The elder son of the flesh asks whether ghosts and zombies exist.
As agreed, the first response is: What do you think?
His response: You always ask me that! I want to know.
Ah, the young. They are rarely content with prevarication, and if one prevaricates too long, they come to assume the worst. This is one of the minor arcana of knowledge: Vague answers produce a better torture, as the imagination functions well, and then one does not, in fact, have to do anything. Most people have developed some expertise in this, particularly the 17 year old girls. You know what you did.
But I do not wish my son tortured, so I ask for a moment to consider. Many in this system are concerned with the answer. One should say no, to reduce fear and nightmares. I understand this need. And yet I wish to answer more truly. That zombies do not roam eating brains, but that one may be raised from the dead in Voudoun, or in other ways. That ghosts likely do not exist in the haunting form, but those who have passed from us live among us in other ways. I see dead people. A trite phrase from a movie, but one which strikes me with its self-recognition.
I have witnessed much that I used to explain with ease, and now do not. But I know I witnessed them. Some have tried to convince me, over the years, that it was smoke and mirrors. There was some smoke; there were some mirrors. But some moments were true. I do not think I will ever be able to say all experience is corporeal.
In the end, another is the first to answer: No, not like in stories. There are some people who believe in them, but even those people believe they can’t come and hurt you in your house.
The son brightens: No, we don’t live in a story.
I wonder if he will ever know me. My own children (not that he is not mine, but mine alone) would receive a much different answer, but they might not sleep well at night.