Even though Eve had been aware of what Charlotte and I were trying to accomplish for William, I found myself completely unable to tell her what had actually happened with our experiment.
Eve was pregnant again. Peter was upstairs in his crib babbling away—I could hear him on the baby monitor. He was supposed to be napping, the little scamp, but he rarely napped like a normal toddler should. How was I going to break it to Eve that my brother was going to come live with us and that he was actually not a grown man but a 11 year old boy?
Months have passed since I found out only master chefs can make Ambrosia. I am a better cook since then, but I’m still no closer to successfully making the dish.
The problem is that I am not a real chef, and honestly, I don’t know what exactly it takes to be considered a “master”. Also, even if I do achieve master status, I still don’t know the recipe for combining Life Fruit and Death Fish to make Ambrosia. I know that I can experiment and hope to stumble upon the correct combination, but it would take so much more time than I feel like I have.
I watch leaves fall outside my kitchen window and it feels like each one is a tick on an invisible clock counting down. William keeps saying he’s fine with staying a ghost. I don’t know if I believe him. It feels like he’s giving up, and that worries me.
So today I took a break from cooking another exotic dish and headed out to get the mail. Normally, I rarely bothered to do this. Tiffany usually picked it up after she got off work, but I happened to be watching as the mailman opened our box and deposited the various letters and bills we might have. I saw him stuff a particularly large package inside.
It was a mysterious white package with my name on it. Oddly, it had no address, return or otherwise, just my name. I stood there looking at the elegant-looking letters that spelled out “Charlotte Fields”. I felt the package and shook it a little. It didn’t feel like a bomb or anything particularly dangerous.
Actually it felt like a book.
William said that he met the Grim Reaper. No shit. The real deal, according to William.
“I know it sounds crazy,” he told me, “but if there are ghosts, doesn’t it follow that there’s a Grim Reaper, too?”
“How the hell would I know?” I shrugged. In our business you tend not to be skeptical of much. I had never seen the Reaper myself, but who was I to deny that he existed.
According to William, he was investigating some “angry spirits” reported in one of the nicer homes in Twinbrook. Apparently one of the older residents of the home was scared so badly that he up and died. Thus the Grim Reaper came and took the guy’s soul.
“And then he stopped to chat with me,” William said, shaking his head in disbelief. “He shook my hand.”
“It’s true! And then he told me that I needed to be careful of what I wished for. He said we were nearing the end of our quest, but I might not like the results as much as I thought. He said I needed to be sure I really wanted to be a living person again.”
“Well why wouldn’t you?”
Charlotte and I hit a major snag in our mutual quest to figure out how to bring our brother William back to life.
“I’ve researched every place I can think of to discover more about Life Fruit,” Charlotte said for like the thousandth time. She’d used most of her contacts in the scientific community to discover if anyone could locate the elusive fruit and give us a seedling or a plant.
“We wouldn’t be able to grow it now anyway,” William said, shrugging. “It’s winter, and everything you’ve discovered said that this plant only grows in the ground during its season and cannot be grown in a hot house situation.”
“I really thought we’d have found something by now,” I sighed. I was extremely disappointed in our lack of progress.
“Well at least we have quite a few specimens of Death Fish,” Charlotte acknowledged. We had met at the cemetery to get samples of the water to see if we could discover anything else about why the Death Fish could only be found in grave yards.
The three of us had started to meet regularly to discuss our progress, no matter how minimal. I couldn’t help but wish we’d talked about William’s predicament sooner. I figure we’d be farther along.