When I Vanish

When I Vanish

A Story by GunMetal

An idea that came about while I was pondering sleep paralysis and ghosts.


        I watched her shivering beneath her blankets while she slept. The hairs on the nape of her neck stood like midnight on a clock face. Each breath she let out was a short-lived handful of fog, disappearing just as quickly as it had appeared. A single tear rolled down her precious face, marking her pillow like a calendar of lost days. We were both so lost. I looked to the side of the bed where I used to sleep, thinking that if it had been her, I would have left her side empty as well. I wanted to go back to that spot, if only to keep her warm, but my body was of no such use anymore.

        I felt myself fading as the sun rose. I was always afraid that she would sense me somehow, and wake up unable to move. It has happened before. She laid there; sweat laminating her forehead, choking for breath. She looked right at me, her terrified eyes unable to recognize me as I was, until at last, I depart, allowing myself to be inhaled into the night. The last thing I hear is her breathing in, and then nothing. I become starlight.

        Within this ethereal state, I can hear her speaking to my grave like an echo in my entire non-body. She tells me about my family. How my father is doing his best to keep my mother from falling apart, but he won’t let her see his fractures from my absence. She tells me about work, how kind everyone is. All the love and support from her friends and relatives keeping her afloat. When she talks about her days, she tells me about things she knows I would have liked. Sometimes she laughs, and I almost feel alive again. It’s when she talks about being at home, though, that I feel like breaking apart. She says she has trouble sleeping, and that sometimes she wakes up in the morning, tears in her eyes, shaking, and it’s all she can do to get herself back up.

        I want so desperately to tell her, I never meant to haunt you, my love. I don’t mean for the both of us to be restless. I’m just afraid without you. I’m afraid of the emptiness.

        She is always crying before she leaves my grave. The twinkling in the stars is just my quivering.

        Still I continued to visit her. She looked like an empty tree in the moonlight. She slept like white noise between channels. Each time I saw her, she looked more and more like a photo from a box camera. I knew I had to move on; To let her heal, without me.

        At my grave, she tells me how she dreams of me almost every night. She says I always look so very much alive. In the park where we met, I’m playing my guitar, fumbling with the chords for some song I could never quite remember, but I loved playing it anyway. She would call out my name, but I’d keep singing. She said it was a different song each time. She tells me how she knows I must be happy wherever I am. Even if I could help it, I would let her continue to believe that was true. Sometimes stars go out.

        The last time I visited her, she was already awake. The bedside lamp was on and she was sitting ragged on the mattress, our engagement rings in her hand. She was gospel with a heartbeat. But as soon as I arrived, she became anxious. Goosebumps vandalized her arms and she shuddered. She began to look around, glancing over at where I was, becoming more unnerved as the moment continued. Even with all the love I am still able to feel, and all the love I knew she had for me, it devastated me to know that my unnatural presence could never be a comfort to her. I was only causing her dread. I was haunting us both.

        Eventually, the dread became too much, and she left the room to call someone. After a minute, I heard her car start, and she was gone.

        I stood in that room alone for hours. Without her there, it felt cold. All the color was being washed out, and I knew that I didn’t belong in this world anymore. I took one last look at the vacant spot where she slept, and then breathed myself back into the emptiness.

        There were hundreds of falling stars that night.

© 2012 GunMetal

Author's Note

This is my first attempt at a fictional short story. Any ideas/critiques are welcome and appreciated.

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Featured Review

This is great! The details, the metaphors, the descriptions! They're all so incredible, but I can't decide which is the most extraordinary. Perhaps the way he has difficulty letting go of the fact that he is dead and can no longer acompany her. Or maybe it's the way you described the terror that the one the ghost loves feels when he is by her while she is awake. Maybe it's the fact that, even though he's dead, his lover still tells him things at his grave.
I know! It is everything I said above! Every single element was outstanding! If I weren't limited by the rating system, I'd give it way more than a mere 100!

Posted 9 Years Ago

2 of 2 people found this review constructive.

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Um...you're awesome and that’s all there is to it!
"he won’t let her see his fractures from my absence."
"I never meant to haunt you, my love. I don’t mean for the both of us to be restless. I’m just afraid without you. I’m afraid of the emptiness."
"The twinkling in the stars is just my quivering."
And I could keep going on and on and on...this is superb and just out of this world. The words you use to describe things, I mean come on...you're just too cool for school!

Posted 8 Years Ago

Honestly speaking, I usually have at least one negative comment on someone's work. Whether it's their grammar or any other silly thing that bothers me. Surprisingly, I have no negative comments to write about your story. I can tell that you put time into making it perfect. The plot, the characters, the way everything is written is absolutely perplexing. Well done. You're my first 100/100 rating.
I'm looking forward to reading more from you.


Posted 8 Years Ago


8 Years Ago

Consider me honored. I deeply appreciate your kind review. Thank you so much =)
How have you not tried to publish your work? That's my only critique, lol. You could easily get published. You tantalize me, I hope you know that.

Posted 8 Years Ago

You are a very talented writer. I love the descriptions and the well played flow. An incredible story!!

Posted 9 Years Ago

Love the theme and the way you made the story so real and emotional , greate write.

Posted 9 Years Ago

I'm just ...amazed. No critiques. Just want to share the wonderful feeling of nostalgia that envolved me. Great fiction. From a very talented writter. Years ago I wrote a short story about how would it be if I was dead. Perhaps I'll post it. Thanks a lot for your creativity.

Posted 9 Years Ago

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the conversation inside your head is interesting. the feeling of helplessness is palpable. the starlight, the stars, then stars dropping. The hauntin being a double edged sword.nice work,

Posted 9 Years Ago

Absolutely loved this and I detest reading shorts or chapters. This gripped my attention with every word, never wanting it to end. I felt like a voyeur in the room, watching the love . pain and hurt. Everything in this piece was spot on. description, word choice, content and editing. Can't wait to read more of your work.

Posted 9 Years Ago


Posted 9 Years Ago

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Beautiful story , sad..but still a beautiful farewell. Excellent work :)

Posted 9 Years Ago

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24 Reviews
Shelved in 2 Libraries
Added on June 8, 2012
Last Updated on June 9, 2012



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