So, ekt and zack had some adventures, which haven't been written of yet. Maybe someday, maybe not. But eventually, ekt went off on his own. For the most part he acted fairly much alive. As he thought, "ektomage" was more an online handle than anything else. He had his homepage, and his b-board, and e-mail, and blog, and IMs, and et cetera.... Occasionally perhaps he had small adventures on his own, which also have as yet to be written of. Mostly. Here, we present to you those few hauntings he did write of....
"Death sucks," said the ghost to itself. "And yes, I know, life sucks even worse, but still. I want to share my misery. And what other means have I to do so but by haunting? Hmmm... well, it's been a couple years, and I haven't done that yet. I dunno where to start. I wonder if zack has any ideas...?"
A young Cheshire cat popped into existence briefly in front of the ghost, and said, "Sorry, can't help you with that just at the mo', old buddy. Mad, mad, mad rush back at the teahouse, I'm afraid. Someone stopped in briefly like a couple weeks ago, and I can't quite keep up with all the business."
"Um... it doesn't sound like-"
"Sorry again, can't talk, must dash!" and the cat disappeared again.
The ghost sighed a ghostly sigh, and said, "Oh well. I guess I'll have to think for myself, then." And it began wandering around, trying to find some unsuspecting humans to haunt.
First, ektomage headed for a random graveyard. "Oh, yes," it said to itself, "no one in a graveyard could possibly expect to be haunted..." As it floated along past the gravestones in its shuffling manner, it eventually spotted a pair of young lovers. "Ah," said ektomage to itself, "young love. And they're making out in a graveyard. How cute. I think I'll go scare them."
It approached the grave behind which the couple were engaging in their activities, and stopped for a moment to consider them. Luckily, it thought to itself, it didn't look like they were going to go too far. But suddenly it realized it had been sitting there watching them for a few minutes. Its mind had quite wandered. And it realized there was a ghostly tear streaming slowly down its ghostly face.
"Screw it," it said to itself. "Life sucks enough; one must find what happiness one can, whenever one can. It'd be just vile of me to take one such brief moment away from them." So it got up and shuffle-floated away.
It found itself moving down a sidewalk, and happened across a newsstand where a young man was cashing in a winning lottery ticket. "Ah," said the ghost, "I never had any luck in life. Not with love, and not with money. Why should this guy? People with money suck, anyway. They don't deserve it when so few people have any."
So ektomage hovered just a moment by the stand, waiting for the man to leave, so it could follow him, and give him a fright in private. Perhaps the man would drop his money, and ektomage might focus his psychic energy enough to solidify and scoop up the cash, and put it to some more useful purpose than this guy likely would.
But as it waited, the man spoke to the vendor. The vendor said, "Wow, five hundred dollars! Nobody who's bought a ticket from me has ever won more than five."
"Are you sure I don't have to send away for a check?"
"Did you not just see me look it up in the rules? Have you not looked at the rules yourself? I'm to give you any winnings under $1000, personally. I could write you a check, though, if you prefer. If you don't want to be walking around with all that cash."
"Ah, that would be nice, but the bank just closed my account. I couldn't afford to keep it up. And anyway, it's too late today to go to the bank. And I need the money right away. I haven't eaten in a couple days, actually."
"That's terrible!" said the vendor.
"Well, I've gone longer. And at least it means I could pay the rent on time. If I was late once more, my super might just toss me out."
"Sorry to hear that. Well, I hope your luck changes. Er, rather, it has already. I hope it keeps up."
"Thank you... Well..." the man took the money and put it in his jacket's inside pocket, looked, around, and started to walk away, toward the supermarket....
Ektomage followed him. There would be time before the man reached the market, it was several blocks away. Nothing else open at the moment, mostly just residences, curtains drawn, the only light coming from street lamps which couldn't illuminate the entire way. A patch of darkness between circles of light, say halfway between the newsstand and the market, would be a perfect place to appear to the man and shock him.
Ektomage was thinking of this as it followed the man, but just as he reached the perfect dark patch, it said to itself, "Screw it, he deserves the money. I wish something like that could've happened to me in life, not that I ever played the lottery. I couldn't afford the tickets, but I suppose a dollar doesn't mean much, if it's a chance to eat. Saving the dollar wouldn't do much good. Feh! I'll leave the poor guy be."
So it turned away and drifted off in search of somebody more deserving to scare....
Suddenly, ektomage had an idea. It disappeared, and reappeared outside the chain-link fence at Groom Lake, Nevada. It phased through the fence, and shuffle-floated its way across the barren expanse in search of Area 51.
Finally it came to the main complex. It spotted a likely installation for hiding UFOs, and tried to phase through the wall of the building. It didn't work. "How odd. Hmmm..." It floated all around the building, trying to get in at various points, but could never manage it. Finally, it decided to try phasing through a door instead of a wall. When ektomage was bounced back yet again, this time a sign appeared on the door, written in invisible letters only readable to a ghost, or someone with the proper equipment.
It read: "Nice try, Casper. When we say no one's getting in, we mean NO ONE. Good-bye."
The ghost sighed. "Shoulda known they'd be able to ghost-proof the place. Oh well..." And it disappeared, then reappeared on a street in Roswell, hoping to find a diner to hang out in for awhile....
And so, the junior Magicat found the ghost aimlessly floating around somewhere outside of Fresno. "What are you doing somewhere outside of Fresno?" it asked the ghost.
"Hey, zack, how's the teahouse? Um... I've never been to Fresno. We're nowhere near Fresno. What are you talking about?"
The cat sighed. "You just said we're not in Fresno, didn't you?"
The cat sighed again, much more protractedly. "Shall I speak to you as though you were an infant?"
"Goo goo. Goo googly googoo ga gooby goo."
The ghost sighed. "How bout just talking to me like I'm an idiot or something."
"Ah... my friend, anywhere that isn't actually in Fresno is teknikly somewhere outside of Fresno, isn't it?"
"Ah. I should have realized. Why did you choose Fresno in particular to say we were outside of? We're somewhere outside of pretty much everywhere."
"This is true, of course. Fresno just happened to be the place that popped to mind whilst I was speaking. Don't ask me why, I'm sure I don't know. I've never been there, either. Probably never will be."
"Zack, was there something you wanted?"
"Hmmm? Oh, yes. Quite. I notice... wait, did you ask about the teahouse?"
"No one's been in the place in like forever. I'm beginning to take it personally."
"Well, try not to finish taking it personally, there's no point. I'm sure it's not personal."
"I'm sure you're right. Besides, it's just one forum on your board, out of several forums that no one goes to. I'd think if anyone should take it personally, it would be you. In any event, the reason I'm here, I noticed you seem depressed."
"What else is new?"
"Yes. Well, I just thought I'd help you out."
"You seemed awfully busy the last time I saw you."
"Oh, that was just me being my usual mysterious self. Or something. Listen, you're looking for a place or people to haunt, yeah?"
"You're not gonna have much luck, as all the good haunting spots have been taken for a long time. I think you need rather to find some place to just forget about things for awhile."
"The ethereal fields, of course. Situated right alongside the lovely babbling ethereal stream. Great place for a picnic, wot."
"How on earth do I get to such a place?"
"On Earth? I wouldn't know. I doubt it's possible. You'll have to leave the Earth first, you silly ghost, you. I can show you the way, if you like."
The ghost shrugged. "I suppose I've nothing better to do. Lead on, old chum."
And so the cat touched a paw to the ghost's hand, and they both disappeared, only to reappear a moment later somewhere in the depths of outer space. Or... somewhere. Or... something. Ektomage had never experienced anything like where they reappeared. It wasn't physical, not even of the insubstantial sort of physics the ghost had dealt with since becoming a ghost. "Where are we?" it would have asked if any such thing as speech were any such thing as fundamentally possible, here.
To which zack would have responded, "Ether. Ether. Ether. Ether. Malkovich. Ether."
"Very funny," ekt would have said. Then it would have looked around. "Dem fine place, tho."
"Quite. Only of course ghosts, spirits, and a few select mythical creatures and noncorporeal entities know of or would even be capable of experiencing this. I figured it was about time you got hip, as they say. Well, listen, I'm going to pop back to the teahouse now, and raid the icebox. If no one shows up, it's more cream for myself, I say. You enjoy now, and don't let any of your friends bring you back to life or anything."
"Sure. I'll try to stop into the teahouse later. This is great. Later. Bye now." Zack, of course, had disappeared after ektomage's first "later," but ekt kept rambling on with such goodbyes, or would have if speaking were done around there. After awhile he stopped would-have-talking, and just silently enjoyed the ether. Mmm... ether.....
"Hello," said toastlad.
"Toastlad? Where am I? What's going on?" said the ghost.
"We in the future are being."
"Toastlad isn't so much with the knowing. Just appearing here I was. All lonely like. Then I thought, if ektomage is a ghost, he must still be around, unlike the other dead peoples."
"So I summoned you."
"I'm not a demon."
"Toastlad is knowing this. Toastlad just wanted to see a friendli. So where you beens?"
"I think I was in heaven. I'm not sure, I kind of lost track of time. I think time works differently there. How far in the future are we?"
"The 24th and 2 halves century."
"Ah. Yes, I couldn't have been there nearly so long. Why does my wrist hurt? Ghosts shouldn't have physical pain. Why the hell did you drag me out of heaven?"
"Hmmm. If you were in heaven why you didn't go there straight after you died? Could the answer have something to do with your wrist question?"
Ektomage shrugged. "I dunno, maybe. Whatever." He sighed. "Well then, I suppose I should get back to my own time somehow."
"Can you taking me with you?"
"I doubt it. Have you seen zack?"
"Hello," said the magicat, who suddenly appeared. "Ekt, how'd you like the ethereal fields?"
"Lovely. Toastlad here summoned me. I need to get back to my own time."
"Ghosts can time travel, I dunno if anyone ever mentioned that."
"I didn't exactly receive a copy of the Handbook for the Recently Deceased, no. So how do I do it?"
"You could click your heels together 3 times if you like, but there wouldn't be any point in it. Just think of a time and you can be then. Same as you think of a place to teleport."
"Oh, duh, I should've thought of that. So, can I take toastlad back with me, then?"
"He's alive. It wouldn't work for him. He's gotta find his own way."
"Okay. Thanks, old friend."
"No prob, Bob," said the cat, and vanished.
"Sorry I can't help," ekt said to toastlad.
"Tis okay. Finding my way I'm sure I shall be. Later then, or agos, rather."
"Sure, agos. Whatever." And the ghost vanished, and reappeared in his own time. "One of these days," he said to himself, "perhaps I must get back to heaven. But now... I think I'll go watch that musical episode of Buffy."
And so he did. And his wrist went on mysteriously hurting, despite his being dead. And depressed. Life is hell, but what can you do? "I suppose I'll have to get back to looking for someone to haunt, later," he said to himself. "It is October, after all...." Then he sighed one of his patented ghostly sighs. And sent off royalties to the ghost who had patented the sigh centuries ago. "I wish I had some beer around. Oh well. At least there's still a few brilliant things on the tv, occasionally. Don't cure my depression, but WHATEVER. God, I hate death. It's just as bad as life...."
Meanwhile, back in the future, toastlad said to himself, "I guess I don't need to mention that episode in my story, since it's more a part of friendli ekt's. Hmmm. Toastlad just being plot device to invoking poor old ekt out of heaven.... So sorry I am being abouts that... but I supposing someone had to do it, so his story could move on. But I think I go watch old ancient Buffy musical, before getting about my questli...."
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