Joy's Ghost

Chapter One: Dr. Stan

Joy Patterson woke up in a box, a big box for dead people. She lifted the lid that was above her and climbed out, gently placing the lid back on the dead people box. Joy wore a light pink t-shirt and a pair of blue jean shorts. She ran to her parents' car and she climbed in though her Mom's door and into the back of the car where she always sat, then she buckled her seat belt like a big girl. She was this many… that is, as many fingers as a normal person could hold up on one hand, plus one. The Patterson's had just moved to a new house and Joy had just started to go to a new kindergarten. Joy, the little lady she was, could walk to school, as it was not very far away. Now as the blond little girl sat, content as she road back to her new home from wherever she had been before she noticed that her Mom was crying.

"Mommy?" Joy asked and her mother only burst into a fit of new tears, "Mommy? Why are you crying?" What young Joy didn't realize, was that she, six-year-old Joy Patterson, was dead. That her mother and father didn't hear her, that they couldn't hear her. The blond girl looked at her baby redhead sister, Hope, that lay sleeping in her car seat and she pet her hair. The baby looked up, eyes blinking for a second before she went back to sleep.

"I… I already miss her voice." Her mother sobbed, trying to straighten up her words as she spoke them.

"Shh… Shh… I know…" Joy's father hushed in return, a sad tone in his voice. It all confused Joy, but all the same she bounded out of the car and in the door to her house after her parents when she got home.

******Seven Years Later*******

At thirteen, Joy figured that something had happened, for her parents had all but forgotten her, and the children in school never noticed that she existed. She was practically friendless except for her little sister, now almost eight, who noticed her every once in a while. It was like no one even knew she was even there when she was right in front of them. She did somehow, mange in her size, to be able to fit into the smallest outfits, it was like they grew to the size she needed them to be, though her favorite outfit was still the one she'd worn the day things started to seem different. For some unknown reason after her death, her parents, probably not wanting to forget Joy, left her room as it was, though every once in a while, her mother would come in and look at the clothes in the dresser. Sometimes she'd cry. Joy still didn't understand it and it weighed on her many times, though she'd never let it show if her little sister noticed her. One day, right before school, Hope asked Joy a question in her room.

"Joy… why is it that sometimes you're not here at all?" Joy blinked, not really understanding her little sister's innocent question. Did she mean, what was Joy doing when Hope didn't noticed her?

"Well, sometimes I read… sometimes I play with my stuffed animals, and sometimes I do my homework- though for some odd reason I never get it graded or anything. No one ever seems to notice I'm here." Hope gave her big sister a hug and smiled up at her.

"Joy, I know you're here and if you're ever all alone, just come and talk to me." The redhead cocked her head cutely and grinned.

"But… Hope… that's just the thing that scares me. Sometimes you don't seem to know I'm here either." The blond-haired girl smiled sadly. "I just wish some one else besides you didn't ignore me all the time. It's like the world is playing some cruel joke on me, and there's nothing I can do about it."

"It's okay." Hope sqeezed her sister's hand, now this might not have been so bizarre if Joy was actually alive. "I'll always be here for you, and if I start to ignore you… do something to get my attention, like break a dish or write a letter." Rebecca, the mother of the deceased girl and her sister, gasped at hearing the one-sided conversation. Did Hope actually think that she was talking to her dead sister? She should have never told the girl about her sister… now she was hallucinating or something worse. Rebecca rushed into the other room to tell her husband of what she had heard. His response was to call a shrink. Now Hope had an appointment on Saturday to see the physiatrist. And even worse, he was the type with the annoyingly clam voice that makes you go nuts when you're on the phone with him because, it's like he could be saying that someone shot him in the heart and dropped him in the ocean but his voice would still sound amazingly calm. For example, let us skip ahead to the dreaded Saturday and eavesdrop upon the conversation with this physiatrist, his name was Dr. Stan. Ugh. What an annoyingly average name. Dr. Stan.

"Hope, I hear that you've been talking to you're… uh… deceased older sister." Ack… it's like torture listing to his calm voice, it's almost as bad a listening to a telemarketer ask you if you want to refinance or something when you've already said no five times.

"Joy is not dead!" Point well made, well, actually the idiot physco was right.

"Um… well… alright then. Joy is alive. What sort of things do you talk about?" Man, he sounded as if there was this all of a sudden, annoying little nervous click in the back of his throat. Ugh. Dr. Stan.

"Everything. About school, about books, about life. What you're supposed to talk about with you're best friend." Seven-year-old Hope shrugged her shoulders as if it were obvious.

"And so…"Ehem, Dr. Stan went on. "Joy… is um… you're best friend?"

"Yeah…" Hope sounded cautious. "Why wouldn't she be?"

"Because… maybe you need to understand that…um… Joy is… um… dead." Boy did he say lot of um's. A lot of annoying 'um's. It like, 'I… um… think… um…. that you… um… should take this… um… prescription.'. Perfect impression of Dr. Stan, wouldn't you say? Well, on to the conversation… if you can even have one with this guy. Ugh… Dr. Stan.

"I told you… Joy isn't dead!"

"Maybe… um… I should… um… get you a physic… um… kid." Dr. Stan snickered; he appeared to be a little mean that day.

"I don't even need to be here. I mean why would I want to be." With that, Hope marched right out of Dr. Stan's office, (Ugh... Dr. Stan. XP) pretty much giving the dope the colder shoulder he deserved and soon enough her parents agreed to take her back home, away from, uh, Dr., uh, Stan.