The Following is a character sketch involving one of the characters from the webcomic I write: Skeleton Crew. It may or may not be canon *L* but it certainly captures the series' essence. I don't mention the girl's name because it's a spoiler, sorry.
She had always been popular at school. She was a blonde size 4, in neon hightops and zoobas. Was it any wonder that Hal was crazy about her? She wasn’t drawn to him at first, but she became bored with the jocks and rocker wannabes.
That’s when she noticed Hal; his boyish face; his deep blue eyes and black hair; his tight little butt. Hal was different. Oh sure she had to endure his raptures about “ALF” and “Crisis on Infinite something-something.” The rest of their time together, Hal would just stare into her eyes and say, “I love you.” She always felt uncomfortable reciprocating. She’d told lots of people that she loved them, but she got the impression that Hal actually believed her.
And then came that night in October. He was going to meet her at the dance, but he never came. She had been stood up. It was a new experience; and after she’d screamed and stamped her foot and… set fire to Orson Wells High School, she started thinking.
Maybe she’d been too commanding? Maybe Hal knew she was just teasing him? Maybe he actually didn’t like her. The last thought made her shiver with revulsion. She had never thought that she was unlikable. But if Hal didn’t like her…
Then she found out that he had died in a stupid accident. It was one of those things, but not to her. Something had happened to her in that night of wondering and arson and regret. Now she wanted Hal more than ever, and it was the one thing she couldn’t have.
She always got what she wanted.
The next few weeks were a blur. Her parents didn’t bother her; they assumed that she was having a breakdown because all her little friends at school had burned to death. She let them think that. She even cried and moaned when she knew they were watching. Then they’d leave her alone.
Finally she’d done it. She found the secret to bringing Hal back. That night, she snuck out with the Porsche. She cut some corners because time was short; she had to perform the spell before the moon started waning.
She was ready the last night of the full moon; she had stolen Hal’s body that afternoon. His grey skin was like damp meringue and he stank of decay and embalming fluid. Upon seeing his rotting corpse, she hesitated. Her stomach sank while she scattered dust over the sputtering candles. But when she pulled out his personal item – the item that would summon his spirit back to Earth – she got her resolve back.
It was his favorite jacket, his red and black vinyl Michael Jackson knock-off. It was sort of like the one Michael had worn in “Thriller.” It had cost Hal $100 and he’d mowed lawns for weeks to get it. The afternoon before he’d died, Hal had left it in her room. It still had his smell; Brüt cologne, Old Spice shaving cream and Sour Patch Kids. Inhaling his scent, she let her mind reach out into the netherworld, searching through the black tarry miasma for Hal.
She had a revelation, when she left her body. She was dead. When she had died, she wasn’t sure; maybe in the fire, or in her fevered obsession. Maybe the close calls during her road trip were closer than she’d realized. Or maybe it was just the shovel that had clobbered her on the head in the graveyard. Her heart was no longer beating and yet she felt more alive than ever. Her will to go on had kept her moving and she wasn’t about to let it go.
She swam effortlessly through the nexus between worlds, calling his name. Not his nickname, Hal, but his real name. It summoned his spirit to her. It was tiny and curled up on itself, like a sleeping infant. He was at peace in a way that wasn’t part of the ghostly purgatory around him. Cradling him, she summoned all her strength and brought him back.
Suddenly she was back in her body looking down at Hal. His body was twitching like it was being electrocuted. Gurgling sounds emanated from his chest and throat. With a moan, Hal slowly sat up. He tried to breathe but he couldn’t get air. He tried to talk, but his throat was choked with rotten black viscera. Crying out in fear he tried to discern what was going on.
His empty eye-sockets flicked open. When Hal saw her, his mouth widened in a putrid grin. She smiled at him adoringly like he was a golden angel and, leaning forward, she kissed him tenderly. The dim light served to hide the truth as they embraced and sought to lose themselves. It was only later, when Hal caught sight of his reflection in her milky eyes that he knew. Looking down, he saw the gaping hole in his chest. He was dead. As soon as realized it, he screamed.
His scream seemed to last forever. Hal didn’t need to breathe anymore so it just kept going for hours; one long primal note.
She’d tried to help him adjust. She was getting the hang of death better than he was and was learning spells to stop their decay, but he didn’t care. He’d only sit and stare at the wall with his sightless eyes. Then he’d lapse into screams again.
One day he left. She came home to find he’d gone. There was no note, only the open window and a black patch on the pavement below.
It still hurt after all these years. She couldn't stop thinking about him. She’d never loved anyone before now, she was sure of it, for only real love could hurt this much. To cancel the pain, she had taken a carving knife and removed her dead heart so she couldn’t love him any more. She wondered now why it hadn’t worked.
She had always been very literal.
To learn more about "Hal," check out The Skeleton Crew:
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Zombie Luv Flash Fic Contest: Story Title
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