The body in the chair sat at an awkward angle, lips mismatching. The shadows of the room arched and hollowed its face. Sunken eyes stared unseeing at the floor.
Fingers ran over his flesh, which crumpled and flaked as if touched by paint stripper.
The smell had reached her nostrils so many times before, decay and decomposition. It was disturbingly delicious. She patted her pocket where loose tablets jingled. She was supposed to take them every three hours to stop the manifestations and dampen her powers, but where was the fun in that?
Her mother had forced her to take them every day since she was sixteen and everything had started happening. The old woman had wanted a nice normal girl. Instead, she’d got a girl with eyes that sought out the dead.
The corpse crackled as she bent its fingers back, dust spraying from the break. It had been there for a long time. Undisturbed, the spiders had crept into its cavernous skull, made homes and long since departed.
She smiled to herself and settled on a stool nearby.
The tablets were to ‘help her’, but she knew their real purpose were to control. She pretended that she was still taking them. The tablets in the original bottle had all been replaced with sucrose tablets she’d stolen from the pharmacy, painstakingly marking them with the same letters as the real things.
Nobody knew that they weren’t real. Nobody suspected a thing.
She concentrated on the corpse before her. It was time to test herself, to make sure that she could bend the dead soul to her will. She’d been practising as often as she could on the body before her, much to the spirit’s dismay.
They had a mutual loathing for each other. Not that it mattered when she was in control.
Jessie smiled to herself, watching his ghost slink about the room. He wouldn’t agree to being shoved back into his collapsing body, but he had no choice. If she was to get away from home, the pills, her panicked parents and the doctors they kept bringing, then she needed to get really good at this.
Then, if they ever came after her she could protect herself. She could stop them from taking her in, forcing her to take the tablets that dulled her senses and made her feel like a zombie. They wouldn’t be doing that any more.
With a hearty mental push, she shoved the spirit back into his body. The corpse shuddered and convulsed. His unhinged jaw wobbled, dust and death choking in his throat.
The cold welcome of the afterlife swept in around her ankles, giggling happily that its little necromancer was finally using her powers. She grinned to herself, mad eyes lighting with a spectral blue fire as the corpse struggled to its feet.
The spirit screamed, strangled sounds scraping its decomposing windpipe, as it was forced to do her bidding. They reached the girl’s ears with perfectly clarity. Her manic laughter echoed around the room.
Everything was working perfectly.