Ironically it was a second punch that woke me up. Carly had found me slumped on a bench in the park and had decided to beat me back to consciousness. Bless her heart.
Apparently I had been gone for most of the afternoon, and at about 10 o’clock she’d finished crying and started to worry where I was. Two hours later she had found me asleep on a bench in the park and wasn’t best pleased.
I managed to stop her hitting me and tried to explain to her what happened.
“Oh my god!” she screamed as soon as I mentioned the aura, “you saw it too?”
“Err, yeah. Kind of hard to miss something like that.”
“I thought I was going mad! But now you’ve seen the ghost, you know I’m not crazy, right?”
Even though I’d seen what the girl had thought was a ghost I still wasn’t convinced that she wasn’t a bit mental, but she did have a point. She seemed to think so at any rate, as she skipped off merrily down the path before I had a chance to ask her any more questions. I got up to chase after her and found my legs were still far too wobbly and landed myself back on the bench.
I lay down and stared up at the sky. I should have gone home, tried to get a good night’s sleep and let my headache run its course, but instead I decided a nice under the stars would be preferable. Well, it would be preferable to trying to get up again at least. That was until I fell off the bench, then I decided that I’d go home.
I drunkenly staggered my way home, my head gradually clearing. I stumbled into my apartment building at about 1 am, and bounced straight into some very official looking gentlemen. All suits and shades, very overt government types, they all look alike. They strongly pushed me back a few steps and straightened their suits.
“McLeod?” the one on the left asked in a tone that made my spine tingle. I have never been good around G-Men.
“What do you want? Can’t you people just leave me alone?” I spat, quite stupidly.
“We’re the government, sir. It’s our job to make sure people aren’t left alone.”
“Oh very clever, you must have been practising that one for days! Just tell me what you want.”
Shouting at a government agent is not a good thing to do ordinarily, but having spent most of my adult life as a civil servant (both freelance and conventional) I’d managed to accumulate enough dirt to save myself from any of the nastier repercussions.
“Listen very carefully McLeod We know what you’re up to with the woman, and you have no idea what you are getting yourself into.”
“Jesus Christ, could you be any more cliché?”
“Shut up McLeod, we’re trying to help you! Here, think about it and give us a call.”
He threw a crisp, newly printed business card at me and both men left. I looked at the card and read “National Bureau of Uncategorised Occurrences”. It was then I realised quite how much shit I was in.