“Hey! Look at me! I know you can see me!” the bastard who wouldn't shut the hell up demanded.
Tristan cringed inwardly, but on the outside he remained calm, cold and unaffected. A few seconds later the man screamed in frustration as he jumped in front of him, trying to block Tristan’s path. Tristan rubbed the back of his neck as he smoothly sidestepped the man and the metal pipe sticking out of his neck.
Tristan could have easily stepped through him and dealt with the sudden chilling effect that always accompanied that move, but he detested that sensation, always had. As calmly as he could, he walked straight for his front door, leaving the man trailing after him.
“Come on, don’t be a dick! All I want you to do is go to my house while my wife is away and grab some things out of the house before she finds them. I don’t want her to find out that I’ve been f**king her sister!” the man snapped.
Tristan shook his head in disgust. Why was he surprised? He really shouldn’t have been. The requests he received from the dead were never selfless. They either wanted help catching their killer, which as a detective, he really didn’t mind doing. Hell, it was the reason he took the job. He figured he’d put his abnormality to good use. Other than that, he received requests for revenge. He couldn’t even count the number of times ghosts begged him to kill on their behalf. Other times he was asked, no, more like ordered, to straighten out the shit the dead left behind. They wanted to make sure the relatives that they’d hated didn’t see a cent of their money, or they wanted to rub it in their spouse’s face that they screwed around. No one ever sought him out with an unselfish motive.
Well, that wasn’t completely true. Shayne had come to him eighteen years ago to help him as unbelievable as that sounded. Back then, he’d been an eleven year old kid, scared shitless and angry at everything and everyone. His parents were at their wits end, but unlike his birth parents they weren’t willing to give up on him. They did the opposite in fact.
His father started to refuse overtime so that he could spend more time with him. They went to ballgames, weekend trips to Boston, movies and just hung out. His mother bent over backwards to race home between classes so that she could be there when he got home from school everyday. She’d bake him cookies, play a game with him or help him with his homework before she had to race back to Reese College to teach her next class. Hell, even his brother Denny started dragging him along on his dates and, when any of his girlfriends bitched about having a little kid along, she was history.
It helped quite a bit at the time, but none of their good intentions fixed what was really wrong. During the day he was still harassed and assaulted by the dead. He’d learned after he was adopted how to act like nothing hurt or bothered him. By the time he was ten, he could sit in algebra class answering a question while he was being punched, kicked, and clawed by the dead who were pissed at being ignored by the only person that could see them. He’d also learned that the best way to keep his parents and teachers from asking about his bruises and cuts was to keep them covered. At night he’d figured out that sleeping under his bed made it more difficult for them to hurt him.
Nothing helped the rage building inside of him. He hated his life. Most of all he hated the fact that he was different and couldn’t tell anyone or he’d be taken from his family. He lived in constant fear that he would say or do something that would ruin everything. The only time he felt at ease was when Marty was around. She made him feel almost human. Unfortunately, she couldn’t stop him from getting hurt and she’d been too young to confide in.
By the time Shayne came around, Tristan was a shell of his former self. For so long he’d acted like nothing mattered until it finally hadn’t. He didn’t think anything could be worse than being stalked by the dead. The night Shayne showed up proved that he didn’t know shit.
Nothing out of the ordinary had occurred that night to clue him into the hell that awaited him. He’d said goodnight to his parents. Then after scoffing down ice cream with Denny he went to his room. He was halfway under the bed when a cold hand clamped down around his ankle.
Tristan prepared himself for a fight as he was dragged out from under the bed. He didn’t have much time to react before he was pinned to the floor and his pajama bottoms were torn from his body. To this day he could still remember that raspy voice in his ear.
“I’m going to f**k you hard, boy,” the ghost had said, cruelly laughing while Tristan struggled against the urge to scream.
He’d never been more afraid in his life. Desperately he tried to free himself, but the man had been stronger. Tristan vomited the ice cream he’d just consumed all over the floor as the man rubbed against him. He sobbed quietly, knowing there was nothing he could do or say to escape. Yelling for help wouldn’t have done anything except bring him more shame and he’d had more than enough of that. Just when he’d accepted what was about to happen to him, Shayne arrived.
“Get your hands off the lad,” Shayne had said with a thick Irish brogue.
In seconds, Tristan was free to crawl back beneath the bed where he squeezed his eyes shut and desperately tried to stop crying. He listened as the men fought, praying that they would just leave him alone.
“Come on out, lad. He’s gone,” Shayne said calmly a few minutes later when the sounds of fighting and shouting suddenly stopped.
Tristan lay beneath the bed, trembling and terrified of what would happen to him if they got their hands on him again. “N-no.”
Shayne sighed heavily, “That’s fine, lad. I’ll just sit here and make sure that no else bothers ye tonight. When ye feel comfortable, ye come on out and I’ll tuck ye into bed.”
Tristan didn’t trust him so he stayed under the bed, quietly sobbing. He didn’t know how he was going to make it through another day, especially knowing that he could be hurt in other ways now. Beatings were one thing he’d come to accept, being molested was something that he would never be able to live with.
When morning came, he had no choice but to crawl out from under his bed. He wondered how many ghosts were in his room ready to pounce on him with their demands and hurt him when he couldn’t help them. To his complete shock, there was only one ghost in his room waiting for him.
From a glance he could tell there was something different about this one. Every ghost looked solid to him. So much so that sometimes he had to pay attention to the little things that gave them away like walking through things and not being able to touch anything, but him.