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Hello all!!

And welcome to my latest project :))

This is a short story I got the idea for out of nowhere while I was sick. The premise is; "What happens when a ghost has to watch his still alive lover fall in love again?"

Now, the very observant (and slightly soul crushing) @DoomslugLuna noted that this has most likely been done before. But she suggested doing it in the fashion of the 21st century, instead of the more traditional 1700s-1800s time period.

And so,

I did that.

I'll be posting three chapters in this OP, with more as I finish them. This project was also mentioned in my Report, which you can view through that link; it's an analytical report on all my writing projects, past, present, and future. Pretty cool :)

There's also this spotify playlist if you'd like to listen to what I listen to when I write this.


Please enjoy the first three chapters of How To Love Again

Chapter 1


Where the arms of his love once were, there was now empty space.

Where the feel of her breath once was, there was now still air.

Cyril opened his eyes, and saw nothing and everything.

He looked around, noting the solitary door. The door was brown, intricately carved. As he moved closer, he saw that the carvings on the door were scenes from his own life.

Moments of pain. Moments of joy.

Moments alone. Moments with his love.

He blinked.

What had her name been?

He thought for a moment, then realized;

He didn’t remember what she looked like, either. He thought he should feel something. Sadness, loss, something. But he just felt… empty.

A second door appeared. This one was flat, white, and shined with a mother-of-pearl sheen that rivaled the whiteness of the everything and nothing Cyril was in. It called to him.

He longed to go in that door, to go to the other side.

But the brown door, with its intricate carvings of his own life, spoke to him more.

He slowly put a hand out towards the brown door.

“Are you sure you want to do that?” A soft, deep voice asked from behind Cyril.

Cyril turned. Standing there was a man, with skin the color of  foam on an espresso. His eyes were a deep chocolate brown, which seemed to stretch to infinity. He was adorned with a simple white robe, tied in the middle with a white sash.

“Are you God?” Cyril asked.

“No.” The man said, “I am one of His attendants. And I am your guardian.”

Cyril raised an eyebrow. “My guardian?”

“Yes,” The man said, his eyes twinkling mischievously, “Your Guardian Angel. I’m here to oversee your decision, and the aftermath of that decision.”

Cyril turned back to the door.

“I don’t remember her,” He said, brushing a hand over a scene of him and a woman, whose features were blurred and fuzzy to his eyes, kissing under a crescent moon. “I should, but I don’t.”

“That door will help you remember,” The man said, stepping up to Cyril and placing a hand on his shoulder, “But once you enter that door, there will be no leaving. Not for a long time. You will see many things, from the past and from the future.”

Cyril looked to the white door, the one shining with radiant light.

“Where does that one lead?” Cyril asked.

“I think you know,” The man said, “But the choice between the two doors is up to you.”

“Do you have a name?” Cyril asked the man, his Guardian Angel.

“I have two. Which one would you like?” The man said, a small smile on his face.

“The one I would've known you by, had we met on earth.”

“You may call me Anthony.”

“Anthony,” Cyril said. The name sounded comfortable on his lips. “You said you’d follow me whichever door I choose?”

“That is correct,” Anthony said.

Cyril rested his hand on the doorknob of the brown door.

“I’d like to figure some things out,” He said, and he opened the door and stepped through.

Chapter 2


Cyril stepped through the door, and appeared in a park. A very familiar park.

Anthony stepped through behind him, and the door shut, then vanished.

Anthony looked around, then breathed deep.

“I like it here,” He said.

“I know this place,” Cyril said, “My home is not far from here.”

Cyril began to walk, looking around as he went, taking everything in.

A woman on her phone was walking nearby, and he decided to walk up to her, to see if she would do something.

He waved a hand in front of her face, snapped a couple of times, to no avail. She walked right through his hand, as if it weren’t even there.

He looked at his hand.

Anthony walked up to him. “No one can see you here, Cyril,” He said, “It’s just you and me.”

“Can you take me to my house?” Cyril asked.

Anthony clapped his hands once, and the world around them blurred, then came back into focus.

The pair were now in a warmly lit, homey kitchen. A middle aged woman wearing an apron stood at the island in the center of the kitchen, chopping vegetables.

A small tablet stood on a stand on the counter next to the oven, displaying a popular music streaming app.

“Who is she?” Cyril asked, “My mind tells me I’ve known her for years, for my entire life, but who is she?”

“That is your mother, Cyril,” Anthony said, “April Lilac Wetherspoon. Born September 6th, 1971, and she gave birth to you on January 19th, 1996.”

Cyril blinked, then remembered.

Remembered everything. His mothers touch, his mothers voice, his mothers love.

He remembered it all.

“Mom,” He whispered, stepping closer to his mother. She did not see him.

“Is this before or after I died?” Cyril asked.

“I said you would see the past and the future here, Cyril,” Anthony said, “When does it look like it is?”

Cyril studied his mother, who has a light smile on her face as she chops.

“It’s before.” He says.

Anthony nods, “Correct.”

Cyril watches his mother for a moment, before he heard footsteps behind him. He turned, and another woman, younger than his mother, walked into the kitchen as well.

She smiled warmly at April, then opened the pantry door, beginning to grab multiple spices.

“So,” April said, “How’s college going for you?”

“It’s going quite well,” The younger woman said, measuring spices with several small spoons, “You know, it’s college, but, I’d say it’s going well. I’m not failing at anything.”

“Good,” April said with a smile, “And how is Cyril doing?”

Cyril looked back to Anthony. “Who is she?” He asked.

Anthony didn’t respond, simply nodded forward, directing him to keep watching.

“Cyril,” The younger woman said, “Cyril is… he’s what keeps me going.”

“Is he really?” April asked, “I feel like you’d be the one keeping him going, rather than vice versa.”

“That’s the thing about your son,” The younger woman said, turning to April, “Cyril is really good at being reliable, and he’s really good at understanding people. He understands that we both have to keep each other going, to be there for each other.”

Cyril stepped closer to the younger woman, studying her face.

He didn’t recognize her.

And for some reason, this broke his heart. It was as if his heart knew who this was, but his mind had forgotten.

“Anthony?” Cyril asked.

“Yes?” Anthony responded.

“What’s her name?” Cyril asked softly.

“Chloe Opal Whittaker. Born February 24th, 1996.”

“Chloe…” Cyril said, testing the name on his lips.

It sounded… right.

“Is she…” Cyril said.

“Yes,” Anthint said, “She is your girlfriend. And she is the person whose life we are going to be observing as we journey here.”

Cyril, despite now knowing who this woman was, still had no idea who she was.

“I wish I remembered,” He whispered.

“You will,” Anthony said, laying a hand on his shoulder, “In time. Let’s continue on.”

Chapter 3


The world blurred again, and when it came into focus, this time they were standing on the street.

Red and blue lights flashed through the night air. Cyril turned around, and saw a car flipped over in the ditch behind them.

He stared.

“This is where I died,” He said.

“Yes,” Anthony said, “Your brakes stopped working, so you swerved to avoid the stopped traffic at the light in front of you, and you flipped over into the ditch.”

An ambulance arrived, screeching to a stop, and two paramedics jumped out, one grabbing a stretcher from the back, the other rushing to the car.

The first paramedic arrived with the stretcher just as the second paramedic waved some police officers over. Cyril stepped closer so he could hear what they were saying.

“Driver, and one passenger,” The second paramedic was saying, “Both unconscious, and the driver appears to be in a worse state than the passenger. Get them both out of the vehicle, and get the driver onto the stretcher.”

The cop nodded, waved over some more, and together they carefully extracted a body from the driver's side of the car. Cyril stepped closer to see it.

And found himself looking right at himself.

Then the cops pulled the second person out of the other side of the car, and Cyril walked over to look.

And it was Chloe. His girlfriend.

“Oh, no.” He whispered. His heart ached again, but his head was confused and hurt and just wanted to understand.

As soon as Chloe was free of the car, she began to stir, then opened her eyes.

She looked around, then screamed. One of the police officers rushed forward and began to calm her down.

“What’s your name?” The cop asked in a soft voice.

“Chloe Whittaker,” Chloe whispered roughly.

“How do you feel, Chloe?”

“My head hurts, and I think my hands are a little scratched up, but other than that I’m okay. Where’s Cyril?”

“Is that the driver's name?” The cop asked.

“Yes,” Chloe said, and the way she said it made Cyril’s heart drop, “Yes, his name is Cyril Wetherspoon, he’s my boyfriend. Where is he?”

“He’s just over there, being helped by some paramedics. Would you like me to help you get to him?” The cop asked.

“Yes,” Chloe said firmly.

The cop stood, then extended a hand to Chloe, who took it and pulled herself up. She swayed for a moment before stabilizing herself. The cop being there to hold her steady helped.

They began to shuffle towards the stretcher with Cyril on it, which was surrounded by officers and paramedics.

“Back away,” The cop helping Chloe barked, and the cops cleared away, giving the paramedics more space to work, and Chloe a clear view.

Cyril followed, and got a clear view of his own banged up body.

His forehead was bleeding, and his leg was most definitely broken, based on how it was shaped.

His eyes were shut. Still unconscious.

“No, no, no,” Chloe whispered.

“He’s still alive,” The cop said, “He’s just really banged up.”

“More than that,” One of the paramedics said, “He’s got really bad internal bleeding, and he isn’t doing too great.”

Cyril’s eyes fluttered open, and Cyril watched himself wake up slowly, painfully, and lethargically.

He groaned, and Chloe immediately rushed to his side, taking his hand.

“Hey, Chlo,” He said weakly, and Chloe kissed his hand, “Glad to see you’re all right.”

“You aren’t,” Chloe said, “You’re bleeding.”

Cyril raised a hand slowly to his forehead. “That’ll heal up,” He said weakly, letting his hand fall back down.

“No,” Chloe said, beginning to cry, “Inside. You’re bleeding inside.”

Cyril paused. “Oh,” Was all he said.

Cyril turned to Anthony.

“Why?” He asked, “Why force me to watch this when I know so little?”

“Because,” Anthony said, “You have to know. It’s part of the journey.”

“Part of the journey to watch my own death?” Cyril asked, “To watch my apparent girlfriend lose me?”

“Yes,” Anthony said simply, “Keep watching.”

Cyril turned back to watch. He was still comforting Chloe.

“I’ll be alright,” He kept repeating, with an easy smile. There was pain behind his eyes though. Chloe kept shaking her head.

“You won’t,” She said, “How will you be able to bounce back?”

Cyril tucked her hair back behind her ear, and held her cheek.
“Don’t worry about me,” He said, and his eyes fluttered closed.

Cyril watched himself die.

Watched Chloe scream his name over and over again.

Watched the paramedics subdue her as she became hysterical.

He began to cry.

“Come,” Anthony said, “There is still more.”


Edited by CalanoCorvus
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Thank you :)

Here's chapter 4

Chapter 4


The world blurred yet again, and Cyril blinked the blurriness away.

They were in a bedroom now.

A bed stuck out from the wall into the middle of the room, and one wall was a large board with pinned polaroids, drawings, scribbled notes. On another wall were paintings. A bookshelf took up part of a different wall, filled- almost to the point of overflowing- with well loved books.

On the bed sat Chloe.

The curtains of the windows behind her were drawn.

The lights were off.

The sky outside was gray, Cyril could see through the light curtains.

Chloe sat, legs hanging over the side of the bed. She was slouched, clearly depressed, her hair and pajamas a mess.

“How many days has it been since I died?” He asked Anthony.

“Four,” Anthony said, “And she has not been taking it well.”

Cyril knew he should be as grieved as Chloe, but he wasn’t. He just didn’t remember enough yet.

He stepped up to the board on the wall, and spent a long time looking at every single polaroid, sticky note, and drawing that- presumably- Chloe had put there.

Most of the polaroids were captured moments from the happiness that Chloe had had a few days before.

Moments with Cyril.

Every polaroid Cyril looked at, a tiny sliver of that moment was remembered.

He glanced to the side; a guitar sat in the corner. It looked… comfortable.

He looked back at the board. The drawings were a lot of plants, with some sketches of people (mostly him again). The sticky notes, he presumed, were lyrics.

Chloe was a songwriter.

He remembered that now. She would always get so excited whenever she shared a new melody, or a perfect lyric to go with her latest song.

He missed how excited she had sounded, he realized.

He turned, looking at the grieving, mourning, broken girl on the bed.

And his heart ached.

For the first time since he got here, to this place, and started this journey, his heart ached as it was supposed to ache. Or at least, how he thought it was supposed to ache.

He had seen the polaroids, the sketches; he remembered a lot more now.

And now he knew how much he missed it.

“How long does it take for her to get better?” Cyril asked.

Anthony looked at Chloe.

“A long time,” He said, “A really long time. The thing about the death of a loved one, Cyril, is that you never fully recover from it. So, your question is… rather broad.”

“How long until she smiles again?” He asked, not taking his eyes off Chloe.

“Also a long time,” Anthony said, “But not as long as it takes for her to get better.”

Cyril nodded.

He stepped closer to Chloe, sitting down next to her on the bed.

He only remembered some of what he should. He felt he was close to remembering everything. What he did not have, however, was the little things.

In every relationship, there are the little things that make it better. The smaller details in a person that make them all the better.

A dimple here, more bad hair days than usual there, a little gap in the two front teeth, the little flaws that make people more real.

Cyril wanted so badly to remember those.

So he looked at Chloe.

And studied her. Trying to see not just the person in front of him, but the person he had once loved.

The person that he had surely spent hours looking at.

Her face was blurry though.

Not so blurry that he couldn’t make it out at all, but it was… fuzzy.

Details, it seemed, would elude him today.

He sighed, standing and kneeling in front of her instead.

He looked up at her face, and despite not being able to truly see his once beloved, he could at least think it was.

She stared at him.

Wait, no, not at him.

Through him.

Cyril cocked his head, frowning.

“Anthony?” He asked.

“Yes?” Anthony replied.

“Is there any way at all to somehow convey to her that I’m alright?”

“Not that I’m aware of.”

Cyril placed a hand on Chloe’s knee; or, let it blur there, the place where his hand and her knee met blurring slightly.

And he tried to somehow will a feeling of relief and peace into her. He could slightly sense her soul, and tried somehow to… connect with it.

He felt something.

It wasn’t what he was expecting, there wasn’t a huge woosh or anything, no sudden moment of realization on anyone’s part.

But he felt a small stirring.

Chloe looked up, and looked around.

Her eyes landed on the guitar, in the corner. And the sticky notes, on the board.

She stood, walking through Cyril, and picked up the guitar. She brought it back, sitting down again, and began to play.

She played, and as she played, she sang.

Cyril watched, awestruck.

It was the most beautiful thing he had ever heard. He was sure of it.

He sat and listened. He didn’t know for how long.

Chloe played, sang, and cried. There was a lot of crying. Somehow that made the experience even more beautiful.

After some time, Chloe stopped.

She sat, breathing heavily, and looked up at the ceiling. She took a deep breath.

Anthony placed a hand on Cyrils shoulder. “I’m not sure how you were able to do this, Cyril,” He said, “But it is good, I think.”

Cyril nodded.

“Now come,” Anthony said, “We press on."

And the world began to blur again.


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