Holding On: Chapter 16
In the last installment of WillWriteForHearts' novel, Alice had just revealed to Annie and Eric that she can see the ghostly presence of her departed father—and that's he's been warning her to stay away from her mom's creepy new boyfriend. Will they think she's crazy? Read on to find out!—Sparkitors
The three of us are huddled together, slightly damp and smelling like wet towels, in Eric’s room. The sun went down an hour ago and the cookie-shaped moon is showing its light through the window, making Annie look paler and Eric’s eyes shine like a cat’s.
“And he doesn’t like your mom’s boyfriend?”
Annie runs her hands over a single drumstick, the other stuck in her hair, eyes focused on the windowpane.
“I don’t think so.”
“Well, it is sort of like his replacement.” Annie wiggles her fingers like magic, closing her eyes. “Maybe he’s a vengeful spirit.” Her voice is sarcastic and doubtful.
Eric is looking up at the ceiling, brows furrowed, silent.
I have literally no idea as to how they’ve taken the information; we’d all instinctively gather in Eric’s room after I told them about Dad’s appearances, them asking occasional, unimportant questions.
Eric clears his throat before asking. “You sure you’re not just imagining—?”
“I’m not sure.” I hold my head in my hands, frowning into my knees. “I don’t know.”
Eric shifts uncomfortably, still focused on the ceiling, eyes white with moonlight. “So he’s… a… zombie…?”
Annie punches him, rolling her eyes. “Ghost, smart one.”
“Do you think I’m crazy?”
Annie looks me over, shrugging. “Everybody’s crazy. Some more then others.” Another shrug, closes her eyes. “But until proven otherwise, I say we’ve got a ghost-Dad on our hands.”
“Yeah.” Echoes Eric, blinking lethargically. “Like Scooby-Doo mysteries.”
“This isn’t funny.” I say, swallowing fear.
“Sorry.” Eric blushes, looking down and looking the white film of light that’d been hanging over his face. “I don’t mean to be like that.”
“What should I do?”
“What should we do.” Says Annie. She smiles at me in an awkward kind of way, eyes seeming smaller and friendlier without the usual pound of makeup.
“Just keep holding on there, ‘kay?”
“We’ll figure this out.” Eric interjects quickly, trying to make up for what he said before, smiling broadly with a set of glimmering teeth.
“Yeah.” Annie nods, looking at him for a long moment before getting up and taking the second drumstick out of her hair, flipping the pair of them in unison. “So… who’s up for a late night stroll?”
“Me!” Eric jumps up, grinning.
Annie raises a brow, reverting to her usual I-can-beat-you-to-until- you-look-like-a-ketchup-bag-exploded confidence. “What better time to meet a ghost? Full moon and all.”
“Doesn’t this only work in movies?”
Eric front flips to the door in a way that would seem show-offy if it hadn’t been Eric doing it. “It’ll be fun!”
I frown a bit, feeling a little stupid. It sounds like they’re just playing along and suddenly I’m sure that he is here, somehow, and I just have to prove it to them. How I’ll prove it to them is a different question, though, especially since he’s been in their plain sight before and they hadn’t been able to see him.
“So, Alice? You coming?”
I force myself to get up, flattening out my shirt and nodding. “Guess so.”
“No half-assed answers, Alice.”
I shrug, mumbling and walking past her. “Let’s go.”
She can really get on my nerves sometimes.
My phone vibrates in my pocket but I ignore it, jogging after Eric.
Shouting erupts from somewhere in front of the house and Timothy and I jump simultaneously, eyes wide open.
“Were you expecting anyone…?”
I shake my head, frowning and crawling over to Wheelchair.
Whoever it is, they don’t sound happy.
I unfold Wheelchair and sit down, quickly settling and rolling over to the backdoor. Before I can get into the house, I hear the front door slam open.
Timothy accompanies me and I see mom’s boyfriend, Thomas, in the kitchen, face red and scrunched up with anger.
“Nick.” His voice is rough and he growls, clenching and unclenching his fists. “Where’s your mom?”
“I thought she was with you.” My insides writhe and Timothy looks like a deer in the headlights.
“She’s not.” He looks furious, mumbling and cursing. Something’s up.
“Don’t start. I don’t need a lecture from a cripple.” He says the last word with venom, opening one of the kitchen cabinets.
“What did you call me?”
Timothy looks on edge, shifting his weight and shooting me a glance that says “shut up or you’ll regret talking”.
Mom’s boyfriend ignores me, inspecting a glass cup and setting it on the counter, hands scrambling for his pocket.
“I don’t have to answer to immature brats.” Growling. His face is flushed strangely and I see him make his way to a kitchen chair unsteadily, taking out a half-empty pack of cigarettes.
Timothy nudges me, trying to pull me back by Wheelchair. His voice is as quiet as a whisper, fingers shaking. “Nick, I think he’s been drinking… we should probably—“
“No!” I look back at that idiot of a boyfriend, anger welling up in my chest, and I wish I could jump up and kick him out of our house. Wheelchair seems twice as solid underneath me and I feel familiar guilt, wheeling over to the kitchen counter and picking up the cup he’d taken out. I put it away, voice strengthening as I try to calm myself down. “Get out.”
“You can’t make me.” He breathes deeply and inhales, cigarette tip red and smoking.
And I can’t.
I want to be able to say “That’s it!” and walk over and strangle him, but I can’t. All I can do is sit. I feel like an idiot staring at him when my mind suddenly takes a jump and I realize I’m still holding the cup.
But I do.
The cup shatters on the back of his head before logical thought can take place, like jumping off a bridge into cold water, and we all stand in stunned silence for a minute. I don’t breathe. Timothy looks like he’s about to die, skin paling past the color of milk.
Thomas stands up, head bleeding, smiling. “If that’s how you want to play.”
I force myself to keep a straight face, swallowing and feeling a decade younger. “What do you mean?”
“If you don’t want to talk to me…” He taps his fingers across the table. “I can always talk to your sister.” He leaves a second later, swiftly, door closing quietly.
What’ve I done?
Oh nooooo! What is creepy boyfriend going to do when he finds Alice?! The suspense is killing us!
Related post: Holding On: Chapter 15