It happened again. The novel I’d been translating recently had around 40 chapters in the queue. I’d been planning on amassing them before mass-editing them but somehow, whenever I uploaded them to the website and proofread them, they were somehow clear of mistakes that I had distinctly remembered making mental notes to adjust later.
Did it just get colder in here? I don’t remember turning on the air-conditioning.
I’m brushing my teeth and getting ready for bed when I feel someone watching me. Again.
Shrugging off the unsettling feeling, I head for bed to get an early night’s sleep so I could get up early to translate. For some reason, I seemed to work better and procrastinate less in the mornings.
I’m woken from my deep sleep by how cold the room’s gotten. I’m the type that would get cold easily so a temperature that was warm for others would be cooling to me. But the past few nights, the room had gotten so cold I had to turn off the air-conditioning. It hadn’t helped. I still woke up freezing.
Tonight was the first time I had actually woken up in the middle of the night though. Disconcerted, I reached for my glasses when I noticed a blurry silhouette beside my bed. I froze, not knowing what to do. Cold sweat poured from my back as my heart pounded wildly.
I think I must have stayed like that for a minute before I managed to muster up the courage to snatch up my glasses and shove them on my face.
…But there was nothing there.
I didn’t sleep a wink that night.
The next morning, I woke up from my half-stupor and went to take a shower. Once that was done I went to get a quick snack. My family had pretty much all gone on holiday without me since my holiday schedule didn’t coincide with theirs.
I’m sure they wouldn’t want me around anyways…
So that was another long day of translating. I managed to get three more chapters done in between the long procrasti- ahem – ‘breaks’ I gave myself. I looked at the time. It was already 8pm. I was surprised since I would usually have felt my stomach protesting to such a long time without food by 4pm.
And, as expected, when I tried to get up, I felt my head spin and dark spots form in front of my eyes. And I quite unfortunately began to lose my balance. I cursed because there was nothing to stop my fall.
Just as I resigned myself to having an intimate encounter with the cold, tiled floor, my hands caught onto the back of a chair. Though I still fell to the floor, the impact had been reduced somewhat thanks to that chair.
That was strange though. I don’t remember there being a chair there.
Once I shook off the dark spots forming in my vision, I saw the chair that had helped me soften that fall. It was a wheeled chair. That was strange… I usually cleared out the area around me to make sure I didn’t stub my toe so… how did it get here?
I got cold shivers up my spine. I shook it off though and went to wash my face. Maybe I was just not thinking straight from the hunger? Yeah, I don’t buy it either. But it beats the alternative.
Shaking my head, I headed downstairs to the nearest food stall for a snack.
It was a cold evening. Then again, it could just have been me since I saw someone through the window of a nearby building wearing very- ahem – revealing clothing. I quickly looked away and focused on trying to find a food stall, though it took some effort due to the hunger and all that.
Stumbling along while humming a tune, I made my way to the nearest noodle stall that I remembered should still be open at this hour. On the way, I had to cross a road. It was a bit iffy since my vision was a bit blurry but I made it to the other side safely.
However, just as I was about to continue moving again, a bicycle came out of nowhere and rammed into me, causing me to stagger back into the road… which had just switched back to a red light! I think I heard someone telling me to watch out.
But I had no time to consider before hearing the screech of tires. Pain assaulted my senses and I blacked out.
When I woke up again, I saw a white room. It smelled of disinfectant. A lady dressed up as a nurse walked in holding a clipboard. Seeing I was awake, she came over and asked me some questions about whether I remembered what happened or not. I shook my head. I don’t remember much.
The nurse told me to get some rest first. I asked about my parents and she told me that they had contacted my parents who said they would arrive as soon as possible. Reassured, I lay back down on the bed and slipped back into unconsciousness…
I woke up in the middle of the night again. My gaze wandered around the room and I saw a white silhouette floating around not far from me. I fainted.
I don’t remember much. My memories were all jumbled up when I had self-awareness. I woke up in a strange place too. At least it wasn’t familiar to me.
She was the first person I saw when I woke up. She was typing furiously on her laptop. Curious, I tried to get closer to have a look and discovered I could move despite not being able to feel myself walking. I freaked out a bit when I found out I was floating over the floor. Was I a ghost? Was my thought then.
Unable to do anything about it, I forced myself to ignore the burning question inside of me and focus instead on something else, anything else. I turned to look at the laptop screen she was typing on. There were blocks of text which didn’t look like English.
After a few minutes of observation, I deduced that she was probably converting the language into English (though I really had nothing to back that up at the time). I noticed she seemed to be making a few errors here and there in her rush to type out a translation. Don’t ask me how I know. It felt like instinct.
I tried telling her about them but she didn’t seem able to hear me. Frustrated, I attempted to type on her laptop while she was on her break. It didn’t work like I expected it to. My fingers didn’t seem to touch the keys of the laptop yet I could change the words and sentences on the screen however I wished. Encouraged, I went ahead and edited the mistakes I could find. It never even occurred to me to mess up her work. After all, she looked like she had poured so much effort into it.
After she came back, I noticed she had a confused look on her face. Evidently she had noticed my changes. It seems she has a good memory, was my thought then. She didn’t immediately revert the draft back to a prior version though. She seemed to go through it and check if it would flow well. She seemed rather satisfied. A strange feeling of pride welled up inside me.
A few weeks later, I was still hovering around the place she called home. It wasn’t that I hadn’t tried to leave but every time I did, I always pulled back at the last second out of fear of the unknown. So I stayed and I watched her. Watched how she lived, watched how she interacted with others and watched her pursue her passion. I learned she likes noodles. And that she usually remained quiet in front of others due to her soft voice. And I learned she seemed to forget all about the passage of time while she was busy with her translations.
I saw her family go off on their trip without her. I couldn’t see any expression on her face. She was probably feeling left out though. She seemed to spend more time on translating than usual.
I was worried after seeing her translate late into the night and tried to get her to stop. She didn’t hear me, as usual, but she seemed to feel cold for she shivered a bit. After she went to bed, I just stood at the end of her bed looking at her while sorting out my memories as usual. I only remember a few snippets here and there. I seemed to have gotten into an accident though. The last thing I remember was two glaring lights and a loud blaring honk before I lost consciousness.
Perhaps my emotions had been too riled up for I somehow managed to cause the room’s temperature to go down and only noticed when I saw her staring. Right at me. I froze for a bit. Not daring to believe she could see me. I wanted to ask her if she could see me but I didn’t want to scare her off.
I saw her snatch up her glasses and put them on. I was filled with expectation but alas, she didn’t seem to be able to see me anymore. I was disappointed but then I thought maybe it was for the best. After all, ghosts are scary so if she could see me, she’d probably be too scared to even talk to me.
She seemed a bit out of it the next day. I watched as she continued her translating, interspersing them with some time on the forums (a bad habit she seemed to have picked up around a week ago). She forgot to eat though. I tried telling her but she seemed really zoned out today since she didn’t seem to feel any coldness like she usually would. By the time I had noticed, it was already 8pm. I was panicking a bit since she usually ate by 4pm at the latest.
She seemed surprised as well when she thought to look at the time. When she got up, she seemed to stumble a bit. Panic overcame me as I tried to stop her from falling. Somehow, one of the office chairs on the other side of the room responded to my will and rolled over just in time to help her soften her fall. I was relieved.
She seemed startled to find a chair there where there wasn’t supposed to be one. She appeared to dismiss it though. I think she’s been feeling like her memory has been failing her recently.
I followed her downstairs and noticed her gaze lingering on the second floor of the building opposite hers. My gaze followed hers and found a lady dressed in very skimpy clothing. For some reason, I got annoyed. I waited till she had turned the corner before slamming the windows and curtains shut on that unit, scaring the living daylights out of the skimpily-dressed woman. Satisfied, I floated towards the directions she had headed off in.
I panicked a bit. It turned out there was a fork in the path along the way and she had managed to leave by the time I turned the corner. I meandered around, hoping to find her.
I found her. But she seemed to still be in a daze as she didn’t get out of the way on an incoming bike. I tried calling out to her but it was too late. She had already been slammed backwards and onto the incoming traffic!
I got to her side in a flash and attempted to push her out of the way but alas, I was still a ghost and so couldn’t touch her. Anxious, I tried to get the car to stop. Surprisingly, there were results. The car screeched to a halt but I wasn’t able to be relieved because it still managed to hit her. It wasn’t as bad as it could have been but that was no comfort since she was lying unconscious on the ground.
The driver of the car hurriedly got out and went to check on her. I didn’t want him to get near to her but I couldn’t stop him. I think the most I managed to do was to make him shiver from the sudden drop in temperature.
He quickly called an ambulance, which arrived in around 10 minutes. During that time, I was pacing around agitatedly, unable to calm down since there was nothing I could do.
I followed her to the hospital.
She finally woke up. I just stood there, not knowing what else to do- what else I could do. The nurse came in and spoke some things to her; I wasn’t paying attention since I was still lost in my thoughts. After the nurse left, she went back to sleep.
I kind of just floated around the place, having nothing else to do. Bored, I cast a glance at her sleeping form in the corner. She was awake. Startled, I think I nearly tripped even though I have no legs to trip over nor could I actually touch anything that could trip me up. That was embarrassing.
When I went to get a closer look though, she was still asleep. Must have been my imagination…
I felt the room turn darker and colder all of a sudden. I furrowed my brows because if even I could feel it, then she must be having it worse. So I went searching for the source of this sudden gloominess…
To be continued…
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