The Necronauts (‘Ghost’ I.P.)
As the strange submarine like craft, piloted by her father, Doctor Orpheus, drifted through the ethereal plane; Karen saw the ghostly faces of undead spirits press themselves against its portals, peering in at her; grimacing and, looking at them, she shuddered.
“Go back, go back”, she thought she heard them whispering from somewhere inside of her head.
“Are you really sure father?”, she asked, turning to a white coated, grey haired old man whose eyes were pressed firmly against the lenses of a strange sort of periscope, “Are you really sure that mother can be here, in this dark place?”.
“This is the afterlife”, he said, “If she is not living she must be here. One of these spirits and I am going to find her”.
Just then, however, the old man and the girl saw some kind of bizarre creature made of the same substance as the spirits and with the same strange, ethereal green glow but resembling a kind of jelly fish with long tentacles.
“What is it father?”, she asked.
“Some sort of creature of the ethereal plane; possibly the soul of a prehistoric animal or even a dead member of some alien race. Who knows what exists here beside the souls of humans”, said her father, “But don’t worry, Karen. The Necrosub is surrounded by an antiectoplasmic field that repels the peculiar matter that these spirits are made of. The creatures tentacles should not be able to penetrate our craft”
But then she saw the jelly fish like creature reaching out with its tentacles and felt the vehicle shake and jolt sharply as it wrapped them round its hull.
“Father”, she exclaimed, “Are you certain we’re safe?”.
And then, suddenly, her eyes widening with terror, Karen saw one of the creatures giant, glowing tentacles passing, ghost-like, though the hull of the sub and then, lashing, whip-like, back and forth, struggling to grip hold of her.
“Father”, she started to scream, “Father help!”.
The old man seized hold of a fire axe from the wall of the sub and swung it towards the tentacle but the head of the axe passed harmlessly through it clanging against the floor.
“Focus”, said the man to himself, closing his eyes tightly and imagining the fireaxe in his hand and the creatures squirming tentacle in front of him.
Then, without opening his eyes, her father swung at the creature again and, this time, Karen saw the axe blade slicing through the tentacle and, from outside the walls of the sub, heard the horrible sound of the creature screaming in pain, its other tentacles slackening and loosening their grip upon the sub.
“Just like the mind of a medium, our thoughts seem to possess some incredible power in this world”, he said.
The girl sighed heavily with relief, her heart still pounding in her chest.
“This is not a good place father”, she said, “I feel that we shouldn’t be here. That we don’t belong here”.
“Belong”, scoffed her father, “Huh! Did Armstrong and Aldrin belong on the moon? Did Columbus belong in the new world? Don’t let your mind be overcome by superstitious fears, Karen. I am a scientist and I have a perfect right to pursue my scientific curiosity and push forward the boundaries of man’s knowledge”.
But then, suddenly, they heard the thrumming engines of the Necrosub stop and, the vehicle coming to a standstill, the lights within the sub flickered off and on.
“What’s wrong now?”, asked Karen.
“Something must be interfering with the ships propulsion”, said her father, “I may have to go outside and fix it”.
“Fix it?”, asked Karen, becoming distressed “No father you can’t. You can’t go out there”.
“Don’t worry”, he said, sitting down upon the floor of the sub and folding his legs into a lotus position like a meditating monk, “I won’t be going outside physically. I mean by the method of spiritual projection. What people call an out of body experience”.
He closed his eyes and his face took on a calm appearance.
“Now, I may be in a trance for a short time”, he said, “But don’t worry. I’m perfectly safe, just in a state of self-hypnosis that’s all”.
And then, suddenly, Karen heard a knocking from behind her and, turning round, saw the face of her father or at least the face of his spirit smiling in at her through a portal.
“Father?”, she asked in a confused voice.
But then, looking out through the portal, she saw the spirit of her father swimming towards the rear of the sub and inspecting its propeller.
“Aha”, said the man sitting cross legged on the floor in front of her, “It appears your fear is manifesting itself negatively. Just as my mind gave substance to that creatures tentacle, your fears and your desire to return home have manifested them self as a blockage of ectoplasm to the psychically driven propulsion system”.
“I am afraid, father”, said Karen.
“You musn’t be, my daughter”, said her father, “And you must understand how your mind can effect things in this world. Please trust me. I need you to be hopeful”.
“Alright”, she said, trying to think of something positive, a happy memory from her childhood about being with her mother.
She heard the engines of the sub start their thrumming again and then the vehicle continued to move forwards.
“That’s it, it’s working”, said her father.
But then her father’s face started to look troubled.
“Only there’s something else”, he said, “Something not right”.
The man sitting cross legged in front of her staggered to his feet, almost like someone who wasn’t used to walking and then he smiled at the girl, a strange smile which made her uneasy.
“I remember this”, he said.
“What?”, asked Karen.
“I remember having a body like this”, said her father, laughing peculiarly.
Then her father looked at her in a strange way; a way which frightened her.
“Father?”, she asked.
“I’m not your father”, he said, “I’m one of the spirits who was outside looking in. Now I’m inside. Inside your father’s body and there’s nowhere that you can run”.
He seized hold of her arm, gripping it tightly, then he pulled her roughly towards him.
“Oh yes”, he said, laughing lasciviously, “Now I remember what a body is good for”.
But, just then the fireaxe sprung up from where it had been lying and flew through the air, spinning twice and then burying itself hard in his shoulder.
The being in her father’s body screamed.
“Pain”, he said, screaming almost as if he were on fire, “I don’t like it. I want to get out”.
Suddenly her father’s body fell limp and lifeless, thudding to the floor.
“What happened?”, asked her real father, waking up, dazed, “And what is that pain? Why am I injured?”.
“Someone else was in your body, father”, she said, sounding shaken.
“Oh I see”, said her father, getting up, uneasily, and slumping down in the pilot’s seat, blood pouring from his wound over his chest, “Well, I’m very badly wounded. I’m going to need serious medical help. So we’ve got no choice but to go back now”.
“I’m glad”, she said, “This place is a nightmare. I don’t ever want to come here again”.
Just then, however both of them saw a bright, blinding golden light outside the necrosub that burst like torch beams through its portals and then, shielding their eyes they saw, coming through the light; her golden hair filled with light, a woman’s smiling face.
“Mother?”, asked Karen, recognizing the woman.
“You have to go back”, said her mother and then, somehow, the glowing woman walked forwards through the walls of the necrosub, “You have to go back and let me go”.
“I came looking for you”, said her husband, weak with blood loss.
The woman touched his wound with her glowing hand and the fireaxe that was buried in it vanished, the wound it had caused and even the tear in the fabric of his white coat vanishing as well.
“This is only a half way place”, she said, “I will have to move on but my spirit can’t move on unless you let it”.
“But I miss you”, he said, tears forming in his eyes.
“You must let my spirit move on”, she said.
The woman touched her daughters hand.
“I am always here”, she said, without moving her lips, from somewhere within her daughters head.
Then Karen saw her mother inside of her head smiling but she was no longer standing in front of her.
“We should go back now”, said Karen.
“Yes alright”, said her father, swivelling round in the pilots chair and rotating the vessels steering column so that the necrosub started to make a slow U-turn, “Let someone else be Armstrong”.
The ship headed back towards the whirling, glowing portal through which it had entered the After life.
“I’m glad though that we did come here and find mum like you wanted”, she said, “But now I feel like I’ve had enough of the afterlife. I just want to get on with life”.