via Daily Prompt: Conveyor
They always fled from him, he wished they didn’t, but they could not help themselves for fear is what had made them what they were in the first place- lost souls, drifters in between the physical and ethereal worlds. The unknowing of the beyond scared them greatly; the leaving of loved ones, too, with so much undone and never being able to come back. His purpose was to help them cross, the ones that he could find. There were so many and he regretted not being able to reach them all.
His boots thudded dully on the dusty wood floor of the decrepit house. The roof had fallen in, the stairs were in disrepair, and the rest of the house was even worse. He coughed a little at the risen dust while scanning the environment of this once-great Victorian home in a once-prosperous neighborhood of Detroit. He was dressed smartly in a London Fog over and nicely tailored light grey suit with a richly blue tie, his brown hair neatly trimmed and face freshly shaved. Looking his best for them when he came to help them cross seemed important to him for some reason.
Much research had gone into finding this one as people were reluctant to tell of hauntings in most cases, fearing to be labeled as crazy and such, so long hours at the library and seemingly miles of microfiche later, he felt reasonably confident that he had found one, a young girl of twelve who had succumbed to the Spanish Flu epidemic.
Pushing out his senses, he reached for her, casting about to find her essence and the fear she emitted. “Come Imelda, show yourself, I am here to help you!” he called into the ruins. He caught a twinge from above and proceeded upstairs.
Each step creaked as he felt his way forward, careful to avoid the rotted-out, hazardous ones and the failing handrail. “Imelda, you are safe.”
‘No!’ he felt the wordless scream and the psychic push that came after, anticipating it, and easily deflecting the force with a raised hand. Making the top of the stairs he paused to spread his senses again and smiled, finding her where he expected her to be; her most comforting and safe place.
Two steps from the threshold the door to her room slammed in his face, sealing itself to his interest. Calmly he grasped the tarnished knob and turned, breaking her hold and pushing it open to reveal a room whose roof had not collapsed yet nothing else but trash as it had bee thoroughly looted over the years since the last occupant. He slowly opened the closet door to reveal a glowing form huddled there, still in the nightgown she had died in, her hair pulled neatly back into a braided tail.
‘No! Go away!‘ she screamed again trying to push him away to no avail, fear evident on her glowing but finely detailed face.
“Imelda,” he said while smiling warmly and extending his hands for her grasp. “Come with me, you will be safe.”
‘Who are you?’ Realization that she could not chase this person away seemed to dawn on her.
“I am the Conveyor, here to help you cross to the place where you belong. This world is not for you anymore.”
‘I don’t want to go! I don’t want to die! I don’t want to leave my family!’
“Dear child, you are all ready dead.” This was expected as the departed relived their past, making themselves believe that those they loved were still there. Before she could escape, his right hand shot out to grip her head, locking her into place. He flooded her with the articles that he had read, of her death and the later obituaries of her family’s deaths, grounding her into the reality of now. When he was done, he released her spirit.
“Do you understand?” He asked. “They are in the beyond waiting for you, for their beloved little girl who they miss so much.”
‘Yes,’ she sobbed, shedding no tears but sending off energy of such a heart-rending sorrow.
He offered his hands again. “Will you come now?” She nodded then grasped his hands in her wispy own, then he pulled her into an embrace. “Go my child, be at peace.” Her form dissipated as she went to the beyond.
The Conveyor sighed as he smoothed back his hair. Little ones were always the toughest and left him with the most sorrow, for they had little chance to experience fully the gift of life, yet it still gave him the most satisfaction in resolving their crossing. But, his day was not done.
Heading out the door and heading west down the block, he had another soul to free.