Ghost Story 4: Crimes of Passion

1.  In the ghost story there is a revelation. Behind the revelation another revelation. I am beginning to feel quite naked, said the ghost.

2.  Imagine me moving through a maze, said the ghost. Imagine the string. Imagine a presence. May I talk about passion now?

3.  Let us slip through the wall and solve the maze. That’s the way I speak to anyone willing to listen, said the ghost. Then I talk of passion.

4.  I will make you two lovers constructed entirely out of words. I can give them instruments of words. I can give them weapons, said the ghost.

5.  A ghost is its own paraphernalia, said the ghost. I have a crime of passion. There’s one in my pocket should you happen to believe me.

6.  At the beginning the crime of passion. Then the ghost of the crime. Then the ghost of the passion, said the ghost. Sequence and segue.

7.  So the crime of passion, said the ghost. Learn to recognise it. Learn to hear its approach. Read as if in a trance. But stay awake.

8.  The crime of passion seeps between the words as between floorboards. The book is the floor. I am the ghost in the wall, said the ghost.

9.  The crime of passion is desire passing through a wall. There must be a reckoning. Those who live in the wall reckon with it, said the ghost.

10.  In the crime of passion everything is too late, said the ghost. It is all afterthought, all comma and no full stop. Invisible footnotes.

11.  The wood, for instance. The path through it. The riverbank. I write these down in ghost words, said the ghost. Now to speak them.

12.  No one says anything but there are still words, said the ghost. The crime of passion talks in the past tense. Or did.

13.  Once there was a crime. Once there was desire. I like sentences like these, said the ghost. I may come to like them more.

14.  Can you sense me moving round the central theme of the crime of passion, asked the ghost. I can move at your own pace. Like this.

15.  This will not do, said the ghost. Everything I touch I simply pass through. You could make it solid for me. You have passion, don’t you?

16.  Everything is haunted, said the ghost. Especially these words. There are always other words in them trying to get out.

17.  Even when the room is silent I continue to speak, said the ghost. Especially then. Soon the words appear as if they were not there.

18.  See these hands, said the ghost. Of course you don’t. I can’t see them either. But believe me, they are as real in words as in flesh.

19.  I feel absolutely no obligation to exist, said the ghost. You can write that down if you like. I am happy to sign it.

20.  Time to move on, said the ghost. Are the bodies where I left them? Is the crime fully lodged in language? Have I told you about the maze?


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