Last spring I was fishing in the cemetery when I was approached by a strange ghost.
“Hey bub,” he whispered, and when I didn’t respond right away, “Hey, mister!” he said, louder.
“Are you talking to me?”
“Who else is dumb enough to come to the cemetery after dark? You got balls, bub.”
“I like it here. It’s good fishing,” I shrugged. “What do you want?”
The ghost was a teen, dressed as some sort of gangster out of the 1930s. He was skinny and his aura was tinged pink telling me that he had died of starvation. I’d learned some things since I started talking to the ghosts instead of trapping them. Their auras, for example, resonated with the colors of their death. That is why William’s was blue. Though he had died of illness, his illness was caused by nearly drowning. Blue meant a water-related death.
For all I know about death, the only certainty I really have is that I don’t know how to deal with it. My dad died and once again a gaping hole opened in my life.
I was never going to go out and enjoy another game of catch with my dad. I was never going to sit down for a meal and talk fishing or sports or even girls with him. I’d never help him in the garden.
What’s worse, I knew that he wasn’t going to come back. I had never seen another sentient ghost like my brother. Germane and Julie were both right that William was different.
“Welcome to Twinbrook!” I said to Timothy and Tiffany when they finally arrived at our home. They hadn’t come directly home with me. Both wanted to see their own parents in Riverview first.
“Let me take you upstairs,” I said. “We can drop your bags off. Tim, you’re going to stay in my old bedroom. Homer said he was going to stay with his girlfriend while you’re here, so Tiff and I will have his room.”
I took them both upstairs and showed them their respective sleeping arrangements. Tiffany cocked an eyebrow at me when she realized that Homer’s room only had one bed. This trip was supposed to be my big move with her. I figured Homer’s huge bed would give her a hint of my intensions. Either it’d be like a sleepover with a friend…or it would be something else.
“You can put your stuff in the closet,” I said. “Homer has a balcony, too,” I pointed. “There’s a telescope out there that’s perfect for star-gazing.”
I’m annoying my whole family. I just can’t seem to hold in the terrible grief I feel since my mother died.
“Homer,” my dad said to me, “you have to get dressed today. People are coming over for the memorial service.”
“I don’t want to go to the service, Dad,” I said, and sniffed. I wiped at the tears that I just couldn’t stop.
“It will help, Homer,” Dad said. “You need closure.”
I know what people think when I tell them that I still live with my parents. I also know that when I inform them that I fish for a living, that impression they made of me suffers even more. But the truth is that they just don’t know what it’s like to lose a family member like we lost William.
Since Charlotte went back to Smugglesworth, I’m the only child my parents have. They are getting older and they need someone to be there in case things go wrong. And besides, we’re a close family and there’s nothing wrong with that.