The word was echoing through her mind. Even as she tried to shake the dream and to focus on something, anything, else. Shaking her head, she snapped the textbook she was staring at closed. She had been staring at the same sentence for the last five minutes and it was time to admit to herself that she wouldn’t be getting any reading done today. Setting the book down beside her she sighed and pulled out her cell phone. It was still early but… she could call Rayna…
She really debated it for moment. She missed her closest friend back in Widenberg… If she was being honest, Rayna was one of the only friends she had that had been willing to hang out with her despite her lack of social life due to her mother’s expectations…
Her fingers hovered over the numbers on the screen. Rayna was probably asleep though… She had always been a night owl. She would say she wouldn’t mind but Meg would feel guitly if she woke her up. So, as she had reasoned with herself many times over this last week, she wouldn’t call her. Shaking her head, she tucked her phone back in her pocket and leaning back she let her head fall back.
Rayna would call when she had time. She was out in Del Sol Valley doing her very best to set the musical theater scene on fire and knowing her outgoing friend, it was already happening for her… And not because of awkward entrances or vivid dreams… She could only imagine what Ray would say if she told her how her first week had gone. She would laugh, tease Meg for her awkwardness and put in place all her worries. Meg could really use the last one if she were being honest.
The cool fall breeze ruffled her hair. In her rush to leave the suite she had braided her hair quickly so she knew that there must be all kinds of small flyaways. Breathing deeper she felt the sun on her skin… well what little sunlight peeked through the grey cloud cover. The fountain in the quad area just behind Founder’s Hall was cool beneath her palms and the quiet trickle of water soothed her. She had sat here to clear her mind, she reminded herself.
Letting out another breath, she looked over at the to-go cup beside her. It was English Breakfast Tea. It wasn’t a favorite though so she even though the caffeine felt like a Watchersend she was taking her time drinking it. By now, it was probably as cold as the breeze. Running a hand down her braid, she leaned forward resting her arms on her legs staring moodily at the stones under her feet.
She really didn’t like how these dreams were bothering her. She never had such vivid dreams, especially where she couldn’t place the people in the dream. She had, of course, dreams when stressed. Just none with mysterious voices.
“…I just need to get better sleep that’s all. It’s a new bed, new surroundings and, of course, living with such a….suitemate. Well, who could blame me for stress dreaming…?” she said aloud herself but even if that was all true, it didn’t feel like that was the reason. “…It’s just a dream. An odd dream, but just a…very, oddly vivid dream…” she said the words quietly to herself, eyes closed. “It will pass. It will….”
“I don’t usually remember my dreams either.” a female voice said from her left. Surprised, Meg opened her eyes and looked over at the voice in surprise.
“Oh, hi…. Sorry I didn’t realize anyone else was here.”
The girl smiled at her. “People don’t usually notice me….”
“You–” she placed the friendly face smiling at her then. “I mean, well– I was beginning to think I imagined you… you disappeared so quickly last time I didn’t get to say thank you or find out your name.”
The girl frowned and Meg wondered if she had said something wrong. “So it is true then…”
Now Meg frowned. “What…true then…?”
The girl leaned forward putting her face close to Meg’s as if examining her. “You really do see us as like any other person…”
“…us….?” Meg glanced around as if this ‘us’ would appear from mere mention. But aside from a boy rounding the corner of Founder’s in the distance… there was no one else really around. The girl was confusing her.
She smiled and held up her hand in a expressive way. “Yes, us. Ghosts, spirits, entities, shadows, people call us by many names… Most can not see us. There are some who can, I have heard, but you are the first I have ever encountered.”
“Wait…Ghosts…?”Meg opened her mouth to say more but found she had losts her voice for a moment. “…Y-you want to believe you’re…but you touched me the other day!”
The girl crossed her arms. “Yeah, that one threw me as well… I have never been able to touch someone but… then again I have never met anyone who sees me either. Must be a part of your gift.”
Meg shook her head. “Ok, if this is a prank….this is the weirdest prank ever. I mean who goes around telling people they are a ghost?”
The girl smiled mischeivously. “I am telling the truth… If you don’t believe me…” she glanced over her shoulder at the boy who was walking towards them. “I’ll prove it. Watch!”
Meg looked up where the girl was looking over her shoulder and saw that the boy who had rounded the corner from the other side of Founder’s was headed their way. He had reached almost the top of the stairs leading down into the quad fountain area. In his hands he had a black notebook and even as he walked, he scribbling in it. He wasn’t looking where he was going. The girl with a mischeivous grin skipped up the steps towards him.
Meg frowned and grabbing her tea stood up. She wasn’t sure what the girl was up to but… she figured she might as well start cleaning up. At the top of the steps, the boy paused for a moment and reading what he had just written. The girl took the time to siddle up behind him and peek at his work. He didn’t even seem to notice her.
“I am curious… What are we writing today?” she said and as he stepped gingerly down the steps, she followed him closely behind.
At the bottom of the steps, he boy paused again, thoroughly engrossed in the material he was reading. He didn’t notice Meg or the girl perched over his shoulder. “He’s got quite the focus ability…” the girl tried for a better view, but even one step up behind the boy. she couldn’t see very well from what Meg could tell. “Well, shall we see what has him so engrossed?”
Without waiting for an answer suddenly the girl leaned forward and looked at the pages the boy had written on. Her entire upper body was going through his and the boy didn’t seem to notice or mind. “Oh…this is interesting!” The ghost girl–because there was no longer any doubting that– said her grey eyes going wide.
Meg could only stare and as she did, her fingers went lax around the cup in her hand. Before she knew it, the cup slipped from her grip and she snapped to attention as she tried to catcj it. “I–what—watch out!”
It was far too late to save it.
The lid popped off as it hit the ground spilling the remains of her tea across the floor and the boys boots. “Oh my Watcher…I am so sorry!” she looked up from the puddle on the floor and her eyes widened even further.
The girl behind the boy straightened a smug grin on her face as the boy looked down at his boots in a mix of laughter and dismay and tucked his notebook under his arm. “Well, I can’t say you didn’t warn me… I suppose this is the price I pay for writing and walking…? My mum always said to watch where you’re walking.”
Meg was in shock, Meg was mortified. “I…. oh my watcher…” Cringing away from him she covered her face. “I am so sorry…it…” —fell out of my hands because I just saw a ghost reading through you…yeah, not saying that one— “slipped.”
In truth, between the Adrien incident and now this second mortifying encounter, Meg wished she could just sink into the ground. The boy though seemed to take it in stride. Still smiling looked at his boots and the puddle on the floor. “It’s really not so bad. I’ll just need to wipe them off.”
Meg peaked up at him. He was tall, maybe just an inch or so taller then Adrien. Dark-skinned, brown eyes that smiled at her even. The bright blue of his shirt accented his skintone. Why did the universe hate her so…?
“Hey!” his brown eyes lit up in recognization then. “I know you. We sat next to each other at the Dean’s Address. We’re in the same cohort, right?”
Meg had been so focused on Adrien and the embarassing moment the morning of the Dean’s Address she had to admit she didn’t have more then a vague recollection of the rest of the cohort. Thankfully, she did remember there had been someone seated next to her with a very exotic name… “Ah, um, right…Right! Kee-kee-on, right?” she pulled at the vague memory hoping she was close.
Much to her relief, he smiled at her attempt. “It’s Kee-OWN-ee, actually. Kionne Hunt. But no worries… you’re better then most. And you’re… Meghan?”
Meg laughed nervously, fighting the urge to look over at the girl as she stepped out from behind Kionne to look between the two. “It’s actually Megara but I go by Meg anyway. Meg Blackwell.”
Kionne smiled and reached out a hand. “Well, a pleasure to officially meet you.”
Meg hesitated for a minute and then reached out and took his hand. Thankfully, there was only the feeling of a warm, strong grip. ” It’s nice to meet you too.” She managed a small smile and then remembering, she released his hand to turn to her backpack. Sitting down, she pulled it up on her lap and dug around a moment before unearthing some napkins. “I, uh, have napkins so we can… attempt to clean off your boots…”
He smiled again at her. Thankfully, most of the tea had spilled on the floor and only a small spattering of tea had gotten on his boots. “…These are old anyway.” he said but he took a proffered napkin anyway and took the seat beside her. “So…uh… so you come here to bombard passerbyers and warn them about the dangers of writing and walking often?”
Ghost girl smiled walking to the other side of him. “He’s a cutie… and he writes some interesting stories. You should ask him what he’s writing about…”
Meg narrowed her eyes at the girl, who seemed unperturbed and nonchallantly stepped onto the fountain before jumping in. Thankfully, Kionne was busy wiping at his shoes. “He can’t see me or hear me, dear. Watch.” so saying she cheekily started dancing in the fountain.
Kionne looked back up at her and she realized that he was waiting for her to answer. He didn’t even seem to notice that the gently lapping of the fountain had changed into a splashing sound. Stealing a glance at the girl she swiftly brought her mind back to his question. Why was she out here, attacking him with tea…?
“Ah,” with everything going on she had almost genuinely forgotten why she was out here in the first place. “My… my suitemate and I are… still learning each other’s eccentricies. He’s a music composition major who enjoys composing and playing said compositions in the early mornings… And I am a science major who isn’t coherent without small amounts of caffination in the morning.” she gestured to the puddle on floor. “Due to my…clumsiness… it will just have to be a smaller amount of caffination then usual.”
“Well, it’s early yet. Plenty of time to get another cup of… tea…?” he looked down at the puddle. “So… you’re a Science major huh? You’d probably get along swimmingly with my roommate. Pre-med major. Doesn’t have much of a sense of humor but… he’s very dedicated.” folding the napkin, he glanced down beside him and saw her textbook. “As I can see are you… you do know classes don’t start until tomorrow, right?”
The girl grinned coming to stand behind Kionne, her hair a little ruffled now. “I was thinking the exact same thing. This Kionne guy is sharp.”
Meg gave a sharp look to the girl before smiling at Kionne. “I don’t seem to be the only one with school work.” she pointing to his black journal that he had set between them on the fountain lip.
Kionne looked down and then smiled charmingly at her. “This… isn’t homework. This is my own personal project…” he looked away with a mischeivous smile. “…which will eventually become my senior project, once I get it approved by my advisor.”
Meg quirked an eyebrow. “So…it is homework?”
“What it is… is intriguing. You really should find out more.” the ghost girl said sitting through Meg’s textbook and lifting it gently up as Kionne turned back to look her. Meg tried to resist the urge to widen her eyes as the book levitated behind Kionne who was shaking his head. “I’m a Creative Writing major. As long as I still enjoy it, I don’t consider it homework. Can you say you enjoy reading…” he turned to look back the textbook and Meg nearly sighed in relief as the girl set it back on the fountain just in time. He read the title through her legs. “Academic Writing: a novel approach…? Seriously, though, who thinks of these titles?”
“Seriously who does? They get cornier every year…” the girl commented in return.
Meg laughed, though to her own ears it sounded hallow and forced. “Not particularly… I kind of grabbed a textbook without looking. I much prefer the Connections & Concepts of Biology., ninth edition.” she feigned what she hoped was a convincing smile, although internally she was hoping that he would move along already.
Kionne cringed. “The one with the racoon staring beadily from up in a snowy tree? Raj has been reading that pretty religously…and taking notes. I don’t quite understand the appeal.”
Meg’s eyes widened. “Notes… Ok, Raj is a whole level above me then. I was just reading it to brush up on the basic concepts before classes starts.”
Kionne nodded. “I’m beginning to see that.” he looked over in the direction he was headed and stood. “Actually, I was just going to meet up with him for some breakfast…. you wouldn’t… care to join me? You seem to be a happy medium between the two of us.”
Meg looked over in the direction he indicated but her mind was immediately drawn back to the ghost girl still watching the exchange with far too much enjoyment. As hungry as she might be… she could not handle social interactions with her own private sideshow. “I… I should probably clean this up. Thank you, though, for the inviation. Maybe another time?”
“Yeah… of course. Didn’t mean to interrupt your study session…” Kionne smiled, though the edges were a little dimmed and she felt bad for rejecting him.
She lifted a hand waving him at him as he stepped forward. “I’ll– I’ll see you at the first cohort meeting right?” she tried to say it with enthusiasm, even though she was already wondering how she and Adrien would survive that meeting.
Kionne smiled then after a moment. “Yeah, see you there. Really sorry you won’t be joining…” he nodded and then headed off to the dining hall.
“It’s too bad…he’s cute. You should have gone. I mean I’m not going anywhere.” the girl said from over her shoulder and Meg didn’t turn around, a frown on her face.
“And have side commentary the entire time… no thank you.” She could only imagine what the beginning of their entire exchange looked like if Kionne had happened to look back as he walked. Sighing, she leaned down and picked up the empty to-go mug. There was no point in trying to mop up the puddle. Turning back she set it on the fountain edge.
“I couldn’t tag along if I wanted to…” the girl replied and Meg looked up at her. She was floating just above the water surface of the fountain right at eye level to Meg.
“What does that mean?”
“You are the least knowledgeable medium that I have ever met. The only one, granted, but still…” shifting her legs she faced Meg more fully. “I have a limited range of…manifestation, if I am remembering the correct term… I died here..somewhere in this vicinity. This quad is the furthest I can travel before I feel the pull back. Even if I wanted to–and trust me I have wanted to–I can’t leave.”
“But why–” Meg covered her mouth and looked around swiftly as the girl gave her a evaluating look. Kionne was far enough away and not looking back at her thankfully and the rest of the quad and the surrounding area were quiet. No one seemed around but she knew no one else could see this girl. She was standing in the open, talking to a fountain as far as anyone else who might happen to walk by would see.
“What am I doing…?” Shaking her head she pulled backpack up and stuffed her textbook into it before swinging it up onto her shoulders. “I have to go.” turning she headed the opposite direction Kionne had gone.
“Wait!” floating forward the girl set her feet back on the ground. “Please.”
Meg crossed her across her chest but she didn’t turn around. “Grey Girl.” Meg blinked, fighting to the urge to turn around.
“Excuse me?” she murmured the words to the ground.
“They call me the Grey Girl. I don’t know how I died or my real name or even why I’m still here… it happened too long ago to remember, I suppose. All I know is that when someone feels lost or there’s lots of nervous energy, I exist. I want to know why.”
Meg squeezed her arms tighter around herself, but she didn’t move any further.
“Please. In all these years… I know it’s hard to understand but I’ve been here for so long and you’re the first person who really sees me. Please…” Meg couldn’t see the girl but she felt her desperation in every syllable. “…come back.”
Meg couldn’t say yes but she also couldn’t say no. “I…I really just can’t…. I-I have to go.”
She wasn’t exactly sure she was ready to face Adrien but for sure she was not ready to deal with this. First the vivid dream and now she was conversing with ghosts. This was not turning out to be the most idyllic freshman year that she envisioned. In fact, the truth was far from something she could ever thought herself prepared for.
A/N: A lot to take in for poor Meg, and the school year hasn’t even started. Thanks to those of you who are still following along. I know I took a really long, unplanned hiatus in the middle due to IRL and it’s so nice to see you liking the episodes.
Gray Girl was a pain to work with in taking these shots. For story purposes I have two versions of her…. and ghost version kept haunting everything! Also apparently playing in the fountain is difficult to resist. But I will say it gave me a great insight into her character.
Most of the beginning shots are from a pose pack that I made myself for a change. The expressions were not so good so that took a little finagling but I am pretty proud of myself for a first time. Other poses used:
- simmerberlin – Emotions 2, 9, 10 Pose Packs
- Shendori – In the Air Pose Pack
- FoxiSimmer – A Variety of Walks Pose Pack
Hope you enjoyed and as always, feedback is much appreciated.