Brandon Ingram lay in his bed, watching Netflix on his iPad. His free hand was busy transferring Chex Mix from a bowl on his bedside table into his waiting mouth. The only light in the room was the flickering of the iPad screen.
When a bright flash of light encroached on the very edges of his vision, Brandon paid little attention to it. He knew that it wasn’t good for his eyes to use his iPad in the dark, and he figured he was just experiencing some visual artifacts due to eye strain. But then, the flash reappeared, this time directly in front of him. He blinked a few times, testing his eyes for integrity, and then there was a third silent flash which persisted long enough that Brandon could tell it was coming from near his ceiling.
Thinking there might be some sort of electrical problem in his apartment, he set down his device and stared at the spot on his ceiling where the light had emanated from.
“Hello Brandon,” came a voice from the ceiling. “I’m glad to have gotten your attention.”
Brandon furrowed his eyebrows. Was his apartment talking to him?
“Don’t be alarmed, Brandon. This is all perfectly normal,” continued the voice, which sounded somewhat familiar but had a ringing, ethereal timbre. “Here, let me reveal myself to you, to ease your stress.”
Brandon’s stress was not alleviated when a tall, lanky, but indistinctly cloudy form conjured itself into existence at the foot of his bed. It seemed to be wearing a yellow jersey…
“Kevin Durant?” Brandon asked in disbelief. “Is that you?”
“It is,” responded the misty entity. “Or, more accurately, it is my spirit. My body is currently sleeping peacefully at home.”
Brandon resisted the urge to pull the covers over his head, like a child afraid of under-the-bed monsters, and ignore this strange visitation. “Are you going to, I don’t know, zap my soul and take it for yourself to make you stronger?”
Kevin’s spirit laughed melodically. The laughter echoed more than usual off the walls of Brandon’s bedroom, and Brandon wondered if any of his neighbors could hear. “I could do that, but it is not my intent tonight. No, I just want to offer you sage wisdom and advice.”
“Cool,” Brandon replied, still wishing that he could just be left alone.
“Do not let the haters affect you. They will scrutinize your every move, every interview, every play. That is the nature of the hater. But your destiny is yours alone, and no hater can alter it unless you allow them to.”
Brandon thought that this advice was rather obvious, but kept that thought to himself. Instead, he said, “I guess part two of that wisdom is not to join forces with the enemy, and part three is to not create alternate social media accounts in the event that part two is a failure.”
Kevin’s spirit was not fazed by Brandon’s needling comment. “Yes, that is also good advice. I sometimes wish that an NBA legend’s spirit had made a nighttime visitation to me so that I could have avoided some of the mistakes I’ve made. But, as they say, count the rings, bitch.” The vaporous entity held up a hand-like appendage, upon which sat a very real-looking championship ring. “That’s all for now, Brandon. I’ll see you on the court.”
“Yeah, see you,” Brandon said, wondering if most supernatural encounters ended with such nonchalant goodbyes. Then, without further word, Kevin Durant’s spirit faded out, and the bedroom was dark and quiet again.
Brandon picked up his iPad and resumed his movie. As he chomped on Chex Mix, he was unable to decide if the last ten minutes had been real or not.