Xi Men stood in front of the staircase. “Here’s where I last took my breath…”
Rainie, Ken, Barbie, Jerry, Pace, Vanness, Winnie and Vic looked at Xi Men whose face shows disappointment for his death.
Tears brimming in the girls’ eyes and sadness & pain can be seen in the guys’ eyes.
Xi Men closed his eyes, remembering the entire incident. Remembering each and every spot at the staircase and floor that is covered with his blood. That one incident that splits him from human world. That one incident that splits him from Xiao You.
That one incident that did not fail to bring pain to Xi Men each time he recalled it as a ghost.
That same one incident that tells him; he’s dead.
Xi Men opened his eyes. “I woke up, to find myself standing next to my body. I looked at everyone sobbing and shaking my body to bring me back to life… I called out to them, but they cannot see me, they cannot hear me. It was painful. The sight of my body lay dead is hard to bear too… and from that moment onwards, I need to accept the fact that I am no longer one of them… and I need to accept myself as a ghost. I witnessed my own funeral… and then I didn’t get to see Xiao You anymore. She moved. A month later, I find out this mansion is put up for sale. I’m furious. I don’t want people to stay in this mansion, which is why I shoo everyone away. I do that because I hope I can see Xiao You again. I hope she will come back one day… but she never did…” he said sadly. “This mansion is left vacant more than being occupied by people,” Xi Men said, as he still stared at the staircase. He then looked down to the ring. “The ring… Xiao You combined her ring with mine and put it in my casket, that is why, I have both rings,”
“Oh,” they said.
“But if she put the ring into your casket… why and how come you have it now? Isn’t it supposed to stay in your… casket?” Jerry asked. It’s a bit awkward to mention the word.
Everybody senses Jerry awkwardness, but all were thankful because they need not say that word, and leave it to Jerry to say that.
Xi Men smiled. “Everything that is in the casket belongs to me… ghosts are given privilege to use and take them over the years of mastering skills in underworld classes… so I …” he then looked at them, and seemingly take a deep breath despite he doesn’t feel he is breathing. “Humans… some things are unexplainable,” he looked at the ring. “Just cut things short, I have it with me now and not in the casket anymore,”
They blanked when Xi Men went straight to the point without any further explanation.
Vanness stared at Xi Men, “I’m blur,”
“Nevermind that… I don’t even know how to explain this…” Xi Men said.
“I think I won’t understand either if he gets into deep explanation about that… so maybe we just… forget it,” Winnie said. “Skip it…”
“Xi Men, you may continue…” Pace said.
Xi Men nodded. “It is indeed a drastic change for me to wake up and find everything is of no use to me, different for me… the world starts tumbling down on your face…” he looked at them. “Everything that you worked hard for is no use to you. All the money you get is no use for you. You lost the most precious things in life… all the things that belongs to you were forcefully taken away from you with just a ‘death’ slammed at your face. Every single thing you wanted are no longer yours to grasp. I used to see my future with Xiao You and my child… but from that moment, there is no future, there is nothing you can anticipate,” he bites his lips though he didn’t feel anything. “You lost all your senses, your desire, your might and basically death also means there is no more tears, no more breathing, no more physical touch… because you lost your right to live, you lost your body in a blink of eye…” and then he smiled at them. “So appreciate what you have now and the person beside you that supports you and love you for who you are. Life is too short,”
Jerry, Barbie, Vanness, Pace, Ken, Rainie, Vic and Winnie smiled, looking at each other, understanding what Xi Men is hinting.
Xi Men smiled, clasping his palms together and looked at his hands. “I took a long time to be able to touch things and appear invisible or in human form. I took years to learn all this, and now, it is not a problem for me to choose who can see and who cannot see me,” Xi Men sighed. “So… that is the story of my life and death,” he smiled, looking up at them. “I have nothing else to add anymore,”
Xi Men smiled as he headed to the kitchen and took a beer from the refrigerator, the one that Rainie burnt to him.
“Xi Men… is there anything we can do for you?” Rainie asked, when she saw him emerge from the kitchen.
Xi Men shook. “No, really. There is nothing you can do,” he said as he pulled open the beer tin, taking a gulp from it and walked to the backyard.
Everyone looked at Xi Men walking out. The room is full will sadness and quietness from each other.
“His life story is so sad…” Barbie said.
“What can you expect from a story told by a ghost, about his life story?” asked Jerry. “We all knew he was shot… way earlier before he told us about his life story,”
“No, his life story was great and happy. Only the death is the sad part,” Winnie said.
Pace looked at Xi Men walking off to backyard, and then she turned looking at her friends. “You know, it wasn’t easy for him to talk about his life and death… I’ll go and see him at the backyard if he is alright,” Pace smiled.
“Sure, let’s go together, all of us,” Vic said, looking around.
“No, I don’t think he wants to be ‘attacked’ by all of us asking him if he is okay…” Winnie said.
“I guess it will be better if I go by myself to represent all of us,” Pace quickly said.
“I too, think that way,” Jerry said.
“Yeah, he walked off just like that, so I supposed it is not that appropriate for all of us to go and see him… so, you’ll do the task,” Ken said, looking at Pace.
“Sure,” Vanness said and gave her a peck on the cheek. “That’s so kind of you,”
“Thanks, Pace,” Rainie smiled.
“No problem,” Pace smiled. With then Pace walked to the backyard.
She saw Xi Men stood at his favorite spot, with the can of beer in hand.
“Hey,” Pace called out casually.
Xi Men turned and looked at her. “Hey,” he responded unwillingly.
“We’re sorry we made you talk about your story,” Pace said, stood next to him. “You were reminded about your death,”
Xi Men smiled lightly and dunked his head. He then lifted his head up and looked back at Taipei. “It’s a fact that will never be changed, and I have been reminded of it every now and then,”
“We didn’t expect to hear your story until this stage… until you… died,” Pace not sure how to continue with her words.
Xi Men looked at her and smiled. “Death is a part of my life… that’s the final stage for me,” he drank from the beer can. “Everyone has to go thru it,” he smiled and still looking at her. “Did anyone tell you that you are beautiful?”
Pace smiled. “Vanness often says that to me,”
“You are,” Xi Men smiled.
“Xi Men, we are talking about you… not about me,” Pace said.
Xi Men laughed. “It’s nothing major, Pace. I’m honestly fine with it,”
“Really?” Pace asked.
“Yes,” Xi Men said. He turned and looked at the wonderful scenery of Taipei. “At least I died in one piece. I have friends who lost their body parts and are not found… you know my friends from the underworld,”
Pace looked at him. “Lost body parts?”
“Arm or leg missing… or head… you know,” Xi Men smiled. He looked at Pace. “We will die someday. It’s just how you died. And I honestly don’t see any problem with telling you guys about the story of my life, so… no worries, Pace,”
“I looked at your reactions earlier… and I thought you are bothered,” Pace said.
“Bothered… what a great word that is being used,” Xi Men said, looking down to his beer can. “Honestly, Pace…” he looked at her. “It is not easy to cope seeing yourself dead… and the fact that you need to adapt that you are no longer a human… no longer breathing…” he stopped. “My life story is like a movie repeated by itself all the time in my brain, and it had no difference with me telling it to you… it is just the same…”
“I’m very sorry, Xi Men…” Pace said.
“Don’t be, Pace,” Xi Men said, seeing her tears in her eyes. “Don’t be,” he smiled. “I’m fine with telling my story to you guys… really. Well… it did make myself feeling slightly better, so I should be the one saying thanks to you guys,”
“Oh… Xi Men,” Pace said, as tears dripped down to her cheek.
“Aww, Pace…” Xi Men said and brushed her tears away.
Pace let out a small laugh. “Your fingers are cold,”
“Indeed,” Xi Men smiled. “Come, don’t cry and give me a hug,” he spread his arms.
Pace hugged Xi Men. Xi Men patted her head. Human’s warmth. “Keep the tears, alright?”
“Are you sure you are alright?” Pace asked, as they released from the hug.
Xi Men nodded. “Yes,” he wiped her tears again. “Life’s like that. When at a moment you woke up to know you are dead, you can’t do a lot of things anymore,”
“A lot of things?” Pace asked.
“The career path I built in my life… pose of no use to me after so many years of hardship. The woman of my life… I have been missing her for years, dare not to go after her but when I managed to keep her with me, death do us part. Sometimes life has been unfair for me, but what can I do? I’m already dead,” Xi Men said. “And just so you know, now that I am dead. I wanted to see Xiao You again, yet I cannot see her as she just moved out from this place… and I am stuck in here,” he smirked. “Maybe for the next 50 years until my time is up,”
“Then you will be here and keep remembering about your life’s movie as you said?” Pace said. “For 50 years?”
Xi Men smirked. “Maybe, but that’s the consequences of being dead before my time is up,”
“It’s not that you choose to die this way,” Pace said.
“Yes, I don’t choose my death,” Xi Men said. “I was murdered,”
“Then maybe we can help you on something that you…” Pace said.
“Look, Pace,” Xi Men interrupted. Pace looked at him. “I honestly understand you guys are trying to help me because you guys have been asking me if there is anything you guys can do for me repeatedly… I appreciate it,” Xi Men smiled. “Really, there is nothing. And I’m good,”
“Are you sure you are good?” Pace asked.
“Thanks for your concern, Pace. Telling you guys the story of my life is no biggie. Trust me. I’m fine and I’m real good,” Xi Men smiled. “Thanks, Pace,”
“For?” Pace asked.
“For being concern of me… and for asking me if I am fine after I told you my life story,” he smiled. “I know you cared, thanks for that,”
“Thanks for telling us the journey of your life,” Pace smiled.
“No problem,” Xi Men looked at her. “Appreciate what you have now,” he winked. “Vanness,”
Pace laughed. “I will,”
Xi Men smiled and nodded. He then turned looking at the Taipei’s night scenery and drank his beer. Though he said he is fine, his face still bears the same bothering expression, all the time.
“I’ll get back in…” Pace said. “You want to be here?”
“Yeah, I’ll be here,” Xi Men smiled, playing with his ring.
“Let me know if you need anything,” Pace said.
“Sure,” Xi Men said, without looking at her.
Pace turned and walked back into the living room.
“So, how’s Xi Men?” Barbie asked, upon seeing Pace walking towards them from the backyard.
“He’s fine,” Pace smiled. “Still the same look though… you know, playing with the ring, the bothering look…”
“We have always known that there is something bothering Xi Men… but what is it?” Vic asked.
“He just said…” Rainie said. “Wait… did he just said…”
They all looked at Rainie, waiting for her to speak.
“Yes! He just said he hope he can see Xiao You again! All this while, we may not know what is bothering him, but one of it must be his desire to meet Xiao You!” Rainie said.
“True!” they all said.
“Then, he must have wanted to know if he has a child!” Ken said.
“Yes!” they all said.
“He must have wanted to know who kill him too!” Jerry said.
“Yes!” they all said.
“But finding the killer is difficult,” Barbie scratched her head.
“Maybe the killer is already caught, because Xi Men didn’t know what happen to his case at all… so… we can ask his friends should we manage to find them…” Winnie said.
“But if that is the case… he must have wanted to know a lot of things too…” Pace said.
“Wow… seems like there’s a lot of things we can do for him,” Vanness said.
“At one point it seems like we cannot do a single thing for him, but now it seems like we can do a lot…” Vic said.
“I got an idea,” Rainie said.
“What is it?” Winnie asked.
“The most important thing is he wanted to meet Xiao You… so…” Rainie said.
“We’ll search for Xiao You for him!” they all said together.