Five years ago.
The problem with having a conscious ghost sealed inside you is all your dreams will be lucid. I found myself walking down the street at night and immediately knew I was dreaming. The houses were in the wrong order, all the street lights were off, the only sound I could hear was my own breathing and footsteps, but the most obvious clue was the starless sky. It had been two years since I’d seen stars in my dreams.
Knowing I was dreaming meant only one thing: I had to run. Unfortunately, I couldn’t run without knowing exactly where Xander was, otherwise I would run directly to him. There wasn’t anything up the street where I’d been headed, I checked down the street towards my home and found it similarly deserted.
It was like this every night, cat and mouse between Xander and I, and the cat often won. He liked appearing from my home so I walked quickly up the street. I checked constantly in every direction as I walked so I could get a headstart when he showed up.
After almost twenty minutes walking, I started to get nervous that Xander was planning something extra special for me tonight. This was just a dream, anything he did to me I’d have a hard time remembering by morning, and the more shocking or painful it was the more likely I would drift out of REM sleep to deep sleep, or even wake up, but he still scared the crap out of me. I had a literal demon sealed inside me.
At the end of the cul-de-sac, which wasn’t a cul-de-sac in the real world, I saw him. He was standing still, arms folded, glaring at me. His big eyes made the glare even more frightening. I turned and ran from him like a child who had just seen a snake in the garden. In my dreams I can run faster than a cheetah, with more stamina than a horse, however, Xander is even faster.
With all the lucid dreams I’d been having since he’d been sealed, I had learned how to alter the dreamscape. Sadly, Xander was even better at it. My consciousness is his prison, so he had more time to practice when I was awake.
A wall started to rise quickly from the ground ahead of me. I knew better than to try and erase Xander’s work. I turned back to face him, there was about fifty metres between us, and he was gaining fast.
I still had one trick left up my sleeve, it worked once a night and I knew there wouldn’t come a better chance to use it. My hands were shaking in fear that he would reach me before I could finish. I held both hands behind my back, jumped half a metre up before throwing my head down at the street.
There was no impact.
I appeared standing in my bedroom, next to the window. This was my dream after all. If I tried the jump trick again, I would only be making it easier for Xander to catch me, even lucid dreams don’t like to be repetitive. I learned that lesson the hard way, many times.
“I knew you’d come here,” Xander growled from the door.
I looked at him. He was still glaring at me and didn’t look like he wanted to enter. A very tall and muscular man of South Asian descent, he had very dark skin, big dark eyes, short hair, and a thin mustache. I didn’t know whether he’d genuinely looked like that when he’d been alive or just pumped himself up in my dreams. My room was where he’d been trapped and sealed after he possessed me. There was a complex network of ethereal writing on the sealing which matched the one on my back.
“What’s it going to be tonight, wraith?” I shouted at him, surprised he wasn’t getting inside. “Images I would rather not see? A beating?”
He closed his eyes and exhaled loudly several times. I thought about sneaking out the window while he had his eyes closed, he would get in eventually. When he opened his eyes he said, “A truce.”
He walked in and stopped a foot away from me. I took a step back. He towered over me, even with the few years of growing I still had ahead of me, I didn’t think I would ever be taller than his shoulders.
“A truce,” he repeated, offering his hand. “I’ve made peace with the fact that I’m never getting out of here, the seal is too strong. You want to be a hunter, my knowledge will be useful to you. If you die while I still can’t break the seal, we both die.”
The nerve of this guy. After everything he had done to me he had the gall to try and shake my hand. He could’ve killed me. Had he not been sealed he would’ve absorbed my soul through possession and I would be dead. I shook his hand anyway.
I wanted the bad dreams to stop.