Who: The ghost What: What came next When: Immediately post-party
He was dead. He had known this on crossing the hallway, the asphyxiation had been complete and terrifying, the cold wash of sweat and adrenaline, the clawing at his throat. He was dead and he had perfect memory of this, of what it meant to lose substance and material, to be nothing rather than part of a whole. And then he was alive. Temporarily, with the balance sheet attached to the deal weighing up ‘alive’ and the vague contingency of ‘not the kind of guy who selects ghost for a transformative costume’ for his soul. He did not recall prior to death. Alive was a transubstantiation for his current state. It was solidity, affirmation, with the reduction still in place.
Alive and also dead, then. Dichotomy. He left the party before its end. Before the sun had risen and the man who’d written had died. He was alive, and alive was to crack the bones for their marrow and suck it whole. He drank glasses at the table in the ballroom and he observed the way of people in the party. But this was not alive, this was not worth a soul.
He followed the road. He followed the road until the sun cracked light over the horizon and the magic washed out as if chalk under heavy rain. But magic left stains and magic did not erase a night. He was in limbo then, the crux between dead (a dead as certain as corpse-like) and a bargain that was suspended unless he was alive as a production of being dead. He staggered then. Memory was in flux. He was both alive (and himself) and dead (and not himself) and existence was funnelled into finding anywhere it was possible to reconcile a crisis of existential and metaphysical proportions.
There was one place where magic was stock in trade. He followed the road (he moved as if intent were enough to move his substance) and found the first face he thought he recognized or who might have recognized Jack. In Second City, perhaps, there were enough who knew of layered magic over a person and a person susceptible enough to want what came of a night dedicated to transformation and how that might be rectified.