It was during a tranquil afternoon when Julie, after a lonely unfrequented walk, found a bench made out of a rock next to a bizarre lake where the birds enjoyed their reflection over its surface. She sat on the bench trying to locate the most comfortable position, feeling the cold textured rock with her fingers and her palms; and she found it. Then she noticed the flying shadows on the lake and started reflecting in her turn on her past life, she realized that she has remained quiet to a very great extent on most of occasions, particularly during those vexing and puzzling experiences where anyone would choose fire to fight back. It took her time to realize that, and time took everything she had excluding her bird Aves; Aves flew away willingly because that’s what birds do.
She remembered that minor event at school when one of her friends, conspiring with other students, put inside her closet a box wrapped with gift papers and filled with frogs. Julie thought that their idea of being funny or scary didn’t work out, actually she thought of contacting an animal abuse organization, but she set the frogs free instead. It turned out later, after receiving all the blame for the panic that has occurred among the school premises, that her friend wasn’t trying to be funny nor scary.They stopped being friends since that case. Julie didn’t report anyone or even try to explain what happened, she was under the shock of seeing so much kids and adults acting weird, jumping and screaming, because of frogs; and her mother sighed when the school responsible called and told her of what lil’ Julz did. Even though she was a polytheist, she murmured “Thank God that didn’t happen on her birthday, she would have suffered forever…” after hanging up. Her mother, Greta, was married to a government agent, Julie’s father according to the legal papers, who got killed on his expertise field, the government couldn’t reveal more info about the incident: “YOU MUST UNDERSTAND, IT’S FOR YOUR OWN PROTECTION” assured the messenger dressed up quite formally with a blue tuxedo, a dark sunglass and a blue hat.Julie remembered when the school-bus dropped her back home after a long unfavorable judgement day given by the school responsible, the other kids were looking unearthly at her except for the driver who had other things in his mind that took his concern far away from the slow reality. She opened the red wooden door of the house and stepped inside, she headed to the stairs on her left and climbed up while jumping on each step as if she’s playing on a percussion music instrument and right before she plays the last note she heard water dripping inside the kitchen downstairs, she turned around and climbed down like an arrow and again she moved left heading to the sound’s source. Her mother was busy trying to stop a leak under the sink, she didn’t pay attention that someone had opened a door and closed it, nor did she hear the music from the stairs. Julie, still sitting on the rock and enjoying the sensational texture with her fingers, didn’t remember anything about apologizing nor explaining for the trouble she had created at school; but she recalled looking through the kitchen’s window and seeing the grass chopped and green just like a football field, Julie thought that someone must have entered the garden and did the proper work, and she wondered how much did her mother pay for them or was it her uncle who only pays a visit when she’s not at home because of his business schedule, her mother once explained.
Julie snapped back from her memories when a small remote-car toy hit her left ankle and flipped over its side. She turned around and saw a small girl standing with her eyes fixed on the car, her mouth slightly opened and holding some sort of joysticks in her firm hands. After few seconds, the little girl moved her eyes from the toy towards Julie’s eyes and grinned, expecting Julie to smile back just like normal adults do when a normal small kids smile at them but Julie has already traveled back into her memories and made no facial reaction. The expression on the little girl’s face grew from a smile into a smirk and then into a frown, she stepped forward, leaned and grabbed the toy, examined it by turning it around all angles and then sprinted distantly behind the rock.The little girl’s grin reminded Julie of her own image when she was grinning in front of a mirror that is put on a wooden table inside a modest cottage behind her house. Her friend Ganesh, who lived in the house next to hers, was standing on the cottage’s doorstep and contemplating her reflection. “What are you doing ?” he asked her, mazed and curious. “I’m checking if all my teeth are symmetric” she replied numbly, now she’s put her hands on the table and stretched them to lift herself closer to the mirror. Ganesh noticed that she didn’t actually answered his question, and he also noticed from behind that her reddish hair is about to touch the ground even if she seemed to be raising up, he wondered if her parents used cut pieces from her hair to paint the door of their house. “Okay, but why now ?” Ganesh insisted, “I’ll tell you why, but you have to promise that you won’t tell anyone” Julie explained while turning around, “Promise?!”. Ganesh rolled his eyes and took a deep breath and replied firmly “I can keep secrets and you can trust me on anything. Actually I know a lot of secrets that I won’t be telling you.” So after making sure that he won’t spread the word and embarrass her, she decided to reveal her privy, “there’s a scarecrow ghost, called Vogel, that visits me every night to play tricks and to scare me. Usually he comes alone, but last week he brought his friends and one of them, a black bird, told me with a disturbing and piercing voice that a tooth of mine is going to grow bigger than the rest; so I’m checking if he was right because I like my teeth as they are”. There was silence after that, for few moments, but not absolute silence since Ganesh was breathing heavily, then he closed his eyes for a second trying to absorb her way of thinking and then said “Ok, you’re not the first one who sees ghosts”, “It’s just one ghost, the others were his friends” Julie interrupted him. He closed his eyes again and opened them sharply “It’s the same. I’ll share you an advice and I’m sure you won’t tell anyone about it”. Ganesh made a step forward, his hands in his pockets, “my grandmother used to see ghosts when she was alive, I don’t know if she can still see them now and she’s dead, my father had to put her in a hospital where they take care of people who see ghosts and that’s where she died. But before that, she told me that it’s ok to see ghosts and that I shouldn’t be scared from them. She said ‘Ghosts are more honest than family, they appreciate your presence more than anyone, they would never leave you alone especially when it’s dark’. And she’s right, sometimes when the night is pitch black and I’m sitting in my room not able to sleep, I wish for anyone to show up and sit with me, I wish for any type of company because nothingness and void are more terrible and scary.” Julie was shocked, she didn’t know where a boy of his age would come up with such words and wisdom. Now Ganesh hands are crossed and held in front of his chest proudly, waiting for Julie to approve his philosophy, or his grandmother’s; living that memory again was pleasant until it was disturbed again by the little figure standing in front of her with hands crossed and held against the chest, it was the same little girl again but now she’s not smiling nor frowning, just standing still insensibly. Julie pulled herself to the back of the rock trying to rearrange her position and make the blood flow properly through her bottom and legs, she sensed the rock is not cold anymore. And then she smiled to the little girl who got surprised and pleased. Julie was wondering what would the little girl be called, but staring at her sparkling brownish eyes Julie felt like she must say something nice to her since she’s the grownup.
She said nothing. Julie had realized that she used to smile and say nice things unconsciously to every person she encounters even if she doesn’t know them, and that’s about to change. She decided to enjoy smiling as a choice, consciously, to wake herself up from the fundamental world, and while putting that idea into consideration, she remembered that night on a beach when she was 18, she had joined Ganesh and his friends from the neighborhood to a night around the fire that danced on the sounds of the crushing waves and the whispering of the wind. The boys had went for a swim to disturb the silent night with their silly games, Julie had stayed with the girls, preparing the seating, the food and taking care of the fire so the boys can dry themselves fast when they come back before getting cold and turning sick. Julie had prepared delicious sandwiches for everyone which made the other girls surprised, jealous and full. Everyone praised her for the tasty meal and her good skills and she met their appreciation with a smile, although she wanted to denigrate their spoiled life and how they never tried to learn preparing simple sandwiches, probably due to their parents and their servants; except for Ganesh. The night was filled with laughs, staring and innocent smiles, until one of the guys started pretending that he can summon spirits and astral creatures, his friends laughed ridiculously trying to scare the girls. He stood up, held a long thin piece of wood and started waving his hands, murmuring strange words and glancing at the stars. Julie was smiling and excited, perhaps Vogel would be summoned and then she would tell him how much she misses him and let him know that his birdie friend was wrong and that she doesn’t miss him. The other girls were mocking at his silly failed attempt until a strange voice expounded its presence from the water and a lightning followed it at the horizon. Everything turned silent and immovable at that moment, then a small dark figure appeared in the middle of the fire and started extending into the air and formed an immense shadowy green shape, with a face of a fox and a body similar to humans. Everyone, except Julie and Ganesh, was about to panic or faint – Julz sensed their hearts racing accompanied by heavy breathing and tightened muscles, she admired the fight-or-flight phenomenon they were experiencing- eventually they bolted away screaming into distance. Julie frowned disappointingly because she was expecting someone else, then she sat straight and said “Are you satisfied ? You scared them off. Who are you ?” Silence dominated for a moment then she turned to her right where Ganesh had stood and he had an expressionless look all over his face and she nudged him eagerly with her elbow, “Wait a second!” Ganesh responded, “I think I’ve heard about him before”, he stood up and stepped forward, his hands in his pockets, he leaned forward with his head turned up trying to inspect the form in front of him, then he said “Hello, is your name Hermes?” “No, I’m Jacob.” replied the spectral shape firmly. The young couple nodded, conceding the latter declaration, it’s not that they didn’t have the choice to question Jacob, but the mysterious element seemed honest and they believed him. July remembered that the three of them spent the night around the fire that Jacob kept burning using his power, which saved them from spending the pile of woods the young couple had gathered before. She also remembered that the night passed while Jacob explained to them why he came to their world, how he managed to run away from his realm, how their species needed him more than his race. Ganesh started falling asleep when Jacob began clarifying how the chaos on planet earth is nothing but a cheap one and that he came to show the world of the real darkness behind it, that he came ‘to uncover the disruption of society and its moral lawlessness, to reveal the uproar of the mess created by most of the humans’. After Jacob’s fierce statement, silence came into existence until it was cut by Ganesh’s snores; July considered that he knew the reasons behind Jacob’s fury since he was wise, however it’s not polite to sleep when someone is trying to establish some sort of discussions, to communicate, even if that someone was a mad ghost; everyone needs to release their harsh thoughts in a while. The dawn was about to emerge and fill the skies when curiosity stroke Jules, she gave it a thought then she inquired Jacob about how he’s going to perform his conduct. “I’ll tell you how, and you listen carefully” he insisted, Julie gave him a blank look as if he’s told her an obvious known advice. “I will breathe regret into their soul” he said, in a way someone had just made a vow, raising and crossing his burning hands, lifting his chin upward while glancing at Julie, waiting for her to spark off, or object. Julie didn’t react. She just meditated and reflected on his words, wondering that he might be right in doing so; maybe the world needs regret.
Julie snapped back to the rocky bench where she has seated after feeling a small finger poking her left shoulder, it was the little girl again, carrying both a cookie with her hands and an innocent look in her eyes. Then she held it towards Julie who was admiring the little girl’s persistence on approaching her. The framework would have been astonishing if someone took a picture of it, Julie thought: The birds flying over the lake. Untroubled blue water. Soft and fresh green grass crowning the land; the rock on the right of the framework of course, Julie assessed in her own mind. A small girl in her silky blue dress holding a cookie with a size of an apple to an old lady sitting on the rock in her dark grey tuxedo. Julz imagined the whole picture, the emotional controversies extending from it; she wanted it to be plain perfect, not half and neither mere perfect. Just pure to the heart, where wisdom can grow endlessly.Then she lifted her hand and picked the cookie from the little girl, and she smiled.