The Lady Gertrude of Kettlebell Manor

Writing Prompt: You’re a bored ghost who has been making a human think they have super powers. It started as just a prank, but when a supervillain arises your hero decides to take a stand. Now you are your human’s only hope.

Lady Gertrude of Kettlebell Manor was a hopeless romantic and somewhat of a prankster, for a ghost at the very least. She’d been damned to roam the halls of her stately home for all eternity. A home which had been converted into flats, much to her displeasure. But that was the way of the modern world. If it had just enough height to it, then flats it was to be! Ironic really.

She had started with the Priest at number Six, and what a lot of fun she’d had with that God-fearing man. Toppling bibles from their night stands, upturning crosses in a slow and deathly motion (all the while cackling madly, but unheard), spilling bottles of hot sauce all over the carpet and the cat.

Why hot sauce? Because the Priest was intolerant to spice, and yet no matter how many times Gertrude played this little prank it would always run to the same end. The Priest would dip a single finger in the puddle, and at barely a drop on his tongue his throat would swell up, his face would turn a bright shade of cherry red, and he would end up frantically searching for; Water! Water, please! Well Gertrude would have already seen to it that his water was switched off, and so the toilet was his only option in which to splish, splash, splosh.

But even the Priest grew to be tiresome, with his constant chanting of biblical texts and his many failed attempts to exorcise the Lady Gertrude (as it happened Gertrude rather enjoyed the exorcisms, they made her other-worldly being tingle from its tips to its toes – how delightful!).

So she moved on to the couple at Thirteen. A short lived acquaintance. They were newly weds, but not long for their end. Gertrude had caught the young man, Derrick, cheating on his wife, Pauline. What a damned despicable man! And all under my own roof!

It’s safe to say that Gertrude simply couldn’t let it stand. So she waited until Derrick invited his side piece back to his marital home, and then she sprung her trap. Without going into details Pauline found Derrick hanging from the ceiling fan by his ankles, bare bottom reared to the sky. He was covered in… honey? and all around him wasps were buzzing, nipping at his skin with their stingers.

That’ll teach a pig to sh*t where it eats. Gertrude had always had a way with words.

That brings us to Eddie, a nurse in training with a healthy addiction to heavy metal music and science fiction magazines. His flat was… colourful, to say the least. Medical text books lay sprawled about the room, openly displaying cross-sectional diagrams of the human heart. A cacophony of near satanic music screamed through ceiling, walls and floor (Eddie did love his neighbours). And at any given time you could be certain some conspiratorial documentary was running subtitles on the television in the background.

Gertrude loved Eddie. He had such a wonderful flavour, as she called it. She happened upon him one day attempting to use to force Eddie on the television remote. He was really concentrating, beads of sweat forming on his forehead. Gertrude couldn’t resist, she lifted the remote and slowly handed it over to Eddie…

“Well sh*t!” Eddie fumbled for the remote, gazing at his hands in wonder. “The lights.” he grinned, licking his lips. “Concentrate Eddie…” he pointed a hand at the switch.

Gertrude hurried over and click the lights went out.

“No. F*cking. Way.” Eddie’s face lit up in the dark of the room, a wash with one utterly stupid idea after another, “What else can I do?” he’d convinced himself he had powers, maybe not the force, but it was something. Over the course of the coming days he tested the limitations of what he could and couldn’t move with his mind.

A coffee cup, no problem! A double door refrigerator… it would shake a lot, as if struggling to move, but ultimately all that would happen is the doors would swing open, the eggs would fall out, and Eddie would have to waste his powers on making the mop clean the kitchen tiles.

How many times are we going to try this, Eddie? Gertrude sighed, not from malice, just exhaustion. Oh well, it could be worse, he could be trying to fly!

What is it they say about jinxes?

“Come on Eddie, you can do this.” Eddie was psyching himself up, stood on the window ledge with a curtain tied tight around his collar, “It’s just like levitating, but really high up.” he’d already tried levitating… in as much as he’d been standing on Gertrude’s invisible back and gasping with delight. “Come on man, you can do this!”

No you can’t! Gertrude screamed, flying out the window and to the ground. Please God, don’t let him jump, don’t let him be so stupid. Gertrude was frantically searching for a way out of this mess, but Eddie wasn’t one for good timing. He jumped, and Gertrude was left with only one option.

She threw her spectral self beneath him and braced for impact. Thud. Eddie hit the ground (or Gertrude) and barely felt a thing. In fact it felt like stepping in jelly, only with your whole body and not just your feet. Like levitation!

“So I can’t fly.” he sighed, “But I am invulnerable, so that’s pretty cool.”

Oh heaven’s above… I really hope he doesn’t try to shoot himself. I don’t think stopping the bullet would be worth the headache. Ghosts might not be able to die, but they still felt a sort of pain, like a phantom limb that itches a spectral head that takes a shot could ache for days there after.

SOME TIME LATER.

Eddie was sat enjoying a bowl of cheerios, floating just above the couch with his legs crossed in the fashion of a monk. He was meditating over breakfast (and over Gertrude). Morning’s were the only time of day he switched over from documentaries to news. Gotta keep it real, y’know. It’s the only way to stay ahead of the lies. Eddie hated the media. Bunch of lousy puppets, you can see the bloody strings, and the suits that pull ’em!

But that morning was different. The news anchor (Johnathon Catnip) was interrupted mid-broadcast to alert citizens of rising threat. At first Eddied dismissed the pageantry – it’s just more lies – until Mr Catnip started blurting out words like Super and Villain and the phrase that would seal Eddie’s fate: We need a Hero!

“A hero?” Eddied stroked at the stubble of his chin, tugging on his beanie hat, “Yeah, I could be a hero! What’s the use in powers if you can’t do a little good.” he searched the room for his keys, the remembered he had the power to call on certain items just by shouting their name. “Keys!” he cried, and sure enough the rose out from the back of the couch and came dangling before him. “I can’t fly… maybe I can run really fast?”

No, you can’t. Gertrude snapped, leering over Eddie. Don’t go through with this, sit back down and we’ll order pizza. You’ve been dying to watch that new show about how Solar Power is poisoning the water! Gertrude hovered over to the television and switched just that same show on.

“Aw man, I’ve been dying to watch this.” he looked at the door, then back at the television. “No.” he shook his head profoundly, “Duty calls!”

Well, I guess we’re really doing this.

Eddie ran at the door, “Maybe I can ghost through things…”

No, you really can’t. Gertrude couldn’t help but laugh as she floated over Eddie, he’d hit the door head first and landed ass over ankle on the floor. That’ll leave a nasty bruise. Gertrude tittered, noticing a fresh red lump rising out of Eddie’s forehead. I’ll meet you at the car then? She laughed again, and disappeared down the manor’s hall.

Copyright © K R Perry 2019

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