Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for language.
I called him Da Baba.
Life became a bit less monochrome when he came about, with his magic tricks and his gifts. We made more paper stars for the new jar, filling them with phrases and sayings he fancied—the ones he liked too much to give away, he crunched up in his hands, turning them into stars. He’d shoot it up into the sky, then, leaving an eternal mark in history.
“Do you believe in ghosts?” He asked, one night.
I shrugged. “Xin Baba (what I called my real father to avoid confusion) tells me stories about ghosts, to scare me. But I don’t think they’re real. Are they?”
“Oh, very.” He jumped onto the window sill, crouching on it. I sat on the floor, nesting on my crossed arms, looking up where his finger was pointing. “Have you ever wondered what the stars are doing up there, in the sky?”
I shrugged. “I always thought that they were just flying people who watch over us at night.”
He chuckled a bit, running his fingers over my hair. “Perhaps. In all actuality, I don’t know what they’re doing there. A pleasant mistake, you could say. While crafting the Sun, I realized that I’d cut up scrap residue from it. I put it away somewhere to burn out, but while doing so I realized something had occurred—their material existence had burnt out, but their light failed to do so. It travelled through galaxies to reach you, here, tonight, knowing well that their maker had long died. But you don’t remember them for what they were, when they were alive; you remember them from what you see. Their spirits, their ghosts. Their legacy.” He crunched up a paper star, letting it burn in his hand, then waving it in my face. “Your legacy, now.”
He flicked it up into the sky, pushing it further and further back into the abyss of space. I turned to him. “Where did it go?”
“Into the history books.” He smirked. “When its light reaches us, you’ll be looking down on it from the clouds of heaven.”
He nodded, looking down at the street. He froze. A dark blue car drove by the house, parking near the store. A stout, dark haired white man in a suit emerged from the drivers’ seat, followed by a black man stuffing a note inside his suit. The shining man jumped back into the attic, shutting the window close when the two men looked up.
“What’s going on?” I asked, trying to open the windows again. His hold was too tight; it wouldn’t budge. “Who were those two men? Baba, stop, you’re scaring me.”
He turned to me, his eyes blindingly bright. I drew away, adjusting from the light. He sighed. “Kale, I need you to listen to me.” He dimmed himself, sitting me onto the mattress. “Those two men are—they’re not very nice people. Now, they look like people, but they actually aren’t. They’re demons, hidden under people skin. Like what I did a few nights before. It’s a neat little trick that every divine being can do, but only I can do it repeatedly; their bodies, or what we call vessels, are permanent until they finish the mission they were sent here to do.”
He opened his mouth, and then closed it again. He pointed up to the ceiling with his two index fingers, and redirected to me. “They’re here to—well, frankly, they’re here to get rid of me. And since they can’t physically hurt me, they’re here to cut me off from Earth by…hurting those who can talk to me. And right now, you’re that lucky person.” He smiled, awkwardly. “Yay?”
I raised a brow. “What are they going to do, then?”
“Oh, not much,” He chuckled nervously. “Probably just throw you off a cliff or eat your limbs. Nothing too devastating.”
I winced, sinking into the mattress. “My limbs?”
“Yes, it’s a very messy process, but definitely not as gory as what their bosses are going to do to your body. If there’s anything left, that is.” He chewed on his bottom lip, shuddering at the thought. “It resembles many ghost stories, I know, but I’ve been unfortunate enough to watch the process go as it is. If you’d like, though, I could get rid of them for you--”
“I don’t want to get eaten alive.”
The shining man smiled. “I wouldn’t, either.” He crept to the window, opening it just slightly. “Wait right here, and don’t look.” He disintegrated into tiny dust particles, then, slipping past the gap and into the narrow road outside.