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Lifeless But Not Soulless

‘Sometimes a freak accident can happen in the blink of an eye. It brings with it chaos and sometimes clarity to the survivor. Especially when something weird happens!’

I’m delighted to share this one from last year for Fandango’s Flashback Friday

Lifeless But Not Soulless

It all started with gravy and got obscenely cocked up from there.

“Errol, do we have more gravy?” Edna asked as we sat enjoying our Sunday roast pork with Richie and Stephanie our teenage children.

“I’ll go and refill the boat,” I replied as I took the jug from the table. The move caused me to spy trouble from the corner of my eye. “Richie, if you try and dip your sister’s ponytail in the apple sauce again, I’ll confiscate your X-box! Steph, put your bloody phone—” I never got to finish that rant.

Harley, our pitbull terrier, came bounding out from under the table to retrieve his ball. He ploughed into my knees and down I went. I hit my head on the table and crumpled, lifeless, to the floor. Except, I wasn’t lifeless exactly.

You see, that’s why I’m wound up hovering near the ceiling watching my family going ballistic trying to help me. Gah, I wished they’d stop the dog licking my face like that too!

“Errol! Errol, for goodness sake — wake up!” Edna screamed while shaking my body like a rag doll.

“I can’t, women! I think I’m dead,” I yelled back whilst realising, nobody could hear or see me hovering spectrally by the ceiling. ‘Good grief! I am not human anymore! I’m a sodding ghost!’

At least Steph was on the phone calling an ambulance. She always was the smarter one. “Yeah, the prat pissed over the dog and bashed his head on the table!”

What was that I was saying about her being smarter!

“Help me, Richie! He’s not waking up.” Edna raised my head a little and…

“Bloody hell! What did you slap me for?” I asked incredulously and of course, got no answer.

Ritchie dropped to his knees beside me, still chewing on a roast potato. “Err, I fink dad’s got enough injuries without yer beltin’ ‘im, mother.”

“Shut up, and —” Edna fell silent as Steph came over.

She grabbed Richie by the arms and forced him askance. “Get out the way! I need to start CPR.”

I watched proudly as she checked my vital signs and began chest compressions.

“Steph! What the bleedin’ hell are yer doing. You’ll cave his chest in!” Richie yelled. Grabbing her shoulders and trying to stop her.

Shock rippled through my spectral chest as she turned and punched him square in the teeth. He tumbled backward scattering chairs and obliterating the remains of dinner as yanked the cloth from the table with the plates, candlesticks, and the remains of the roast pork. Harley was on the meat like a furry piranha; wolfing the whole lot before anybody could stop him.

“Thats it, Steph! Your phone’s gone for a month,” screamed Edna. “Look at poor, Ritchie. You broke his face!”

“Yeah, Ritchie’s mouth and nose are bleeding. BUT WHAT ABOUT ME! I’M DEAD!” I was apoplectic with the horror of it all but I could do nothing as the invisible ghost I’d become.

“I’m sorry but I’m trying to save Dad’s life!” Stephanie returned to her CPR.

I floated down to my body, ‘Boy, I’m a flabby git. If I survive this, I need a shave, a haircut, and a gym in a hurry,’ I realised as an idea occurred to me. Maybe I can get back into my body somehow. I poked and prodded about but my hands went straight through my limbs and chest.

“You still shouldn’t have smacked your brother like that,” Edna sobbed. “Errol’s not waking up, is he?”

I lay down in my body and tried to will myself back into it. The effort caused my vision to turn blue with white swirls and twinkling sparkle.

 “I’m doing everything I can!” Steph replied while rhythmically pumping my chest like bellows.  “Without a defibrillator, there’s not much more we can do but keep going until the paramedics arrive. I need you to pinch his nose and breathe some air into his lungs.”

“Alright. like this.” Edna knelt at my head, squeezed my nose, and pressed her lips to mine.

“That’s it, Mum. Two breaths. Stop. Then when I say two more,” Steph instructed as I found myself hovering in the cellar having fallen through the floor. I propelled myself back into the dining room and groaned.

“Ugh, mubby thas bluggy disgustin’, kissin’ him in fromt of us!” Richie complained thickly through his bleeding nose.

“Richie, piss off!” yelled Steph and Edna together.

Richie grabbed a wad of kitchen paper and pressed it to his nose as he stormed off. He reappeared moments later with the paramedics.

I was amazed at the speed at which they fitted me with a defibrillator and set it working. I —”

“Everybody clear – shocking!” said the paramedic.

If my body clenched and thumped into the floor from the shock. My soul flat out spasmed like it had been plugged into the National Grid. The impact of the defibrillator sent me flying up through the flying through the ceiling into my mother’s old bedroom. I had a funny sensation of blasting through the bed. I saw the light of the room, shot through the ceiling, and came to rest looking down the tiled roof of my house. (Note to self — you have four slipped and broken tiles. If you get a chance to fix them.)

“Well, at least as a ghost; it looks like I’m going to be footloose and free.” I knew from ghost hunting shows, many ghosts are unable to leave the place they perished like I just — I felt another shock run through me but I guess my spirit was getting used to it as it wasn’t nearly as bad. There was something else, pulling me back into the house though.

“Get your arse back in here, Errol. It’s just like you to go gallivanting off when your family needs you!” yelled the spectral form of an old lady with permed hair. It was her yanking me back inside by the ear.

“Hello, Mum. I see death didn’t stop your relentless nagging then. In case you hadn’t noticed, I had a slight accident and died down there!”

“Ahh, shut up! You stupid, boy! If you can feel the defibrillator, you’re only having an out-of-body experience. Now get through this floor. Get back in your body and look after your family. If you don’t, I will yell at you every second of every day for eternity!”

‘Ouch!’ Even as a flesh and blood human, my mother had never been so angry at me; and she was always angry at me! I wouldn’t mind but this time it was the damn dog’s fault, not mine. “Yes, mum!” I groaned as I floated back downstairs and caught up with my body as it was being loaded into the ambulance.

Inside, the defibrillator shocked me again. This time everything flashed to white. The next, I knew I was in the hospital with a splitting headache and one hell of a story to tell.

The End


Thanks for reading my friends.

There’s more in the Poetry CornerPoetry Nook, and the Short Story Collection

Have a great day!

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14 thoughts on “Lifeless But Not Soulless

Add yours

    1. Thanks Fandango. What a silly thing I wrote today.

      I wonder. Some of us remember these things. Some of don’t. Who knows about Errol.

      When I had my surgery. I remember the whole two hours I was under anesthetic. It was as if I was quite alone in a black room, unable to move and yet at peace. Very weird.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. “It all started with gravy and got obscenely cocked up from there.” How could anyone not read a story that begins with this line and it did not disappoint. Great and funny and frustrating story. I would not have blamed him if he’d chosen not to come back to this story.

    Liked by 1 person

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