Kent was at the computer typing up a proposal for work. He’d done it countless times before. He was almost done when his computer speakers started to hiss with static. It startled him and before anything happened to the proposal itself Kent saved and backed it up just in case. When it happened again he put in a call to Tech Services.
With work done for the day Kent headed for home. It was his turn to drive the car pool and after he dropped off Marcus and Ray the only one left was Jeanette. She always started to play with the radio once the others were gone and couldn’t complain about her choices. Kent left the radio tuned to the station she had stopped on after she got out. Some old rock tune was on that he remembered his parents listening to when he was a kid. Before it was over static cut off the end of the song and it left him feeling a little undone. He turned the radio off.
At home he changed for his town sponsored basketball league practice and walked to the b-ball court just down the street. Gene and Dante were there all ready and they started to pass the ball around warming up before the others got there. When they did the group put in a full practice before breaking up. Dante wanted Kent to hear the latest musical group he had down loaded on his MP3 player before he left the court. But only a few seconds into the music someone was loudly whispering Kent’s name making it hard to hear the song.
“Yah, I liked it I guess, but you didn’t make it easy to hear calling my name every few seconds.”
“What are you talking about? I didn’t say a thing. I thought you were fooling around.”
“No. It wasn’t me. But you heard it too? Weird!”
“Ya, weird.” Dante replied. But Kent was sure Dante didn’t believe him.
“Well, see you next practice.” and Kent left for the pizza place to pick up his regular weekly standing order of pepperoni and peppers with anchovies on the side. He added the mustard to them at home.
For the next few days the sound of static came out of Kent’s electrical appliances. He missed the game he wanted to see over the weekend because of snow on the screen and static over the announcers voices. After that they would turn themselves on when he came into a room. He was beginning to think he had somehow become electrically charged until there was another turn of events. They started whispering his name and talking to him.
This was not just hearing the name Kent in the static. Anyone could make static sound like that. This was his full name. Kent Joseph Nickerson came clearly spoken from the speakers along with odd words or statements. ‘Kitty’ was one of them but he didn’t have a cat. ‘Watch’ was another but he didn’t wear a watch, they bothered his wrist.
Was he supposed to watch someone’s cat? He didn’t even like cats and if he did have a pet it would have been a dog. How was this message getting through to him? Who could be tapping into his electronics and making them talk to him in this way. It never did it when anyone else could hear it, only when he was alone. Was someone watching his every move too? He collected everything with an electrical cord except his computer and moved them all into storage. He got himself a wind up alarm clock and pulled out his old acoustic guitar for entertainment. He also started watching the games at the local sports bar.
Kent started to get paranoid and was wearing ear plugs just to get some sleep at night so he couldn‘t hear the occasional static or voices. His boss had warned him about his lack of progress at work and no one believed his computer was talking to him. He’d seen them making faces and hand motions in the air meaning that he was nuts. They didn’t even try to hide it. In fact he had found a package of nuts on his desk after the first day he confided his troubles to his friend Jared in accounting.
He took a leave of absence from work. He wasn’t getting much done any longer and thought he needed the pay check he didn’t want to loose his job altogether. Kent was seeing a therapist about the voice. And when he told Mr. Hilliard toward the end of the session that he didn’t want to be around electronics ever again the computer on the therapist’s desk sprung to life and started cursing at them. Finally someone else was hearing the voice. Mr. Hilliard wasn’t convinced that what they heard wasn’t a fluke or a prank but had to admit that the computer was turned off when they started to talk.
Now Kent was ready to face the voice from his computer. When he got home he turned it on and started to talk to it. Asking it all sorts of questions from his keyboard. When that was taking too long he went out and got a microphone so he could talk to it directly.
At first the voice was hedgy and wouldn’t answer him but was playing a game of hints. But after a while the voice started to explain about a crush it had on him. Something it hadn’t followed up on but hoped that Kent would someday notice. When this voice left the office for good one day long ago it had waited for Kent to come looking for it. But Kent never came so the voice was now following him.
When he had to hinted that he didn’t know who it was that had wanted him enough to follow him and was bugging his apartment and office at work, the voice was furious and the lights blinked off and on and sparks came from the electrical outlets in the walls.
Kent made excuses about how thick headed he had always been about romance and the voice seemed to calm somewhat.
Finally he asked outright. “Who are you?”
“Kitty, Kitty Franco. I have been watching you.”
“Oh, Miss Franco from the file room. I didn’t know. I really didn’t I’m sorry to say. You were helpful I remember now. We had that little running joke about getting married so the others didn‘t think we were meeting for more than work.”
“You didn’t come.”
“How could I find you after you left? I don’t have access to personal files. Once you left some other helpful person was there with the files when I asked for them.”
“You didn’t even come to the funeral.”
Funeral? “What funeral?”
“My funeral!” More sparks. “After I got hit by that car out in front of the building! You put money into the collection for flowers but never got around to signing the card with the others. I thought, I hoped, that you were going to come and bring your own flowers and card, but you didn’t.” The computer was quiet for a while waiting for a reply but Kent was still stuck on the fact that he was talking to a ghost. That no one had bugged his place or was playing tricks on him. But she had died years ago.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t know that you would see I wasn’t there. I was sorry, but I don’t go to funerals. I never have. It’s a thing with me.”
“Even with people who love you?”
“Yes, I didn’t go to my mothers funeral.”
“That’s right, she told me when I met her here. I just forgot. I‘ll forgive you if you tell me you love me again.”
“I don’t remember ever telling you that a first time?”
“Yes, when I brought you the Stockton file. You said, ‘Miss Franco I love you. We’ll have to get married so we can stop meeting like this.’ It was the first time we started to play the game so the others wouldn‘t know we loved each other. There was a strict non dating policy at work, but we were getting around that with our little game.”
Now Kent understood. She really did think he loved her and not that he was just joking with another employee. The no dating policy let him feel safe in teasing and playing games with the women at the office. He never crossed the line of harassment. The others surely knew he was just having a bit of fun. And now he had a new problem. How could he get rid of a ghost that was in love with him? He thought hard.
“Aren’t you supposed to go into a light or something?” he asked hopefully.
“I did. That is why it took so long to come back and let you know I wouldn’t leave you again. That is where I met your mother. She wishes you would take better care of yourself by the way.”
“Don’t you want to go back there? Isn’t it nicer than here?”
“It was nice but I wanted to be with you. You were the only one to tell me you loved me. And since we never got to be married in the flesh I decided to stay with you until you can come to me.”
Kent told the boss he found out he was allergic to plastic and was taking allergy medication. But when she wouldn’t leave him alone by deleting files every time a female employee came into the room he told the boss he needed to leave the corporation. He took a severance package and he sold everything he owned. He got a piece of land in the back of beyond and had the radio taken out of the car before he drove out there. He left the car a days hike out from where he made his cabin and he’s learned to live off the land. Kent doesn’t have one electrical device.
Kent never wanted to hear Kitty’s voice again because she had ruined his life. She wouldn’t believe he didn’t love her and wouldn’t leave him alone. He had even tried to have an exorcism, but since he didn’t believe in a God and Kitty being an insane spirit, it hadn’t worked.
In the end he was forced to leave his life to get away from her and he lives in the back of beyond to this day as far as I know. Kent knows Kitty is still there but he doesn’t have to listen to her anymore. He only hopes that she will have given up by the time he dies.
Where do spirits go to get away from each other?