The Ghost and the Graveyard

Chapter 29


For The Best
"Grateful, what is going on?" Logan's molecules separated and rejoined. "This A-hole says you agreed to this."
"We did agree. Explain yourself, mi cielo." Rick pointed at the spilled blood on the floor.
"You stay out of this, dirt jockey." Logan turned, pointing a finger in Rick's direction. "Do you know what this bastard almost did to me? I might have never seen you again!"
"It was for the best." Rick spread his hands.
"Logan, I..." My eyes drifted from his.
"You knew, Grateful? How could you agree to this?" Logan's voice blasted at me, shaking the walls and making the hanging pots in the kitchen clink together.
"I didn't want you to spend eternity forgetting yourself in my attic," I yelled. "I thought it was for the best."
"Why did you stop me?" Rick asked. "Have you changed your mind?"
"Of course she's changed her mind! Grateful and I have something. She wouldn't do this to me." Logan's orb form floated closer to my face.
"Actually, Logan, it would have been for the best if I hadn't found what I did."
"What did you find?" Logan and Rick asked in unison.
I walked to the door and opened it for Michelle, helping the gurney's wheels over the threshold. Logan floated over to his body, and Rick stepped closer. After a moment of awestruck silence, Rick jerked.
Logan took longer. He hovered over his body until I wondered if I'd caused some type of metaphysical shock. Eventually, he reformed in front of me, looking like a younger, healthier Logan than the body on the gurney. With a glance toward Rick, he nodded in my direction and said, "Can you put me back in?"
"I hope so. I don't know yet. I need to check the book."
"Can I suggest we move Logan's body to the attic and get cookin'?" Michelle said. "I mean, we do need to sneak Logan back into the hospital tonight if this works. He's already been gone a long time for a CT scan."
"I agree. Rick, can you carry him up the stairs?" I asked.
"What? I don't want that guy touching my body," Logan protested.
"You should have had such qualms when you possessed me, you insolent ball of gas!" Rick threw up his hands in disgust.
"Rick has a point, Logan. And furthermore, there is no way Michelle and I are making it up those stairs with this gurney. If we're going to do this, we need Rick's help."
Logan frowned, placing his hands on his hips and pacing around his body. "I don't look good. Are we sure I'm not going to die anyway?"
"Logan! Are we going to try this or not?"
"Okay, okay. He can carry me up the stairs."
"Good. Let's go."
Rick lifted Logan's body in his arms and carefully moved toward the attic. Michelle and I followed with the liquid nutrition and his IV fluids. As we turned the corner at the second floor landing, Logan's head bumped into the banister. I didn't think Rick did it on purpose. I really didn't. But Logan was not happy.
"Hey! Do you mind?"
"Sorry," Rick said, but I caught the tiniest of smiles flash across his face. I gave him my best death stare.
We all spilled into the attic, and I conjured a hospital bed for Logan's body. Once he was settled in with his fluids safely hung, I hurried to the Book of Light. I started with P for possession, but the only spells in my book were to force a ghost out of a living body. I found some promising spells under H for healing, but while they would make Logan's body stronger, they wouldn't bind his soul to it. After an hour of searching, I slammed the thing shut and turned toward Rick.
"Before I die, I'm upgrading this thing into a searchable database. I can't find anything useful. What do you know? Any caretaker magic that can put him back?"
"No. Caretakers usually exorcise ghosts, not the other way around."
"Maybe we're making this harder than it needs to be." I moved to the hospital bed. "Logan, try to possess your body."
Logan floated to himself and placed a hand over his body's heart, but before he proceeded he looked at me with something close to panic in his eyes. "I don't think I want to do this. Look at me. Will I ever be normal again? I don't even know if my limbs work. Did I break anything in the crash? Will I be in pain?"
Michelle piped up. "You have a broken femur and collarbone. They should heal eventually, but you've endured a nasty bump on the head."
"The bottom line is that we don't know, Logan," I said. "There are no guarantees, but it's your life to live, whatever there is left of it."
"Maybe I don't want to live it. Maybe it would be better if I let this body die and didn't have to go through the horror of seeing myself waste away every morning. I'm not sure I want to grow old and crippled. I'm not sure I want to live again."
Fear is a poor decision-maker. I saw it strangle all of the logic out of my friend, felt the weight of it on my shoulders. The terror of crawling back into a broken body was a feeling I would never want to experience, but the worst part was doing it alone. Logan was a chef, a restaurant owner, an avid biker. But the one thing he wasn't was a husband and father. His next of kin was a cousin who lived in Albuquerque. Recovery was bad enough when you had a support system, but when you were alone, every day could be a struggle.
"Logan, I know you're scared. I'm not sure what condition your body is in right now or how long it will take for you to get better. But I can promise you this. I'll be there for you. I won't let you do this alone. I'll help you with your recovery."
Michelle had known me long enough to pick up on when to chime in. "Hey, when Grateful promises something, she does it. I'll help too. We'll be your support system."
Hovering over his body, he seemed to consider this. He looked from me to Rick as if weighing the costs and benefits of what it would mean to have his body back, his life back. I couldn't help, in that moment, but to question what my life would be like without Logan. I'd quickly become accustomed to his presence in the house and wondered how empty it would feel without him. But like a lost dog, his life did not belong to me. I couldn't keep him.
"I'm going to hold you to your word," he said to me and then sank his hand into his heart. His body jerked as if we'd hit it with a defibrillator. Logan sank in deeper until there was no more ghost. The body's green eyes fluttered open.
"How do you feel, Logan? Can you wiggle your fingers and toes?"
I saw his finger twitch and then the sheet over his feet move. He opened his mouth. No sound came out.
"That's good," I said.
Logan sat up out of his body. "It's not that bad in there. I think I can move everything, but my throat feels weird and, obviously, I'm not sticking. I mean, I can't just possess my own body, right? I need to somehow join with it."
"Yes, of course," I frowned and rubbed my chin. "Let's try one more thing-although, I have no idea what will happen. I've never done this before."
"What the hell. It's just my soul."
"I'm sorry, Logan. I don't mean to use you as my guinea pig, but I think this is our best bet."
"Lay back into your body."
He did as I asked. I retrieved the canister of salt, making a mental note to buy more, and emptied the remainder around Logan's bed. I stepped into the circle with my bowl and blade. The concentration it took for me to center my power within Logan's body and soul was more than when he was a ghost. A bead of sweat formed on my temple as I pushed my power into him. Like forcing Jell-O into mashed potatoes, fingers of power oozed into the space where his soul was supposed to be. When I had an imprint of his metaphysical energy, I raised the blade, opened my eyes, and said, "Logan Valentine, I release your soul into your body." I sliced my arm; blood flowed into the bowl.
The seizure that hit Logan shook the entire bed. I rolled him onto his side and held him so that he wouldn't hurt himself. Michelle tried to help, but she bounced off the salt circle I'd drawn as solidly as if it were made of glass. Luckily the shaking didn't last long.
"Logan! Logan!" I called. "Are you okay?"
The body under me opened its mouth, and a raspy whisper floated to my ear. "Are you stupid? Of course not."
I rolled him back and squealed.
"I'm me again," he said. As weak as his body had become, for a moment Logan's face looked positively radiant.