A Soul Shared

A Soul Shared

A Story by RPMorgan
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His child is lost in a land he only half believes existed in the first place. But, a strange figure from his daughter's dreams appears in his life, bringing hope where once there was only desolation.

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“It’s quite difficult to accept that I’m two people.”

“You’re not two people, daddy! You just share a soul!” Coraline corrected him as though it were obvious.

“Yes...” he was quietly troubled for a moment, “I don’t really understand the difference.”

“It’s not something to be understood, daddy. It’s something to be known!” His six year old daughter said wisely, sounding as though she was quoting somebody else. George Devereux a strong suspicion on just who she was parroting. “It just means that you’ll never be lonely” Cora said simply, with a shrug of her little shoulders. Then, she looked up at him with her large, luminous eyes, and George found tears prickling at his own as he gazed down into them. How very close he came to losing her...no, he had lost her! She had been very decidedly lost with no hope of getting her back. It was only the remarkable appearance of Twostock, who’d floated from the Otherworld up through his floor, looking precisely like him only a little stranger, that had revealed that George’s little girl had not only been a very remarkable one, but she was also and more importantly, retrievable.
                It hadn’t been too much of a surprise for this being to pop up from in front of his desk, looking decidedly wet and worse for wear. He’d heard of Twostock before, from the high call of his daughter’s voice from the vortex he and her mother had desperately peered through into the Otherworld that she had more knowledge of than they did. He’d blamed Twostock for her loss; the man with too pale skin and too large eyes and a too red suit had been responsible in that upside down place, and he’d let the Ghost River claim her. Death in the Otherworld was not as final as it was in this one, but Cora had still been lost to both sides who’d both loved her more than anything in either world.

                                Therefore, George had jumped but had remained in his seat when Twostock’s floated up to greet him quite cheerily from the other side of his desk. What had been most disturbing was that the creature had his exact face, if a little stranger as has been mentioned before.

                “Hello there!” Twostock who at that time remained unnamed greeted George brightly as the once -father gripped the edges of his side of the desk and stared at Twostock as though wondering if his appearance was in conjunction with some kind of stroke. Which he had been.

                “He...Who are you?!” George demanded, deciding to be angry at the man now grabbing onto his desk like it was a life raft in the middle of an ocean. Which, when the concept of crossing from the Otherworld to this one had been explained to him, was rather an accurate metaphor as it turned out.

                “Oh don’t worry about me!” Twostock said carelessly, extending a long arm across the desk to shake George’s hand “I knew your daughter rather well”. This remarkable sentence unfroze the frozen George, as pain and grief trickled into his numbed chest at the mention of his lost little girl. How unfair, in the stories the little heroine always managed to return home, and how silent his life had been without her before Twostock had materialised.

                “You knew my daughter?” He repeated slowly, with more than a slight air of disbelief,

“Oh yes! I used to pat her on the back when she was very small,” unnamed Twostock said this as though it was very normal, as he pushed himself up from the front of the desk with quite a degree of difficulty. This action seemed to go a bit wrong however, as Twostock then proceeded to float up towards the ceiling, as his heaviness seemed to turn into a remarkable buoyancy.

 

                “Oh blast!” Twostock exclaimed as he rose towards the ceiling, “this happens sometimes, if you wouldn’t keep me grounded until I settle down a bit? I would be eternally grateful!”

“You used to pat my daughter on the back?” George repeated as for some reason that escaped him he got to his feet, moved around the desk and pulled Twostock down to hold him steady upon the floor. He bobbed around like an inflatable man filled with helium.

                “Oh yes, when she was fussing as a small child! I used to pick her up, pat her on the back, she used to burp and I used to put her back down to sleep. So you see, I’ve been giving her encouragement and a cosy feeling of self worth since she was a very young age!” Twostock said matter of factly.

“She’s gone now” George said sadly, his grief briefly making him forget that he had a hold on his doppelganger to stop said doppelganger from floating up to the ceiling.

“Yes,” Twostock sounded just as undeniably sad when he answered, then he seemed to choke and his mouth slammed shut with stubbornly pursed lips.

“Are you alright?” asked George,

“Oh yes, old boy,” Twostock said in a strained voice, “the Sea’s just caught up with me for a moment!”

“The sea?” How odd.

“Yes! It sometimes overlaps! It’s very irritating, but then crossing it isn’t supposed to be easy at all, otherwise Otherpeople would do it very Otherday!” Twostock bobbed about for a bit, looking slightly queasy. “Shall we walk, George? I think it would help a lot of a little.”George paused as the strangeness of this situation once again him, and quite hard too. But truth be told, he welcomed the excitement and strangeness of this occurrence; he didn’t see nearly enough excitement or strangeness since his daughter had died.

                So, the two men walked and floated over to George’s office door and out into the hallway of his extensive mansion. Then, they walked and floated, with George carefully guiding the still buoyant Twostock.

                “I’m Twostock, by the way.” Twostock seemed to remember to introduce himself, and he still seemed to be trying to keep something out of his mouth. He coughed a little, and water spilled over his lips, which was quite a surprise to George, I can tell you! Then, Twostock gasped in sudden release and relief, and he grinned at George as he own two feet hit the floor with a decided thump. He straightened up from George’s embrace, straightened his wiggly tie and unstraightened his cufflinks so they were diagonal; for reasons that passed George by.

                Twostock. Yes, George knew that name. He remembered...the day they’d lost Cora, peering through the Vortex until their daughter had disappeared into the Ghostriver never to return. They’d known something terrible had happened from the silence of the people on the Other end of the tunnel, who’d previously been shouting each other’s names and Cora’s in alarm and panic as something or Other was to threaten or end the either or Other world. Apparently, Cora had stopped it happening somehow, but George had would have rathered her live and let the Others deal with their own problems. But, of the group on the Other side, Twostock had been one of the names shouted. Also, it was a name Cora had mentioned upon her return from her first visit to Otherworld. He hadn’t believed her story back then, old George, of course he’d assumed it was the imagination of a brilliant and bright child. In a way, he wished it had just been a story. But, Twostock was the Minister Master off the Otherworld, apparently very wise, very kind, and very like him.

                “You were there when Cora died,” he said in surprise, suddenly quite aware that he was talking to an actual person from Cora’s magical Otherworld, where the land and sky were red, and trains travelled through the air rather than over tracks.

                “Poor little thing,” Twostock sighed, which made George quite very angry.

“You were supposed to keep her safe!” He scolded his double,

“Oh no, I wasn’t supposed to.” Twostock corrected before he sighed, “but I did very much want to.”

“Why...why do you look like me?” George asked after a long silence as they wandered around the corridors of his home.

“It’s very possible that you look like me, or that we look like each other. But of course we’re going to look the same; we share the same soul” Twostock explained quite calmly, as though he wasn’t spouting nonsense.

“Share the same...”

“Soul, that’s right!” Twostock beamed like George was a pupil who’d answered a question correctly in class. “It happens sometimes, it just means that we’re never lonely, you and I. Two lives from this world and the Otherworld can share the same soul if the soul’s big enough, which ours’ was. Don’t worry, we don’t timeshare or anything, we just exist as a Coincidence.”

“A coincidence?” George asked with a wince at his pained head,

“Yes: two things that happen simultaneously, in the same place and against all odds,” Twostock said firmly,

“But we don’t exist in the same place,” George pointed out numbly,

“Oh, don’t be silly George. We do exist in the same place, just on other sides of the Sea!”

“What Sea?” George’s head was beginning to feel as though it was going to explode.

“Never mind that now, George. I’m sure Coraline will explain it all to you when we get her back”.

 

                George was now scrambling after a fast striding Twostock as the long legged double him skipped down to his study, where his various stuffed birds and drawings of colourful birds lit up the old room like a...colourful wallpaper.

“Perfect, this was her favourite room,” Twostock announced. Yes, George knew that, it was why he hadn’t been in here since Cora had...this was also where the Vortex had opened to introduce Coraline to the Otherworld and the friends she had made there.

“You said...we were getting her back?” He asked with a sting of hope, “how? Is...is there someone in the Otherworld who shared her soul?”

“Oh no, I don’t believe so,” Twostock said with newfound gravity. “A soul-sharing is very rare, and besides even if someone did share her soul...they’d only look like her, they wouldn’t be her, and that’s quite a difference when it comes to Cora, isn’t that right, George?” George nodded with a sigh of despair and sadness. No-one, let alone her father, should have had to suffer losing Coraline.

                “Then...how will we save her? She’s...she’s dead, you...you told me that before,” he asked with the heat of tears warming his long cold eyes.

“Yes,” Twostock said gently, “but there’s something to try, you know. She is not entirely lost to us on the Otherside, you know. She’s exists in ghostform...but we’re not allowed to see her because ghosts can’t withstand the presence of the living, I’m sure you’ve found that. But, she was saved from the Ghostriver at LEAST, so there’s chance of bringing her back here”. Twostock started making steps towards George, who was so busy trying to process the possibility of getting his precious Cora back that he forgot to be fearful enough to back away.

                “We’re a Coincidence, George. And Coincidences are very powerful things,” Twostock stated with a strong point of his long index finger.

“They are?” George asked, feeling as though he was being rather stupid.

“Indeed, any amount of remarkable things can occur because of a coincidence,” Two said softly; he was standing very close to George now. “A coincidence has the power to give belief, happiness and adventure. A coincidence can make magic appear, and a coincidence can even bring two things or more together to save the life of someone you love,” he said significantly. “And if, coincidentally, we both as a collective Coincidence wish for Coraline back, it can make everyone else want her back. And with the power of our Coincidence, when enough of those people want something it can occur. People from the Other and Either Worlds both wanting the same thing at the same time at the same time that we, as quite a powerful Coincidence, are also wanting that thing with every fibre of our beings. It has to be every fibre of your being, George!” Twostock’s hand shot up to sternly point the finger of emphasis at George, who looked at it through crossed eyes.

                “Do you want Cora back with every fibre of your being?” Was the question that Twostock had put to George with the gravity of his pointing finger emphasising importance. George could point no such finger as he spoke the question down the phone to his ex-wife, Coraline’s once and could be again mother.

                “What?” Her voice cracked with a tear, sending her ripple of pain down the phone to George’s ear. Twostock winced and wiggled his finger in his ear to dispel an ache. “What’s the meaning of this, George?”

“Do you want Cora back with every fibre of your being?” George repeated slowly,

“Wh...why are you doing this?” Karen shouted as he jarred at the broken shards of her broken heart,

“Just answer the question, Karen,”

“Why?”

“Just answer the question!”

“You...”

“ANSWER THE QUESTION!” He bellowed down the phone as her upset and his reached an equal crescendo.

“YES!” She screamed just a second afterwards. The air around Twostock sparked and he looked up with interest as George looked up with shock. Something, George didn’t know what, seemed to have started waiting.

“Want her,” he stated into the startled silence of the phone receiver.

“What?”

“Karen, just trust me. I know it hurts, I know,” he whispered, closing his eyes against his pain, “but...just think of her and just want her with everything you have. Can you do that for me?”

“I don’t want to,” her voice sounded so tiny, but despite her words the air around Twostock and George crackled again.

                “She is everything to you, Karen.” George felt unforgivably merciless, "you need to want her otherwise she’ll never know just how much you miss her. Want her, with everything you have.”

“I do, George,” Karen said wearily, “every second of very day.” After a tired silence, she hung up the phone.

                George looked up at Twostock, his once grey face alive with hope as the air around them became redder, and more fizzy.

“Will it be enough?” He asked,

“Oh, there are plenty of Otherpeople who want her alive too.” Twostock assured him, “that little girl who was so reluctant to cry, so easy to soothe,” he said wistfully. “She was my friend, I knew her from the moment she was born! I knew she’d be special. She saved my world from the Wraithlogs! They were trying to harvest ghost energy to break the Sea! If that had happened, we’d all have fallen into it, and the Sea has no surface beyond the existence of your world and mine. For instance, when I got here, the floor of your office became the sea surface, and it tried to catch up to me. Very difficult to escape the drowning of the Sea, you know...and I was bitten by a rather mischievous sea anemone.” He added rather mournfully. The air was thick with red fog, that mostly surrounding Twostock as he stood and pondered.

                He looked up at George from his reverie, George was busy wanting his daughter alive with all the power he could muster; but he still had presence of mind to register the smile on his own, stranger, face.

                 “No! It’s extremely difficult to explain!” Twostock was bellowing over the growing din, “but if you’ll close your eyes and focus on Coraline, then you’ll open your eyes to see her here! It’s just how it is! I know it, but I can’t say I understand it myself! But then, understanding’s something for your world, not mine! We just know things!” Twostock had to bellow over the storm that was now raging around them in the room. Lightning sparked through the red fog, and thunder clapped with violent, whip-like noises as a kind of hurricane whipped through George’s hair and sent everything in the room that wasn’t pinned down flying around in hectic chaos.

                Through the din and chaos which George had closed his eyes against, he thought he heard a faint but wonderfully familiar voice calling to him.

                Cora, his little Cora. Images of his child flashed before his closed eyes; her cherubic face looked up at him in complete trust as she took her first steps towards his open arms; she laughed as she ran across the summer’s day and into his embrace; she laughed as he swung her around with joy.

                Her clear voice asked him so many questions about his work, her large blueberry blue eyes looked up and drank in his every word as he set upon imparting all of his knowledge to her. She’d been so eager and happy to learn. She always seem to know more than he did, always seemed so wise beyond her years, so forgiving and kind in her nature.

                Hanging her head in shame as her teacher told him how she’d defended another child from bullies by socking the head bully straight in the nose.

                The wonder on her young face as she watched a butterfly emerge from its cocoon; as she put the fairy atop the tree at Christmastime.

                How absorbed she could get with a book of adventure, voraciously devouring each page (not literally of course) as she lived the story that was being told to her.

                Oh, how she’d lit up his stale, boring life as a stale and boring university lecturer. She was his world, Other or Either-wise, and when she’d died he’d lost his own life; all the colour in his world had faded away. He wanted his bright, colourful daughter back; to watch her grow and learn. How precious she had been to him, to everyone who’d known her. How precious she still was. Please, bring my daughter back; I’d give anything in the world to have her with me again. If George listened closely through the cacophony of the storm...he imagined he could hear a high, clear voice calling out to him from far away...a voice that was getting closer and closer.

“Daddy!”

                The last thing she really remembered was quite an extraordinary occurrence. She’d fallen into the Ghostriver, and several red glowing figures of cats and marching people materialised upon the surface, floating away in indistinct streams to avoid powering the Wraithlog’s scheme to dissolve the barriers between the Either World and the Other, therefore swamping both with the Sea that separated them.

                In doing this, the Wraithlog, who was a log after all and therefore perfectly at home in water, would be in his perfect environment to rule supreme over the waterlogged land beings who would be forced to bob awkwardly around in water for the rest of forever.

                This obviously would not do; the Other people were Coraline’s friends, as well as the fact that her family would be flooded too if the Wraithlog’s scheme had succeeded.

                He’d been capturing the ghosts of Otherworld underneath the Ghostriver, which ghosts usually liked to languish in as it was a peaceful place in which to spend eternity.

                It was not so peaceful under the Wraithlog’s dastardly control.

                The evil creature’s evil plan had been to harness a ghostly glowing machine that had floated up out of the Ghostriver as the Wraithlog had begun to implement his plan. Twostock had told Coraline that the Machine had been created by a quite pleasant but rather naive Otherworldly person, who’s lifelong wish had been to see his long lost daughter brought back to life. He’d never succeeded, because he’d never managed to complete the machine; it was difficult to build after all, as physically it did not technically exist; which as you can imagine made it rather difficult to find at times.

                But the Wraithlog, as well as being quite an accomplished log, was quite an intelligent log to boot, and he’d managed to use his Wraith ways to complete the well meant but short sightedly created Machine.

Coraline had stopped him, she remembered; she’d broken the air above the river, which had cracked the layer of will keeping the ghosts trapped in the water, and preventing their energy from being used to flood both worlds. It had taken so much energy...

Her friends had been there to hold off the Wraithlog’s minions of Flying Fanged Fish, which were fearsome creatures the name of which goes perfectly well in describing their appearance.

                She remembered running as hard as she could to stop the Wraithlog from turning on his machine...she’d grabbed his long, spindly arms and she’d hit the button herself, for whomsoever pressed the big blue button was granted their will’s desire. The Wraithlog’s will was to flood both worlds with the Sea, and Coraline’s had been to release the ghosts trapped to power the machine, and to disable the Wraithlog forevermore.

In fact, the Wraithlog could no longer be called a Wraithlog anymore, not really, for he was not truly a log, he was now in fact simply a Wraith, and it is common knowledge that Wraith’s are not at all at home in water.

                But, the Machine needed so much power provided by a combination of both ghost power and water, that the backlash it caused when it was used had led to catastrophic effects.

                It had been chaos, for ghosts cannot withstand being around the living in Otherworld.

                The red glowing shapes had exploded out of the river in a great and beautiful pilgrimage to the Indistinct Mountains where no living soul would tread, out of both fear and respect for the ghosts in question.

                The Machine, and Coraline with it, had sunk back into the river and the place between reality where ghosts remain.

                It had been the most peculiar floaty feeling. She’d been drifting for such a long time, it seemed. It was peaceful. She was bathed in the soft blue glow of the contentedly non-existent Machine and she hadn’t had quite a care in the...in the what?

                There was a word that she was looking for, but could not quite grasp.

                Sometimes she saw faces.

                She saw the face of quite an old man, who had wiggly eyebrows, laughing violet eyes and a peculiarly pale and dancing face. He wore a pinstripe purple suit, and a blue shirt that occasionally reminded him which of his many pockets he’d put his reading glasses into. His face was similar to another one that she remembered, only this one didn’t dance, but it did sparkle when it smiled at her.

                A roly poly man with a purple face and a jolly laugh and worried eyes, one blue eye one turquoise; he wore a funny suit made out of flowers, and carried an irate furry creature around with him.

                It rained when another face in her memory cried, she did remember. This face was blue, of course, and she was surrounded by a haze of discontent that rather upset whoever strayed too close to her.

                They all seemed so sad, those faces.

                She remembered them all when they were happy, or comforting her when she cried. She remembered that she’d always known them, but only understood that she had always known them when she met them for the first time. She knew that this did not make any sense, but something in the back of her mind told her that sense was for another world, and not the Other one.                 Otherworlders just knew everything, Eitherworlders strove to understand everything...someone had told her that once. She’d been confused, but the someone had assured her that that had just been yet another symptom of her Eitherworldliness. Otherworlders are always confused, but for them it is a state of happiness and bliss, not frustration or upset. She missed her friends when she could remember them.

                Oh, remembering is understanding! The man with the dancing face and talking shirt laughed in her memory. If you know something, then you don’t need to remember it, it’s just there.      Knowing...she knew that man’s name, didn’t she? Daddy? No, that wasn’t it, he just looked like Daddy! Twostock! She felt such a thrill of delight at remembering the name that she suddenly remembered her own; Coraline. She was Coraline, and she was so very lost.

                Apparently, she had only been in the in-between-just-to-the- left-otherworld for only a couple of minutes or so, perhaps Time had taken a holiday as he was wont to do.

                Another one of her friends, not Worple, the purple headed jolly man; not Piliope, the sad blue woman; nor indeed Twostock, the embodiment of all things Other. It had been Farajoo, the ghost girl riding her ghostly horse, Whistle, who’d plucked Coraline from the depths of the Ghostriver.

                Which was all very well and good, as Coraline remembered her name, her friends and her mother and father who were desperately trying to watch through a Vortex that whirled through the Sea.

                But, she was still a ghost, and so she had to ride away with Farajoo through to the Indistinct Mountains, as she could feel herself beginning to dissolve in such close proximity to living beings. Ghostly tears had streamed from her eyes, and from the eyes of her friends and her parents, as she’d flown away. She would never see them again, and the thought broke the big heart that had been once housed in her little body, and was now housed within her little ghost form. At least, she had thought at the time that she would never see them again.

                But what is a Sea without a tide? And everything everywhere lives in some kind of sea, and the tide can always return something that's been lost and floating away. Well, it can, but it usually only does so on a special occasion.

                So, the red lightning raged, the hurricane whipped, Cora's voice sang and George's eyes remained closed. He could hear Twostock's laughter, perhaps his own laughter, though he did not remember it being so musical before.

                "GOODBYE, GEORGE! I'LL SEE YOU AT SOME POINT OR OTHER, OR PERHAPS EITHER! OR PERHAPS SOMEWHERE INBETWEEN!"

                George started and opened his eyes, worried and frightened that it had all failed, all a dream, he was to be left alone with nothing but the shards of a shattered hope. But, as he did, a small and solid and warm body flew into his arms...

                And it certainly wasn't Twostock's

                Twostock was gone, but George felt his soul glow as he wrapped his arms around his daughter in the biggest hug he could manage; the room stood as the calm after the storm, and the Sea retreated, taking everything Other with it, and leaving George's heart behind.

                "Cora!" He sniffled, burying his head briefly into her hair, breathing her scent in, before she pulled away and her gleaming eyes gleamed into his.

                "I knew you'd get me back, Daddy," she whispered, and for the first time George knew what she meant, exactly.

 

                “It’s quite difficult to accept that I’m two people.”

“You’re not two people, daddy! You just share a soul!” Coraline corrected him as though it were obvious.

“Yes...” he was quietly troubled for a moment, “I don’t really understand the difference.”

“It’s not something to be understood, daddy. It’s something to be known!” His six year old daughter said wisely, sounding as though she was quoting somebody else. George Devereux a strong suspicion on just who she was parroting. “It just means that you’ll never be lonely,” Cora said simply, with a shrug of her little shoulders. Then, she looked up at him with her large, luminous eyes, and George found tears prickling at his own as he gazed down into them. How very close he came to losing her...no, he had lost her! She had been very decidedly lost with no hope of getting her back. It was only the remarkable appearance of Twostock, who’d floated from the Otherworld up through his floor, looking precisely like him only a little stranger, that had revealed that George’s little girl had not only been a very remarkable one, but she was also and more importantly, retrievable. 

© 2014 RPMorgan


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190 Views
Added on May 23, 2014
Last Updated on May 23, 2014
Tags: Loss, Alternate Dimension, Father, Daughter, Ghosts, Friendship, Family, Adventure, Bizarre, Redemption, Death, Revival, Life, Sea, Travel

Author

RPMorgan
RPMorgan

Cardiff, United Kingdom



About
I'm a 22 year old English Literature university student, nearing my third and final year. However, I am very much hoping to spend a year on a Creative Writing MA, to expand both my skills and knowledg.. more..

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