Gerald was a peculiar character, he possessed strange characteristics, oddities that stuck out, character flaws, personality antics. He was awkward around men and women, and only felt comfortable around ghouls, of the graveyard in which he took care of them. He faltered at the sight of a real person, scurried away with all his might once they were in sight, but when it came to welcoming a ghoul, so strident and proud was he, to welcome it into his home, where he would serve them jam and cream scones and a pot of steaming tea. For Gerald was the town’s graveyard caretaker, and of real life humans he had little contact, which he was most pleased about, as in his past he had experienced some negative tragedies. With the ghouls, instead of humans, did he love to converse with and dance with them with ease.
It was not Gerald’s fault he had experienced negative activities, one was when he was twenty three. The perpetrators saw him with his deep hunch, walking with eyes staring straight to the ground, laughing with animosity of his awkwardness, their mirth was much. They began to throw small pebbles at him, irritating him, then deeply angering him for a great while. His rage bubbled to the surface, he was enraged and screamed with a sincere lack of eloquent style.
Another incident occurred when he was twenty two, the year prior, when his confidence in himself was the highest, oh, how it soared. For it was this year that he was travelling the world alone, taking in breathtaking views and meeting other travelers and interesting locals to know and of their culture’s understanding grow, he didn’t need Mum or Dad as emotional crutches, but then he met Sandra, whose heart he did snatch.
She and he fell in deep romantic love, it was as if they were made for the other, perfect opposites complementing the other’s love, what a perfect, pretty picture. Then one day, after five months, she told him, quite out of the blue, that she had met someone better, what on earth was he to do? The love of his life now walked away from him for the very last time, arm in arm he imagined them, walking into the setting sun, to awaiting glasses of sparkling wine.
Their love had been rich, a tapestry that was not quite complete, a dangling thread here and there, and that destroyed the dream when side by side a perfect image was compared. He returned to his homeland with a bitterness surrounding his understanding of life, and within the month applied for the job of graveyard caretaker, instead of him having returned with a new loving wife.
And that was why he preferred ghouls, they didn’t hurt you the most, not like real life humans who wanted to serve you the painfully raw truths which direly hit home. Ghouls were his friends, humans were out of style, wondering less and thinking more, Gerald decided that he would commence a certain life trial. He would live and breathe the life of a ghoul, awakening when least expected, creating sounds worthy of the ghoul nearby, coming soon to you, the only things that he could not achieve were flying through the walls and soaring through the roof. To do this, Gerald would have to leave life as a human, and dedicate his life to becoming a Caretaker Ghoul. Sometimes he felt he was ready enough for this role, for what was the point in dealing with human life, when he saw one or two or three, he wanted them to go?
He prayed day and night for his transformation, he asked all his friendly ghouls how he would ascend to the Ghoul Heaven, where he could obtain his transparent form, achieve his hauntingly lilting “oooOOOooo”s, when would he arrive there, what to do? Gerald had to remain patient, for many, many hours. Hours, upon days, upon weeks, upon years, and at the age of seventy five, he felt a tugging behind his ears. A certain soul-like grip pulling him apart, soul under attack, physical form presenting forth one day, soul pulled backward, disconnect, and then, POOF! He was looking down upon his formerly present human self, he gave an almighty yelp!
“I’m a ghoul, I’m a ghoul!” he shouted, in celebratory style. “I can do whatever I want, I’ll be Caretaker Ghoul for a long while!” But what was the difference in being a real life human Caretaker and the Caretaker of the Ghouls, why, they listened to him, and now they’re listening to you.
“OOOOOoooooOOOOO,” we all sing. “Gerald, we bid you farewell, may you live a happy ghoul life, with no sadness to know of, no feeling that you failed. Be joyous in your new life, you are here forevermore, mix with the hauntingly beautiful souls who surround you, much more happiness for your life is in store.” And flit away, this way and that, did Gerald joyously, gleefully he celebrated for the next twenty five breakfasts, lunches and teas.
Though he remembered his past love, the details were now hazy, he didn’t need them to resurface enough, her name was absent, eventually he found another love in his ghoul, Susie Patsy Pagent Daisy.
And together they guarded the graveyard, with strength, unconditional love and hope. His former love should have remained, for Gerald was the one in the world who would have loved her forever and cared for her the most. Lessons to be learned, of love and loyalty lost, the reckoning and strength of a solid relationship requires trust and confidence ever so very much.
© 2019 Alice Well Art, Lauren M. Hancock, also known as Alice Well. All rights reserved.