I woke up with a start, my eyes frantically flicking from left to right, even though I couldn’t see anything in the pitch black room. I don’t know why I had woken up so suddenly, but the feeling of foreboding I felt in my whole being was very strong.
This wasn’t the first time something like this was happening to me. My grandmother said I’d been born with “the touch”.
Simply put, anyone blessed – or in my opinion, cursed – with “the touch” is said to be “psychic” or at least more aware of the metaphysical plane than other humans. The touch could manifest in different ways: knowledge of the past, present or future, or even a combination of all three, or the ability to “read” people, know their thoughts, their moods, and the secrets nursed by their hearts. Or, the touch could enable you to see and interact with creatures of other planes of existence, other realms: realms in which different spirits dwelled, just as it had enabled me.
My “touched” ability was the ability to see ghosts, spirits and demons. Putting it plainly, I was a freak.
I didn’t want to be aware of any metaphysical planes. All I wanted was to live a normal life and sleep for eight hours straight like normal people did.
My grandmother always said: You don’t choose “the touch”, it chooses you. She would know. She was touched as well. Her touched ability was precognition; knowledge of things to come. It was a pretty scary ability, but not as freaky as seeing ghosts and things that only you could see. It had earned me many nicknames and hampered my ability to make friends. No one wanted to hang out with the scrawny kid who always talked to himself and occasionally burst into terrified gasps and screams.
Even my family was a bit wary of me. My parents were loving, no doubt about that, but whenever they looked at me, there was this sad look in their eyes, as if I was sick or damaged and there was nothing they could do about it. My older sister hardly spoke to me and when she did, her manner was very curt and formal. I’d once overheard her telling our mother that she was afraid that she would catch whatever mental illness I had, which was why she avoided me like a plague. Silly girl, as if mental illnesses were contagious.
Not that I’m mentally ill or anything; it’s just the “touch”, and she can’t even get that. She wasn’t chosen.
I was still sitting up in my bed, shivering from a sudden chill, when I heard it – a faint echo. It didn’t sound living. That was probably what had awakened me so abruptly. My heart constricted, and with shaking fingers, I flicked on the light switch.
The lights came on with a faint orange glow. Damn PHCN and their low voltage supply!
In the dim light, I looked for a weapon. Subconsciously I knew it was futile. Creatures from other planes cannot be hurt with physical things. Hoisting the can in the air like a bat, I tremulously exited the safe haven of my room and stepped into the corridor.
That was when I saw it, hovering just above the stairs, wearing a silver gown, its pearly skin glowing. It looked female.
I screamed, not because I’d just seen a ghost (I see them way too often anyway), but because she was drenched in glittering ruby blood.
She looked at me, large eyes glowing with ghostly unshed tears, and whispered two words before disappearing into thin air: “Help me…”
Written by Daniel Iwuchukwu