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An Arcadian Ghost Story

The lights in the house were dim, as he walked into his living room.  He secured a highball glass and filled it halfway with whiskey before taking a small sip.  It’d been a ritual of his to sit in his favorite chair and contemplate the day’s events in solace. 

“A poor man’s poison.” 

The man’s head snapped up looking around, as the voice seemed to come from nowhere and everywhere all at once.   

Benny is that you?”  The man asked, hoping this was just some prank. 

“Nah, you’d be better off thinking this as a conversation with a ghost.” 

The man felt the color drain from his face and his knees go weak forcing him to plant himself in the chair beneath him finally. 

G-g-ghost of who, might I ask?” 

A chuckle came before the reply. 

“I guess you could say, Arcadia itself.  A living breathing consciousness for our lands.” 

He attempted to stand, his instinct to run, but his legs wouldn’t respond as he chalked it up to nerves and instead, he took a swing of his whiskey, hoping the liquid courage would kick in. 

“So, apparition, what do I owe this visit to?” 

The reply came quickly, like words on the wind. 

“You should know, anyone who hears my voice… well, they’re already dead and the Ferryman won’t be far behind.” 

The man’s eyes grew larger at that knowledge as he took a large gulp from his highball glass.  But his arm seemed to move slower under its weight. 

“I dohn’t waaant to die.” His voice was slurred, the alcohol seemingly taking its toll. “I wohn’t ghet to shay goodbhye to Benny.” 

At that moment, with those words spoken the room became still as the grave.  As the man in the chair slowly strained to look around for a reply, for the specter, for something to comfort him, his breathing grew shallow until it ceased. 

It was only then that a small sniffle could be heard, as stepping from the shadows was Harold Attano, “The Arcadian Ghost”.   

“Told you it was a poor man’s poison.”  

These jobs didn’t used to take this much out of him, making him so emotional.  But these days having to be a father on the outside looking in made sentiments like that hit so much harder.  Harold removed a camera from the inner breast pocket of his jacket snapping a couple of quick photos of the corpse before putting it back.  Then producing a small audio recorder while walking up to the body and checking its pulse confirming the supposition.  Attano then pressed record. 

“Name, Alan Pegg.  Offense, arms dealing with a resistance in the Bleaks.  COD, paralytic which mimics a heart attack, no foul play will be suspected.” 

Attano then slips the recorder into his pocket while pulling out two gold coins struck by Hephaestus.  Mr. Nobody steps forward slipping them into Alan’s pocket. 

“This will be the final gift from a ghost to a Ferryman.” 

Harold Attano