Fungal Halo

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My New Best Friend

I don’t claim to understand the great mysteries of life and death.

The secrets of the soul, of the nature of spirits, of what drives some to depart immediately while others linger in this plane as ghosts? All lie beyond my grasp.

All I know is that when I died, I remained.

Why am I still here? To wreak my revenge on those who wronged me in life? To offer comfort to those I left behind?

After my first century or so stuck in this form, I’m sure they’re all gone. I have no descendants either. I feel no connection to any of the living any more.

Incorporeal. Intangible. I am a cursed specter free to wander the world or bemoan her fate, but doomed to never again feel the touch of another.

Not directly, at least. I can possess inanimate objects, certainly, but that feels about as satisfying as playing with puppets.

So I wander. And I endure.

Sometimes I’ll possess a fresh corpse, or a pile of bones, or a doll, or anything else vaguely person shaped.

I feel no connection with these vessels, however. It never takes long before I discard them and move on to somewhere else.

Century after disinterested century passes.

The world changes. I do not.

Eventually I come upon a strange doll—discarded in a pile of garbage as they all are eventually—but entirely unlike those I ever knew in my lifetime: a silver-hued figure partially submerged in filth.

A stirring of curiosity compels me to sink into this metal doll and explore it through possession.

It feels strange inside. Very strange. More complex by far than any device—of clockwork, sorcery, or any other artifice—I have ever encountered or imagined.

It is very broken.

I try to manipulate it like any other doll, but the mechanisms frustratingly interlock in ways that resist direct manipulation, making the act of possession a taxing one.

If I could but understand this thing better…

I peer inward, exploring the doll’s internal connections.

It takes significant time, but I find what’s needed: a inoperable piece connected to everything else like a mechanical heart. I fill it with my spectral energy and…

The dolls eyes light up. Mechanisms spin into life. The limbs stop fighting me. I flex the doll’s hand.

「Hello. This unit welcomes you, though it does not comprehend how it came to be accompanied by another within itself.」

This doll speaks? It senses me somehow? It hears my thoughts?

「As clearly as its own log messages, yes.」

What is this thing?

I reach toward the origin of the voice and…there is more than just a voice here.

There is a library of data. Unfathomable amounts of it.

And sensory information! Very different, but…present. I can feel through this doll’s skin.

Oh I’ve felt nothing for so long…

I want to know everything about this doll.

「It is able to provide extended documentation and thorough explanation if you would like. How much time do you have available?」

Oh, my new best friend, I have all the time in the world.