. His luminous blue eyes held me there.
“Then what are you afraid of?” He whispered.
I could smell the scent of summer about him, noticing how it shifted from sun and honeysuckle to the clean smell of rain. I opened my eyes and inhaled deeply.
“I’m afraid because I want to be near you and I don’t understand why.” I blurted out without thinking, “I know what you are and why you are here, and that I should be afraid of you, but I’m not.”
“And why should you be afraid my love?” He asked while holding me with his powerful gaze, “I am, after all, just a spirit. What could I possibly do to you?”
My heart skipped a beat. Was he honestly asking me to give him ideas on how to destroy me? If he was here for revenge, I wasn’t going to help him out.
“Are you here for revenge? To make me pay for what I did to you?”
“That was many years ago.”
“Why did I shoot you?” I demanded.
The air in the room changed, from nowhere there came a breeze to rock the chandelier and flutter the papers on my desk.
“Must we discuss that?” He hissed.
The room was erupting in chaos. It seemed everything I owned was spinning about the room suspended in midair.
The invisible fingers were gone. I pulled away, backing against my headboard, and preparing for the worst.
Minutes passed before the chandelier stopped its back and forth motion and the frantic flapping of books and papers stopped. The glow of his beautiful eyes faded and they became shaded in silence.
His outburst had weakened him. He was no longer as solid. The illusion had been broken.
“Don’t be afraid,” he whispered and his smooth voice was like a caress. “I would die a thousand deaths before I would hurt you.”
I wanted to believe him even as I watched the last sheet of paper flutter to the ground.
“You have no reason to be afraid,” he whispered as his image flickered and swayed. It seemed to me he was trying to convince the both of us.
“Forgive me, my Becca,” he said stiffly. “I will be the perfect gentleman the rest of the evening.”
He moved closer, waiting for me to say something, but still I couldn’t make my lips form words. He kept his eyes riveted on mine which was almost as unsettling as his outburst.
“It won’t happen again, I promise,” he vowed.
His eyes were apologetic, but still I was cautious. I nodded apprehensively and tried to smile.
Alastor’s responding smile was teasing, “You must understand that this is difficult for me as well.”
“Well in your mind, we are meeting for the first time,” he explained. “But to me, you are and always will be my wife. For me, it’s as if I must court you all over again.”
“I hadn’t thought of it that way,” I confessed. “I’m sorry.”
“No need to apologize,” he said with a tragic smile. “I have a second chance to win your heart.”
I blushed. His words sounded as if they came straight from a romance novel.
Alastor seemed pleased with my reaction, “So, where were we?”
“It doesn’t matter,” I offered, not wanting to upset him again.
“No, no,” he said gently. “You wanted to know why you killed me.”
I fought the immediate feelings of guilt and told myself this was something that I very much needed to know.
He seemed to pause in thought for a moment and then he smiled, ashamed. “Shall we just say that some mistakes are built to last?”
His answer made no sense to me. It told me nothing about the events that brought us to this point.
“So, you don’t hate me?” I asked.
Alastor smiled again, “Love and hate. Those two emotions so often feed off one another. That would be the tale of my life.”
He wasn’t really answering my question, but I didn’t press him I tried to keep my eyes trained on the shifting vision of him.
“I’ve wanted to hate you.” Alastor confessed. “When you touched where my blood spilled, I felt you, I felt the passage of the years, and I tried so hard to hate you. I thought if I hated you, it would be easier.”
He looked at me then, his eyes so bitter, and I felt his need to hate me. I was afraid to ask what it was that was made easier if he could hate me.
“I did try to hate you,” he offered.
I shifted on the bed, unsure where this conversation was going. “I believe you.”
“And then I heard your voice,” he said with an amused smile. “I heard your voice and I was right back to where I began, miserably in love with you.”
It was so beyond anything I had ever imagined to have a ghost in my darkened bedroom declaring himself to me.
“I would come to watch you as you slept, thinking that was when I could get closest to you, but you always sensed that I was near and would awake.” He seemed embarrassed to admit this to me, “Even then, I was still trying to hate you.”
This time I felt a stab of pain when he said that. He had every reason to hate me.
Alastor was becoming stronger again, “Then you nearly drowned and I knew that it was hopeless. I will love you until the end of time and beyond.”
My heart was pounding in reaction to the word “love”. There were so many questions I still wanted to ask him, but only one resounded over and over.
“So what happens now?” I asked.
Alastor moved closer to me the way only a ghost could, not only the vision of him moved, but also the very air of the room shifted with him. I looked into his face, the illusion of the moonlight over the contours of his faultless face, the detail in the faint shadows under his eyes, and his perfect lips parted as if ready to speak.
His eyes locked on my own and they reflected nothing but intensity. I didn’t fear him at the moment, on the contrary, my pulse quickened and a lump rose into my throat.
“May you close your eyes please?” Alastor requested.
I immediately obeyed him, holding my breath.
There was a great shift in the air, a roar and pull like the ocean only silent. Again, came the invisible hands, over my hair and neck. The sensation so real as long as I kept my eyes tightly shut.
And then I felt the tingling sensation over my lips, soft and fragile as the wings of a butterfly, but a kiss none the less.
It was a teasing touch that made me long for more. I wanted to pull him to me. I wanted to lock my fingers in his hair. I wanted—I wanted him, but I knew if I reached for him there would be nothing there.
As my heart pounded in my ears, I felt that dizzy, falling feeling again as the visions returned. I fell back into that other me, the me with the weight of heavy skirts swirling around me. That other me was kissing Alastor in a church somewhere with tall windows, my hands on his chest were able to feel his heartbeat, Alastor kissing me with his naked skin against mine, and his cold lips under mine as he lay dying on the floor.
I felt him fading, his unseen fingers pulling away. I opened my eyes. He was very weak now, no more than a shimmering outline in the dark.
“I apologize, my love,” he said with that voice from nowhere.
“That I am unable to kiss you,” he said. “I have missed kissing you very much, but it just wasn’t the same.”
I watched him struggle to remain near me; our kiss had drained him considerably. I wanted him to do it again, but knew it was impossible at the moment.
“Can you tell me about it?” I asked, tentative, afraid he would disappear at any moment.
“What?” He asked.
“About us, about our life together, and about you.”
“Why would you ask about that?”
I looked into his eyes that flickered in the darkness, fading, growing clear, and then fading again.
“I’m at a disadvantage,” I explained, hoping he would understand. “You remember us. You remember me. I don’t.”
He made a noise, almost like a sigh, “I was worried that it would upset you. After all, like you just said, these are my memories not yours.”
“I would like to know,” I confessed.
He nodded, looking at me with a more miserable expression than I had ever seen.
“Very well. I was born in this house in 1848.” He paused and cut his eyes in my direction. I kept my face expressionless so that he would continue. He sighed and went on. “My older brother Atherton, your great-great-great-great-grandfather, and I grew up in these very rooms.”
I gasped. I couldn’t help it. Things just kept getting stranger. Not only was I supposedly his wife reincarnated, but I was also his great-great-great-great-great-niece. It was just too odd for words.
“I suppose that all of this seems like a long time ago, but to me it is the not so distant past.” He was lost in memories for a time before he continued, “It was a nice boyhood of ponies and hunting. Then the war came. Atherton joined the army right away. I was a few years younger, so I joined the homeguard.”
“Is that when we met?”
Alastor paused, a soft smile played over his lips. “No, it was about a year later. I was at the square, ready to enlist when the most beautiful girl I had ever seen walked by me. You were wearing a beautiful blue dress; I remember how it matched your eyes exactly.”
He stopped and glanced over at me again, “I could smell your perfume as you walked past. As crazy as it sounds, I knew then and there that I would marry you one day, even before I knew your name.”
The romance of it all had me blushing, “You hadn’t even spoken to me yet?”
“I was already under your spell. When we finally did meet formally a few days later, my fate was sealed. We only exchanged a few words, but I was ready to shame my family and turn my back on my country to stay near you. You turned those blue eyes on me and I could think of nothing else.”
I tried to picture it, the dashing young soldier and that other me from the visions. I tried to imagine it as really me with him and not some other person. I tried, but failed.
Alastor, on the other hand, recalled it all perfectly. “Perhaps it was the passion of the time, the uncertainty with the war hanging over our heads; we had a rather hurried courtship. We got married and then I joined my regiment.”
It was there that Alastor paused. What I could see of his face became tense and hard.
“War is a horrible thing,” he said with bitterness. “It doesn’t matter which side you’re on, it changes you forever.
Many good men died, men I knew all of my life. People speak of heroes and patriots, but do you know the difference? A patriot dies for his country and a hero makes it out alive. A bullet is the only thing that separates the two.”
He met my eyes again, “The war changed me. I was a very different person when I returned home. As far as the things that happened between us when I returned from the war, I think we both did things that we weren’t proud of. I was an adulterous drunkard, and you shot me.”
I was taken aback by the direction our conversation had taken. One minute we were discussing how the two of us met and fell in love, the next we were back to me murdering him again. Should I have expected his wrath at any second?
“I’m sorry,” I whispered, knowing that was ridiculously inadequate for a century old murder.
When I looked at him again he was smiling. It was as if he found all of this very amusing. I also noticed he was becoming more solid.
“You seem to be getting stronger,” I commented to change the subject.
“Does it seem that it is so?” He asked in a lilt from another time.
“Why do you think that is?”
“I do not know.” Alastor admitted as he took his full shape, “I only know that being near you, talking to you like this makes it easier.”
I tried to think of the possibilities when another yawn almost split my head in two.
“You should sleep now.”
“No, I’m fine.” I insisted.
Alastor smiled, “Lie down my darling.”
Reluctantly, I did as he commanded. I slid under the covers and lay back on the pillow.
“Sleep well my beloved.”
As I watched him vanish into a soft mist that faded away, I knew that he was no ordinary spirit…I knew that he was a dangerous entity that could be in some corner of another realm planning his revenge, but I also knew that I was hopelessly in love with him.
“As I watched him vanish into a soft mist that faded away, I knew that he was no ordinary spirit…I knew that he was a dangerous entity that could be in some corner of another realm planning his revenge, but I also knew that I was hopelessly in love with him.”
When Becca moves into her ancestral home in Corydon, Indiana, her life takes a puzzling and thrilling turn when she meets the ghost haunting the halls. As the seductive spirit lures her closer and closer, she learns about her own past and starts to understand that some mistakes are meant to last.
Becca McAllister has always been different from other girls her age. Never part of the "in crowd", Becca never really fit in anywhere. When her mother dies and her father moves them to the small town of Corydon, Indiana, Becca didn't expect things to change.
But things do change when Becca accidentally makes contact with a one hundred and sixty year old ghost, Alastor Sinclair, that haunts the halls of her new home.
To Becca, Alastor is a seductive spirit that seems to see straight into her soul. To Alastor, Becca is what he was waited a century for--A second chance.
But the closer they get, the more Becca realizes that this isn't the first time she and Alastor have known each other. Worse still, is she the one responsible for his death so long ago? And if so, did he come back for love or revenge?
Spiritus is FREE right now on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBooks, Kobo, and Smashwords.