Liza’s Invisible Man

[a short story, by Sha’Tara]

For those who know me, this needs no introduction.  For those who don’t know me, I’m the recluse, the quiet one, the dreamer.  I live on the edge of the worlds that have made a pretence of harbouring me, and I do not trust them.  I trust nothing that pretends to be what it isn’t and if life has taught me anything, it’s that everything is pretence.  Fake.  Lies.  Definitely not conducive to trust.

But now, imagine the opposite; that everything was trustworthy, safe, true, real.  Can you imagine the extreme boredom of such a condition?  Unthinkable to me.  And this brings me to talk about Elizabeth, or Liza as she was then known.

Liza was a bit crazy.  Some said it was because both her parents died in jail and that her adoptive parents should have gotten the same.  I only knew the bits about her I got to know during our last two years of high school.  We sat together sometimes during lunch and compared notes.  We talked about boyfriends, well, as I remember she didn’t say all that much.

“C’mon Liza, who is he?” I pushed her once.

“Not that it’s anybody’s business, but he’s the invisible man.  Much too old and sophisticated to be around here.  He’s self assured, rich but not ostentatious.  He can be funny at times.  But I like him best when he’s being serious.”

“Oh!  And the name of this paragon of manhood?”

“He doesn’t have a name.  A name would spoil him, it, the scene, can’t you see that?  An invisible man with a name?  That would make him visible.”

“So who is it? Who?”

“He’s the invisible man.  Why do you want to know more?”

“It’s natural curiosity, Liza.  Maybe… maybe he doesn’t exist at all except in your mind, yes?  Is that why you won’t tell me who he is?  He’s a figment of your imagination?”

“Is that what you think?  That I’m hallucinating a man?  That I couldn’t get one any other way?”  She got up, threw her lunch wastes in the garbage bin and walked away without turning her head, her pony tail swinging wildly as she walked out of the cafeteria.

That was the last time we talked.  She avoided me after that and frankly I was relieved.  That was too close for comfort.  I’m a book person.  Other peoples’ private lives might contain a certain aura of mental interest but not for very long.  Boredom sets in.  I prefer action romance to every day middle class lives of frustrated teens with bad sexual experiences or hearing about their parents’ failed lives.  Jesus, listen to me.  Seventeen and as jaded as an old spinster.  “Oh Jane, you’ve got the brains, the marks, you can be whatever you want.  A librarian?  There’s no future in that, haven’t you heard of computers?  By the time you’re thirty libraries will exist in the cloud and a book will be something you go see in a museum, or in someone’s collection.  Really Jane, where’s the drive?”  It was that line, or similar lines, that followed me through high school.  But what better company can one have but books?

About a month after the cafeteria incident, Monday morning, I came in to an announcement for a general meeting for the entire school in the auditorium.  Bother, I hate these things.  Hired a new business manager?  The grade eleven Physics teacher quit?  The principal got an award for saving a few thousand dollars for the school by closing down the music department? New security measures to be taken?  Whatever it is, it’s the last place I want to go to, but no choice, the hallways were blocked and we were all ushered into the auditorium.

We took seats and we waited, nervously, impatiently and noisily.  I wasn’t the only one who didn’t want to be there.  Finally our vice principal, Mr. Morgan, came on the stage and asked for silence.  After some time the room quietened completely.

“Students of Eleanor Pringle High, I’m sad to announce that I have some bad news for you, for all of us.  One of your classmates, fellow student, Elizabeth Raynor was found murdered in Sullivan park early this morning.  This news was kept from the media until this announcement could be made.  Counselling services for those close to Miss Raynor are available through the office.  Any of you who wish to deal with this in your own way by taking the day off may do so.  Normal classes to resume tomorrow morning.  Again, the principal, myself and all the staff offer their sympathies for your loss, our loss.”

After dismissal I was accosted by Brian Lopez.  “Hey Jane, you used to talk to Liza at lunch.  Do you remember her talking about an invisible man?”

“Yeah, sure, why?”

“Did she ever describe him, like what he looked like, give you his name?”

“She wouldn’t talk about it, said he had to remain invisible.”

“That’s it, see?  Yesterday around lunch time we met at the Subway in the mall.  We sat together for a snack and talked.  She was excited, said she was meeting her invisible man in the park that evening.”

26 thoughts on “Liza’s Invisible Man

    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Thank you Sarah, glad you liked it. Not one of my most “emotional” stories (I only do emotions in writing) but I thought, not bad, being written while watching a movie. (and nothing to do with the movie either). I enjoy testing my multi-tasking abilities. 🙂 The movie? An older Clint Eastwood: Absolute Power. Not bad. Some really lame dialogue.

      1. Sha'Tara Post author

        Just replying to get these comments out of spam, see if it works. Yes, you and Sarah caught the glitch. Great to have observant writers on board.

  1. We come from dreams ~

    Sounds like a killer incubus was involved. There are such people, but not here. That’s what happens when you die full of unresolved murderous impulses. Those who chose to stay locked into the state implode. Then they become demons.

    Another great story, Sha’Tara! Just the right amount of spooky!


    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Thanks Roy… I’ll accept your praise, though I personally think it’s undeserved. I like your concept of the killer incubus, hence the “invisible” aspect. What do you mean by “not here”? Have they location, like Vampires in Transylvania?

      1. We come from dreams ~

        Hoo boy. “Not here > location > where?” That’s the kind of simple question that can lead to a whole procession. Well, someone has to do it…….

        Succubi and incubi are everywhere. Those of us with even a smattering of extrasensory can feel them at times, less often hear them (in the mind), and even less often, see them, albeit in the peripheral vision. That’s because the light cones at the edges of our retinas can see infrared and ultraviolet sections of the visible spectrum. For a long time, we (and I mean Sara Jane and her companions) thought that this implied that they “lived” in another dimension, or plane. This idea is actually 2500 year old science, it’s called Neo-Pythagoreanism. But it simply isn’t necessary to postulate other levels or planes; as best we can tell, we live in one universe and that includes them.*

        Now, the incubi and succubi have gotten a rather bad rep over the last couple of thousand years. This began with a nasty contemporary of Jesus, a Neo-Pythagorean magician named Apollonius of Tyana. I should add that our ole buddy Saint Paul grew up in that area, it’s in modern Turkey. Because he was celibate, he had a thing about sex, and told people that their night time visitors were evil. No big surprise that when Christian monasticism took off, they echoed Apollonius’ sentiments.

        So, who or what are they? They’re dead people. Ghosts. Spooks. Dead people with a very intact sex drive, I might add. And just like their living counterparts, some of them are homicidal. We had a few show up here over the years. They were given an offer: stay with us, stop the bullshit and you’ll have a place to stay, people you can talk to, and if you want, work to do. A couple of them took us up on it. The rest went back to wherever such creatures go. But they’re marked now, kind of like a psychic tattoo.

      2. Sha'Tara Post author

        Thanks for that in depth ‘splanation. Actually I knew most of that, just wondering if “location” had another meaning. And yes, I’ve interacted with those, mostly sending them on their way. At the onset of my spiritual journey I had a group show up. They called themselves, “Atoona and the Collective”. Atoona himself appeared like a priest or monarch of some Pacific Island and was dressed with colourful robes and feathers. He had a staff and tried hard to look ‘impotent” hehehehehe… OK, important. His followers didn’t have much to say, rather nondescript. We talked and it became obvious I was to join his collective. Bad choice of door to knock on Atoona. I sensed a whole lot of things wrong with that bunch and sent them packing – permanently. Before my spiritual journey, before my suicide attempt, I was approached by a much more interesting and dangerous, dark demonic entity that promised me “witch power” if I performed a certain crime to prove my worth. The crime was appealing in terms of serious revenge on somebody but I wasn’t that desperate yet. To that point I considered myself a “violently non-violent” person and the die fell on non-action. And I was alone again, powerless, confused and no idea if I’d made the “right” choice or not. Turns out I did. I don’t want to mess with spiritual darkness unless I have a stake in it, and I’m in control. I’ve done that, not long ago in this journey, helped a “soul” escape its prison of darkness in a “dream quest.” It probably went back to its muck anyway; waste of time. It’s best to not encourage them, leave them alone or get rid of them if they become “clingons.”

  2. Phil Huston

    Nice. Murder? Hmmm…
    Buried gold right here:
    – Seventeen and as jaded as an old spinster. “Oh Jane, you’ve got the brains, the marks, you can be whatever you want.”
    “They” used that line a lot for “creative” types. Poor Liza.

    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Thanks for the comment, Phil. “They” used that line a lot for “creative” types. — It’s one I heard. It wouldn’t do to let “creative types” escape the box and go out to explore their own potential, on their own. “To all Matrix agents in western sector: loose cannon. A walk-away from Chilliwack Sr. Sec. School: contain and re-direct.”

  3. Regis Auffray

    Yesterday at lunch we sat together…

    Unless they have school on Sundays there; I must admit I completely missed that the first time through; obviously not a detail crucial to the story. Thank you for the challenge though.

    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Another comment I found in spam. I see you found the glitch in that story. Thanks for playing… now let’s see if this goes out of impound and on the street again…

    2. Sha'Tara Post author

      These must be the unblocked comments. I think I already replied to this one and I’ll assume to the rest on the list. Thank you.

  4. We come from dreams ~

    If you’ve ever watched the film “Jacob’s Ladder,” there is a lovely scene near the end, where Danny Aiello appears once again to rescue his beleaguered patient, Jake Singer. The lighting plats a soft soothing light on Aiello’s features as he quotes Meister Eckhardt: “Eckhart saw Hell too. He said: ‘The only thing that burns in Hell is the part of you that won’t let go of life, your memories, your attachments. They burn them all away. But they’re not punishing you’, he said. ‘They’re freeing your soul. So, if you’re frightened of dying and … you’re holding on, you’ll see devils tearing your life away. But if you’ve made your peace, then the devils are really angels, freeing you from the earth.” Somehow, despite my lifelong fear of life and living, I’d always known that. By the time I saw the movie, I’d understood that most people were far more afraid of living than they were of dying. We’ve had a few of the really bad boys here and I faced them down. The worst was that part of my self that wanted me to avoid life and being alive; “him” I encountered on that night in early 2001 when Sara Jane and I ate an Amanita Myscaria mushroom and went for the ride of our lives. That’s the tale told allegorically in our “The Madman;” my encounter with “him” is here:

    The panel which I’m talking about is ‘way down near the end.

    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Thanks for that comment (and the story – I read it). Enlightenment, however one attains it, is a great happening.

    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Holy moly! To have a piece considered good enough to be part of a Bradbury collection… {blushing} … Thank you, Roger!

    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Hey, thanks for the comment. And it’s entirely up to the interpreter, isn’t it. I don’t do drugs, never have, so I didn’t think about that. Still hallucinations don’t usually murder you, do they? Unless you take the Buddhist, “you are what you believe yourself to be” stuff really seriously… 🙂 I mean, I’d like to believe that but so far it only works in my mind; can’t make it work on the material/physical plane, too bad, I’ve got some really creative ideas on what “I am” in a body… 🙂

    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      What can I say? I’m glad you like them. I usually attempt 2 things with my S. stories. One, they are often allegorical. Two, I try to entertain.


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