For one and two and three, this was too melodramatic for my tastes. Maybe I would think differently if I’d gone through a whole book with these characters and experienced these things with them as they happened, but at the moment it feels like the climax of a book without the benefit of the buildup of that whole book.
I don’t really know how I’d suggest improving it, because this is something I also struggle with =P The advice I’ve been given is to make sure I “earn” my more over the top moments, but you don’t really have the freedom to do that in this short format. I would definitely suggest toning down the vivid and lengthy descriptions. The draw of this piece is the dialogue, and in my opinion you’d be well-served in toning down everything else so it’s a solid, bland, and non-distracting foundation upon which the conflict of their dialogue can rest.
Here’s a video on melodrama I found personally helpful. I hope you do too.
4. I definitely understood the background. In fact, I think you were too on the nose with it. You could get away with a lot more subtlety than you’re allowing yourself at the moment. There’s no need to point out that Gwen was Jaiden’s wife, and you could add some tension to the scene by gradually revealing that Jaiden and Darrow were once close, rather than spilling it all out at the beginning and then repeatedly reminding us of it.
5. I think there’s a solid core to Jaiden. He wonders at the beginning whether or not he made the right choice, and seeing him keep up that uncertainty would be nice. Right now, it feels like Jaiden is just easily and completely in the right and that Darrow is a blustering, cruel psychopath with no conflict in him at all.
I really liked the stuff with the ghosts, by the way. It was a neat touch, and I appreciate that you didn’t feel the need to exposit whether it was all in Jaiden’s head or whether there’s some weird magic system at work.
"...the one with whom he so sought to talk has already interceded for him." -The Master and Margarita