Categories > Movies > Island

The Ghost

by dilly 0 reviews

Lincoln tries to live out his happy ending, but his memories won't leave him alone. [Tom/Lincoln]

Category: Island - Rating: R - Genres: Drama, Erotica - Warnings: [!!!] [X] - Published: 2006-04-04 - Updated: 2006-04-04 - 2951 words - Complete


Years later, you still dream of the Renevatio.

You are standing, looking out at the ocean, and a woman is standing in front of you. Her blonde hair is whipping behind her in the wind. You move toward her, but you also stay behind, watching yourself move toward her. You watch yourself put your arms around her waist and rest your cheek against her hair. Her hair smells like saltwater and this leave-in conditioner her mother keeps sending in this horrible Christmas gift basket -- this is around the time you realize the woman is not Jordan because Jordan has no mother. And this woman's features are sharper. She's taller. Almost as tall as you are. You watch her turn her face and kiss you. You feel the kiss, but it's flimsy like a memory.

You realize you are dreaming, and you wake up. Jordan is asleep next to you. You trace the curve of her hip through the layers of fabric, then you carefully slip out of bed to make breakfast.

Albert hid the two of you well. You have your own identities now, your own home, your own lives.

(Tom and Sarah don't have their own lives anymore, but when that thought comes into your head, you push it out. You've already thought this through. Jordan says you're being unreasonable to still think about it at all. One time when she called you unreasonable, you asked her if she remembered that little boy who thought he saw his mother alive and okay again, just . The look on Jordan's face had been horrible, and you never brought it up again.)

You have your own kitchen too, which you derive more pleasure from than any man has a right to. You've recently discovered omelets, so you make a different kind of breakfast every morning. It's amazing how many recipes you can find on the internet.

The kitchen has a liquor cabinet, which you also derive more pleasure from than you should. Albert has made it very clear that you are not supposed to drink anything out of that until after noon or later. Albert lives next door, and he takes care of you. He says that you would all be in a lot of trouble if the authorities tracked you down. You're not sure you understand why.

You remember that Tom was drinking Michelob. You think that's kind of strange, because you've looked up things about Hepatitis C since then, and his liver wasn't good enough to be drinking anything alcoholic. Not to mention Michelob is gross; you've tried it.

Jordan wanders out when things start to smell good. You set things out for her: Orange juice, coffee, water, sausage omelet, hash browns, biscuits with butter, and vanilla pudding out of a cup. Albert has informed you both that pudding is not really breakfast food, but you both like it for breakfast anyway. He also says you'll both be three hundred pounds by the time you're ten. You don't really see how that is a deterrent.

A few hours after breakfast, you go out and jog. In a way, you do it out of habit. You don't care about the exercise or the fresh air. It's just one of the things that stuck with you from the life before. You're not supposed to think about that anymore, the way you're not supposed to think about Tom -- but you do.

You can't help it, because on your jogs you come to the edge of the island where you live, and the community announcer flashes before your vision, saying those words in that sultry voice: You have been chosen.

So, you have. You made it to paradise when others didn't.

But there was a price you paid, even though the others seem to be able to forget it, you can't.

-Act One-

Sometimes the dreams are longer than other times.

You stand up, but you're also watching yourself stand up. You take Jordan in your arms, but she is not Jordan, because she's taller and has a mother. You lean close to her and it's like double vision -- her face layered on top of the more distant view of the two of you standing together.

The woman who isn't Jordan raises up her left hand to touch your face, and you can see a bit of metal glint in the sunlight. A feeling comes from her touch that you don't understand. It's a warmth in your chest that spreads up to your head to make you dizzy and down to your stomach to make you aroused. You watch yourself make love to her, and you almost feel it. The sex is familiar and strange. You are familiar with the way she smells and the way she curls her hand against the small of your back, but you feel like you're betraying their privacy.

Usually, the dream ends in a rush of pleasure, the intensity of which wakes you up. This time, when it's over and the woman who is not Jordan is has stolen one of your cigarettes to smoke at the side of the boat, you turn to look at yourself. You, the man who made love to the woman who is not Jordan turn to look at the you who only watched. And, you say: "These are my memories."

"Yes," you say.

But you shake your head. "You aren't me. You aren't real. These things never happened to you."

Then, you wake up, still hearing Tom's voice in your head.

"I'm not real," you whisper to yourself. And then you know what you have to do.

-Act Two-

Albert sold the Renevatio shortly before buying the island homes you and Jordan and he live in, so you have to take a ferry to the larger island and a ship to the continent. After that, it's only the matter of a plane ticket.

In San Francisco, you go to a hotel and ask for room two-fifty-six. You sit at the edge of the bed for a long time holding the two bags of peanuts you'd gotten on the plane.

"Aren't you the brave one?"

You close your eyes. He is not there, you remind yourself. He is not there.

"Don't you think they'll miss you? Your little girlfriend and your honorable guardian?"

He has come to you like this before -- outside of the dreams. Usually, he comes when you drink.

"I don't believe he sold my boat." You swear you hear the clinking of little glass bottles somewhere, but you do not open your eyes. "He shot me, then he sold my boat."

You feel a weight next to you on the bed. A little bottle rolls down and touches your hand. You open your eyes then and look down at the bottle. He's not there, you remind yourself, and you take a long drink from the tiny bottle of alcohol.

"I've been drinking since I was... how old?"

"Eight," you say.

"Right, eight. And then irony bit me in the ass. Yeah, you're liver's all scarred up like they told you it'd be if you kept drinking like that. But it's not the alcohol that did it. It's the hepatitis." You hear a bottle opening. The sound of drinking. "I've never had a blood transfusion or taken drugs intravenously. What was it the doctor said?"

"One percent, if any."

"If any." Laughter. "If any. Like I wasn't living proof that you can get it from sex. It's not like I didn't think about it. It's the only way. He's looking at me accusingly, right? Like I'd been a heroin addict and just forgot."

"You smoked pot twice, but you didn't like it."

"Alcohol was my thing." Another bottle rolls to your hand. "Guess it's our thing now."

You drink again, and again when another bottle appears. And again and again, as if there's no choice. You listen to him speak, even though he's not there, and you fill in the gaps he leaves for you. Little reminders that you are not real.

"Six Echo," he says.

"My name is Lincoln."

"Six Echo," he repeats. "I want you to look at me."

You shake your head, then regret the movement. Your head is swimming. "You're not there."

"That's pure shite. You're the one's not real."

"You're not here," you say again.

"Then, there's no harm in looking, is there?"

You can't argue with that. Or, maybe you could if your head would stop swimming, but you drank too much, and you haven't eaten in hours. Not even peanuts. Not even the little dinners they'd been serving on the plane. You just haven't been hungry. All you are is thirsty anymore.

"Look at me," he says again. So, you do.

It's the same feeling you felt the first time you saw him. Like looking in an imperfect mirror. Little things that only someone living in the same skin would notice. Your fingers are a little longer than his. There is a mark in one of his eyes where he scratched it while climbing a tree as a boy. Jordan said that he fakes smiles the way you do, but you couldn't tell because he's always faking. You'd thought it was weird at the time to constantly hide, but you understand it now. Truth is something people don't want to hear, and all you know is truth.

Tom laughs. Fake. "Don't overdo it, Six Echo. Don't try to make us noble."

"I'm imagining you," you say.

"Maybe so," Tom says, nodding. "Probably so, in fact, but what difference does that make. You think therefore I am, or something like that. If I didn't exist, you wouldn't be here right now."

"I'm just going back home."

"No, you're not," Tom says.

You squeeze your eyes shut for a moment, trying to force him to disappear. But when you open your eyes, he's still there.

"Here's something you don't know about me," Tom says. "Something you couldn't know, because I didn't know it when you were made. That's how it works, right? You only build the memories that were mine when I was photocopied."

"I don't know how it works," you say.

Tom smiles thinly. "That's your theory, though. You don't remember very much after the doctor's visit."

You cover your eyes with the palms of your hands. "I want to sleep," you say.

"Not yet."

-Act Three-

Three of the walls are glassy wood. The remaining wall is just a big sliding door. You stand in the corner with your arms cross for a long time, watching people come in, punch in their floor, and walk out. The elevator in her apartment complex is nicer than the one in the hotel.

"Are we going to ride the elevator all day?"

You cross your arms tighter around you and ignore him.

"I just want to see her one more time."

"Shh!" you hiss. The woman in the elevator gives you a strange look.

Tom laughs. "What? You won't talk to me when there are people around? All I'm asking is that you get your arse off this fucking elevator and--"

The elevator doors slide open and the woman leaves, and another woman takes her place.

You recognize her immediately.

She is on her cell phone talking about some wine red drapes that she seems unhappy about. She doesn't notice you -- not right away. You watch her from behind. You watch as Tom circles around her, staring at her.

"She's had work done," Tom says. He points at her cheeks. "Here and..." He points at her lips. "Here. Paid for it with my money."

You watch Tom lean close to her face, his eyes narrowed. He has an expression you haven't really seen on him before, almost like he's in pain.

"Say something to her, Lincoln."

You shake your head.

"Say something!"

The woman starts, as if she'd heard some echo of his voice. "I'll call you back," she says into the phone with half of her voice, and she closes it.

"That's right, Maddy," Tom says. "Turn around."

She does. When she sees you her, eyes widen, but the rest of her face stays tight and still.

"You're the one..." She swallows, then she moves closer to you. "You're the one who killed Tom."

You open your mouth, but it's hard to get the words out. Finally, you manage to say, "I didn't."

"Don't bullshit me. You think you had to pull the trigger to kill him?"

"He would have killed me," you say.

Maddy scoffs. "You wouldn't exist if he hadn't paid for you."

Tom is standing behind her, with his chin hovering over her right shoulder. He looks so calm.

"It's not fair," you mutter.

There is an anger in her eyes that frightens you. You try to push yourself more firmly against the wall.

"Tell me why you're here," she said. "Tell me why you're bothering me. You got away with it. Why don't you go live your happy little life that you stole from my husband."

Tom opens his eyes and looks at you.

"You divorced him," you say.

She recoils as if you had hit her. "You don't know anything." The elevator settles to a stop and the doors slide open. "Stay away from me." She backs away and leaves, running someone over as she hurries away.

-Act Four-

Between the apartments and the hotel, there is a cheap restaurant with pretentions of being fancy. Tom tells you to go inside, so you do. It's the first thing he's said to you since you left the apartments.

"This way," he says, and he leads you down a hallway to a room with a wooden sign that reads "gents" hanging over it.

"Lock the door," he says, once you are inside. You do.

You stand by the door as he walks slowly across the small single bathroom to the opposite wall. "Do you know what I thought of you when I first saw you?" He pauses. "I thought you looked like what I should have looked like if I lived the life I should have. If I'd just turned it around when I met Maddy. Gave up the drinking and the women. Come here."

You walk to him slowly.

"It made me angry. It made me wish I'd hit you with that golf club and broken your nose. Made you ugly somehow. All I really had to do was wait. Turn to your right."

You do. There is a mirror. You can see yourself and Tom, in profile, leaning against the wall.

"You look just like me now." He rounded about until he was behind you. "All you need is the glasses." He took off his glasses and held them in front of your face.

You back away from the mirror, but you bump into him. Solid. He's solid. That isn't possible.

"If we're being honest here, if we're just talking to ourselves here, I'll tell you it wasn't just women I fucked around with. I fucked men too. They never fucked me, though. That was my rule."

Your heart is beating so hard you think it might bruise against your chest. "That isn't entirely honest."

Tom smiles at you. "Mostly honest, then. Bend over."

"No," you whisper.

Tom is still smiling when he pushes you in your back, so hard that you almost hit the sink under the mirror, but you catch yourself. "Good boy."

"You're not here, Tom. You're not here. You're not here."

"Yeah, well..." Tom undoes your pants. "How crazy does that make you? If you want to stop it, you can stop it."

You close your eyes. You feel your pants fall to your ankles, then your underwear. You feel him inside of you, hard and solid and real. You feel one hand on your hip, and the other wrapped around your cock.

You know this isn't real. You know that somehow, the things you feel aren't happening, but it's also the most real thing you've ever felt.


"We thought, at first, that there was something wrong with the scans."

You sit in a white paper gown on the most uncomfortable hospital bed yet.

"We'll have to run a few more tests, but I've never seen anything like this."

You never went back to the island. You couldn't. You've spent the last four months in California, sleeping on rest stop benches and walking through the day. When the pain got bad enough, Tom told you to go to the hospital. You haven't seen him since then.

"It looks like you have a perfectly healthy liver, but... well, look."

The doctor puts the plasticky sheet on a light board. "This is your liver," he says, pointing at a mass on the scan. "And this -- this gray over it -- it almost looks like two scans on top of each other. One healthy liver, and one devastated by cirrhosis."

You remember what Tom said to the doctor, when he told him that the Hepatitis had caused fatal cirrhosis. You remember that he laughed and said, "Everything else I've ever done should have killed me before this."

"We're running tests, like I said, but I still don't know what to tell you. But the damage doesn't seem real. It's like... Well, like a ghost."

You look at him for a moment, then you laugh. You hold your stomach and laugh. You can feel the doctor staring at you, like so many have these last months, like you've completely lost it.

"That's exactly what it is, Doctor. It's not just his memories. It's him," you say. "But you've got it backwards." You look at him and you smile. "I'm the ghost."
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