The Ghost Profiler
by George S. Karagiannis
After several months, I remember father inviting me for the first time of my contradictory life into the library. I was fascinated to have my first opportunity to become an eye witness of this legendary and forbidden room.
Father was sitting by his mouldy wooden desk. “The ointment has way too many flies, my son.” He was very skeptical.
I knew not the use of this expression and was unable to draw any meaning or conclusion, so I decided to remain silent. I guess he meant that somebody, perhaps the Oracles themselves, had started getting suspicious for the existence of the Dead Poet Society book.
That day he explained he had to hurry in his effort to make the book known in the world, and therefore I would be the one responsible for the housework. I would have to collect the turpin flowers and makazaya fruits from then on. I would have to boil them to prepare the soup for both of us. But even most importantly, I would have to take both morning and afternoon shifts on goat herding and milking.
The future I had envisioned for the years to come was nothing more than the life of a psoriatic goat. And because Father would spend more time at the library room with the stupid society of his, I would be forced to live a hermit life with my only company that of my own ghosts.
Out of reflex I shed tears, complaining I could not stand all this labor. All I wished for was to get educated and keep on with the material he was teaching me. Father insisted he was running out of time, he had to push the book of thoughts out in the world, before it was too late.
After all the ointment had already too many flies, right?
* * *
At the beginning I woke up before dawn, since I had to spend my full day on predefined tracks within the Emerald Fields. At least father had spent some minutes to help me out by drawing a map of the most time- and route-efficient pathways.
I first guided the goats in search of fresh grass on the pastures. While keeping my eye on the animals, I gathered some orange turpin flowers that had bloomed at the meadow after the night rains. A little later, I headed to the hydroponics facility to dig up the makazaya fruits. After finding my way back, I dealt with the first milking for the day and hopefully, I was done with all these by noon.
After cooking and eating my awfully-spiced violet soup, I strived for a one-hour rest only to find myself entangled in a surreal dream, infiltrated most of the time by one of my many ghosts. Those days, my ghosts put me on an unpleasant situation: they started complaining I no longer had time for them. I kept telling them it was impossible to give them a face since I had been shoveling goat turds all day... And, I mean, no child can handle that many turds, right?
Lucky me, the afternoon shift was less laborious, because I didn’t have to bother about harvesting the violet-soup ingredients. My only duties were to pay attention to the herd dynamics and sunset time of course. The number one rule in the Emerald Fields still stood: you had to get back home early, for it wasn’t worth the risk to expose yourself as an appetizer to the wormolytes during their night surface raids.
* * *
After some months of hard work, I managed to become so sharp in this scheduled chain of tasks that I had plenty of time to kill. Hesitantly, I decided to give some room to my ghosts to come forward and emerge in the Emerald Fields. Truth is, I needed some warm company while I waited for the goats to finish eating. I never considered that pulling my ghosts out of my gloomy sleeping room could potentially cause any harm, no matter that most of them were creepy and gross, almost guaranteed to cause a heart attack to anyone who saw them.
Initially, I summoned my ghosts in remote areas, where there was no evidence of people loitering around. For a while, I started enjoying their visits on regular intervals and felt less lonely during the day.
Ultimately, this led me to an even better idea. Out there in the pastures, I also brought along a small light-paper notebook, the old one I had used for my courses, and started writing down notes regarding each ghost’s personal story, characteristics and self-acclaimed purpose in the universe.
Upon releasing the concealed artist from my continuously evolving mind, I combined those manuscripts with fuzzy outlines and portrait-like sketches in a fair attempt to capture their looks. Towards the end of the page, all these elements were pooled together into a unique pattern, which actually constituted a complete and detailed ghost profile.
There were many moments I had questioned the integrity of my mental balance for psychoanalyzing so many spirits in a row, but then I said to myself, “Who cares?” I had achieved the ideal equilibrium between life and death, existence and nonexistence, reason and emotion, logic and paranoia... I mean, not many people achieve the nirvana state as easily as I did, right?
During my interactions with them, I noticed each ghost depicted a unique and phenomenal case of being. Some profiles from the most intriguing ghosts are still stuck in my mind, even after all these years.
The “Plague Charon” was perhaps the most frightening one. He looked like an Oracle wearing a dark cloak. The only difference was that he didn’t wear a veil to hide his face. One could discern the Plague Charon’s cracked skin, resembling decomposed soft tissue fractions loosely attached to his egg-shaped skull. His veins and arteries were exposed in face crevices clogged with bugs on their edges like abandoned cul-de-sacs. His eyes popped out like two frosty pebbles, giving petrifying looks with a hypnotizing red in their decayed irises.
I knew only a little about him, because he was not a talkative person... Well, I mean “ghost.” All he shared was that he used to be a notorious drug dealer, living in a futuristic neon-lit tower, somewhere in the middle of nowhere in a hyper-populated Chinatown. The people living there were either starving to death or eating sewer animals. He went about his business and spread death to the innocent by distributing a drug by the name of “Angel’s Blood.” Eventually, he was brutally beaten to death by thugs that were his “business associates,” and that brought an end to his drug empire.
One of the most interesting profiles was that of the “Holes Child.” This ghost was a puzzling case of a murdered infant. The baby’s body had been found buried in the back yard of a nurse’s house. The Holes Child explained it was a victim of a the nurse, a psychopathic killer and self-proclaimed “angel of death.” She murdered hundreds of babies by making holes in their soft abdominal skin and internal organs with a stapler.
The “Everwaiting Lady” was a stalker of male models, a very schizoid personality. She always appeared with blood flowing from her mouth and forcing an icy smile. She let me know she had murdered and cannibalized her boyfriend in a fit of jealousy one night, while he was sleeping. She kept saying her boyfriend was cheating on her with cheap street whores and that he deserved to die and be consumed for his sins.
When I questioned her, though, it turned out that the poor fellow hadn’t ever met her. She was quite disoriented. The Everwaiting Lady had built up her own world, believing that she was having an emotional relationship with all the men she wanted to. Her potential victims never appeared for their assignations because they had never actually been scheduled. She ended up waiting for them too long and murdered them as punishment for their choices.
The “Raped Nymph” was a young teenaged girl who, as indicated by the name I gave her, had been viciously raped by eleven soldiers in a village rampaged by infantry forces during a big world war. She recalled the soldiers had unleashed a thundering sexual frenitis by torturing villagers physically and mentally, by raping women and men without merit or distinction and by sodomizing their perverted fantasies on children, adults or even elderly people.
Several years after the war was over, the raped woman escaped the psychiatric clinic she was restricted to and, holding a cook’s knife, she tracked down and murdered all eleven men. Following each execution, the raped nymph exfoliated their genitals, and used them all to craft a talisman, which she always kept around her neck. The talisman is still drawn in my sketchbook, exactly at her profile photo space.
All those details were more than enough to create a list of complete ghost profiles, strictly attached to their troubled pasts, which I visualized through their lifeless eyes. Inspired by their actions or way of dying, I preferred to keep their anonymity and thus I gave them only cool descriptive labels such as the Plague Charon, the Everwaiting Lady, the Holes Child, the Raped Nymph and many others. I knew their real names, but there was no point in using them. My labels were ideal for starting myths and legends about long-forgotten souls. And besides, naming dead people scared me a lot.
I mean, they had already “departed” and names simply didn’t matter anyway, right?
* * *
Copyright © 2013 by George S. Karagiannis