If ghosts could kill themselves, they would. I have it on good authority. They long to be here or there. Neither body nor yet pure light, they are shadows on the houses they lived in. My dead twin brother, still half with us, finds his ways to tell me. The old stories have it all wrong. Rattling chains aren’t lamentations, they’re diplomatic feelers from the nearly departed. Something about this very gun I helped him buy, his accidental death and the novel he was writing: I can’t put it all together. We look or looked enough alike for me with my clean record and ID and the face we share to arm ourselves, I never knew why, but it filled a need he had and so. We bought the thing and practiced at the range. He got it in his head his foot was dead, or menacing, I’m not sure which, and sighted at it down the barrel with single-eyed intensity and fired and grazed the pinkie toe and laughed at my ado. He got it in his head we were triplets and aimed at me. The one in the middle, he called me. I buried him myself when the time came, not a minute too soon, in a shallow hole surrounded by a fence, and damp against his back, and damp against the backs of his legs. Still I’m not rid of him. I meant to write something about how it pains the ghost to haunt the living but I wonder. Do I even believe that. I do my best to follow the hints he leaves, in case he has foreknowledge. Now this note, written in his hand, much like mine, from the unambiguous night: there is no twin, the novel is mine and who will bury me?

Copyright ©November 24, 2006 David Hodges

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