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    Sixteen.  Why was it he always got saddled with the young ones?  Still, at least she hadn’t immediately reacted with horror when he had suddenly appeared in her living room.  Next thing he knew, her hand was wrapping around his and she was yanking him upstairs. As soon as she opened the door to her room, he felt his heart clench with bittersweet nostalgia.  The carpet was a deep, almost blood red. Her walls were painted to look like the cobblestone in a dungeon. Her bed was a huge, canopied affair, black, lacy cloth wrapped around the tall poles.  Even her dressers erred on the more medieval side, made of oak and intricately carved with more gothic designs. Instead of the normal knobs, they were little skulls. But the real centerpiece of the room was the full length mirror beside her desk.

    It had a black frame that was carved into the shapes of hellish creatures.  From the looks of it, the carvings were telling the story of ‘Dante’s Inferno’.  Staring at the devil-like figure that crowned the top with spread wings, he found himself smirking at the memories of all the pranks he had pulled on the Lord of Darkness.  Walking up to it, he could tell right away it was an antique. A mirror that was likely to have the back of the glass painted black to allow communication with spirits. If he wanted, maintaining contact with his new... ‘toy’ would be all too easy.

    While the ghost was busy admiring her decorations, Ellie followed him him with wide, maroon eyes.  Never in her life had she thought she would see a ghost! Mostly due to the fact she had been trying to have a supernatural encounter since she could remember.  There were so many questions she wanted to ask, so many things she wanted to experiment with. Yet, at the moment, she found herself entirely at a loss for words.  “Not bad babes but I bet I could do you one better for decoration,” purred a rasp that made goosebumps cover her arms. Before she could respond, he was raising a hand and snapping his rotting fingers.  That was when all Hell broke loose, both literally and figuratively.

    The ground under her feet gave a sudden, violent heave, flinging her into one of the poles for her bed.  Watching as her carpet split open, she let out a quiet gasp when cobblestone-like material poured out of the fissure like a flood.  Instead of mortar binding the stones, there seemed to be a magma-like substance making her afraid to touch the ground as it spread outward rapidly.  Everything it touched twisted and morphed, becoming darker, more frightening versions of themselves. Her dressers became taller, shooting toward the ceiling while tapering dangerously near the bottom.  Next was her desk, the surface becomes some dark stone like substance as it changed to resemble the head of some unspeakable monster, claws clutching the stone beneath it. Even her mirror changed, becoming larger while the demonic figures carved into it crawled over its surface.

    The final touch was the bed, the mattress heaving under her like it was some living thing.  Jumping off her bed, she watched with frightened eyes as it too twisted into something dark and frightening.  Dark wood turned black, twisted spikes protruding from the posts while a spider web like blanket grew over her own.  Licking her dry lips, she fought off her extreme urge to run. She had summoned this thing here, she had to man up and deal with the consequences.  Gathering what courage she had, she took a deep breath and looked back toward her ‘guest’. She wasn’t too surprised when she saw him reclining in mid-air, acting like this hadn’t been a big deal.  “Been a while since I was called by someone so... cute. What’s your name babes,” rumbled his raspy voice while he took a drag of his still lit cigarette.

    “Eleanor Craftian,” she responded before thinking, a flush coloring her paper white skin while both hands clapped over her mouth in horror.

    Chuckling, the stripe clad ghoul puffed a cloud of clove scented smoke into her face before landing on the cobblestone that had replaced her carpet.  “Never seen anything like me have ya? Well, I ain’t got all day. Spit out what ya want so I can get on with it and go back home,” purred out of him, arrogance dripping off his very posture.  Yet, underneath the bluster, there seemed to be a sadness clinging to him. A faint sense of loneliness that helped her get over her shock enough to speak to the odd specter.

“Betel...?” she began, interrupted by frantic shushing on his part.

    “Ah ah!  Be careful with the ol’ B word,” came advice that honestly confused her more than a little.

    “Well, if I can’t say your name, what do I call you?” she whispered, cautiously edging closer so she could get a better look at the being she had called here.

    “Don’t really care, as long as it ain’t that.  Anyway, you gonna tell me why you called for me or are ya just gonna stare at my handsome mug all day?” came his amused response, danger shining in his feral gaze.  Just what he had done to her room alone showed he wasn’t something to be messed with.

    Beginning to feel a bit nervous, she met his gaze carefully as she prepared herself for the worst.  “I was curious what would happen,” came out of her. She wasn’t disappointed by his reaction. The room went dead cold as electricity licked at her skin.  It almost felt like standing in the middle of a power plant while it was running full bore.

    “You mean to tell me that I came here for nothing?!  Fuck, what’s wrong with you kids these days,” he spat, gesturing violently as he began to pace; black boots clomping loudly on the stone.

    “Sorry...  Though, if its any compensation, I love what you’ve done with the room,” whispered out of her, fear singing through her veins.  Thankfully, her words seemed to stop his tantrum mid-step.

    Smirking as he turned to look at her, his body language alone seemed to ask if there was any other choice.  “Course ya do babes. I’m called the ghost with the most for a reason,” he responded, his attitude changing so fast it made her dizzy.  It was like he could easily switch from one emotion to the next as it suited him, making him highly unpredictable. Still he was fascinating and she found herself drawn to him despite her initial fear.

    “Of course you are,” she chuckled, offering a hand for him to shake.  After all, he hadn’t really done anything to try to harm her. Merely flaunted his power a little.  Still, this gesture alone seemed to surprise him. It was like no one in his life had bothered to try to be friendly towards him.  Well, afterlife if you wanted to get technical.

    Staring at her hand like it was a foreign object, the ghost eventually took the offered appendage in a loose hold before giving a small shake.  An action that shocked her just as much as the coolness of his skin did. How was he able to touch her? “Ah, what the Hell. Wasn’t like anyone was beating’ down my door.  I could stay here for a little bit,” grumbled out him, making it sound like more of an inconvenience than it really was. Still, Ellie honestly didn’t mind. In fact, she found this being to be utterly fascinated and not just because he was dead.  Though, it did have a lot to do with it.

    “So glad you could pencil me into your busy schedule.  Would you mind if I asked a few questions?” she asked, doing her best to reign in her excitement.  After all, she didn’t want to drive the first and only ghost she had met away so soon.

    Staring at this slip of a girl in front of him, he found himself sharply reminded of another teen that hadn’t been the least bit afraid of him.  Yet, this girl seemed to take that to an entirely different level. Already, she was acting like she trusted him entirely. Even Lydia had been a bit suspicious of him at first; wondering why he so desperately wanted her to say his name that last time.  Just thinking about it made his long shriveled heart cramp painfully. As nice as this breather was, he was reluctant to allow himself to be drawn into another friendship so soon. Despite the fact that it had been several decades already. “Go ahead,” he conceded, not really caring what she learned about him.

    “How did you do this to my room?  I’ve never heard of any ghost being this powerful,” came a question that stroked his ego in all the right ways, softening him slightly toward the girl.

    Instead of replying verbally, he decided to give her a very clear demonstration.  Lifting his right hand, he gave an almost lazy snap of his fingers. In an instant, stripes began to crawl up her pant legs like snakes; wrapping around her clothes and staining them.  Instead of being afraid, however, musical laughter poured from her lips. A dangerous sound that could break what was left of him if he allowed it to. Never had he heard someone so overjoyed that he had used his powers on them, not even his lost Lydia.  “Its easy when you’re like me kid. Ya see, most of the stiffs are so... stiff... They’re almost afraid to delve into what the afterlife offers them. Far as I know, I’m the only one, besides Juno, who’s tapped into their full potential,” he explained, not really knowing why he was sharing so much with this girl.

    “That’s a shame.  Sounds so much more boring than I thought.  I thought there was a lot of flying as well as scaring living people,” mumbled the disappointed voice of the girl who had called him here.

    “Nope.  Only those attached to a house get to haunt.  As for the rest of us, we’re trapped in the Neitherworld; waiting for Juno to assign us with a job.  That shit just ain’t my style if ya know what I mean,” he responded without thinking, slipping into conversation with an ease that frankly scared him.  It was too soon to become attached to another mortal. And yet, here he was.

    Feeling irritated, he sat on thin air to allow himself to float as he began to wish he could go back on his own.  This girl was a trap, whether she meant to be or not. “Yeah, you don’t seem the type for a suit. Still, I must have interrupted your own work when I called you here.  How do I send you back?” came a question he would have never thought he would answer willingly in the past. However, without Lydia, the world of the living didn’t hold the same appeal as it once did.  Nothing felt exciting, making it the same as living in the Neitherworld.

    “Don’t worry ‘bout it for now.  Haven’t had a client in literal decades.  Fresh air could do me some good. ‘Sides, I’m  running low on my bug supply,” came a response he honestly hadn’t meant to give.

    “We have plenty of cockroaches in the kitchen if you promise not to get noticed,” Ellie responded, not seeming the least bit worried that he would do something awful.  Then again, if she had any idea of who he was, he doubted she would be as comfortable.

    “Thanks babes.  Be back before you can even miss me,” growled out of him before he was disappearing.

    As soon as he was gone three very loud knocks came from behind her.  Whirling, she felt her heart jump in her throat when she saw a green tinged light coming out from under a door that was slowly forming in her wall.  “Shit,” hissed out of her, terror dumping into her system while all kinds of questions filled her head. Who was on the other side and were they possibly dangerous.  Thankfully, her guest returned before anything else happened. Rushing to hide behind him, she peeked around him as if afraid it would open on its own.

    “Three knocks came from the other side of a door that formed in my wall,” whispered out of her as she clung to his dirt caked suit jacket.

    Raising a peaked brow at her while he popped several roaches into his mouth, he crunched the insects thoughtfully while shifting his yellow stained eyes to the rectangle outline in her wallpaper.  Not used to someone wanting him to protect them, the poltergeist felt a strange instinct well up inside him. An instinct to shield the teen on the cusp of womanhood behind him. Not even Lyds had done anything like this, only serving to draw him deeper into the snare that was laid out for him.  Besides the fact that she knew how to call for him, he would feel drawn to watch her now; to forge some sort of relationship. Having an eternity with very little company tended to make you a bit starved for contact. Still, it wasn’t like he was entirely alone. He did have his two roommates in the Roadhouse as well as The Thing Across the Street.  They weren’t a good substitute for a breather, however.

    Like most of the other undead, they were horrendously boring.  Jacque was obsessed with being fit, despite being a skeleton. Ginger was a spider obsessed with becoming famous for her tap-dancing, only coming around when she wanted opinions on her moves.  As for The Thing, well, they had long ago agreed to disagree. Besides, it was far more entertaining to scare the hairball’s dog than it was trying to be civil. “Probably just Juno. She always seems aware of what I’m up to,” he grumbled, forcing himself back to the situation at hand.

    Moving toward the recently formed door, he couldn’t help but smile when she stuck to him like glue.  It had been centuries since he had last bathed, let alone washed his clothes; he couldn’t smell all that great.  In fact, the last time he had bathed had been the day they had led him to the guillotine. Just remembering the events that had led to that day still brought a smile to his face.  “Who is Juno anyway?” whispered the shaky voice of his companion.

    “She’s kinda the big shot in the Neitherworld.  Everything has to go through her first.  So, the fact I was called likely crossed her desk.  Thankfully, she can’t knock more than three times without risking breaking the connection,” came an explanation that only raised more questions.

    Reaching for the doorknob that had popped free of the wall, the ghost leading the charge seemed wholly unsurprised when the square of brick and wallpaper opened without him even touching it.  Smoky, green tinted air billowed out of the opening, a dark silhouette standing in the center. “Up to your old tricks again Beetlejuice?” rasped a croaky voice, sounding like it belonged to the world’s worst chain smoker.  While the name she uttered sounded the same, there was something slightly different about the pronunciation. Something Ellie couldn’t quite put her finger on.

    “After how worried you seemed, I thought you’d be happy Joons,” quipped the poltergeist, lounging in midair like he was laying on an invisible couch.

    “Its a mixed feeling you old bastard,” sighed the elderly woman, cigarette smoke pouring out of the gash in her neck as she took a puff.  Then her brown eyes were travelling to the breather that had been hiding behind the problem child that had been passed to her after her predecessor had went ‘on’.

    Raising a brow, the matronly female motioned for the young girl to step closer.  “I imagine that, like most who summon this demon, you have no idea just who he is or what he’s capable of,” sighed out of the much older ghost, gaze moving over the mortal in an assessing manner.  It was no surprise when the naive girl nodded.

    “Great, you sure know how to attract trouble B.  Still, its good to see you’re not moping anymore.  Can’t let you just wander around freely, however. So, when he decides to get into trouble, just say his name three times human.  He’ll be forced back to the other side until he’s summoned again,” Juno informed, inwardly amused by just how unafraid this child was.  Any other breather would be running away screaming by now.

    Blinking, Ellie simply nodded; giving the ghost she had summoned a sympathetic glance.  He must have caused a lot of trouble on the other side to have such a spell put on his soul.  Still, she had to wonder about the slight difference in pronunciation. It almost sounded like Juno was saying the name of a drink made from bugs rather than the name of a celestial body.  Was it possible that he was bound through two versions of his name? If that was the case, was using his true name more powerful? In all honesty, it felt a bit like extra insurance. Like they were covering separate pronunciations just in case.

    Watching the mismatched pair, Juno couldn’t help but smile just slightly.  While malicious and a bit of a troublemaker, Betelgeuse was also one of the most exciting beings wandering around the Neitherworld.  As much grief as he had caused for her, she had to admit that at least he made a normally boring job exciting. Not many other undead had managed to get themselves eaten by a Saturn Sandworm.  Nor had many dared to orchestrate a wedding with an underage breather to escape the monotony of being dead. He presented a challenge and she had been more than a little worried when he had simply stopped doing anything for as long as he had.  For a while there, she had honestly thought he was considering moving ‘on’.

    Turning to head back to her desk, Juno honestly hoped that this time things would work out.  That this time, the breather would decide to stay by his side. She couldn’t bear to see him so gutted again, so lost.  Giving the pair one last glance as the door swung closed, she felt hope blossom inside her when she saw the young girl give the old rogue a hug.  “I’m sorry... I won’t send you back unless you want me to,” sighed a promise no one had ever dared give him before. Somehow, she felt things would turn out just fine for the pair.

    Staring down at the teen in his arms, he felt his unbeating heart cramp in his chest.  Not even Lyds had been willing to just allow him to roam free. “Thanks kid. Not too many are willing to do such a thing for me,” rasped out of him, a dangerous urge to kiss her welling inside him.  Already, he could tell she was going to be dangerous. That it would be far too easy to fall for her as he did all the others. Pulling away from her and horrified to find he felt some measure of reluctance to do so, he made some weak excuse before disappearing into the aether.  Staring at the spot the poltergeist had formerly occupied, Ellie felt more than a bit mystified.

    Whoever the ghost was, he was obviously a troublemaker.  Not to mention terribly powerful. Yet, despite how dangerous he obviously was, she wanted to know more about him.  Already, things seemed much more dull without him and she honestly wondered when and if he would come back. It was at that moment that her mother called her from downstairs, wanting help unloading a carload of groceries.  Frankly welcoming the distraction from her thoughts, she shot to her feet to run down. In her hurry, she never saw a pair of yellow surrounded green eyes appear in her full length mirror.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The Next Day~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


    As she awoke, she was disappointed to see her room was back to normal.  To be honest, she had hoped the changes had been permanent. Though, such extreme innovations would have been hard to explain to her mother.  A large part of her hoped the poltergeist would take advantage of the door she had left open for him. The more realistic side highly doubted she would be that lucky.  While wild, he’d had a large amount of pain in his eyes. He was likely unwilling to make friends so easy. Sitting up to begin to get ready for the day, she walked over to her dresser to pick out an outfit.

    Betelgeuse, on the other hand, was nowhere near as at peace.  In fact, he was pacing across the dust caked floor of the attic; a vicious sneer on his molded visage.  Already, he wanted to return to the human. Frustrated with himself, he wound both fists in his white-blonde hair and ripped at the strands roughly.  “Ain’t been back on the scene for a day and you’re already falling prey to your old pitfalls!” he chided himself as he moved, yellow tinted eyes moving toward a large mirror he had moved up her long ago.  Curious about what she was up to and hating himself for feeling like this, he waved a hand over the reflective surface.

    The image of his own appearance disappeared for her room.  It was then he noticed she had just finished getting dressed for school.  Granted, he had only seen a few inches of her exposed stomach for a matter of seconds.  Yet, it was more than enough to spark long forgotten hungers he thought he was no longer capable of feeling.  Knowing he was already lost, he ran a shaky hand over his gaunt face. “Fucking Hell... Still, she’s already different than anyone else I’ve come across.  It wouldn’t do any harm to just go with the flow and see where this ends up. After all, worst that could happen is I wind up alone again. Something I’m used to by now,” he growled to himself.  Steeling himself, he stepped through the mirror and into the recently vacated room.

    The moment his boot touched the carpet, the room reverted to the way he’d changed it; placing a wry grin on his lips.  Making his way over to her warped desk, he began to rifle through the notebooks and loose papers; desperate to learn what he could about this girl.  While some part of him felt a thin version of guilt for prying into her privacy, it was easily squashed. If he was going to risk his heart and sanity, he wanted to learn all he could.  Eventually finding what looked like a diary, he took the tiny, leatherbound book into his hand and reclined in the air over the bed. Flipping open the cover, he began to peruse the girl’s well kept secrets and dreams.

    A couple hours later and he felt he knew everything about her.  She had a massive crush on Marilyn Manson. She was obsessed with the occult.  And, most importantly, she had always wanted to meet a ghost. Maybe even make friends with one.  If he wanted to, it would be all too easy to manipulate her. To abuse the trust she had for him and make her a loyal puppet.  Yet, like with Lydia, he had no real desire to do so. As evil as he was, even he had his limits.  Sighing, he placed the booklet where he had found it and waited.  She would be home in a few hours and he had nothing better to do with his time.  Though, he could swear he could almost hear Juno laughing at him.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The End of the School Day~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


    Today had been like all the others and she was frankly exhausted.  Just because she dressed differently, she was treated like a leper by almost everyone.  Even the few people she was close to weren’t real friends. In fact, they almost seemed afraid to be seen with her.  There had been more than one day where she had considered simply dropping out and ending her misery. It was only her desire to be properly educated that gave her the drive to keep going.  Even that had been fading under the constant onslaught. Sighing, she looked up at the clouds with sad, maroon eyes. “I know you want to see me succeed dad but... it so very hard when you aren’t the same as the others,” she whispered, a single tear trailing down a paper white cheek.

    Dragging her feet while she made her way up the driveway, she reached for the door knob.  The moment the entry swept open, something felt off. Electricity was thick in the air, prickling against her skin.  For a few seconds, she stood in the entry; wondering what was happening. “Hey babes,” purred a gravelly voice from in front of her, a giant snake slowly forming in front of her out of thin air.  A bit shocked at first, Ellie took several steps back; her heart racing in her chest. Then, as her eyes roamed the black and white striped body of the serpent as well as the oddly human face, she felt recognition begin to well inside her.

    “Betel... I mean, B?” whispered out of her as she cautiously entered her home once more.

    Flicking out a forked tongue in pleasure, he simply wound his muscular coil of a body around her and pulled her the rest of the way inside.  “Who else would it be? Friends with another, powerful poltergeist,” growled a playful accusation while he undulated unnervingly around her.

    “F-friends?  But we’ve only met one time,” she protested weakly, feeling more disconcerted when his hybridized head hovered in front of her.

    “Sssso?  I’m a man of action babes!  When I decide I like someone, that’s usually all I need.  Why worry about the details?” he hissed, tongue flicking out to tickle her cheeks.

    Giggling musically, the young girl cautiously placed her hands on the top most coil.  Much like a real snake, his glossy surface was dry as well as slightly squishy. In fact, he felt similar to a large python.  “I guess you make a pretty good point. I was hoping you’d come back anyway. I have so many questions,” she admitted, squeaking when he tightened slightly around her.  Next thing she knew, she was in her room; feeling disoriented from the sudden change. Betelgeuse had also released her, changing back to his more human form and lounging over her bed.

    “Fire away,” he sighed, waving his hand in a lazy, uncaring manner.

    “What’s it like to be dead?” she whispered, curiosity shining in her deep red orbs.

    “Boring.  So much red tape, you wouldn’t believe it.  Its worse than when you’re alive. When you die, you have to go through processing so they can place you in a job based on how you died.  Violent deaths and suicides get to work in the bureau. One of the most soul grinding gigs in the neitherworld,” came a response that seriously deflated her enthusiasm.

    Despite what he had told her when she’d asked about Juno, she’d still clung to the hope of the afterlife being sort of interesting.  “So, what job were you given?” she continued, silently hoping she wasn’t overstepping any boundaries.

    “Got outta the gig long ago.  Can’t even remember what it was,” he responded, acting like he was commenting on no more than the weather.

    Then he was hovering in front of her, a strange expression on his grizzled face.  “Maybe, someday, I’ll show ya what the place is like,” he murmured while her heart raced due to how close he was.  While others would have been disgusted by how rotted he was, she found him oddly attractive. Already, she was forming quite a large crush on him; a fact that could bite her in the ass if he wasn’t as trustworthy as she thought he was.  Still, she was helpless to stop her growing feelings. Especially when the ghoul was so charismatic.

    “I’d like that but, for now, I gotta do some homework.  Feel free to stick around if you like but I won’t be exciting company,” she informed before setting her backpack on the floor and unzipping the main pouch.

    Before she could even reach into the sack, her books as well as supplies were floating upward and toward her desk.  “Th-thanks,” stammered out of her as she turned to meet the deadly green eyes of her undead companion. Shrugging, the poltergeist took out one of his ancient cigs and lit the end.  Opening a window to let out the smoke, she got to work on her math; acting like he wasn’t even there. Watching her with a raised brow, he couldn’t help but feel stunned. She was acting so casually.  Like giant snakes hugging her was an everyday occurrence. It almost made him want to provoke a reaction out of her in some way.

    “I’m home,” called the voice of a much older female from the ground level.  Smirking, he allowed himself to sink through the floorboards.

    Maven Craftian was by no means a beauty queen but she didn’t look bad for her age either.  In fact, getting older seemed to give her an air of dignity she had lacked in her early twenties.  Long, black hair flowed down to her middle back, familiar maroon eyes focusing on the mail in a long nailed hand.  In a lot of ways, Eleanor took more after her mother in looks. Her personality, however, was an extreme anomaly. An oddity that had sparked many a late night discussion between a worried mother and the spirit of a dead father when she thought her daughter was asleep.  He almost felt bad about what he was planning on doing to her, almost.

    Unaware of the activities below her feet, the teen worked on her hefty pile of homework; inwardly cursing the massive workload.  How was one person expected to do all of this in what was only a matter of hours? Most schools got out at five and the average bedtime was 9 p.m. at the latest.  It didn’t seem fair but she was in no position to complain about it. The best she could do was keep her head down and work through it. With enough effort, it would soon be done.  Unfortunately, peace simply wasn’t meant to be.

    With a suddenness that made her jump to the ceiling, a horrible shriek came from downstairs.  “Eleanor! Get down here! I need your help!” screamed the terrified voice of her mother. Adrenaline dumping into her system, she was flinging open her door and speeding down the stairs before she’d even realized she was moving.  As soon as she got to the kitchen, it was all she could do not to laugh out loud. Hundreds of tiny, black and white striped snakes were pouring out of the sink, making their way toward her utterly terrified mother.

    “Don’t worry!  I’ll get them out of here,” she assured before bending to scoop several of the slithery creatures into both hands.

    “Nice trick B but would ya mind letting up before my mom has a heart attack?  She has a phobia of snakes,” she whispered, keeping her voice low so her mother wouldn’t think she was insane.  One of the reptiles in her hand gave her a wink before the flood of snakes made their way to the front door.

    In a few seconds, they had all disappeared; save for the one that had slithered up the stairs.  “Where had they all come from,” gasped her mother, bringing her attention to the older female that was climbing off the table.

    “No idea.  Maybe you should call someone to take a look at the pipes,” she suggested, edging toward the stairs that led toward her room.  The sooner she could get away, the sooner she could express her displeasure with a certain ghost.

    While she often disagreed with the woman who had given birth to her, that didn’t mean she enjoyed watching the daylights get scared out of the older female.  Then again, it seemed to be Betelgeuse’s nature to cause trouble as well as chaos. If she was honest with herself, a flood of snakes was pretty tame by his standards.  Given how he had changed her room, he could have very well scared the life out of her poor mother. Sighing, she made up her mind to at least try to compromise with the ghost.  Maybe she could get him to scale down his antics just a tad.

    Opening the door, she wasn’t surprised to see he was lounging in midair; looking all too pleased with himself.  “B, you nearly gave the poor woman a coronary. While I can’t expect you to stop, could you at east try not to frighten her to death?  She’s all I have,” came a heartfelt plea. Raising a brow while he moved his eyes to look at her, he simply shrugged and gave a nod. Sighing and wondering if what she’d said had sunk in at all, she made her way back to her desk.  She still had loads to do before dinner and she wanted have a little free time.

    As soon as she had sat down, however, she noticed immediately that all her homework had been finished.  Looking over the pile of papers, she saw it matched her writing style perfectly and was completely correct.  Stunned, she glanced over her shoulder at her otherworldly guest. He continued to lay in mid-air, striped arms positioned behind his head as if he hadn’t done anything.  Smiling, she got up from her desk and walked over to him. Without a word, she stood on tiptoe to kiss his cold, mold and moss covered cheek.

    Freezing in place, he felt his dead heart give a single thump.  No one had ever kissed him. Not unless they had been paid, anyway.  A huge part of him wanted to respond in kind, giving her a kiss that would make her mind spin.  Yet, it was far too soon for anything like that. Instead, he settled for landing to give her a loose hug.  She was soft, warm and smelled clean. Much more pleasant than any of the dead broads he had bought. He could hold onto her forever, a realization the unsettles him greatly.  Releasing her slowly, he stiffens when he feels a familiar tugging on his soul. Someone else is calling for his services.

    While the interruption is well timed, he’s reluctant to take the opportunity to leave.  He wants to stay longer, learn more about this young human. Yet, he has no real choice.  So, without warning, he simply disappeared; leaving behind a very confused teenager. Of all the people to fall for, a long dead ghost certainly hadn’t been on her list but here she was.  Clasping a hand over her racing heart, she watched as her room reverted back to its normal state. “Fine mess you’ve gotten yourself into Ellie. I’m sure your mom will be thrilled to hear you’ve fallen for a man that’s dead,” she grumbled to herself, running a shaky hand through her hair.

    “Not to mention the fact he’s likely centuries older than you are and seems to be in a constant state of rotting.  Yeah, that conversation will go over like a lead balloon,” she continued, beginning to pace to let out some of her bubbling agitation.

    Plopping onto her bed face first, she let out an aggravated sigh.  For now, she would have to push her budding feelings to the back. It was too fast to fall in love with this ghoul.  She barely knew anything about him, after all. Grabbing a black cat that was her favorite plush, she looked into its lifeless, green eyes.  “This shit could only happen to me Luna. Guess I just gotta... ride things out for now. Still, at least he’s interesting,” she sighed, wishing now more than ever that she at least had one friend or at least a pet.  Just someone to confide in.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Hours Later~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


    The job had taken much longer than he’d thought it would.  Not only had the ghosts summoning him been incompetent but the people in the house were also staunch skeptics.  It had required much more effort than he would like to admit to scare the family out of the house. It was already well into the night by the time he had left.  Yet, instead of heading home, he made his way back to his human’s room. Knowing she would be asleep, he tried to be as quiet as he could while he popped into existence in her room.

    Floating over to her bed, he stared down at her as she slept.  She seemed so peaceful, a black cat plush clutched tightly in her arms.  If it weren’t for the fact her cest was moving under the blankets, he would have mistaken her for dead.  Brushing a strand of ebony hair out of her pale face, he pulled back when her eyelids fluttered. “Mmm, B?” came a sleep muzzed inquiry while tired eyes fluttered open.

    “Yeah, just me babes.  Go back to sleep,” assured a soft rumble of his voice.

    Nodding, she reached out for his hand and gave a weak tug.  Heart dropping into his stomach, he licked his lips as he met her pleading, maroon eyes.  Taking a breath, he slid onto the bed beside her. To his shock, she rolled to nuzzle into him; sighing contently while she slipped into a deep sleep.  Wrapping an arm around her, he allowed himself to burrow his nose into her hair. Inhaling deeply, he took her scent into his lung and closed his eyes. “Yep, I’m completely fucked.  Worse thing is, I don’t even mind anymore,” rasps his quiet voice in the darkness as he watches Ellie sleep.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Days Pass~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


    As time goes by, the odd pair find themselves falling into a routine of sorts.  More often than not, Betelgeuse would be waiting for her when she got home from school.  For most of the day he would simply float there, patiently answering her questions once she had finished her homework.  Despite repeated offers, she never allowed him to finish her work again. Something about needing a proper education. An assertion her ghoulish friend still didn’t really understand and tried to ‘reason’ with her about.

    The biggest bone of contention between them, however, was his ‘need’ to pull pranks on her poor mother.  While he had never done anything as terrible as the snake trick, his favorite activity seemed to be to cause grief for her.  Especially while Ellie was otherwise occupied. It was getting so bad that even her staunch skeptic of a mother was starting to wonder if something was going on.  If maybe her father was haunting them for some reason.

    Sighing as she set down her book bag, she crossed her arms over her developing chest to level the self titled ‘Ghost with the Most’ with her best scolding expression.  “B, can you please lay off my mom for at least a few days? The woman’s gonna have a complex if you don’t,” she requested. Rolling his acid green eyes, he rotated until he was in a sitting position in mid air.  Crossing one leg over the other, he rested his chin on his right hand.

    “If ya don’t like it, you can always send me back,” he pointed out, taking her a bit off guard.

    “Yeah, I could .  Doesn’t mean I should.  Made a promise after all.  Besides, I kinda... like having you around,” she admitted quietly, avoiding his wild gaze.

    Outwardly smirking but inwardly charmed, he took her chin in a light hold.  “Truth be told, I like being around you too kid. Still, glad to hear ya say ya feel the same.  I’ll lay off the old broad for a bit. She was getting boring anyway,” he conceded, feeling the urge to kiss her on the forehead.

    “Thanks.  I have no homework so you have my undivided attention anyway.  At least, for the next two days,” she responded before taking a seat on her bed.

    “I guess that would mean there’ll be more questions than normal,” rasped from in front of her, the tone one of playful annoyance.

    Looking up at the ancient being sheepishly, she gave a nervous smile.  “I mean, unless you mind,” she whispered, biting her lower lip in a way that frankly drove him crazy.  Shrugging, he simply shook his head.

    “Nah, fire away.  Isn’t any worse than what the other breathers have done.  Shoulda heard all the questions Lyds asked when we eventually became friends,” he responded, watching as curiosity as well as a tiny bit of jealousy flashed over her pale visage.

    Yet, despite her obvious curiosity, she kept any questions about the girl to herself.  A fact he was more than a little grateful for. As much as he already liked the kid, there were just some things he wasn’t ready to talk about.  “How long have you been dead?” she whispered, looking all the more nervous when he met her gaze.

    “I dunno kid.  Kinda lost count after the first century.  To give ya an idea, the guillotine was the main way to deal with... undesirables when I was knocking around,” came an answer that left her feeling a bit breathless.  If he was being truthful, he was much older than she had initially thought.

    Taking a moment to absorb what he’d admitted, she tried to shove away the discomfort she felt about the age gap.  Age meant nothing when you were dead. “What about you kid? What are you hoping to do with your life?” husked a question that made the girl twitch.  Obviously, she hadn’t really expected him to have any questions of his own.

    “Oh, uh... I haven’t really decided.  I want to go to college after high school.  But I have no idea what I would study while there,” murmured out of her while she avoided eye contact.

    The poltergeist didn’t look the least bit impressed.  Shaking his head, he pulled out one of his ever present cigarettes.  “Not gonna lie, seems like a lot of work for little reward,” he grumbled while lighting the end of it.  Sighing, Ellie simply rolled her blood red eyes before holding out a hand for one of the cancer sticks.

    “I know but I have a long life ahead of me.  I would rather make something productive out of it,” she sighed as he dropped one into her palm.

    Placing it between her index and middle fingers, she lit the end and inhaled deeply.  The taste of long stale tobacco flavored by cloves rolled over her tongue. While most would be unable to withstand such a taste, she would smoke nothing else.  Blowing the acrid smoke out of her nostrils, she met his gaze. “So, you mentioned the guillotine. Was that how you died?” came her next question, her enthusiasm for the subject taking him a bit off guard.

    “Yeah and let me tell ya, its true what they say about the brain being aware for some time after beheading,” purred the ghoul, eyes glossy like he was recalling a fond memory.

    Though, how you could be nostalgic about such a violent end was beyond her.  Then she remembered who she was speaking to. This particular ghost had caused and seen more gruesome things than she could ever think of.  There was also the fact he was a ghost and she wasn’t Maybe other dead people were also nostalgic about how they’d died. It wasn’t like she had a whole lot of experience with other ghouls.  “Say, I’m getting tired of answering questions. What else did ya do for fun before I came around?” he asked.

    Flushing as guilt replaced excitement, Ellie cleared her throat while she motioned to the stand where a twisted version of a television sat.  Beside it sat a stand full of DVDs as well as VHS. On the other side of it was another case full of books. Eyeing what looked to be rather boring, mortal entertainment, he shook his head in disappointment.  “I think I can do one better for you,” he offered, giving a simple snap of his yellow nailed fingers. In a blink, the small screen on the stand flickered to life.

    Eyes widening while a loud commercial played, she couldn’t help but wonder what a ‘Scream Puff’ would taste like.  After that was another commercial for a much less appetizing snack. Afterwards, a strange reality show began to roll.  ‘Lifestyles of the Rich and Ghoulish’. Needless to say, she was utterly fascinated. All the ghosts were rather famous people.  At least, they had been famous in their day. While a bit morbid, she couldn’t look away. Despite knowing about the afterlife, she still found it surreal to see someone like ‘Clark Gable’ chatting away with an interviewer.

    Chuckling as he observed her, he laid beside her on the bed and watched TV with her.  “While I’ve seen all this shit a hundred times over, its always interesting to see a breather’s reaction to it.  Yours is one of the best so far. You really eat this shit up, don’t you?” rumbled his mid-tone while he stubbed out the cigarette.

    “I’d have to in order to put up with your shenanigans,” pointed out a sassy reply that drew out a gruff bark of a laugh.

    “Guess so.  I’m already a terrible influence,” he retorted, gesturing to the smoldering cig she still held.

    Looking down at it, she took the last drag before stubbing it out too.  “Who wants to live forever, right?” whispered her sweet voice, a strange bitterness clinging to the edges.  Now more than ever, he was reminded poignantly of Lydia Deetz. For a few moments, he almost worried about the possibility she was suicidal.  Yet, there was a steel buried deep under the depression and self hatred. Something the other female had lacked, as much as he had loved her.

    “Got a point kiddo,” he rumbled, wrapping a loose arm around her shoulders.

    Leaning into his cool body, Ellie made herself comfortable while hours passed them by.  Before she knew it, her eyelids were getting heavy and she was beginning to doze off. Using his juice to pull up the covers, he couldn’t help but smile when she curled into him; snuggling into his moldy, moss covered chest.  Despite the fact he smelled like a sack of rotting skunks, she seemed to find comfort in his scent. It also meant a lot to him that she trusted him enough to be this vulnerable around him. Not many did, especially after they found out how powerful he was.

    Shaking his head, he stared up at the ceiling with a wry grin on his gaunt face.  “Not even a week and I’m getting all mushy. Still, she’s not a bad kid. Already so loyal and I didn’t have to do much,” he whispered to himself as he pulled out another cig.  Placing it between his lips, he inhaled deeply; demolishing the stick in a single breath. Letting out the smoke slowly, he couldn’t help but notice him platonically sharing a bed with her was becoming a common thing.  The nights he couldn’t, he would at least stop in to watch her sleep. A habit he justified as making sure she was safe. In truth, he couldn’t feel at peace until he had made sure she was at least resting comfortably. In fact, there had been more than a few times that he had come back from a job to make sure of just that.

    Breathing in as her eyes fluttered, Ellie knew immediately her strange friend was gone.  As much as she found it comforting, his aroma left a lot to be desired. Not only was he opposed to all forms of personal hygiene but he was a rotting corpse.  There was also the fact he also smelled of stale cigarettes as well as whiskey. Swinging her legs over the side of her bed, she looked over at the full length mirror he sometime used as an entrance.  A large part of her suspected he did it for show.

    Running a hand of her face, she wondered just how much longer she could go on like this.  She knew she was starting to enjoy his company a little too much but there wasn’t a thing she could do about it.  It would be funny if it weren’t so very fucked up. Any other girl would be repulsed by the fact he was dead alone.  She was so sick, she was actually attracted to him because of it. “I’m a fucked up individual,” she lamented before heading to her dresser to dig for some clothes.

    “Yeah, but that’s part of why I like ya so much.  Who else would be willing to cuddle up to yours truly,” rasped in her ear while strong arms wound around her waist.

    “Morning B,” she greeted, looking up to smile at the poltergeist.

    Smirking, he moved one of his hand to ruffle fondly at her ebony hair.  “Thought you were at a job,” she continued while he released her so she could turn to face him.

    “Just finished.  I take it ya missed me already,” he teased, taking a rather arrogant stance while his grin widened.

    Rolling her eyes but still giggling, she motioned for him to turn around.  Once he had done so, she started to change. While she knew he could just spin his head, she trusted him not to do so.  An exercise in folly, perhaps, but one that was important. Besides, he had yet to do anything to abuse the faith she put in him.  She’d slept in his arms for more than a week now and her had yet to try to grope her or do anything lewd to her while she was out. Unbeknownst to her, Betelgeuse was having a bit of a conflict with his normal character.

    He was much more used to being the villain, to being seen as a monster no matter how good he behaved.  It was different when the person he was with had trusted him from the get go. While he wanted to peek through the back of his own head to finally see more, he knew she wouldn’t like it one bit.  In fact, their relationship would likely never be the same. To his shock, he found this friendship to be more important to him than following his impulses. It was a position he had never been in.  Before, he had always been selfish to a fault.

    The Bio-Exorcist was so focused on his own thoughts that, when Ellie touched his upper arm to get his attention, he nearly died all over again.  Shifting shape out of reflex alone, he rounded on the teen with one of the scariest faces in his repertoire. Taking a step back while all the color drained out of her face, the terrified girl held her ground bravely.  Reverting back to normal in an instant, all his angst disappeared for another alien sensation. Guilt. “I’m so sorry kid! It was just a reflex,” he blurted out, making sure to keep some distance between them regardless of how much he wanted to hold her right then.

    When she ran forward to wrap her arms around him, he felt his heart flutter.  It went much deeper than simple trust. She actually felt safe with him. Feeling a swell of protectiveness for her, he wrapped his own arms loosely around her.  “With a face like that, I can see why you chose the job you did. Any living person would run screaming,” whispered a voice into his chest, drawing a gruff chuckle from him.

    “That’s one of my best forms.  I have a million of them. There’s a good reason why I’m the ghost with the most babes,” purred his typically narcissistic response, making the still shaking teen giggle quietly.

    “I guess I should be grateful you like me so much.  If I was one of the people you were trying to expel from the house, I would probably be homeless within a day,” teased a reply that made him go cold all over.

    Just the thought of having to chase out this girl and her mom made him feel frankly sick to his stomach.  For the first time in his long unlife, he was honestly happy he hadn’t been called here to do a job. “You know, you’re the most interesting breather I’ve met so far,” he admitted as he finally released her.  He wasn’t surprised when he saw questions immediately swirl in her eyes.

    “How many humans have you made friends with?  I mean, no offense but, you don’t exactly seem like the type to like people that much,” she pointed out, her bluntness making him cackle insanely.

    “You’re not wrong kid.  Still, even guys like me crave companionship at times.  Especially when you’ve been dead as long as I have,” Betelgeuse retorted, a bittersweet grin curling his lips.

    “Doesn’t mean I haven’t been through a ration of pain because of it though,” he continued quietly, a faraway look coming into his yellow stained eyes.

    Unsure of how to respond, Ellie opted to remain silent.  After all, she didn’t have to be a genius to figure out what he was getting at.  None of the humans he had formed attachments to had returned his hidden affections.  Stomping down hard on the sympathy that welled within her, she simply walked over to her desk, turned the chair to face him and sat down.  As much as she wanted to hug him and offer him comfort, she had a feeling he wouldn’t appreciate such actions at the moment. It would seem too much like pity.  “Wanna go to the park with me?” she offered, effectively breaking the ice.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~A Week Later~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


    It seemed the routine they had fallen in had gotten very comfortable as well as dependable.  So faithful, in fact, that Ellie was shocked whenever she didn’t see the poltergeist floating over her bed when she got home.  As odd as it sounded, Betelgeuse was becoming a pillar of strength for her. Something she could depend on to always be there no matter what.  Running a hand down her flushed face as she made her way up the stairs, she could only shake her head. “You’ve got it bad,” she mumbled to herself under her breath before settling her gaze on the doorknob.  Swinging open the entry, she prepared her customary smile for the ghost.

    Sure enough, there he was, laying back in the air above her bed and munching on a few cockroaches he had caught in her kitchen.  “Hey B, how was business today?” chirped out of her as he turned his head to look at her.

    “Slow as always.  I never get many calls.  Could be why I’m in the red 90% of the time,” growled his joking response, making her worry inwardly for her friend.  Yet, she didn’t voice those concerns.

    Instead, she simply hugs him tightly the moment his boots touch the floor.  “I really hope things pick up soon. Would you like to go out to the park and scare some of the people once I finish my homework?” she asks, relishing the immediate, toothy smile.

    “You know it babes,” purrs the rogue while she sets her bookbag on the floor.

    Watching while she pulls out books, he furrows his brow while he seems to consider something.  “Maybe, when we get back, I can tell ya a bit about Lyds. She was the breather I knew before I ran into you.  In a lot of ways, you remind me of her,” whispers an offer she had never thought she would hear. While he obviously trusted her a lot more than when he had initially met her, she had no clue it ran this deeply.  Carefully keeping her emotions in check so she wouldn’t make him change his mind, she nodded with a blank expression. On the inside, she was jumping for joy.

    True to his word, the ghost began to talk sa soon as they got home and up to her room.  The story he wove made her feel more than a bit jealous. Especially when she learned that he considered the long dead woman a wife.  They had met when Lydia was thirteen. And, while things hadn’t always gone smoothly, they had become very close friends. By the time he was finished, she felt like she couldn’t even come close to competing.  Pursing her lips slightly, she leaned into the undead male when he sat on the mattress beside her.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Months Pass~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


    Today, was very different for Ellie.  Staring at her front walk, she found herself reluctant to enter her house for the first time since she had summoned her enigmatic guest.  Her growing attraction to the ghost had become an all encompassing thing. In fact, is was getting harder and harder to hide her feelings.  When he was gone, she now pined for him. She had even put off dating other guys simply because she knew she couldn’t love them nearly as much as she did Betelgeuse.  The worst part about it was, she had a feeling he wouldn’t reciprocate her feelings. He might even hate her for them.

    While he seemed to enjoy being around her, he also didn’t seem like the type to want to settle down or be tied to one woman.  Not to mention the fact that he was dead and she was alive. He would watch while she grew old and died. Would he eventually grow bored of her?  Would their relationship end as soon as she had passed away? To be honest, she was afraid of the answers as well as her own feelings. There was also the fact that she would likely never be able to tell her mother.  Finding out her daughter was dating a ghost was likely something she wouldn’t be able to accept.

    Still, she couldn’t just go on denying whatever feelings she had for the spirit.  Though, the thought of kissing that mouth of his made her want to shudder all over from disgust.  Taking in a deep breath for courage, the young teen entered the house. Unfortunately, she had completely forgotten today was her birthday.  So, when her mom hopped out of nowhere with her small amount of ‘friends’ and shouted ‘surprise’ she about had a heart attack. Once the shock had worn off, however, she was able to join in the festivities.  All the time, well aware of the sensation of being watched.

    By the time the party was over, it was fairly late and she was more than a little apprehensive about going upstairs to her room.  She hadn’t even thought to tell the ghost that was up there when her birthday was and she knew he had seen the festivities. Still, he hadn’t done anything to harm her; despite the massive amount of power he had and his propensity for mischief.  Not to mention all the tales he had regaled her with about his various clients. If he wanted to, he could honestly do a lot of damage. There was also the fact it was hard to avoid a ghost. They had a talent for being able to phase through solid matter as well as travel over large distances in small amounts of time.  Just sending him back and closing the pathway for a bit never even crossed her mind.

    Gathering what courage she had, Ellie made her way up the stairs; taking a deep breath before swinging open the door to her room.  The instant she did, she was swept up into a fierce bear hug. “Happy birthday babes! If you’d told me, I’d have gotten ya something.  As it is, best I can offer is a short trip to the Neitherworld,” growled an enthused mid-tone in her ear, the smell of stale cigarettes filling her nose.  A smell she was beginning to grow a fair bit of nostalgia for. Then, his words sank in and she was pulling away to look at him with excitement dawning in her maroon eyes.

    “You mean, I’d actually get to walk around in the world of the dead?” she whispered, bouncing in excitement as soon as he set her on her feet.

    “Figured you’d like that.  I’ll show you around the Shocking Mall and the Roadhouse.  Jacque and Ginger will adore you. Doomie though... I don’t know how he’ll react...,” came an assurance while his wild, hazel irises stared at her from yellowed sclera.  Not really knowing what he was talking about but feeling excited anyway, she pulled Betelgeuse into a tight hug.

    It was honestly the best present she had ever gotten.  An opportunity to explore a world she had always been curious about.  There was also the fact that it sounded like things took themselves quite literally over there.  According the her guest, the Dead Sea was actually full of floating corpses who did nothing but complain.  Because of this, the water was too depressed to move and was more like a thick jello. If you wished, you could walk across it; listening to the complaints of the dead under your feet.  It sounded more than fascinating. “So, how do we get there?” she asked as she pulled away to meet her guest’s eyes.

    “Just gotta say these words and we’ll be right over there.  Came up with this spell back when...,” he began to explain, trailing off as a pained expression crossed his pale, mold covered features.

    Almost immediately, Ellie jealousy shoot through her; envious of the connection the pair had shared.  While the friendship they had now was deep already, it still felt a bit like he was trying to keep himself at some emotional distance.  Still, she couldn’t blame him after how many times he’d gotten hurt by the living. “Well... nevermind. Just repeat after me. ‘Though I know I should be wary, still I venture some place scary.  Ghostly hauntings, I turn loose.’ Then ya say the B word three times and off we go,” he continued, interrupting her train of thought.

    Smiling at the oddly cute incantation, the seventeen year old repeated the words; gasping when a violent wind began to whip around her.  Reaching for Betelgeuse, she only felt safe when she felt his arms wrap tightly around her. “Shh, I got ya babes. Ol’ B.J. won’t let anything happen to ya,” husked an assurance in her ear while her bedroom simply faded out of existence.  For a split second, she found herself in a dimension between dimensions. A place that lacked air or any light whatsoever. Thankfully, it didn’t last long; otherwise her mind would have simply snapped.

    Looking around, she was utterly enchanted by what she saw.  A long, seemingly impossible road stretched before them, levitating above a bottomless abyss.  Where most roads were fairly boring, this one was like a rollercoaster. It held loop de loops as well as steep hills and tight turns.  Strange, surreal houses floated on disembodied islands of land beside it, each seeming to be designed by a slightly insane artist. Not that a lot of the denizens of this world were much better.

    Many of them had become parodies of their own deaths, looking more like gruesome jokes rather than frightening specters.  For example, a drowning victim would have blue tinted skin that looked perpetually wet. They would also be wearing fins, goggles and a snorkel.  There would also be bits of seaweed dotted on their drenched figures. Though, not all of them were as easy to guess. Following the poltergeist that had brought her here, she couldn’t help but turn the identification of their deaths into a game.  While a bit morbid, it was honestly entertaining and it wasn’t too long before she was involving Betelgeuse.

    Soon, the pair were engaged in active debates about who died from what and having a generally good time.  They eventually stopped as they got closer to a city that was floating on a massive, continent sized island.  Frowning slightly, the ghost leading her wrapped an arm around her to keep her close; almost like he was afraid.  As they got closer to what could be considered main street of the city, Ellie figured out why. No matter who it was, the others seemed almost afraid or outright pissed off at her companion.  Some of them were even glaring at her for merely being in his presence. After some of the stories he had told her, she didn’t have to ask why.

    After a year with him, she had heard more than a few of his tales about the mischief and trouble he had caused to know they weren’t exaggerations.  And, while she found his antics amusing, she could admit that others would not. Clinging to her undead friend, she met each of the hate filled gazes steadily.  While she couldn’t blame them for their ire, she was determined to show she was in no way ashamed to be seen with him. Eventually, the angry gazes simply shifted away; the taller ghost next to her looking down at her in astonishment.

    Only Lyds had ever tried to stand up for him before and even then, it felt different than what had just happened.  Tightening his grip on her shoulder ever so slightly, he continued to lead her to a rather large, oddly shaped building.  Like most of the construction in the Neitherworld, the Shocking Mall’s structure seemed impossible. It was wide on the top and narrow near the bottom, the name of the place flashing over it in an arc of neon letters.  Of course, given this place’s odd sense of humor, the ‘o’ was in the shape of a mouth that was screaming. It even had a tongue lolling out, the neon giving it the illusion of movement.

    Entering the building, she was utterly floored by the variety of strange stores filling this place.  There were ‘Ghoul’tiques, clothing stores, book stores and pet stores just to name a few. She honestly didn’t know where to start first.  Thankfully, they had more than enough time to explore everything. Unfortunately, it wasn’t as exciting as it looked. While most of the styles were unusual and the pets were strange, they were still just clothes and animals.  It wasn’t like she was seeing monstrous beasts for sale.  Just fairly odd looking creatures whose names she couldn’t hope to pronounce.

    Watching as the teen played with a cage full of Bloodsucking Snirglenuffs, Betelgeuse couldn’t help but notice her enthusiasm was slowly waning.  Much like him, the charm of the Neitherworld wore off quickly for her. About the only thing that still seemed to amuse her was looking at all the varieties of death that surrounded her.  As well as some of the scenery. Smirking, he felt he had a fairly decent idea about what she would like to next. It was one of his favorite activities and was one he had never dared to share with Lydia.  “Wanna have some real fun babes?” he purred, not surprised when she nodded enthusiastically.

    Raising a long nailed hand, he snapped his index and middle digits lazily; making sure to keep a tight hold on the nineteen year old while they were transported to another place entirely.  Last thing he wanted was for the young woman to get flung off to Saturn. He’d have to man up and save her. A terrifying prospect when you hated Sandworms as much as he did. Just thinking about them made his balls want to draw up into his stomach.  So, he forced his mind onto other matters. Like the fact that his little breather was beginning to develop quite a crush on him.

    While she had yet to tell him, he had been around the block more than his fair share in both life and death.  He’d have to be blind not to see the signs. The way she flushed subtly every time he touched her. The way her pulse raced whenever they were in the same room together.  The way she ever so slightly leaned into him as if seeking safety from his simple presence. It made him feel things he hadn’t felt since Lydia. No, it was stronger than that.

    He actually wanted Ellie  to love him.  Even with Lyds, he had been resigned to the fact that she would leave him.  That was one of the reasons he hadn’t juiced the boy that had taken her virginity to Hell and back.  If such a thing happened now, even he wasn’t entirely sure how he’d react.  A horrifying prospect, to say the least.  Looking down on the child that was just entering adulthood, he found himself filled with an urge to kiss her.

    Feeling slightly dizzy while she reoriented herself to her new surroundings, Ellie leaned subconsciously into the surprisingly solid body of the specter that had brought her here.  They were in a forest but it was unlike any forest she had ever seen. There were trees alright but their trunks were the color and texture of exposed muscle. The tops were crowned with blinking eyes that stared at them, making her feel more than a little creeped out.  “Where are we?” she whispered, feeling vaguely like she might accidentally wake up something she didn’t want to.

    “Watcher’s Woods.  Its a great place to see some of Neitherworld’s more... abnormal flora.  The things here are dangerous though so stay close and don’t follow any strange lights,” he advised, wondering if this was really such a good idea.

    This place was full of some of the more violent denizens.  Yet, they were also some of the most fascinating. Not to mention the fact that they could be used for spells as well as powerful potions.  Just a few strands of fur, claws or a sample of the secretions was more than enough to concoct a spell powerful enough to blow up a city. Yet, all he used them for was enhancing his own abilities.  After all, he had to maintain his reputation for being the ghost with the most. Not that he didn’t have massive amounts of power at his fingertips organically. Normally, however, he lacked the ability to focus it as much as he wanted to.  Much like him, his powers were chaotic and tended to do as they pleased. A fact that could be problematic during jobs, to say the least.

    Licking her lips nervously, Ellie jumped when she heard a strange noise.  A mixture of a scream mixed with the inhuman squealing of a pig. Whatever that had been, she had a feeling she wouldn’t want to run across it while alone.  Still, despite how frightened she was, she felt exhilarated at the same. This was exactly what she had imagined when she pictured the world of the dead. Not the dark comedy that she had been greeted with upon arrival.  This place was wild, frightening, full of monsters that could hurt her if she didn’t have Betelgeuse with her.

    Chuckling, the poltergeist was leading her down a path; the noises getting more strange the further they went.  Every so often, something would move through the claw-like bushes or a dark shape would dart across the footpath.  In fact, the atmosphere became very oppressive fairly quickly; the feeling of malice like a film of electricity over her skin.  It almost felt like something could reach out from between the strange trees to yank her into the the depths of the forest. In fact, she could see eyes peeking at her from between a few of the muscle-like trunks; sending a shiver skittering down her spine.

    While scared out of her mind, she had a huge grin on her face; like she couldn’t be happier.  So, when ichor coated tentacles slithered across the path, she didn’t simply run away screaming.  Clinging onto the ghost that had brought her here, she watched as eyes began to pop out of the oil-like limbs.  “Hey Igor! Been a while old buddy,” Betelgeuse cooed, bending to run a finger along the largest tentacle’s sticky surface.  Whatever it belonged to let out a gurgle, a fanged mouth opening in the tip of the limb he was touching.

    “This is Ellie.  She’s a good friend of mine.  We’re just here to see some of the more strange sights,” the poltergeist explained, smiling over his shoulder at his companion.

    Instead of being intimidated or disgusted, the young girl was kneeling beside him; holding out a hand for the mass of gooey limbs to sniff.  An action that seemed to take the undead exorcist completely off guard. Hissing at first, the infernal creature wrapped its thickest appendage around her arm briefly before it was retreating back into the woods.  Staring at the stain it had left on her skin and shirt, the teen simply giggled and shook her head. “Any tips to get ectoplasm out of clothing?” she asked, surprising him even more.

    Assuming an arrogant smirk, the undead male simply snapped his fingers; removing the stains in an instant.  “Not a problem. Come on. I wanna show you one of my favorite spots here,” came a gruff demand before he was fairly pulling her down the path.  Instead of becoming offended by his roughness, she simply chuckled. Just looking at his face told her he was excited and she would be lying if she said she wasn’t feeling the same way.  This was the most fun she’d had in years, the danger involved only adding more spice to their activity. As they moved, bat-like creatures flew out of the trees; filling the air above them with angry cries.  Closing her eyes so she could listen to the fluttering of their wings, Ellie felt her whole body give an instinctual shudder.

    Whatever they were, they were likely dangerous but they seemed to have no interest in bothering the traveling pair.  Even the inhuman howls and noises did nothing to deter the teen. In fact, they only seemed to add to her enjoyment. “Damn, wish I could take something home as a pet,” she lamented while her host led her to a wild stream.  A torrent that appeared to be of blood rather than water. Watching the crimson colored fluid cascading over the clot colored rocks, she wondered if it was the lifeblood of the Neitherworld that she was seeing. Filled with curiosity, she wandered over to the bank; squatting so she could get a closer look.

    Faint, coppery, almost sickly sweet.  It was a wholly unique scent and one that never failed to turn her stomach when she encountered it during dissections in science class.  Still, her hand reached for it; quivering digits moving closer to the steaming surface. It was only when a mold encrusted hand snagged her wrist that she stopped.  Looking up, she saw Betelgeuse give a single, firm shake of his head; wild hair flying in every direction. “Wouldn’t be a good idea babes. Not even the dead can touch that stuff.  I have no desire to see what it would do to a breather like you,” grumbled out of him, faint concern shining in his yellowed eyes.

    “What is it?” whispered out of her as she allowed her odd friend to pull her into his broad body.

    “Not really sure but I know where it’s coming from.  Its part of the River Styx and it flows into a huge lake a few miles from here.  You don’t even want to know what sort of creatures take up residence there,” husked a reply in her ear, making the fine hairs on her arms stand on end.

    “I’d like to visit some time.  For now, I’m curious about this Roadhouse you mentioned,” she responded, doing her best to hide the fact that her knees had practically gone to jelly.

    She had to have it bad to react like this to just his voice as well as contact with his body.  Just thinking about it made her cheeks flush as mortification threatened to overwhelm her. Yet, no matter how much she wanted to, she would never tell him about her growing infatuation.  Not only did she doubt he reciprocated her feelings but she had a feeling knowing about them would drive him away. A theory she wasn’t willing to test the validity of. She couldn’t imagine not having him around, just the thought of it causing an unpleasant twisting sensation in her chest.

    As if sensing her distress, her ethereal friend scooped her into his surprisingly strong arms; green stained teeth grinning down at her.  “No problem babes. We’re starting to attract too much attention anyway,” hummed his mid-tone before they were entering the odd dimension between yet again.  While being brief, the lack of any stimuli was exceedingly disconcerting. It was a bit of a relief to come out on the other end again, the sounds of the world around them a blessing compared to the utter silence.  Still, the sights that greeted her were beyond strange. Especially the living furball that appeared to be barreling straight toward them in a rather angry manner.

    “Beetlejuice!  What in tarhooties have ya done t’ma Poopsie this time?” snarled a thick, Texan accent from the anthropomorphized pile of hair, his verbiage coming very close to making Ellie laugh.  An action that wasn’t likely advisable given the monster’s anger.

    Then, as if just noticing her presence, the hulking beast seemed to lose what wind it had in its sails.  “Oh... Pardon mah language lil’ lady. This here varmint jest knows ‘xactly what t’do t’git mah fur in a bunch,” mumbled an apology while a gloved hand reached up to remove a ten gallon cowboy hat, placing the article of clothing over where his heart would be.

    “Somehow, I’m not surprised.  Name is Eleanor Craftian but you can call me Ellie.  Who exactly is Poopsie and what did he do to her?” the teen asked, doing her best to look as serious as possible.

    “He’s mah dog ma’am.  He’s gotten so upset he won’t touch his supper.  Jest hides in his house like the hounds of Hades are after him,” grumbled the disgruntled monster, spinning his hat restlessly in his hands.

    “All I did was scare him a little.  Where’s the harm in that?” the troublesome spirit complained, lounging backward in midair like he was laying on an invisible couch.

    Biting back a snicker, Ellie crossed her arms over her developing breasts while leveling a glare at the ghoul.  A glare that was so obviously an act that it would be a miracle if the complainant bought it. Thankfully, Betelgeuse seemed completely willing to play along.  Turning his head to face her, he slowly unfolded himself when he saw her expression. Immediately, a look of false complacency came over his gaunt features. “B... I think you should apologize,” came a demand that sounded like a teacher scolding a naughty student.  Lips twitching like he was fighting back his own laughter, he turned to the odd creature.

    “Sorry Thing.  I just can’t help myself.  When I see Poopsie, it just calls to my inner devil,” he murmured, bowing his head.

    To her utter amazement, the being that resembling Cousin It’s long lost twin rubbed the back of what was supposed to be his head.  “Gee never thought t’see it that way. With what I know ‘bout ya, I should have expected it. Let’s let bigones be bigones,” the monster murmured, extending a gloved hand to the other man.  Taking the offered appendage, Betelgeuse gave a small nod.

    “All I ask is you try yer best not t’bother mah dog.  His nerves are shot enough,” it continued, seeming satisfied when the poltergeist wholeheartedly agreed.

    “Now then.  I don’t think I gave mah name to th’lil lady ya brought with ya.  I’m known as ‘The Thing Across the Street,’” growled out of him as he took her hand and fairly shook her.

    While amused, he didn’t hesitate to come to her rescue.  Taking his human into his arms, he nodded to his neighbor before making his way toward his one of a kind house.  A dwelling he had made for himself not long after coming to the Neitherworld. Unfortunately, due to his services not being all that high in demand, he’d had to take on a couple roommates.  Still, with his reputation, he was surprised he’d managed to find any takers at all. Let alone ones that seemed to like him.

    The main part of the building was a dome with two protrusions on the left and right sides.  While the one on the left seemed to be normal enough, the one coming out of the top right almost resembled a screaming mouth.  Not to mentioned the fanged mailbox that seemed to have the specific function of warding off mail delivery. Of course, perched on top was a flashing, neon sign with the name ‘B.J.’s Roadhouse’ spelled out clearly.  Completely charmed, Ellie followed close behind; eyes fixed on the hand that gripped a bone shaped doorknob. She wasn’t disappointed by what she saw as soon as the door swung inward.

    It was a lot larger on the inside than the outside, having the same, impossible construction as the rest of the buildings in this dimension.  The living room itself was massive, a skeleton and a spider lounging on the couch while watching TV. Immediately, the skeleton was getting to his feet; revealing the fact he was wearing fairly stereotypical French clothing.  It was so stereotypical, in fact, that it bordered on offensive. He had the black and white horizontal striped shirt, a red beret and a thick, handlebar mustache. A feat that was rather impressive given his lack of skin. “Beeyaytailjooce!  Eet ‘as been a while since you ‘ave brought such a lovelay young woman ‘ere,” exclaimed a thick, French accent that matched his looks. Whatever God ran the Neitherworld had one Hell of a sense of humor.

    Next thing she knew, a bony hand was lifting her own to a pair of exposed teeth so the odd housemate could pantomime a kiss.  “Hey, hands off the girl Jacques,” growled out a rasp of a command before vertical stripe covered arms surrounded her.

    “Never figured you to be the possessive type.  You never seemed to mind when Jacques flirted with Lydia,” pointed out a nasally, Jersey-esque accent from the ground, drawing Ellie’s attention to the unusual arachnid staring up at them from the floor.  It almost resembled a cross between a spider and a beetle, possessing a red shell that covered her thorax. To make things even more strange, she appeared to be wearing make-up as well as shoes on each of her feet.

    Blinking, the young woman bent so she could get a closer look.  Blushing, the small animal straightened her tiny bowtie before removing her top hat.  “Name’s Ginger. Been too long since Beetlejuice brought anyone home,” the odd roomie introduced, offering a hand to shake.  Staring at the small appendage, Ellie carefully took Ginger’s hand and gave a very, very gentle shake. It was more like the barest twitch of her muscles.

    “Pleasure to meet you both.  My name is Eleanor Craftian but you can call me Ellie,” she responded, all too happy to release the wisp-like limb.  While fascinated with ghoulish things, the young woman had a fairly severe case of arachnophobia. Talking to a sentient spider was a bit out of her comfort zone.  Not to mention touching said arachnid. Still, at least Ginger was friendly.

    Grumbling, her host ushered her down a twisting hall; pushing her into a much more private area of the house.  As he closed the door in their wake, she took the opportunity to look around. There was a huge coffin in the center of a filthy carpet, its lid shut so you could read the nameplate that had been bolted onto it.  The room itself almost resembled a funeral parlor, possessing elaborate, standing candelabras as well as more than a few rotting bouquets scattered on various, dust caked surfaces. There was also layers upon layers of cobwebs covering everything, making it look like the room hadn’t seen used in quite a long time.  Even the air was stagnant, having an unpleasant, stale smell.

    Seeming to be unbothered by the state of the place, he simply juiced a chair into existence for his guest before allowing himself to float into a more relaxed position.  “Wish I could offer more than some half bit tour but money’s a tad... short,” grumbled out of him, his eyes shifting to one side shamefully. Brow wrinkling, the girl ignored the chair to walk toward her odd friend.  Placing a hand on his lower, left arm, she waited until his eyes met hers before speaking.

    “This is the best present I’ve ever gotten and I mean that.  I’ve never met anyone quite like you and... well... any time I spend with you is special to me,” came a whispered confession that drew the spirit into a position of acute awareness.

    Turning in mid-air so he was in a more upright posture, he took her hand in his and met her maroon eyes carefully.  “Babes, I feel exactly the same way,” growled out of him, his words making her heart flutter in her chest. Slowly, he descended until his heeled boots touched the mouldering carpet.  Making sure to maintain eye contact, he took her hand in both of his while giving her a crooked smile. Maybe... maybe it was time to take the plunge. After all, she had been nursing her crush for months and it seemed like he reciprocated her feelings.  Maybe he wouldn’t laugh her off like she thought he would. So, taking a deep breath to gather her courage, she prepared to do the scariest thing she could ever imagine.

    “Betelgeuse...  I... er, that is...  Fuck, is it hot in here or is it just me?” she floundered, fanning herself while her cheeks flushed.  Chuckling, the poltergeist moved one of his hands to cup her left cheek; eyes glittering with an odd light.

    Feeling a bit calmer, she swallowed before trying again.  “I... think I like you B... As more than just a friend,” gasped out of her, reality pulling away while her pulse pounded in her ears.  Silence seemed to stretch on for an eternity, the only sound her breathing and a rushing sound in her head. For a few, terrible moments, she thought he was going to reject her or even worse, break off their friendship.  Unfortunately, it was far too late to take anything back now. Thankfully, she didn’t have to wait long to discover her fate.

    Huffing out a strange noise, the long dead male bent so his lips covered hers.  While cold, the touch wasn’t unpleasant. In fact, she was leaning up into it with a soft noise while her arms wrapped around his moss covered neck on their own accord.  To her surprise, she wasn’t repulsed by his horrendous dental hygiene or even the fact she was basically making out with a corpse. In fact, she opened her mouth eagerly when his tongue asked her for entry.  All too soon, she had to break for air; becoming aware of the fact that they were literally floating on air. Letting out a rough chuckle, Betelgeuse kissed the side of her neck before moving back to her lips.  “I know. I’ve known for a while now. Was waiting for you to tell me,” husked his mid-tone before he was taking her lips in a much different kiss than the one before.

    While the first one had been restrained and sweet, this one was almost like an act of fierce possession.  Tartar caked teeth nipped soft lips while his arms tightened around her in an almost crushing grip. Growling low in his throat, the bio-exorcist dominated her with his mouth alone; causing her to fall into a sort of swoon.  He only stopped when she was close to fainting, pressing lighter kisses to her forehead and neck. “I’ve never had anyone actually say they might like me as more than a friend before... I’ve always had to be the one to take that first step.  Still, we gotta set some ground rules,” growled out of him while they slowly descended.

    Holding onto Ellie until she could stand on her own, Betelgeuse found himself filled with an uncharacteristic fear.  He couldn’t lose this one. Not after such a long time of being alone. Of never actually having anyone admit that they honestly liked him as a potential love interest.  Hell, she had even allowed him to french her with his admittedly terrible mouth. It was almost enough to make him want to brush his teeth. Almost. “First, we gotta establish what we are.  I don’t do anything halfway. Just ain’t my style, if ya know what I mean. Second, if we’re in a relationship then you belong to me. Period .  I don’t intend to share you with anyone.  Gotta warn ya babes, I can be a bit jealous.  Third, we’re in this for the long haul if we do decide to pursue this.  I’m fuckin’ sick and tired of bein’ left behind or forgotten,” hissed out of him as he continued to meet her gaze with his own.

    Ellie could only nod, her heart aching for this ghoul before her.  While dead, that didn’t mean he had no feelings. He had lost so many he had cared for through the endless amount of time he had been dead.  It only made sense he wanted to be sure she knew what his stipulations were before they got too far. “I understand and I agree. B... the only person I want is you and I don’t think that will ever change,” she declared.  Suddenly, she found herself swept up in a pair of stripe covered arms before they were travelling through several dimensions as well as times. Eventually, they ended up in an entirely different place.

    From the looks of it, they were in a rather old mansion; cobwebs and dust covering everything surrounding them.  Before she could ask what they were doing there, his lips were covering hers with a renewed passion. It had likely been decades since he’d had someone willingly reciprocate affection, only making her feel more sad for the spirit.  Returning the kiss with all the feelings she had been hiding for little more than a year, she let out a tiny gasp when she felt her back hit what felt like a mattress. Breaking the kiss to assess the situation, Ellie was more than shocked to find she had switched positions entirely.  Somehow in the span of a few seconds, she had gone from standing to flat on her back with a smirking ghost hovering over her.

    Instead of questioning it, she simply wrapped her arms around his mossy neck before resuming the kiss.  The smell of stale cigarettes and whiskey went straight to her core, curling around her womb to squeeze gently.  It probably wouldn’t be too much longer until she developed a pavlovian response to those two smells, a fact she was more than okay with.  She hadn’t been exaggerating when she said this poltergeist was the only man she wanted. Since she had met him, none of the other boys in her school held her interest.  None of them were as strange or exotic as he was. Still, some part of her was just a bit disgusted by the fact that she was initiating sex with a dead guy.

    With a low rumble, Betelgeuse broke the liplock to rest his forehead against hers; his wild eyes closed while his arms shook around her.  “‘S been a long time... Just... give me a minute babes,” came a strained plea, his body seeming to shift and warp while he tried to regain control of himself.  Having a suspicion he was having problems controlling his powers, Ellie gave a single nod before placing an affectionate peck on the end of his nose. Chuckling, the exorcist of the living opened his eyes so he could lock gazes with her.

    “Most of th’time I haveta pay for it...  Having someone that’s so willing... You have no idea how much this means to me,” gritted his raspy mid-tone while he slowly laid her back on the rotted mattress.

    Feeling her heart cramp in her chest, she simply reached up to cup one of his mold covered cheeks.  Given his looks and hygiene, it wasn’t that much of a surprise that most women avoided him like the plague.  Still, she couldn’t help but feel for him. After you got to know him, he was not so bad. He made her laugh, kept her company and offered her a shoulder when she needed one.  In all honesty, she already loved him dearly and looked forward to spending the nights with him. “Its okay B... Just... try to be gentle?” whispered out of her, a flush settling over her cheeks while her eyes shifted to avoid his.

    Staring down at the girl on bed below him, he fought against the urge to slip back into his arrogant persona.  The knowledge that she was a virgin wasn’t lost on him. She might as well have been wearing a neon sign that declared it.  He had scented it on her skin the first time she had summoned him out of simple curiosity. It was an ability he’d possessed since he’d died.  It was the oddest thing and he could only attribute it to the fact that he leaned more on the evil spirit side of things. Supposedly, the really evil ghosts fed on virginity so it would make sense he could smell it.  It was a sweet scent, alluring and extremely hard to ignore. Especially with Ellie.

    There had always been an extra spice to that familiar smell, something he’d been wholly unable to identify.  Even now, the oddly sharp perfume was threatening to overwhelm his senses and drive him into a frenzy. Bending so he could sniff at her neck, he felt his whole body shudder while his dick became painfully hard in his striped pants.  It was then that it dawned on him that he was smelling her desire for him. That he’d been smelling it since the day they had met. “Fuck, Ellie,” growled out of him before his teeth were nipping at her pulse.

    “Betelgeuse...,” whispered a sigh of his name in his ear, bringing him closer to losing what little hold he had over himself.

    Had he ever heard his name called with so much desire, so much need?  No, not even with the highest paid whores. Huffing out a breath he didn’t need, he reluctantly pulled away so he could be sure his human wanted to continue.  Things were bound to get weird, especially with his powers so close to the surface. Literally anything could happen when his juice was let loose without focus or restraint.  So, when her dilated eyes met his, he came very close to losing it entirely. That was when his little breather decided to take things into her own hands.

    Sensing his hesitance, Ellie figured it would be best to show him that she wanted this in the only way she knew how.  With unsteady fingers, she lifted her t-shirt over her head; revealing the fact she had neglected to wear a bra. With her breasts still developing, the teen felt she could avoid the evil contraption for a few more years.  A fact that appeared to be more than appreciated by the dead man above her. Reaching out a filthy, long nailed hand, he weighed the small globe on the left almost thoughtfully; a hungry glint in his feral gaze. Taking the fact she had removed her shirt as full permission, he took her pink nipple into his shockingly cold mouth.

    Using his snake-like tongue to his advantage, he plucked and teased the sweet in his mouth until his human was letting out the most delectable noises.  Using his other hand to brush the other nipple, he felt something stir to life inside him. Something that hadn’t seen the light of day since he’d been led to the guillotine.  It was need, genuine desire, not the manufactured feelings he had long forced himself to have. Kissing his way down her shuddering stomach, he lazily juiced away the clothing on her lower body.  Drinking in the sounds she was making, he nuzzled reverently at her pubes before getting down to business.

    The first touches of his talented muscle on her heated flesh caused a jolt of pleasure to go through her body, back bowing upward while a groan left quivering lips.  Shaky hands tangled themselves in wild, flaxen locks while his dextrous tip curled around her clit and gave a few strokes. Tingling spots of electricity bloomed in her extremities, spreading through twitching limbs while a lake of molten desire began to build in her belly.  Small keens left her unheeded, her hips shifting restlessly as Betelgeuse took his time with her; building up the pressure while doing little to relieve it. Soon soft pleas were filling the air, hands tugging at his hair in an effort to get him to comply to her wishes.

    Swallowing the bits of honey that trickled from his breather’s passage, he let out a gruff noise when he felt her shifting against him.  Pressing her hips downward, he continued his slow torture of them both. Never before had he felt so grateful that the rules often didn’t apply while in the Neitherworld.  Otherwise he would have been sent to the living world and back numerous times by now. As it was, he had never been more pleased to hear his cursed moniker. Not since that silly spell had been put on him centuries ago.  Humming softly while sobbed pleas came from his human, he forced himself to stick to his guns. While she would likely cum a lot slower than she wanted, it would be powerful and would help him ease her into the act of having sex for the first time.

    He had been careful with the thin film that covered her entrance so far but it would have to be broken.  It was best to do it while the girl was in the throes of orgasm, at least in his experience. Last thing he wanted was to cause this young woman any more pain than he had to.  A feeling that was rather foreign to him given his penchant for making other’s lives a living Hell. Ellie was different, she was special. So, when he felt the telltale quiver of her womanhood that signaled her coming peak, he carefully manipulated her over that edge; plunging his tongue into her the same moment she reached nirvana.

    Feeling the slightest pang of pain under the incredible pleasure, the teen tried her best to hang onto consciousness long enough to come back down.  Panting slightly in an effort to catch her breath, she reached for Betelgeuse as he came up up to her. Lips met hers eagerly while he settled his suddenly naked body between her thighs.  The rest of his body matched his face, pale and covered with patches of mold as well as moss. He even had quite a sizeable beer belly as well as a shock of white blonde hair on his chest.  Yet, she had never seen anything more beautiful. Tipping her head up, she took his lips in an open mouthed kiss while he entered her.

    A bit surprised at the lack of resistance or pain, all thoughts soon skittered away when he made his first thrust forward.  Pleasure danced across nerves that were still raw from her first orgasm, drawing a shivery gasp from her as her nails raked down his cold back.  Hissing, the ghost simply grabbed her hips before starting a gentle rhythm. Soon, she was sighing softly; feeling something powerful starting to build up in her lower body.  Something that was a lot different than the first time. Clinging onto him, Ellie simply let go; trusting her companion to keep her safe.

    He could feel himself slipping but he clung onto his physical form through sheer force of will.  Though, it was a close thing. Especially when she exploded around him, drawing out the first true orgasm he’d had since he’d died.  All of them had been dry, to his unending frustration,leaving him feeling unfulfilled in a lot of ways. Just feeling his seed flow into her was cathartic, drawing a soft noise from him as he collapsed on top of his human.  Arms wrapping tightly around Ellie, he allowed his entire body to shake while pulse after pulse of pleasure went through him. “Fuck...,” hissed out of him as he rolled to his side while not leaving the warmth of her slit.

    “Me too B, me too,” whispered the husky voice of his new lover, drawing a smile from him.  Nuzzling her, he rested his lips on her forehead; three words lingering behind his lips.

    As much as he wanted to believe that this time would be different, he had been burned far too often in the past.  It would be a long time before he felt comfortable enough to express the full extent of his feelings for this living girl.  Still, at least he could enjoy what they had while he could. So, petting her hair while she began to doze off, he made a silent vow to not take anything for granted.  Every moment with her would be treasured and preserved to his memory, as much as doing so would hurt him later. Scooping his sleeping breather into his arms, he dressed them both before travelling back to her home.