Standard disclaimer applies blah, blah, blah.
Doctor West, I presume?
Sweat covered his brow and lust filled his eyes and Herbert West pounded into the girl spread-eagled in front of him. She lay back on his desk and moaned and sighed and squeezed her breasts. Herbert drank in the vision before him as the girl leaned her head forward and licked her own nipples, flicking her tongue over her skin while staring up at her lover with wanton eyes. Herbert didn’t want to stop. He wanted to screw this girl as hard as he could for as long as he could but he could feel himself about to burst. The girl began to pant and moan and soon she was screaming her release. Herbert was about to join her…
“Dr. West?” A distant voice spoke but Herbert barely heard it. “Doctor? Dr. West? Are you alright?” A hand on his shoulder made Herbert jump.
“What? Oh, yes, I’m fine,” his day-dream broken he adjusted his glasses and straightened his tie, “What is that, Adele?” A tall slender girl placed a box on Herbert’s desk.
“I think it’s the equipment you ordered, Doctor. Shall I check it for you?” Herbert nodded and then busied himself with a microscope, but he kept one eye on the girl. He watched her take a scalpel and slice open the packing tape and then carefully remove and record the items from within the box. Her gentle hands caressed the cold metal and glass, her sharp blue eyes checked the invoice and her nimble fingers unbuttoned her blouse… Snap out of it, man! thought Herbert, you have work to do. The re-agent isn’t about to perfect itself. Herbert adjusted his glasses again and set to work in earnest.
Adele Abrams was the twenty-two year old daughter of the
late Augustus Abrams, of Abrams Funeral Homes fame. After her father’s death,
Adele sold the family business for a small fortune and decided a reclusive
lifestyle was the one for her. She bought an old run down mansion on the
outskirts of Miskatonic, where her only neighbours had been two rather
mysterious men who rented the old
“Can I help you?” she had asked the man standing on her porch.
“I’m here about the rooms for rent,” he replied as he pushed past her and entered the house. Adele frowned, confused.
“By all means, barge on in,” she muttered, “Mister?” she asked more clearly. Adele recognized the man as one of her former neighbours, but as she had never had much to do with him, she erred on the side of caution.
“Doctor Herbert West, but please, call me Herbert.”
“Doctor West, I…”
“I’d like to see the rooms if I may.”
“Is the basement down here?” Herbert made a bee-line for the most likely door. Adele was terribly confused.
“Doctor, I think there has been some sort of misunderstanding. I…” Herbert stopped.
“There is no misunderstanding, not if you are Miss Adele Abrams, you are Miss Abrams, aren’t you?”
“Yes, but I…”
“My ad specifically called for two rooms, one for living in and another, preferably a basement, for working in. You assured me over the phone that Bainbridge Manor would be perfect, and for $300 a month I am inclined to agree, depending on the basement of course.” Adele finally clicked.
“Would you excuse me for a moment please, Doctor?” She departed for the kitchen leaving Herbert to explore alone and unattended. He opened the door he believed to be the basement and was greeted with the familiar smell of dust and mildew. Herbert felt for a light switch and then followed the dim glow down into the basement. Adele appeared not far behind him.
“I see you found the basement,” she said, “is it to your liking?” Herbert stared around at the dusty, damp and badly lit room. A large wooden table sat in the middle of the room with a few old musty boxes on top of it, there were some shelves on the far wall and a couple of old chairs and some more boxes sat in a corner collecting cobwebs.
“Yes,” he said slowly, “This will do quite nicely. May I see my room now?” Adele smiled.
“Follow me.” She led Herbert up through the house to the second floor and showed him into a very comfortable room. Polished wooden floors, heavy drapes on the windows, a king size bed plied with clean linen and soft pillows and an old fashioned mahogany writing desk and chair made Herbert suddenly take note of how wealthy this young woman was. Adele Abrams certainly didn’t need his $300 a month so why did she answer his ad?
Herbert sat at his desk in his room and perused his notebook. It was getting late and he was getting sleepy but he wanted to triple check his days work. Finally he put the book away and undressed for bed. Herbert mulled over the six months he had spent at Bainbridge Manor. His host, Adele Abrams, was interesting to say the least, but the Manor itself also had something about it that Herbert couldn’t quite put his finger on. Adele was young and beautiful and rich, but Herbert had to wonder if she wasn’t also a little insane. He constantly caught her talking to herself and in the dead of night he could hear her, moaning, panting, pleading, and she had not once told him why she answered his ad. And as for his constant day-dreams, well, Herbert had no idea what to make of those. Was he just that sex starved? Or was someone playing tricks with his mind? But every day he fantasized about Adele, everyday he found some new way to debauch and pleasure her. And at night he would lay awake listening to her in ecstasy. Herbert flicked off the light and climbed into bed. Adele had ceased her night-time song and Herbert fell straight to sleep.
“You should tell him!”
“Tell him what Lady Bainbridge?”
“About us, of course.”
“Milady, he already thinks I’m a nutter because I talk to ‘myself’, imagine what Herbert will think if I tell him ‘No, actually, I’m not insane, I just talk to ghosts.’ You answered his ad, you tell him.”
“We’ve tried talking to him but he just doesn’t listen.”
“It’s been six months already, maybe he’s not capable of listening.”
“Oh he’s capable, he’s just stubborn!” said the ghost. Adele frowned and shook her head.
“Fine! I’ll tell him. But if Herbert tries to have me committed to an asylum, I’m holding you personally responsible!” And she headed for the basement.
Herbert sat at the table engrossed in another day-dream. This time Adele sat on the table in front of him with only a pair of plain white cotton panties and tight white t-shirt on. She was pouring water down her front and between her legs and her foot sat quite snugly in Herbert’s crotch, rolling his balls with her toes. He reached out and ran his hands up the length of Adele’s thighs and then tucked his thumbs into the legs of her panties and rubbed her clit. She closed her eyes and started to moan. Herbert removed one hand and cupped her breast. He squeezed it and rubbed it and then he stood up and took her other breast in his mouth. Adele reached down and unfastened Herbert’s pants. She felt inside for his hardened cock and stroked the warm flesh with her wet fingers. Herbert removed Adele’s stimulation and picked up a scalpel. He sliced into the wet fabric of Adele’s t-shirt and released her breasts to his adoring gaze. He sucked her breasts and bit her nipples and then soothed them with his tongue. Adele held him there while he sucked, pleading for more, but Herbert pulled away. He took the scalpel in hand again and gently trailed it down her front, between her breasts and down her stomach, gently scratching her flesh, until he reached the top of her panties. Herbert cut through the sides and ripped the fabric away, allowing himself easy access. He threw the blade aside and grabbed a fistful of Adele’s hair. He pulled the girl towards him and kissed her roughly. She threw her arms around his neck and relished the embrace. Herbert pushed himself up on to the table, lay Adele back and entered her. She whimpered and sighed and moaned his name and she kissed him passionately. Herbert stroked inside the girl with slow purposeful movements, savouring every moment and wanting this feeling to last forever…
“Doctor?” The real Adele spoke. Herbert spun around in his seat, a little startled, and a little embarrassed.
“Adele, good afternoon.” Adele looked Herbert over with concern.
“Another day-dream, Doctor?” she asked. Herbert stared at her blankly, unable to move or speak. How did she know? “It’s OK. I know about the day-dreams, I used to have them too. It’s this house, well, partly the house, partly its occupants.” Herbert screwed up his face, unsure of what he just heard.
“Wha…huh?” Herbert paused for a moment to collect himself, “I’m sorry, Adele. Occupants? We are the occupants. We are the only people living here.” Adele smiled.
“It is true. We are the only people living here, that is to say, we are the only people here that are living.” Adele watched for Herbert’s reaction, unsure of what his medical mind would tell him.
“Ghosts? You’re telling me there are ghosts in this house?” Adele nodded. “Why haven’t I seen them? I’ve lived here for six months and have not seen any evidence of ghosts,” he said quite matter-of-factly and turned back to his work.
“Herbert,” Herbert looked up at the sound of his name, Adele never called him Herbert, “I realise you think I’m insane, any sane person would, but you must believe me. The evidence of their existence is all around you but you have chosen to ignore it. Whenever you have seen me talking to myself, I have been talking to them, well, sometimes to myself but nine times out of ten I’ve been talking to them, when you hear me at night,” Herbert turned to face Adele again, “and I know you can hear me, I’m with them, the floor board outside your door that creaks in the middle of the night, the footprints in the dusty basement floor, and especially your day-dreams, all of it is evidence of their existence.”
“What do they want from me?” asked Herbert. Adele shrugged her shoulders.
“I don’t know, they won’t tell me. All I know is that they want to talk to you and they’re getting frustrated with you not talking back. They brought you here for a reason. The day-dreams you’re having should give you a glimpse of what they want, but until you talk to them and find out exactly, the dreams will come thicker and faster until you can’t tell the difference between reality and the dream.” Herbert fell silent and thought for a while, digesting everything Adele had just told him. She really was nuts! But then, what if she was telling the truth? Surely it couldn’t hurt to talk to these so called ghosts of hers? If nothing happened it would prove him right, and if, in the unlikely event, something did happen, well, he would just wait and see.
“What do I have to do?” asked Herbert. Adele breathed a sigh of relief. She knew he still thought she was insane but at least he was willing to make an effort.
“When your next day-dream begins, just say hello. They will hear you.”
Herbert’s next day-dream came swiftly, not five minutes after Adele had left the basement. Herbert was sitting on his chair facing the stairs and Adele was walking toward him. She was unbuttoning her blouse, letting it slip from her shoulders to the floor, lifting her camisole over her head and dropping it in Herbert’s lap, she loosened Herbert’s tie and pulled it away and then she… Oh, God! thought Herbert.
“Hello,” he said through grit teeth.
“Hello.” Herbert jumped at the sound of another voice in the room. He spun around on his chair and came face to face with an old woman very elegantly dressed and a man of about thirty odd years. “My name is Lady Cora Bainbridge, and this is George, my gardener.” The man tipped his hat to Herbert and then held out a chair for Lady Bainbridge to sit on. Herbert seemed unable to speak. He wanted to say something to them but he had no idea what. Lady Bainbridge laughed. “You see, Adele is not insane! But she is lonely,” she continued, “that’s why I answered your advertisement.” Herbert’s power of speech rejoined him.
“You? How? And why? Why me?”
“I saw your advertisement in the paper, ‘Doctor seeking rooms for rent’, well now what mother doesn’t want their daughter to grow up and marry a doctor? Of course Adele’s not my real daughter but she has done so much for us here and we felt obliged to return the favour. Do you see?” Herbert fell dumb again and could only shake his head. “She’s so lonely, Herbert, I had to do something, so I borrowed her body and answered your advertisement, now she had no idea who you were when you first arrived so I had to borrow her body again and show you to your room. Adele was so cross with us all but we managed to convince her to let you stay. She is actually quite fond of you now.” Herbert had a sudden headache. He removed his glasses and rubbed his eyes and was still unable to speak.
“Milady, why don’t I give it shot?” said George. Lady Bainbridge nodded. “Herbie, can I call you Herbie? How’d you like your day-dreams?” Herbert put his glasses on and stared at George. “Hey, I just planted the idea in your head, the imagery was all yours, pal. And may I say, very nice!” and George gave him two thumbs up. Lady Bainbridge frowned at her gardener.
“George? Which idea did you plant?”
“Only the one you told me to, Milady.”
“George?” she said threateningly.
“Maybe I tweaked it a bit, but basically it was still your idea, and it’s not my fault if he interprets it wrong, filthy pervert!” Herbert had finally had enough.
“Shut up! Both of you, please just be quiet! I need time to think. I need a drink.” Herbert left the basement and made his way to the drawing room to fetch himself a strong drink. He went to the liquor cabinet and pulled down a bottle of scotch, filled a glass half way and then gulped down the lot. Herbert refilled his glass and put the bottle away, and then he sat himself in a comfortable wing-back chair and sipped at his scotch.
“I see you’ve met Lady Bainbridge.” Herbert jumped and spilled half his drink. An old man walked past his chair and took up residence on the sofa. “Take a stiff drink. That was the first thing I did when I met her,” he joked, “Colonel Arthur Bainbridge, at your service, Sir!” Herbert sat speechless at the sight of another ghost. “Yes, well, Cora said you weren’t one much for talking, but with her jabbering away who could ever tell? Heh? In fact, I’m certain that’s how she died, though she denies it to this day, but the woman never stopped talking even to draw breath, and it’s my guess she ran out of breath altogether, but by the time she noticed it was too late! And now that she doesn’t have to breathe at all, well, you can imagine! Ah, Adele, come in girl.” Adele stood beside Herbert’s chair.
“If you don’t mind, Colonel, I think I’ll take Herbert for a walk.” Herbert turned to look at her and nodded, gratefully, and the Colonel agreed. Adele led Herbert through the house to the backyard and then along a pathway to a grassy slope beneath the wide canopy of an old tree. They sat with their backs against the trunk and looked at each other. They had shared a house for six months and neither one knew anything about the other, they had always avoided personal topics, in fact they had nearly always avoided each other, but none of that seemed to matter right now. Herbert’s day-dreams made him want her, and Adele’s loneliness made her want him. It was a bizarre situation to be sure and Adele felt there was nothing left to do. She stroked Herbert’s cheek and bit her lip but he grabbed her hand and held her still.
“Is this another day-dream?” he asked. Adele leaned forward and kissed Herbert softly.
“What do you think?” Herbert released Adele’s hands and set about undressing her. He ripped her blouse apart sending buttons flying and pushed her camisole up over her breasts. Adele was quick to unfasten Herbert’s pants and release his rock hard cock. She pulled her skirt up and he pushed her panties aside and slowly Adele sunk down on to Herbert’s warm flesh. Adele rocked back and forth atop of Herbert while he supported her with strong hands. She loosened his tie and unbuttoned his shirt and leaned down to kiss his chest. She was pleasantly surprised to discover a lightly muscled torso hidden beneath Herbert’s very business like attire. Adele licked Herbert’s nipples and then trailed her tongue up his chest, his neck, his chin, until she was licking his lips. Herbert opened his mouth and invited her inside and they kissed passionately for what seemed like an age, and then he pushed her back so he could take her breast in his mouth and sucked at its tip. Adele moaned softly at the touch of his wet tongue flicking her sensitive flesh. Then Herbert moved one hand from her hip to between her legs and massaged her clit with his thumb, evoking from her lips a gasping of his name. Adele came quickly under Herbert’s expert touch and she begged him for more. He pushed her right back, as far as she could stretch, and he ran his hands all over her tight naked skin. Herbert grabbed Adele’s breasts and massaged them hard, he rolled her nipples between his thumb and fingers and then leaned forward and licked her sweaty skin. Adele sat up again and kissed Herbert, tasting her own salty self on his tongue. She stroked her body up and down his shaft and squeezed her muscles around him but Herbert had unbelievable control and brought Adele to orgasm twice more before he gave in to her assertions. They stayed joined and content in each other’s bodies until the sunset settled across the sky, and then they returned to the house and went straight to bed. For the first time since his arrival, Herbert knew for certain why Adele was moaning in the middle of the night.
Herbert and Adele sat across from one another at breakfast, quietly content. They ate in silence until Adele couldn’t stand it any more, she rose from her chair and let her dressing gown slip to the floor. Herbert took her hand and pulled her to him. She sat on his lap and they kissed softly while Herbert slid his fingers inside Adele’s body and stoked her desires anew. He frigged her gently and slowly and almost drove her mad with the sensation, but as horny as he was, Herbert was also a workaholic, and he knew he had things to do. He slipped his fingers out of Adele and put them in her mouth. She sucked away her juices and he kissed her again before pushing her off his lap and leaving the kitchen for the basement. Herbert now found that his day-dreams stopped. He could work without interruption, not that the dreams had been an unpleasant distraction, but they had slowed his research down quite a bit. Herbert worked steadily for the next few days and Adele brought lunch and sometimes dinner down to the basement so that he could keep working. At night Adele would coax him away to bed and help him unwind, but Herbert being Herbert, his mind never shut down, never stopped thinking about the re-agent, it was always calculating his return.
One night Herbert was working hard in the basement. He was busy writing notes and checking his calculations when he heard Adele behind him.
“Herbert?” Herbert didn’t even look up from his note book.
“I got tired of waiting for you to come to bed,” she cooed. Herbert glanced over his shoulder at Adele and did a double take as he caught a glimpse of her. Slowly he turned to look at her in full. She wore a tight white t-shirt and plain cotton panties and carried a pitcher of water in her hands. Herbert’s day-dreams had come back. Or had they? Adele walked to the table and pushed Herbert’s work to one side, and then she sat on the table in front of him and poured the cold water over herself. Herbert stared at her with his mouth open and then swallowed hard. “I told you I knew about your day-dreams,” said Adele. Herbert slid his hands up her thighs and then up her stomach to squeeze her breasts. “Kiss me,” she pleaded, but as Herbert reached for her Adele screamed, “NO!” Herbert jumped back and stared at his lover.
“What? You just said…” But Adele shook her head and clasped it in her hands. She seemed to be in pain.
“Stop it,” she said, “Get out! GET OUT!” Herbert didn’t know what to do but when the Colonel suddenly appeared he realised he should stay out of the way.
“Adele?” asked Colonel Bainbridge. Adele smiled wickedly at the old man and shook her head.
“No,” she said slowly.
“Celeste! Get out of there immediately!” Adele began to laugh a horrid laugh that was not her own. “Don’t make come in and get you, young lady!” warned the Colonel.
“Oh, come on! Can’t a girl have some fun anymore?”
“Celeste!” the Colonel warned again.
“Oh, alright!” The figure of a young woman slid out of Adele’s body and let it slump back on the table. Herbert rushed to her side and checked her pulse. “She’ll be fine, she always passes out after sharing her body.” Herbert glared at the woman.
“Who are you?” he demanded.
“Celeste, lady of the night,” she said, trying to sound sexy, but Herbert continued to glare, “Oh come on! I just wanted to see what the big deal was!”
“What big deal?” said Herbert.
“You! Since you started fucking Adele no-one else will do. She used to share her body with us every night but now that wonder-nerd is here she won’t have it!”
“What is going on down here?” Lady Bainbridge appeared beside her husband.
“Celeste here tried to use Adele’s body to seduce Herbert,” explained the Colonel.
“Adele’s body?! Ha!” scoffed Celeste, “It was never Adele’s body, she stole it! And why should she be the only one to use it now that Doctor Death is sticking it up her?!”
“Celeste that will do,” warned Lady Bainbridge. Herbert looked at the elderly couple, confused.
“What is she talking about?” he asked. Celeste turned on him.
“Adele is dead, moron! This body, not hers! She possessed it at the hospital after she died and walked out with it. She stole a person, a whole live person!” Herbert just stared at her and the Bainbridge’s remained silent, furious at her for telling Adele’s secret. Celeste looked from one to the next and made a decision, “You know what? Fuck this! I’m moving back to the cemetery. No rules, more fun! Adele can keep ‘her’ body.” And Herbert watched as the transparent figure of Celeste faded away through ceiling and was gone. He picked up Adele’s limp body and carried her upstairs to bed, and then he went in search of the Bainbridge’s and some answers.
Herbert made his way to the drawing room to get a drink. The Colonel and Lady Bainbridge were on the sofa and Milady was obviously distressed. Herbert fetched his drink silently and took a seat. The old couple watched him cautiously as he sipped at his glass until finally he spoke.
“Is it…” He tried again, “What exactly…” Herbert downed the last of his scotch and stared at the empty glass, “I need another drink.”
“West, I think I should explain Adele’s situation to you, maybe that will answer some of your questions,” said Colonel Bainbridge. Herbert held his refilled glass aloft in salute.
“Why not?!” he said, “Explain away!”
“Adele died almost eighteen months ago and she had cancer for about a year or so before that. She had a very bad time of it. Every time the doctors thought they had it all they would find another tumour, chemo wasn’t working and by the time she died she was begging for them to kill her. She ended up dying in her sleep after a complicated surgery, her father by her side. Adele awoke from her dead body when she was in the morgue. She went straight to the coma ward and got a new body, but she did not steal it. Adele had been visiting the girl, April, and talking to her for several months, and when she entered the body as a ghost, April was finally able to talk back, as one subconscious to another. She told Adele to take her body and use it. She told her that this way both of them could live again, share experiences. Adele went to visit her father. He was speechless when the girl before him told him she was his daughter, but when Adele stepped out of the body, revealing herself, her father was just so happy to see her again. They falsified documents to change April Philips into Adele Abrams and when her father died about six months later no-one questioned her when she collected her inheritance.” Herbert sat silent, thinking. Was it actually possible? A ghost living in a comatose body, bringing it back to life, acting as a re-agent of sorts.
“I have to check on Adele, April, whatever.” And Herbert went upstairs.
Herbert slowly opened the door to Adele’s bedroom. He hovered in the doorway for a moment and then entered and went to the bed. Adele opened her eyes and smiled sleepily up at her lover. Herbert kept silent and refused to make eye contact. He held her wrist and took her pulse.
“How do you feel?” he asked, more like her doctor than her lover.
“I’m OK. It happens sometimes, when there are too many people in here,” and she held her fingers to her forehead. Herbert checked his watch and put her wrist down.
“I suppose Celeste turned two’s company into three’s a crowd,” he said meanly. Adele swallowed hard. He knew. “Just tell me one thing, Adele, what do you actually look like? Obviously I know what your friend April looks like, but what about you.” Adele tried not to cry but she couldn’t stop the tears from welling in her eyes.
“Herbert, please don’t make me do this,” she begged, “please. I don’t want you to see me like that.”
“I’m a doctor, Adele,” he replied coolly, “I know what to expect.”
“Then why make me show you?” she pleaded. Herbert folded his arms across his chest and stared at her sternly.
“Because I need to know who I’ve been fucking.” Adele couldn’t hold back her tears any more and thins trails of salty water slid down her cheeks. She lay back on the bed, took a deep breath and left April’s body. Adele stood before Herbert so that he could get a good look at her. She was desperately thin, her body was covered in scars from her repeated surgeries and her hair looked more like that of a balding eighty year old man than that of a twenty-two year old girl. Adele was miserable. If she could have cried in this state she would have, but she just stared vacantly at Herbert.
“Is this what you wanted to see, Doctor? Is this how you envisioned me in your day-dreams? Surgery scars and chemo baldness? I was barely alive and better off dead, and this is what I looked like when I finally died.” Herbert stared at Adele’s transparent figure for as long as he could stand, and then he turned and left the room. Adele sat beside April on the bed, her depression consuming her.
“Adele, child, may I come in?” Lady Bainbridge called from the other side of the door and then she floated through it without waiting for a reply. She sat beside the girls and patted Adele’s knee. “It’s alright child, everything will be alright, you’ll see.”
“Can you do me a favour, Milady? Take good care of April.”
“What do you mean, child?” Adele rose and walked to the window. She glanced back over her shoulder at Lady Bainbridge and then faded away through the glass into the night. “Foolish boy,” whispered the old ghost, “what have you done?”
Herbert sat in the basement staring blindly through a microscope. He sighed heavily and leaned back in his chair and stared at the ceiling. What the hell was going on in this house? Doctor Herbert West was no stranger to bizarre and unexplained happenings, but this was beyond even him. He thought about Adele, he had been cruel, but he had been deceived! But then he had also been, not happy, Herbert was never happy, content perhaps? Yes, he had been content with Adele, but then it wasn’t really Adele, was it? Herbert returned to staring at his work, and then an idea came to him. He smiled the sly smile he always smiled when something of instant genius entered his head.
“Yes,” he said slowly, “Why not?! I’ve given myself small doses of re-agent to boost my health so why wouldn’t it work on Adele, April, whatever, it will work!” Herbert grabbed his syringe kit and a vial of re-agent and raced back up to Adele’s room. He threw the door open and went to her bedside. April’s comatose body lay prostrate on the bed, free of Adele’s ghost, not that Herbert seemed to notice. He rolled up the sleeve of her shirt and tied off her arm, and then he injected a small amount of the re-agent into her vein. Herbert loosened the tie about April’s arm and waited. He paced about the room checking his watch every few seconds impatient for a reaction, and then it happened. April’s fingers twitched. Herbert held his breath as he watched. Soon her arm moved and then a leg, and after a minute or two more the girl on the bed stretched and yawned as though she had been asleep for a very long time. Herbert rushed to her side to check her pulse, it was normal, she was fine. “Adele?” said Herbert. The girl looked at him suspiciously.
“No. Adele isn’t here. I’m April.” Herbert couldn’t contain his glee. He jumped up again. It had worked, he had woken up a coma patient! Something that no-one in the world had been able to do until now!
“How do you feel?” he asked, “Now that you can walk and talk for yourself.”
“Whoosy,” she replied, “but I’m awake, I’m finally awake.” April looked around the room and took in her surroundings. “So this is Bainbridge Manor,” she said, “and I’m guessing you’re Herbert.” Herbert didn’t understand.
“You’ve lived here for over a year, and I’ve been here for more than six months…”
“I’ll let you in on a little secret, Doctor, we coma patients can hear and we can feel, but we can’t see. Now, where’s Adele?”
“She’s gone.” The transparent figure of Lady Bainbridge floated through the open doorway, “She left.” Herbert looked unaffected by the news but April was very disappointed.
“She’s gone already? But I didn’t get to say thank you. I didn’t get to say anything that I wanted to. I can’t believe she’s ascended already, and without saying goodbye.”
“She hasn’t ascended, she ran away, from him,” said Lady Bainbridge and she pointed a finger at Herbert, “She asked me to take care of you until you woke up, but I doubt this is what she had in mind.”
“What do you mean?” asked April, “Milady?” Herbert inched towards the doorway, ready to escape any blame for his actions.
“Well, after he chased Adele away, he woke you up by, unnatural means.” Herbert stopped in his tracks at hearing the offensive comment.
“Science is not unnatural!” he said, outraged at the thought, “And I did not chase Adele away,” he added innocently, “I just asked her to show me what she really looks like.”
“You idiot!” exclaimed April, “You asked a terminally ill cancer patient to show you what she looks like with no clothes, no hair, and no dignity?”
“Herbert! How could you?” asked Milady sadly.
“She deceived me! She should have told me she was dead! And you, April, should be thanking me! I gave you life!”
“Adele gave me life long before you did, Doctor! How dare you play God with us, you arrogant prat!” Herbert was shocked at the outburst.
“If I had the ability to do so I would slap your face you foolish boy,” cried Milady, and then Herbert cried out as the sting of April’s hand landed across his face
“You say that Adele deceived you, Herbert? Well she did, she deceived you about the way she looks and that’s all. Everything else about her, her quirks, her tastes, her sexual appetite, that was all her. And now, thanks to your meddling, you will never be able to make love to her again.” Herbert scoffed at April’s comments.
“I never made love to her in the first place,” he said, “It was you, your body.”
“What colour are Adele’s eyes, Herbert?” asked Lady Bainbridge.
“When you were with her, what colour?”
“There not Adele’s eyes!” said Herbert exasperated.
“Answer me boy!” bellowed the ghost.
“Blue. Her eyes are blue.”
“And what colour are April’s eyes?”
“April, would you show the good Doctor the colour of your eyes.” April stood before Herbert and pulled down the skin below her eye so he could get a good look.
“They’re brown,” he gasped quietly.
“You may have been having sex with my body but you were making love to Adele. Her consciousness filled the void that mine left behind when it retreated into me. It was her soul that you saw through my eyes, Herbert. It was always Adele, and now…”
“Yes?” whispered Herbert.
“I’m awake and Adele has no where to go but up, but she won’t ascend, not now, not while she’s still in love with you.” Suddenly an idea came to Herbert and he rushed from the room, leaving the two women alone in their shared anger.
Adele wandered through the cemetery unconsciously steering herself toward the Caretaker’s lodge. The condemned building looked at home amongst the gravestones and crypts of old, overgrown with strangler vines and creeping roses, falling down around itself. The door had since been barricaded to keep people out, but ghosts didn’t require doors and Adele glided through into the house beyond. She followed the hallway to a particular room and stood inside, casting sad glances from one object to another. The room had been Herbert’s when he lived there and many of his possessions still remained, collecting dust and housing spiders. Adele lay down on the bed and wished for sleep, but without a body sleep was impossible, so she stared at Herbert’s things instead. The night passed slowly and Adele became restless. Her mind raced with thoughts and images of Herbert, of his voice, of his hands all over her, of his look of disgust at her true self. She remembered when she first saw him. It was at her father’s funeral. Adele had seen him watching from the porch of the lodge and then he disappeared into the house. It was that same day that she first met George, the Bainbridge’s gardener. He was pruning roses in front of the house and was quite amazed that Adele could even see him let alone speak to him without invitation. The Manor had a demolition sign nailed to the gate, and George explained how it had been up for sale but no-one would buy what was believed to be a haunted house. Adele then met the Colonel and Lady Bainbridge and decided to buy the house and renovate, and made herself instant neighbours with Herbert in the process. She had spied on him every now and then (usually when April was being visited by George or Celeste or any number of other ghosts that passed through the Manor, April had sexual appetites of her own to fulfil) and had become attracted to him, but she also sensed something inherently sinister about him which made her cautious when he arrived on her doorstep. But that feeling soon died away and she fell in love with Doctor Herbert West. Adele realised that Herbert would probably never feel the same way but she didn’t care, just being with him made her feel truly alive, and even though she knew she would have to give back April’s body one day, she thought she would at least be able to ascend with a happy heart. Adele became so preoccupied with her thoughts that she didn’t hear the boards on the front door snap, or the door itself creak open, but she did hear the smooth voice of her lover at the foot of the bed.
“Go away, Herbert,” said Adele sadly.
“No, I won’t go away. And I won’t apologise either.”
“In case you hadn’t noticed I’ve already left the Manor, if you came to tell me you’re glad about it, you really needn’t have bothered.” Herbert stared at the woman lying on his bed, uncertain of what to say.
“I, I’m not glad about you leaving, I, you deceived me. You should have told me about, you know, all of this.”
“Yes, when I think that I could have had my heart broken and then been chased away from my home so much sooner, you’re right, I should have told you. What was I thinking?!” Herbert frowned at Adele’s sarcasm. He tried a new approach.
“April’s awake,” he said. Adele’s heart sank even lower.
“So even if you wanted me back and I returned to the Manor there would be no point as I now have no where to live. Aren’t you just the bearer of good news?!”
“I do want you back, and you will have somewhere to live,” said Herbert assuredly.
“April’s awake, Doctor, two conscious minds cannot occupy the same body.”
“Not April. I will make you a new body, one you can live in forever.” Adele sat up and glared at Herbert.
“No thank you, Doctor West, I saw what happened to the last body you made, dead decaying body parts stitched together like some Frankenstein bride, oh yes, I can just imagine you wanting to make love to that!” Adele sighed heavily, “Why did you come here, Herbert?” she continued dolefully, “Why must you torment me further? Please, just leave me be.”
“I can’t leave. I don’t want to leave. I want you to come back to the house.” Adele stood up and went to Herbert. She sliced her hand through his body and stared gloomily into his eyes.
“What for? I can’t touch, I can’t feel, and neither can you.” Suddenly there was a commotion outside and familiar voices were heard. George glided through the wall and Colonel Bainbridge quickly followed.
“Adele, come quick, girl,” said the Colonel, “it’s April, she’s seems to have fallen back into a coma, she won’t talk to anyone but you!” Herbert looked annoyed.
“Talk? If she has relapsed into coma she can’t talk.” George glared at him.
“Subconsciously speaking,” he said through grit teeth. Adele didn’t think twice. She followed the Colonel and George back to the Manor leaving Herbert well behind.
Adele glided into her bedroom and saw April lying on the floor. Lady Bainbridge was by her side looking very distressed at her inability to help. Adele sank down into her comatose friend and searched for April. It didn’t take her long to find her.
“April? What happened?”
“I fell down and I can’t get up, again,” she joked quietly, “I’m in a coma again, aren’t I?”
“The drug Herbert gave me must have worn off,” she said.
“Herbert woke me up by injecting something into me, Milady was furious with him, said it was unnatural, but I guess it wore off or ran out or something.”
“You sound very calm about it,” said Adele with concern, “Do you want Herbert to give you another dose? You can continue to live on your own steam then.” April laughed.
“No. I don’t think so. Swapping your soul for a painful injection of an unknown drug just so I can ‘live on my own steam’ doesn’t sound like it’s really worth it. I’ll take living on your steam any day, at least until I wake up on my own.” Adele was worried about her friend.
“Are you sure this is what you want?” she asked.
“Yes. Besides, how else is Herbert going to make up with you if you don’t have a body?” Adele grinned.
“I mean sure he’s an arrogant prick, but he is very good in bed, and I mean really Adele, it’s selfish of you to keep me away from such a magnificent cock.” Adele and April laughed together.
“If you’re sure this is what you want…”
“Yes, I’m sure, now get me up off the floor, I think I broke my arse when I fell.” The girls began laughing again and the figure on the floor began to shake with the same laughter. Adele opened her eyes to the sight of Herbert bending down to help her up. She avoided his eyes and tried to muffle her giggles.
“April?” he asked. Lady Bainbridge, the Colonel and George floated out the door.
“What colour are her eyes, boy?” asked Milady as she left. Herbert held Adele’s head straight and stared into her blue eyes. She stroked his face with her hand and then slid her arms around his neck.
“I love you, Herbert.” Herbert couldn’t speak. He forced himself on Adele, pushing her back on the bed, their lips locked in violent passion. Herbert dragged Adele’s skirt up her legs and she unfastened his pants and within moments they were joined, grinding against each other, panting their need for relief. Adele came first, screaming and begging for more, and Herbert followed quickly. He collapsed on top of his lover and then rolled over and held her close. He removed his glasses and tossed them aside and then shut his eyes and drifted off to sleep with one thought in his head, he was content with this woman, well, technically women, but yes, he was content.
Herbert stayed on at Bainbridge Manor for quite some time, studying, researching, refining the re-agent, until the right moment of opportunity came along, and his resurgence into Miskatonic medical society became inevitable. He left Adele while she slept, he packed his things and made a quiet escape, and in the morning when Adele awoke, she knew he was gone. Herbert left her nothing, no note, no explanation, nothing, but Adele had known for some time that he was leaving, and smiled when she saw the gap on her bureaux, her perfume was missing.