Soul Insurance

Soul Insurance

Are You Afraid Of Dying? You Don’t Have To Be! Buy Soul Insurance Today!

Everyone knows the spheres of light that mingle with society are souls. When a person dies their soul leaves the body until it’s time for reincarnation. Only the privileged can afford soul insurance, a way to continue on after dying.

The living don’t know what the afterlife holds, that period of time between bodies. They know nothing about life as a soul. Do souls think and feel? How do they fly up in the clouds? Do they take any part of their old life into the new one?

Only Connor has the answers.

Connor was born able to communicate with souls. He’s tried to keep his ability hidden since he was a child. But Brooke, a woman with whom he shares a strange connection, needs the help of someone who can understand both worlds. They just have to avoid becoming souls themselves.


    Connor gazed above him as Mrs. Madison read to the kindergarten class.  The balls of light, no larger than a basketball, floated above the children as they sat in a group.  He was amazed at his teacher’s ability to ignore them.  The rest of his classmates ignored the lights as best they could, but couldn’t help pointing and smiling as they circled overhead.  The lights seemed to be playing with each other.

    “Class, please,” Mrs. Madison said.  “They’re just souls.  We see them every day.”

    “Who are they, Mrs. Madison?” Liz asked, sitting next to Connor.

    “Well, I don’t know.”

    Danny raised his hand in the back.  “Is it true that when you die, and your soul goes free, you can do whatever you want?”

    Mrs. Madison laughed.  “It certainly would seem that way, wouldn’t it?  But I’d hope they wouldn’t willingly interrupt a class.”

    The class giggled briefly, and looked at the souls above as they danced and moved about near the ceiling.  There were three in total.  Liz pinched Connor’s hand next to him.  He flinched and scowled at her before watching the souls once again.

    “Hello,” Mrs. Madison said, addressing the three souls.  “I don’t mean to be rude, but I’d like to read to my class without any distractions.”

    One of the souls descended quickly and circled Mrs. Madison’s head.  She swatted at it, annoyed, before it rejoined its friends above the class.  The children laughed as their teacher tried to regain her composure.

    “Very funny,” she said.  “I wouldn’t doubt if you were my mother.  She used to love picking on me.”

    Jerry pushed his glasses up on his nose.  “My father died.  Do you think one of those souls could be him?  He stayed with me for a while, but then he went away.”

    The teacher shifted uncomfortably.  “That could be, Jerry.  No one really knows where souls go when they decide to move on.”

    “A lot of times they go into a baby, right, Mrs. Madison?”

    “That’s right.”

    “Holy crap, could you imagine being that kid’s father?  Look at the glasses on him.”

    The male voice came from above.  Connor looked up at the souls as they continued to dance.  He couldn’t tell which of them was talking.  The souls dimmed and brightened all the time, like a dying light bulb, but there was never any change in appearance when they spoke.

    “That’s not nice,” another voice said, a woman.  “He’s a sweet kid.”

    “Oh, I’m not saying he’s not a good kid, just that his glasses are huge.”

    “What are we doing here, anyway?  Ten million things to do in the world, and we’re hanging out in a kindergarten class.  You know there’s a soccer tournament in England today.”

    “Anne’s got a thing for the first grade teacher four classes up.”

    “I do not.”


    He jerked his head back down at the sound of his name and stared at Mrs. Madison.  The eyes of the entire class were on him.  She must have asked him a question he’d missed.


    “I know it’s hard, but you really have to pay no attention to the souls.  If you ignore them, they’ll go away.”

    Connor nodded, and heard laughing above him.

    “Just what the hell does she think we are?  Ignore them, and we’ll go away?”

    “My mother was like that.  A soul peeked in on her one time when she was in the shower.  Scarred her for life, I think.  She wouldn’t even smile or snarl at a soul after that.  It’s like she forgot they were alive once.”

    “Eh, I have to admit, the first thing I did after I died, after crying for a day, was go to the women’s locker room at my gym.”


    “I couldn’t help it.”

    “Come on, let’s get out of here.  Let the teacher deal with the little munchkins.”

    The three souls drifted to the window and moved through the pane of glass.  They circled one another before flying into the sky.

    “I’m sorry, Mrs. Madison.  It’s just sometimes they’re so loud.”

    The class whispered amongst themselves and laughed.  Mrs. Madison narrowed her eyes at him in confusion before shaking her head.

    “Connor, we can’t talk to souls.  We really don’t even know if they can understand everything we say.”

    He opened his mouth to protest, but saw the look.  It was the same look his parents gave him whenever they caught him talking to a soul in the house, or the grocery store, or outside in the backyard.  He heard his parents talk at night about the nature of children, and how most of them talked to souls.  They talked to them like an imaginary friend, knowing they wouldn’t get a true response back.

    That wasn’t the case with Connor.

    Mrs. Madison read for another ten minutes before another soul drifted in through the wall from the outside.  It didn’t float near the ceiling, but hovered lower, just off to Mrs. Madison’s side.  She sighed loudly as the children’s attention again wandered.

    “Ignore the soul, class, and it’ll go away.”

    “Janet, can you hear me?  Please, tell me you can hear me.”

    The soul cried, glowing slightly dimmer.  Connor watched it as it simply hovered.  He could hear the sadness, the despair in the spirit’s wails.  Liz pinched him again on the wrist.


    “Pay attention,” she whispered.  “Or you’ll get in trouble again.”

    “This can’t be,” the soul cried.  “It’s…not my time yet.  I’m not ready to go.  Janet, please, talk to me.”

    Mrs. Madison continued to read, only giving the soul a quick glance before looking back down to her book.  The spirit didn’t move, didn’t dance around.  The rest of Connor’s class managed to ignore it, but he couldn’t put the cries out of his head.

    “The car came out of nowhere.  I can’t be dead.  Janet, listen, I’m gonna go to one of those soul resurrection places.  They have to be able to help, right?  I’ll try to get them to understand me.”

    “Mrs. Madison,” Connor said, raising his hand.  “I think your husband is dead.”

    There was an eerie silence as his classmates looked at each other.  The few children around him scooted back, leaving him alone.

    “What did you say?” Mrs. Madison asked, her face turning red.

    “That soul is trying to talk to you,” he said, pointing.  “I think he died in an accident.”

    His teacher and the soul raised their voices at once, making him wince.

    “Connor Leland!” she shouted, using his full name.

    “Kid!  You can hear me?” the soul asked.

    Mrs. Madison rose to her feet.  “What a horrible thing to say!”

    The soul flew around Connor.  He ducked and covered his head as his classmates shouted and backed away further.

    “Look!  You’ve got it upset.”

    Connor peeked through his fingers, past the spirit, to Mrs. Madison.  “It’s a he.”

    She grabbed Connor by the arm and pulled him to his feet.  He let her lead him across the class and out the door.  The soul flew behind them, keeping his distance.

    Connor could barely hear what either of them were saying.  They spoke over each other.

    “I don’t know what’s gotten into you, Connor.  Let’s go call your parents.”

    “Kid!  Hey, kid!  Can you really understand me?  You’re not just yanking my chain up there?”

    “Mrs. Madison,” Connor said.  “I know you said we can’t understand what souls say, and I heard that on TV, but I can.  Your husband is a soul now.”

    Connor told his parents the same thing before, and they didn’t believe him.  Souls were everywhere, moving through the sky, the streets, the cities, the entire world.  Everyone could see them, but souls couldn’t communicate with the living.

    Except for Connor.


    The more time passed, the more Connor worried.  He’d been sitting in the principal’s office for the past two hours.  The school secretary only stopped in twice.  The first time was to tell him his parents were on the way.  Both of them.  The second time was to offer him something to drink.  Connor didn’t think he’d drink anything for the next month.

    He didn’t understand what he’d done wrong.  The soul wanted to speak with Mrs. Madison.  He was only trying to help.  His parents didn’t believe him either, but they never yelled or got angry with him.

    He dreaded the arrival of his parents.  They wouldn’t punish him, but they’d give that familiar look, almost like they were afraid of their own son.

    “Hey, kid.”

    Connor spun to see a soul three feet in front of him.  It floated perfectly still, only occasionally dimming and brightening.  Connor tried to shove it, only to move through it and end up on the other side.

    “You got me in trouble!”

    “Wow, you actually can hear me?”

    “Yeah, but no one believes me.”

    “Well, you can’t blame them.  I am…was forty years old, and I’ve traveled all over the world.  I never met anyone that could talk to a soul.  You see those jokers on TV, but they’re all fake.  Your name is Connor?  I’m David.”

    “Hi, David.”  Connor watched as David moved halfway through the office door to peek outside, and then came back.  “You died today?”

    “Yeah,” he said sadly.  “One minute I’m crossing the street to go to the store, the next I’m looking down at my body from the sidewalk.  A poor mother pushing a stroller saw the whole thing, even my soul leaving my body.  Too bad I’m not rich and have one of those soul insurance policies.”

    Connor watched David intently.  He’d spoken to many spirits before, but never one recently deceased.

    “What are you gonna do?”

    “I don’t know.  I wish I could get a beer.”

    “Yuck.”  Connor wrinkled his nose.

    David laughed.  “Just wait until you get older.”  He suddenly floated quickly to his right, near the office door.  “Did you hear that?”

    The soul again moved halfway through the door before pulling back inside.

    “Crack the door open, Connor.  They’re talking about you out there.”

    Connor opened the door only an inch as quietly as he could.  His parents stood side by side in front of the secretary’s desk.  Mom still wore her nice clothes from the office, Dad his policeman’s uniform.  Dad was filling out a form, and didn’t look happy.

    Mrs. Madison stepped into the main office.  She gave Connor’s parents a sad smile as she extended her hand.

    “Thank you for coming.”

    “What happened?” Mom asked.

    David sighed next to Connor.  “Janet.”

    Dad put his arm around Mom’s shoulders.  “Is our son okay?”

    “Of course, he’s fine.  But he was…disruptive in class today.  He has an active imagination, doesn’t he?”

    “What do you mean?”

    “He thinks he can understand souls.  He was saying my husband is dead.”

    Dad ran a hand through his thick hair as Mom lowered her head.  “He’s always been…different.”

    “I understand.  When I was his age, a soul latched onto me.  I thought it was my grandma, and treated it that way for weeks.  It spent time with me, hung around while I played like a maniac.  But it never did talk to me, and I honestly doubt it was my grandma.  You may want to have Connor talk to someone.”

    “Can we take him home now?”


    Connor jumped back a few steps as the three adults headed toward the office.  David floated at his side.  Dad looked back and forth from his son to the soul as he led Mom and Mrs. Madison inside.

    “Come on, Connor,” Dad said.  “Let’s go home.”

    “Dad, I’m not lying.  I really can talk to souls.”

    “We’ll talk about it later.  Get your backpack.”

    “But…this is Mrs. Madison’s husband!  He died today.  We’ve been talking in here.”

    Mom knelt in front of him and held his hands.  David floated away slightly to give them space.

    “You have to stop pretending, okay?  What you’re saying is really hurting Mrs. Madison.”


    It wasn’t David, but a new voice out in the main office.  A man wearing shorts and a Hawaiian shirt carefully poked his head and looked around.  He smiled at everyone, even David, before joining them in the side office.

    “Is everything okay?” he asked.

    “Yes, Gary, thanks for coming,” Mrs. Madison said, and kissed Gary on the lips.  David let out a small cry before dimming slightly.  “Connor, this is my husband, Gary.”

    Connor’s jaw dropped.  He stared at Gary, and then turned to face David.  He hovered up and down slightly, and Connor could barely make out that he was crying.

    “Who are you?”

    David said nothing.  Mom and Dad looked at Mrs. Madison, embarrassment written across their faces.

    “We’re so sorry.”

    “It’s alright.  So, you see, Connor?  My husband isn’t dead.  He’s right here.”  The teacher grabbed her husband’s hand and gave Dad a sad smile.  “Just let me know if you need anything.”

    They’d turned and took one step toward the door when David spoke.

    “Connor.  I need you to just say my name for me.  That’s all you have to do.”

    “Uh, okay.  David.”

    Mrs. Madison whirled around, fear flashing across her face.  “What did you say?”


    The tension thickened in the room.  Mrs. Madison’s lip quivered, only for a moment, as Gary looked from his wife’s face back to Connor, and the glowing soul next to the young child.

    “Your son needs help,” Mrs. Madison said, and pulled her husband along, not once looking back at David.

    “I thought she loved me.  She told me she did.  I guess that was a lie,” David said.

    Connor took a step toward the soul.  “Are you gonna be okay?”

    “I’m dead, Connor.  No, I’m not gonna be okay.  But…thank you.”

    “So, you’re not Mrs. Madison’s husband?”

    “Stop,” Mom said, covering her face with her hands.  “Please, stop talking to the spirit.”

    “No.”  David floated near the door to watch Mrs. Madison leave.  “I thought I might have been someday.  She kept asking me to wait for her, just a little while longer.  I’m a fool.”

    “I’m really sorry.  I’ve talked to a lot of girl souls before.  A few of them fly up by my bedroom window to say hi sometimes.  Maybe you can marry one of them.”

    “Connor, stop!” Mom shouted.

    David laughed.  “Yeah, maybe so.  Look, I’m gonna get moving before your mother has a heart attack over there.  It was nice meeting you, Connor.”

    “You, too.  Goodbye.”


    Neither Connor or his parents said a word as they left school and started the drive home.  The only sound in the car were voices speaking in strange code from Dad’s police radio.  Dad and Mom didn’t talk to each other.  Mom would only stare at him as they stopped at the occasional red light, doing the talking-without-words thing that parents do.  Dad wouldn’t return the look; he would only stare straight ahead.  Every now and then he would glance in the rear-view mirror at Connor.

    They were across from one of their favorite places to eat when Mom finally spoke.

    “Should we find a doctor?”

    Dad said nothing, but cut off two cars as he switched lanes.  Three souls scattered as they hovered in the street, and one car barely missed clipping them.  Dad screeched to a halt as he parked in an empty lot.

    “What is wrong with you?” Mom shouted.


    Silence once again.  Dad rolled down his window and looked out at the world.  Connor followed his father’s lead.  They watched as people and souls lived their lives.  Men and women walked the streets as some spirits mingled with them.  Other souls stayed to themselves above the buildings, while others flew in the afternoon sky.  The world was a constant symphony between the living and the light.  Some of the larger cities didn’t even bother turning on streetlights at night, due to the presence of souls.

    “I’m sorry I was late,” Dad told Mom.  “We had to break up another riot at that new soul resurrection center downtown.  And a tenth victim was found last night.”

    “Ten people?  My God.”

    “Yeah.  It…was bad.  We’ll talk about it later.”

    Mom took a deep breath and glanced at Connor.  “What kind of doctor would we even have to see?”

    “Connor doesn’t need to see a doctor.”

    “What do you mean?”

    Dad turned in his seat to look at his son.  Connor smiled at his father before lowering his head.

    “Connor, do souls come up to you and talk?”

    He shook his head.  “No, not really.  I don’t think they know I can hear them.  They say some funny things.”

    “Are they nice?”

    “Most of them are.  But one in the park the other day called Mom ugly.  I didn’t like that.”

    “Connor!” Mom said.  She closed her eyes a moment before glaring at Dad.  “We talked about this.”

    “And we were wrong.”


    Dad smiled as he gestured to Connor.  “He wasn’t just playing, talking to an imaginary friend.  He really was talking to that soul back in school.”

    “See?” Connor said, beaming.  “I told you.”

    “Did you see his teacher’s reaction when Connor said that name?  She was cheating on her husband.”

    Mom said nothing as she looked at Connor.  He winced and stared at two souls as they stopped just outside the car.  They hovered for a moment before flying away.

    “They don’t think anyone can hear them.  So they talk loud sometimes.  They even wake me up outside the window.”

    “So, they actually talk?” Mom asked.  “They have voices and use words?  And you hear them?”

    Connor nodded at what he thought was an odd question.  How else would he have a conversation with a soul?

    His parents stared at each other, lost in their own thoughts.  Mom’s expression slowly took on a look of fear, and Dad couldn’t blame her.  They realized just how different their son was.

    Science could only explain so much about the mystery of souls.  Some information was common knowledge.  Every living creature had a soul, and upon death, the soul would exist without a body.  Reincarnation was the natural way for a soul to be reborn.  There was no happier moment for a couple wanting a child then when a soul settled into the mother’s womb after making love.

    But there were so many questions that science couldn’t answer.  What did souls do between lives?  Could they talk to each other?  Did they retain memories of their previous life until reincarnation?  How did they feel being surrounded by living people?  Could they feel anything at all?  Despite the advances of science, some questions could never be answered.

    Unless someone could simply ask the spirits.  Connor’s life would never be the same.

    “Connor, listen to me,” Dad said.  “You can’t tell anyone you can talk to souls.  You have to keep it a secret, okay?”

    He shrugged.  “Okay, Dad.  I won’t tell anyone.”

    “And don’t talk to strangers,” Mom added.  She smiled sheepishly at how silly she sounded.  “Remember how we told you not to talk to a person unless you knew them?  Well, the same thing goes for souls.”

    “I can’t really tell them apart.  But okay, Mom.  I only talk to a few who stop by my room at night.”

    She held her head in her hands.  “Souls peeking in on my son.  I don’t like this.”

    Dad laughed.  “They’re harmless.  Remember a few nights ago, and the soul that floated outside our window while we were—”

    “Hey!” Mom shouted, gesturing to Connor.  She was irritated at first, but then chuckled.

    “That’s what I’m gonna do when I go,” Dad said.  “Be a Peeping Tom.”

    “I want to be that, too,” Connor said.

    “I thought you wanted to be a top secret agent?”

    “I can be an agent and a Peeper Tom.”

    Peeping Tom.  And no, you can’t.”

    “Aww.  What’s a Peeping Tom?”

    The three shared a laugh, and Dad left the lot to merge with traffic once again.  He reached out and held his wife’s hand, giving her a reassuring smile.  They loved their son more than anything, and would continue to do so.  The fact that he could talk to souls didn’t change anything.

    Everything would be fine.


    Connor opened one eye as a light pulled him from his dream.  He didn’t know what time it was, but his body told him it was late.  Glancing around his bedroom, he saw a light under the bedroom door out in the hall.  It wasn’t the hall light, but the light of a soul.

    “Miss Johnson?” he said quietly.  “Is that you?”

    He thought of all the souls that visited him.  Most stopped by the bedroom window just before he went to sleep.  None of them ever went past the bedroom into the house, but Miss Johnson was the only spirit who visited late.

    “Miss Johnson?  I’m trying to sleep.”

    The spirit moved through the bedroom door, lighting up the room.  Connor rubbed his eyes and sat up in bed.

    “You woke me up—”

    “Connor, I need you to do exactly what I say.”

    It wasn’t Miss Johnson.  The voice belonged to the man he’d heard every day of his life.



    Connor looked at the spirit in confusion.  He saw Dad just that morning before he went to work, but a spirit was in his bedroom.  Dad wasn’t a spirit.

    “What’s going on—?”

    “No time.  I need you to go wake your mother.  Both of you need to get out of the house.  Now!”

    He jumped at the force of his last word, and nearly fell out of bed.  His father shouted once again when Connor reached for the light in the hall.

    “No!  No lights.  Let’s go get your mom.”

    “I’m scared, Dad.”

    “I know.  But just keep listening to me.  Hurry up, now.  But you have to keep quiet.”

    He trotted into his parents’ room, Dad following behind him.  Mom stirred from the light of the soul, and struggled to open her eyes as Connor shook her arm.

    “Connor?  Are you okay?”

    “Mom, Dad says we have to get out of the house.”

    “Daddy’s at work, dear.”

    “He’s right behind me.”

    Mom’s eyes lit up as she jolted upright.  She looked back and forth from the soul behind Connor’s shoulder to her son’s eyes.  Her face took on a look of despair as she covered her mouth.

    “Are you sure?” she asked, choking back tears.  “Are you sure it’s him?”

    “Grab her hand,” Dad said.  “Pull her if you have to.”

    Connor and Mom both jumped when they heard a window break downstairs.  Mom grabbed him by the shoulders.

    “Get under the bed and stay there.”

    He did as he was told, sliding under the bed.  Mom grabbed the house phone on the nightstand only to curse when it was silent in her ear.  She ran to the closet and rummaged through a box.  Dad floated nearby to give her some light in the dark bedroom.

    “I’m so sorry,” Dad said.  “Steve and I finally found him, a man named Mike Burns.  A routine trash complaint turns out to be the house of the serial killer we’ve been looking for.”

    Connor wasn’t sure if Dad wanted him to repeat his words to Mom, but he remained quiet.

    They both froze when they heard footsteps coming up the stairs.

    “Hurry,” Dad told Mom.  “Connor, don’t you move from under that bed.”

    The footsteps drew closer.  Mom dropped the bullet as she tried to load the gun.  Connor watched her hands shake as she bent over and tried to pick it up.

    “Well, hi there.”

    The voice came from the doorway.  Connor desperately wanted to look, but didn’t dare move an inch.

    “Stay away from my wife,” Dad said.

    “The picture in your husband’s wallet didn’t do you justice.  Very pretty.”

    Mom tried to load the gun, but the man charged her, stepping through the soul in front of him.  Connor flinched as he heard a cutting sound, and watched blood spray on the wall.  Dad cried out, and Mom fell to the floor.  Her eyes pleaded with Connor as she struggled to breathe.

    The man leaned down and peered under the bed.  Connor gasped at the evil, ugly face.

    “Hello, little boy.”

    “Run, Connor!” Dad shouted.

    He shoved himself back along the floor.  They both stood up at the same time, and Connor saw the long knife dripping blood in his hand.  Connor ran around the bed for the door.  The man reached out to grab the boy, but resistance at his foot stopped him from moving.  Mom held onto him as she continued to bleed.

    “Little bitch,” he said, kicking her.

    Connor heard his mother’s cries of pain as he ran down the hall.  He stopped at the top of the stairs and turned, not wanting to leave her.


    Light moved in the bedroom, and Dad stopped by the door.  “Run!  Get away!”

    He ran down the stairs, aiming directly for the front door.  He turned the lock for the doorknob, but there was also a lock above it and a chain he couldn’t reach.

    “Hey, kid,” the voice said upstairs.  “Are you down there?”

    Connor ran from the door and slid in the space between the couch and wall.  He heard footsteps descending the stairs, and saw light in the corner of the living room.

    “I got your mommy’s gun.  Why don’t you come on out and I can teach you to shoot?  You can call me Uncle Mike.”

    “Don’t listen to him, Connor,” Dad said.  “And don’t answer me.  Don’t let him know where you are.  I know you’re scared, but I’m not gonna try to find you right now.”

    Mike turned on the light, killing every shadow in the living room.  Connor jumped slightly, but remained quiet behind the couch.

    “And who are you, little firefly?” Mike said, addressing the soul.  “Are you Officer Leland?  Or his partner?  Hell, you could be my father.  You souls should have name-tags or something.”

    “I’ll be right back,” Dad called.  “Be brave, Connor.  I’ll only be a second.”

    He floated across the living room toward the dining room, disappearing out of sight.

    “Oh, now what’s this?” Mike said.  “Should I follow the bouncing light?  Should I ignore it?  Is this a trick?”

    Connor remained quiet.  He could see Mike’s shoes under the couch as he walked through the living room.

    “Listen to me,” Dad called from the dining room.  “He came in through the bathroom.  The window’s broken.  You can climb on the toilet and jump out.  I’ll distract him.  When I say, you run like crazy.”

    He wanted to protest.  He wanted to hug his father and mother and cry in their arms.  The only thing he could do is hang on Dad’s words and stay where he was.

    The seconds stretched to minutes as Mike toured the first floor of the house.  He whistled casually as he looked under the dining room table and behind curtains.  Dad’s voice made Connor jump as Mike opened a closet and shoved his head inside.


    Connor squeezed out from behind the couch and ran.  He was halfway across the dining room when Mike turned from the closet.

    “Whoa there, little boy.”

    Mike stepped forward, but the soul in the corner flew directly at his face.  He swatted at the spirit, shouting and cursing.  Connor closed the bathroom door behind him and locked it.  As he backed up, Dad moved through the door.

    “Hurry.  He’s coming—”

    The door cracked as Mike kicked it open.  It crashed into the wall, passing through Dad.  Connor had never been so afraid in his life as he looked at the anger in Mike’s eyes.

    “Come here, kid,” he said, grabbing Connor’s shirt.  “I want to talk to you.”

    Connor cried and struggled as Mike dragged him back into the dining room.  Dad flew near Mike’s face, but the killer didn’t budge.

    “Don’t you dare hurt my son.”

    “I’m guessing this is your old man here, with how energetic he is,” Mike said, dropping Connor to the floor.  He admired the gun he’d taken from Mom.  “I still need to teach you how to shoot.”

    Connor covered his head and waited for the inevitable.

    “I’m doing you a favor, kid.  Killing your father, that was his own fault.  But I don’t want to break up a family, so you’ll all be together.  Three little fireflies.  I just don’t want your mommy to go to waste, so after I kill you—”

    Mike stopped talking as the shots rang out.  Every muscle in Connor’s body tensed as he curled into a tight ball.  He waited to feel pain, blood, anything.  He risked opening an eye when he heard a thud next to him.

    Mike stared back at him, his mouth opening and closing like a fish out of water.  The anger was gone from his face, replaced by shock and pain.  Over his body Connor saw Mom on her side by the front door.  She held their backup gun in both hands.


    He slipped once on the pool of blood forming slowly around Mike Burns.  Dad was right behind him.  Mom winced in pain as Connor hugged her, getting blood all over his pajamas.

    “My brave boy,” she whispered, struggling to smile.

    “Call 911, Connor, now!” Dad said.

    Connor rushed to the phone as Mom looked at the soul hovering near her face.

    “I know it’s you,” she said, trying to touch the spirit.  “We saved our son.”

    “Don’t talk, honey.  Just lie still.”

    “Daddy, the phone doesn’t work.”

    Connor jumped as someone shouted in rage.  He spun and saw a soul hovering over Mike Burns’ body.  Dad floated closer to Connor, settling in between Mike and his son.

    “You can hear me?” Mike said.  “How interesting.”

    The angry soul flew across the living room, moving over Mom and through the front door.  Connor and Dad moved back to Mom as she lay motionless on the landing by the door.  Connor gently shook her shoulder, but she didn’t move.

    “Wake up, Mommy.”  Tears ran down his face.  “You have to wake up.”

    She didn’t wake up.

    Father and son cried together for nearly a minute until the area around Mom’s stomach started to glow.  Dad had seen death many times, and sighed sadly as the light rose from her body.  It started out small, but grew to the size and shape of a typical soul.

    Mom moaned and wavered for a moment in the air.  “Oww, my chest hurts.  What happened?”

    “Mommy!  You’re okay?”

    He rushed forward to hug his mother, and passed through the soul.  He couldn’t touch his parents.  He’d never be able to touch them again.

    “Oh, God,” she said, her voice cracking with emotion.  “Am I…are we…?”

    “Yeah,” Dad said slowly.  “I’m afraid we are.”

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