Story by Liane Carter
Illustration by E.J. Klepinger
'”Kate, Kate.” I hear Edward scream my name in his sleep, though I died months ago. His screams jolt me because he has no idea that every night I am right there with him, that if I still had a face, our noses would be touching.
“Edward, my darling,” I whisper, yet he doesn’t hear me.
I’ve tried to touch him since I died, so he might feel the sensation on his skin, yet it’s more exhausting than I had thought. What has been easier to navigate - although still depleting - is to be in his dreams. And I need to be now, because I’m worried. About Ben.
Ben works for Edward, and like Edward did, has deep trauma masquerading as a separate entity in his mind. This entity of Ben’s is called Jennifer, and if we don’t intervene, she’s planning to hurt Ben or someone he cares about … or both. Yes, she would be happy to kill them both.
I managed to send the same dream to Edward and Jon - my best friend - last night and am feeling rather proud of myself. They both woke crying and freaked out when they talked to each other. I’m not proud of that bit, yet now, at last, we can all start to help Ben. Hopefully. Before it’s too late.
Edward has called Ben into his office and Jon is on Edward’s computer screen via Zoom talking to Ben. I am relieved. Jon is one of the best psychologists I know … knew. We trained together and he taught me a lot.
Edward is sitting next to Ben and offers his hand to Ben. Ben takes it. My darling Edward is open to my guidance in dreams it seems, far more than when I was alive. For a moment I am envious of Ben and wish once more I could know what it feels like to hold Edward’s hand. Edward starts crying and I realize he is thinking the same. Ben turns to him and Jon stops talking, frowning on the screen at Edward, but he says nothing. He waits.
Ben bites his lip and then says to Edward, “Uh, are you okay?”
Edward nods, sniffs and wipes his eyes with the back of his free hand.
“Kate,” he says, “what she’s doing for you she did for me many years ago. She saved my life.”
Jon studies both Edward and Ben and decides not to intervene. Jon and I both see the bond this forms. Empathy and a trickle of trust leaks out of Ben towards Edward.
“Sorry,” Edward says. “Sorry.”
Jennifer has become so strong an entity in Ben that I see her in a corner of Ben’s brain cowering from me and baring her teeth.
She wants to attack, yet Ben hasn’t sensed a spirit before me. She knows he has sensed my presence around him for the last 10 days and doesn’t know how to handle it. With Edward and Jon’s love helping me and all three of us wanting to help Ben, and the love building in the room with no way to escape, it is harder for Jennifer to fight. She’s trapped in here with us. I wish, for Ben’s safety, we could all stay locked in this office for the rest of his life.
Ben is still scared. Scared of her. She’s stopping him with his fear.
Come on, Ben. I know if he can see me, he will trust in something bigger than Jennifer. His soul has been searching for something bigger his whole life. I stand at Edward’s side and place what I imagine to be my hand on Edward’s shoulder. I smile at Ben, turn all my energy up as high as I can. Look this way, Ben. Look at me. Jennifer tries to stop him, but she’s too late. Ben turns and looks up behind and above Edward and stares.
“K-kate?” Ben says.
I smile and nod and squeeze Edward’s shoulder in my joy that Ben has seen me and oh my, Edward feels it .His free hand rushes to cover mine and he turns to look up too. He can’t see me. But, for the first time in four months, Edward feels me. My darling feels me here.
Edward turns back to the screen and Jon sees the tears and leans closer to his screen willing himself to see me too, yet it is only Ben who has this ability.
All three men now have tears trickling down their cheeks. We may not get much further today, and that’s okay. Ben and I have had a breakthrough. Now he has seen me, he will trust us all.
Ben says, “You’ve been around me for a while, haven’t you?” I nod. “You smell of … of lavender.”
Edward and Jon are open-mouthed.
I nod again at Ben and mouth yes because no sound comes out as the whole being seen business is exhausting enough.
I will Jon to say what I instructed in the dream, and he jolts back from the screen.
“Ben,” Jon says.
“Hm?” Ben says, still staring at me.
“Kate said in the dream to let you know that, if you see her today, and she’s smiling, you’re both already stronger than Jennifer. Is Kate …smiling, Ben?”
Ben’s lips curl into a smile, his shoulders relax and he nods, not taking his eyes from mine.