Title: My Roommate is...a Ghost?
Rating: PG-13 at absolute worst.
First or Third Person or Script/Lyrical/Poetic: First person
Main Character(s): Anastasia, Nathaniel, Melody, Amber, Castiel, Haley
Genres I Would Categorize This Under: Supernatural romance/comedy. Maybe a little bit of horror at the climax, but that's it.
Type of Fanfiction: Chaptered
Serious or Leisurely Writing: I will try my best to work seriously at this. So yes, serious writing.
Completed?: Not just yet, I've barely started!
Anything extra?: Okay, so this is a bit of a new thing...this fanfiction is almost all from Nathaniel's point of view, with a few deviations to flesh out the other characters. As well, Nathaniel is the living one, and...oops, I shouldn't give too much away!!! What else...? Oh yeah! The amazing @L0v3st0ry has a lot on her plate right now, but she's promised to share ideas with me, so this is, in effect, a collaborative work. I hope that you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed brainstorming and writing it.
Chapter One: Moving Day
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“Here we are!” My mom’s over-cheery voice rattled my eardrums as I was shaken out of my world of daydreams.
Oh, that’s right. I haven’t introduced myself. Well, my name is Nathaniel Liam Argent. Who I am is a completely different matter altogether.
“Nathan! Get out of the car already! You’re such a slowpoke! Honestly, I can’t believe we had to move here.” My little sister, who had been painting her fingernails for the whole car ride, got languidly out and stretched like a cat. “I don’t see why I couldn’t have stayed with Gwen and Olivia!”
Sorry. This is probably pretty confusing for you. Let me recap:
When my little sister, Amber, and I were little, we lived in Sweet Amoris, a suburb in San Francisco. Then, when we were about 6 or 7, Dad got a better offer and we moved to New York. I’ve lived there for 8 years. Then, about a month ago, Mom and Dad announced that we were moving back to Sweet Amoris. Amber, unsurprisingly, threw a tantrum. Honestly, I was happy. I’d never liked New York, and I was excited to move back to my old home.
Amber, on the other hand, had literally handcuffed herself to her bed and refused to go.
We weren’t moving into our old house—apparently, the Bridgers had moved in, and were reputed to have a daughter Amber’s age (not that Amber cared). But we were moving into an old house—it was built in the mid-1800s.
“BIGGEST ROOM! I CALL BIGGEST ROOM!” Amber screeched, knocking me to the ground as I was getting out of the car with my books.
I landed on a bruise on my arm and winced. I slowly stood up, collecting my books and heading into the house.
It wasn’t as old or dusty as I’d thought it would be. In fact, it was rather pretty, in an old-fashioned way. The kitchen was clean, with brass sparkling all over the place and lovely patterns. Old-fashioned dishware sat on the shelves.
“Well!” said Mom, in her over-cheery voice. “This isn’t so bad, is it, Amber?”
Amber scowled. “It’s old!” Mom sighed, and Dad stomped around to the back. Amber rolled her eyes and went off to text Gwen and Olivia.
“Well, Nathan, Amber, your dad, and I have picked out our rooms. Yours is the last one—it’s on the third floor.”
“I got the last pick?” I wished I hadn’t said it. Mother’s eyes grew cold, and her lips stiffened.
“Nathaniel Liam Argent, we work our backbones off putting food on the table and all you can do is complain about your choice and bully your sister! I don’t know how your father and I ever produced something like you!” She twirled around and stalked off to the car.
Um. Yeah. Ouch.
See, I was a pretty terrible brother when I was little. So now, whenever Amber tells them something about me, they believe it. They won’t believe me if I deny that I did something wrong, and that’s why I stayed grounded for most of my 8th grade year.
I sighed, gently rubbing the bruise I’d landed on when I fell. That was gonna hurt for a bit.
I grabbed my backpack and stack of books and headed upstairs. When I got there, I was shocked. The room could hardly be called a room; it was an attic with no furnishings other than a bed with a thin mattress and some old newspaper clippings pinned up to the walls.
“Wow,” I said. I knew my family hated me, but…this much?
Oh well. It looked like I’d just have to make the best of it, like always.
And then. I set down my books, slung off my backpack onto the bed, and heard a voice ask, “Who are you?” I looked at the floor, afraid of what I knew I was going to see.
Two transparent feet.
Yeah, that’s the thing. I’m a completely normal kid except for two points. One, I may never tell you. Two…
I kind of see dead people.
Chapter 2: Anastasia
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I stared at her feet. They were tanned, and smudged all over with soot. So were her legs. As I looked farther up, I saw that she wore a faded navy-blue nightgown—one of those old-fashioned ones where the skirt went down to her calves, the sleeves went right up to her wrists, and the neckline went halfway to her chin. She wore a patchwork quilt around her shoulders like a shawl, and she looked at me in shock.
She had curly vermilion hair that sprung all over the place and deep blue eyes. I couldn’t keep the voice out of my head that whispered, She’s rather pretty… I blushed, and immediately felt annoyed at myself for doing so.
“What am I doing here?! What are you doing here? I moved into this house today! My family legally owns it!”
She stuck out her chin—at which point, I realized that her cheeks were covered in little golden freckles. “Well, Master I’m-here-legally-and-I-have-rights, I’ve been here since 1906!”
My jaw dropped. “Not that long, surely.”
“Yes, that long! I immigrated to America in 1896, I moved into this house in 1897, and I died in 1906. Haven’t you ever heard of the San Francisco Earthquake?”
I clenched my teeth. She had the nerve to be sarcastic? She was dead!
“Look,” she said, breaking me from my angry thoughts. “I’m not leaving and you’re not leaving. Call a truce?”
It was stupid. I should tell this girl to get the heck out of my new room, close the windows, and attempt to live a normal life.
But…the thing is, when ghosts get annoyed, it’s not just yelling and stomping up the stairs. Oh no. You get flying vases, tables, couches—everything. Light bulbs explode. Glass shatters. Things fall inexplicably.
Yeah…8th grade year? Spent most of it grounded because my dear little sister invited a poltergeist into our apartment. It spent the whole year wrecking things, and in every situation, I got the blame.
And…well, call me crazy, but I do have a bit of chivalry. And it was not chivalry at all to turn a girl out of my room.
I sighed in defeat and shook her hand. “Pleased to meet you,” I said.
“No, you aren’t. You don’t want me here at all. But, since we’re being diplomatic, the pleasure is all mine.”
I stared at her for about five seconds before bursting out laughing. “All right, to blazes with diplomacy then. I’m Nathaniel Argent. You?”
“Anastasia Crevets. I’m from Russia originally. Do…do you know anything about those sweet little duchesses? Did the empress ever have a son?”
I winced. Her face fell. “She had no son and heir, then?”
“No…she did, but…”
“But what? Did he die in childbirth? And please, what about the Grand Duchess Anastasia? I was named for her, you know.”
I took a deep breath. “Killed by the rebels, all of them. Alexei, the son and heir died first, I think, because of his blood disease. For a while there were rumors that Anastasia had survived, but they found her grave a little while ago.”
I’d learned about it in school as just another fact of history. But watching Anastasia’s face…I thought about how terrible it was to be killed when you weren’t even in your twenties.
“Well. Nathaniel. Thank—thank you for telling me.” Her face was gray, but she had composure.
“I’m sorry—you must have liked the royals, er, quite a bit…” Ugh, that’s me—bumbling my way through comforting. I may have chivalry, but good with girls is one thing I am not.
“Liked them? We adored them. My little brother wanted there to be a boy so badly, so he could ‘make friends’. My older sisters followed Tatiana and Olga’s every move. And we all loved the youngest ones—Mashka and Nastya, they were called. When we came to America, little Sasha cried bitterly, because he would never know if the empress would bear a son to be his playmate. You see, he was only four when we came over. I was six. Galina and Kristina were nine and ten.”
She gave me a wan smile. “I have never told anyone that, Nathaniel. It’s possible I never will. But I know they survived where I did not.”
“Erm. Well. It’s—it’s nice to meet you, Miss Crevets.”
She made a sudden, passionate clench of her skirts. “Call me Anya. No one calls—called me Miss Crevets.”
“All right. Then…would you call me Nathan?”
“Nathan.” Something in her eyes hardened. “No, I can’t. But I’ll call you Nat.”
Just then, the bedroom door flew open.
Chapter 3: Li and Charlotte
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Amber stood in the doorway. With a guilty start, Anastasia disappeared into thin air. I wasn’t surprised; ghosts tend to do that when they’re freaked.
“Nathan! Get your lazy butt down to the kitchen and help unpack instead of sitting around here moping and talking to yourself.”
I rolled my eyes. “Coming, Amber.”
When I got down to the kitchen, Amber and two other girls were painting their nails.
“Nathan, this is Li West and Charlotte Bridger. Li-chan, Char, this is my nerd brother.” They all laughed, and I winced. Great. Gwen and Olivia’s West Coast twins.
“Aren’t you supposed to help unpack, Amber?”
“Nathaniel Argent!” My mom came into the kitchen, her eyes flashing. “Don’t you dare order your sister around! Go out to the car and bring in the rest of the luggage!”
Amber and her new friends cackled like teenage, dressed-to-the-hilt-in-Abercrombie-&-Fitch witches. I grabbed the stupid duffel bags, dumped them in their respective rooms, and ran back up to mine.
Well. It wasn’t so bad. Once the moving van got here, I could put my books away on my bookshelf, switch out the mattresses, and some other stuff…it might not look too bad.
Of course, there was the whole problem of sharing a room with a girl, ghostly though she might be. Like…erm…changing clothes. How was I supposed to do that?! And have a girl sleep in my room? That was simply unchivalrous.
She slowly reappeared. “Who…who was that brat?” she asked in a shocked whisper.
I stiffened. Amber may be a jerk, but she’s still family. “My little sister,” I answered coolly. “And she’s not a brat. She’s just…adjusting from the move.”
Anya snorted. “Riiiight, adjusting. Amanda is a flighty idiot through and through.”
I stared at her in confusion. “Who’s Amanda? My sister’s name is Amber.”
“Right. Amber. That’s what I meant.” For a minute it looked as if she was going to say something else, but then she changed the subject.
“Say, Nat…what kind of books do you like?”
“Oh, I love mystery novels! Also…well, I do like fantasy…”
“Oh, good! Do you like Sherlock Holmes? I could never get enough of his stories! I’d go out and buy them on the sly so Mama wouldn’t see. And…fantasy. Oh, even the word sounds beautiful, don’t you think?”
I stared at her in frank amazement. This girl was either completely insane, a stalker, or my twin sister.
The little unchivalrous voice in my head snickered, She’s no sister, though. I told it to shut up, quite sternly.
“Y—yes. Arthur Conan Doyle is one of my favorites, in fact. And—hmm, it should be in here.” I pawed through my backpack, looking for my favorite fantasy book (though, given the content, I’d never admit it.)
“Here we are! The Wide-Awake Princess.” I handed it to her—or tried-but it fell through her hands.
“Maybe…maybe we could try it with you turning the pages and me reading over your shoulder.”
“Good idea, Anya!” I tried that, and to my surprise, it worked perfectly. Though it was embarrassing to be reading a romantic fantasy novel with a girl reading over my shoulder.
An ‘Oh, goodness!’ from Anya made me look up. I gave a start—night had fallen, and I’d missed dinner.
“Gotta go eat, Anya. I’ll see you later, but don’t appear in my room at ten, okay?”
“Just don’t, okay? It’s—it’s when I get changed.” I blushed like an apple in September.
“See you later…Nathan,” I heard her say softly as I went out of the room.
Chapter 4: New School…New Girlfriend?
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The next day, I rolled out of bed and fell on the floor, passing through someone’s feet.
“Nat!” Anya yelled. “You just disturbed my concentration!”
“Huh? What? Fire? Where?” I scrambled to my feet, subconsciously noting that my hair stuck out on one side, my clothes were in disarray, and my eyes were full of sleep.
The Wide-Awake Princess lay on the floor, turned to the page that I turned it to most often—consciously noting that this was a REALLY BAD IDEA as Anya, sweat prickling on her forehead, bent down to pick it up.
You know all that stuff I said about ghosts not being able to pick things up and stuff? Well, they can, but only if they concentrate REALLY hard, like Anya was doing right now. I watched in half-horror, half-sleepiness, as she picked it up and read the last page of the book aloud.
After the last four or five embarrassing sentences, she put it down, relaxing her features. She blushed and smiled. “That was so sweet of Liam! He can deal with anything as long as he doesn’t have to live without Annie!” Then she caught sight of me and turned tomato red. “Oh! S-sorry, Nat. Um…it looks like you, um, read that part a lot.”
Now it was my turn to turn red. “Yeah, well…it’s just so sweet, you know? Not a lot of guys would say that. Girls—girls need to know that chivalry isn’t dead.” Then I realized I was talking to a girl and blushed even darker. “I mean—I mean—you can’t just treat your partner or whatever like trash. It’s not cool.”
Anya smiled. “I agree!” she said. “You know, you’re the first boy I’ve ever met who thinks that.”
I raised an eyebrow. “Even in the 1900s?”
“Teenage boys. Slums of Frisco. You do the math.”
“Oh,” I said. “Things—things must have been hard back then, being a girl and all. Not that girls are bad! Just, they weren’t respected very much and—”
“Good grief, Nat, I know what you mean. You needn’t stammer on like that.”
My cheeks felt like they were on fire. “O—okay, then. I’ll just, um, do something. Get dressed. Yeah. I’ll get dressed. You better leave, Anya.”
Anya rolled her eyes. “Fine. But you should know, I gave my little brother baths all the time—won’t be anything I haven’t seen before.”
“Not the same thing!” I yelled from the bathroom.
After I got done with a cold shower and throwing on some clothes, I hightailed it down the stairs. The only person there was my mom, cleaning up from breakfast.
“Honestly, Nathan! You can’t even be on time for once! Your dad’s driving Amber over, but since you were too late, you can walk.” She threw the trash out, wincing as her arm accidentally banged into the wall, hitting a dark bruise. “Dang!” she hissed under her breath.
I drew in a sharp breath. Mom glared at me. “Go to school, Nathan.”
So I did.
It was sunny outside, a sharp contrast to New York. Sunny and warm, a lot of poor little worms lay on the sidewalk shriveling up after last night’s rain. But the wind was soft, my backpack was light, and the sky was blue. It wasn’t such a bad day to walk to school.
When I arrived, I was still early—it was 25 minutes till class started. And compared to my old school, it was tiny.
When I walked into the student council room, it had only a girl with long brown hair sitting at the desk. She seemed to be muttering to herself, so I stood back a minute before she lifted her head.
“Oh!” she said, sounding surprised. “You must be Nathaniel Argent. I’m Melody Herald, student body vice-president. That stupid Charlotte, always skiving off…she’s supposed to take care of all the deskwork!”
“Erm…are we talking about Charlotte Bridger?”
“Yes. She’s my cousin, unfortunately. Let’s see…here’s your form. Looks like everything’s in order! Well…welcome to SA High!” She smiled at me, which was when I just started to realized that her eyes were sparkling, her cheeks were flushed, and her entire demeanor said, ‘CRUSH’.
“Um…well, I’d better get to class. Thanks for the help, Melody—I’ll see you around!” I quickly exited before she could…well, do anything.
She seemed like a nice girl, but I’d seen Amber when she liked a guy, and she did not hold back.
I already had a girlfriend in NYC.
The warning bell rang, making me rush to my first class.
Chapter 5: Old (Ghostly) Friend
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“And so we take the inverse operative, keeping in mind the quadratic solution…” The math teacher, Mr. Kennedy, droned on. And on. And on…
Sitting at my desk, my head resting in my hand, I started to think back on how all this junk had happened.
Honestly, it had really begun that day back when Amber was in kindergarten and I was in preschool.
We were sitting in the sand pit, her crying because I just ‘killed’ her doll, me laughing for (to my chagrin) the same reason, when, suddenly, a black-haired boy had come up to Amber.
“Don’t worry,” he’d said quietly. “I’ll fix it.”
He’d appeared to concentrate really hard before stuffing the doll’s head back on its body. Then he relaxed.
As he relaxed, the doll dropped right through his hand.
Amber and I had both gasped. “Are…are you a ghost?” she’d asked timidly.
“Yeah.” He didn’t say anything after that; he just got up and walked away.
We looked at each other wide-eyed. It was a long silence before Amber burst out, “I’m telling Mommy!” She ran all the way home and tattled on me.
Amber has always blocked the idea of ghosts and the supernatural. It was a shame; she was much more adept at it than I was. At age 12, she’d managed to summon a poltergeist. (Once again, 8th grade year…) No, Amber would much rather chat and hang out with her friends than befriend ghosts.
Thinking about that got me thinking about my girlfriend. (You know, ‘if you give a mouse a cookie…’) Haley’s so pretty. She’s got the most lovely brown hair—it’s shiny and silky, and, well, perfect. Everything about her is perfect. She’s kind, and sweet, and on the honor roll. Her lovely hazel eyes…
“MR. ARGENT!” I jumped, hitting my knees on the underside of the desk. The class giggled.
“Mr. Argent, can you tell us—”
Then, thank god, the bell rang.
“Pages 458-467, class!” he hollered as everyone got the heck out of there.
I ran along the hallway, trying to make it to my next class.
I stared, bug-eyed, at a boy I knew from a long, long time ago…
One with black hair.
Chapter 6: New (Alive) Enemy
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“Watch where you’re going,” he snapped. I stared at him in shock. “Bu—wha—huh?”
“I said, watch where you’re going, idiot. You deaf or something? Sheesh, the idiots they let into school these days.” He picked himself up and stomped off.
I stayed sprawled on the floor. That had been an older version of the boy Amber and I had seen—there was absolutely no doubt.
What the bleep was going on?
“Nathaniel!” a voice called. I looked up to see Melody running down the hall. “Geez, are you okay? What happened?”
“Um…I got knocked down by this boy with black hair…”
“Oh, that’s Castiel. He’s a jerk, but you can’t blame him. See, his twin brother died when they were six. Cas never got over it. Hey, you want a hand up?”
“Sure, thanks, Melody. Dang it…” I searched around for my class schedule. “Here we go…next class, History with Ms. Sharpe.”
“Lucky! Ms. Sharpe is the nicest teacher, so you’ll be okay with arriving late. I’ve got Ms. Johnson. Now she’s a holy terror. Come on, you don’t want to be late!” And with that, Melody ran off just as fast as she’d arrived.
Bit of a strange girl. But kind nonetheless.
I ran into the history classroom.
“Ah! Mr. Argent! Here, have a seat, so good to see you!” I decided I liked Ms. Sharpe. She was calling me out, but it wasn’t trying to embarrass me. It was more announcing me as a celebrity, but it wasn’t sarcastic.
I decided to sort out my history teacher later. For now, I took my seat.
“All right, class. In 1906, the San Francisco Earthquake happened. We have a few records of it, but quite an interesting bit comes from an old house on Miller Street.”
I sat up straight. Miller Street? But…that’s where I live!
“We know an immigrant family from Russia moved there in 1897 with four children. We know the names of three children—Sasha, Galina, and Kristina. But the names of the parents and the third child are unknown. It is believed that the parents perished before the earthquake and the children went on living by themselves. In 1906, Galina was nineteen, Kristina was twenty, and Sasha was fourteen. We don’t know the name of the other child, but we estimate roughly that they were around fifteen or sixteen.”
My skin had turned cold and clammy. I raised my hand. “Um, Ms. Sharpe, may I go to the bathroom?”
“Sure, just hurry!”
I stumbled down the hall and into the bathroom. I didn’t want to think about it. About Anya…dying. About her sisters, brother, parents dying.
I just…after meeting Anya, seeing her as a person, not just a part of history…I didn’t want to think about her dying.
I sighed, leaning against the wall.
I should get back to class before they wonder where I am. So I went.
Chapter 7: Essays and Newspapers and Descendants, Oh My!
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I stumbled through the rest of the day, trying to forget History. Ms. Sharpe was fine, but I didn’t want to learn anything else about the San Francisco Earthquake. Ever. Again. Period.
Because when I got back to the class…I found out. About Anya.
But I wouldn’t think about that right now!
The bell rang. It was finally time to go home, thank god. It was still sunny outside, so I walked home like I came.
When I got home, Anya was waiting anxiously.
“Hello, Nat! What’d you learn? What happened? Did you make any friends? Did you learn about Sherlock Holmes?”
I couldn’t help but smile at her puppy-like enthusiasm. “A lot of stuff, a lot of stuff, a few, and no. It was a pretty good first day—although one really weird thing happened…” I told her about Castiel and his dead twin brother.
“Huh. Castiel LeRouge, you said? I’ll make some inquiries. I know a few ghosts who might know him. I’m much too old-fashioned, and anyways, teenage ghosts don’t associate with younger ones. But the younger and older ghosts might know.”
It was a little weird, how she was talking so frankly about a ghostly community. But kind of cool. I’d met a lot of ghosts in my time, and except for not being up-to-date (oh, and the whole I-can-kill-you-with-kinetic-energy-thing), they’d honestly been pretty normal.
“Well, Anya, I’ve got to do some homework.”
“I remember homework. I never thought I’d say this, but I actually miss homework!” She laughed…but there was an edge of bitterness to it. “Well, at least there’s one good thing to being dead.”
“Still, it’s not fair that you died so early. I mean, your teens are the best part of your life—you shouldn’t have died during them.” The joking atmosphere had dissipated, and now we were trying not to look at each other.
“Well, there’s another good thing about me dying.” I raised my eyebrows. “I got to meet you.”
I blushed. “I-I’m not that great…”
Now she seemed to be lost in her own reverie. “That’s just what Nathan would have said…” she mumbled. I couldn’t quite catch all of it—just that someone would have said something.
“Well, anyways, are you good at algebra?” She raised her eyebrows.
“I remember x=y, y=z, so x=z, and that’s it. I was much better at writing.”
“That’s my favorite subject, too! Let’s see…oh. Right. The history essay. Um, Anya, you might want to clear out.”
“Why? Do you have to change to write a history essay?”
“No…it’s just, um, I usually like privacy when I’m writing.”
She gave me an arch look, but nodded, and then disappeared.
There was a reason I’d wanted her to go.
The essay was supposed to be about the child who wasn’t discovered—using our imaginations.
I had to write an essay…about Anya. Making up her life. And, well…it felt like cheating. You try writing an essay about your friend, making up all the backstory, and you’ll know.
Well. Maybe I could try…
I started typing.
The next day in history, we were watching a movie on the Industrial Revolution when Ms. Sharpe stopped the projector and cleared her throat.
“All right, I’m done grading your essays. Now, it’s time for the reading.”
The guy behind me leant forward and whispered, “The essay that Ms. Sharpe thinks is best, she reads out loud. I bet it’s Ken’s again. He’s such a teacher’s pet.”
“The best essay was written by Nathaniel Argent.”
“Allow me to read.”
Oh. Heck. No.
“Anya was a lovely girl of sixteen when her house collapsed on her. She was half asleep, and trying to haul her siblings out the window. She had just managed Sasha, the youngest, when—crash!—the roof collapsed. Through the pain, she thought of her parents, long dead in their graves. Her mother, so kind and teasing, who always said that her red, curly hair had a life of its own. Her father, who would always laugh uproariously at jokes…”
By now, my ears were a violent red, and I was sinking down lower and lower in my desk. This was the most embarrassing thing I’d had to endure in at least two weeks, and considering that I had Amber for a sister, that’s a pretty big embarrassment.
Finally, Ms. Sharpe finished reading the essay. There was a silence, and then crazy applause.
“Jeez!” the guy behind me said. “You can write!”
Everybody was looking at me like I was some kind of…celebrity, I guess. Then Ms. Sharpe put my essay down and whistled. Everyone quieted down.
“All right. Nathaniel, see me after school. Everyone else, no homework—it’s Friday, after all.”
Everyone cheered—except for me. What’d I do? I wrote a good essay, didn’t I? I couldn’t concentrate for the rest of the classes.
After school, I nervously crept into the History room.
“Relax, Nathaniel,” she laughed. “I’m not going to bite you.” She motioned me to a seat. I sat.
“Nathaniel, you are one of the best writers I have ever met in my career.
Whatever I’d been expecting, it wasn’t that. My eyebrows shot up so high, I think they’re still floating around in outer space. “W-what?”
“You’re one of the best writers I’ve encountered. I think you would do well to join the school newspaper. Talk to Peggy tomorrow and ask her about the serial story.”
“But—no one ever—I’m not—”
“Listen to me, Nathaniel. You are a writer. If you weren’t a writer, you wouldn’t be sitting here, talking with me right now. And besides…” She smiled sadly. “My married name is Sharpe. My maiden name is Anna Crevets. Kristina Crevets was my great-grandmother.”
I left the room in a daze. I wasn’t sure what just happened, but…
I think I got myself a job in the newspaper.
Chapter Eight: Family Matters
/!\WARNING: CONTAINS VIOLENCE/!\
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After school, I walked in a daze to the bike rack. I’d decided to ride my bike to school that morning.
“Well, hey there!” said a cheerful voice. I looked up to see Melody, her chocolate-colored hair pulled back into a ponytail.
“Hey, Melody,” I replied with a grin. “You bike to school, too?”
“Yep! Walking’s too slow, and cars are bad for such great weather.”
“I agree. Hey, you live near me, right?”
“Sure do. Wanna bike home together?”
I thought. She wasn’t bad exactly, but I REALLY didn’t want her going all crazy-crush over me. Plus her cousin kind of sucked. Well…what the heck. “Why not?” I said.
“Cool!” Suddenly she’d hopped on her bike and was pedaling down the sidewalk. “Race you!” she yelled back at me.
“Seriously?” I yelled, half-laughing, at her retreating figure. I jumped on my own bike and pedaled as fast as I could. “Caught you!” I panted.
She stuck her tongue out. “Aw man, that was way too easy! So, how do you like Sweet Amoris so far?”
We chatted amicably for the rest of the ride. When I reached my house, I could swear I saw a head of red hair in the upstairs window. But it was probably just my imagination…right?
“Well, this is my stop.” I smiled at her.
“Bye, Nathan! See you tomorrow.” She pedaled away.
The minute I got inside, the smile was wiped off my face. My father was standing in the living room, red in the face.
“Dad,” I said, without any enthusiasm. “I’m just going to go up and do my home—”
The blow cracked across my face without warning.
One of those days…” I thought.
See, my dad…he didn’t really like me. Or my mom. But…he was okay until I started going to school. Then, he kind of got worse and worse. I saw my mom’s bruises a lot more often. And yet…he’s my father. I can’t not love him.
I waited until he was done, then headed up to my room. Both of my eyes were black, and my lip was swelled.
Anya was waiting by the window seat. Her arms were crossed at first, but as soon as she saw me (or at least, that’s what it looked like) her eyes widened and she flew across the room.
“Nat! Oh my goodness, are you all right?” She smacked herself in the head. “Of course you’re not, what am I thinking!? You need an ice pack and some rest—what in blazes HAPPENED to you, Nat?” She was nearly crying.
“Anya. Forget it. I can’t go get an ice pack.”
“Why not?! Your face—” Then her furrowed brow smoothed, and she looked horrified.
“Nat…” she said quietly. “Who did this to you?”
“Who did this?”
“I will not sit by and let this—”
“SHUT UP!” I yelled. I squeezed my eyes shut, trying not to let the tears escape. It was strange—I hadn’t cried in years.
“Nat,” she whispered. And then she hugged me. Her body felt warm and comforting, and I cried into her embrace.
After what seemed an eternity, she let go. “Nat…we need to tell someone.”
“You don’t know who did this.”
She laughed harshly. “I am not stupid, Nathaniel Argent. I have seen this and worse before. Sofia Herald, my best friend, would come to school claiming she’d fallen down the stairs. I am not dumb, and I can figure these things out.” She shook her head. “We need to tell someone.”
“Anya…he’s my father. I love him, even though—mm.” I sat down heavily in a chair. “I—I just don’t know what to do.”
Hesitantly, Anya put her hand on mine. “You have to go tell the coppers. They’ll help.”
“Sorry. That’s policemen to you.”
“I—I can’t. Not yet.”
Anya stiffened. “Fine,” she said coldly. “I’ll go tell them myself.” She floated over to the door, then looked back.
“And you needn’t flirt with every girl you meet!”
“What? Melody’s just—” But she’d left. To do what, I didn’t know.
I looked at my hand—still tingling and warm from where Anya had touched it. This was odd; usually with ghosts, any area that they touched felt like you’d plunged it into a bucket of ice.
So, my ghost friend (who I think was jealous of Melody) was headed off to talk to the police (who probably couldn’t see her) about my dad hitting me. Oh, and my body was reacting weirdly to her.
Chapter Nine: I Hate You, Nat!
Spoiler Click to display
SPECIAL CHAPTER! ANYA’S POV:
I walked—well, floated—oh, whatever!—along the sidewalk, heading for the coppers’ station. Back in my day, they’d only have come running if someone—and usually only a wealthy—yelled, “Thief!” or “Fire!” But times have changed—surely they would come and help Nat. Help him…like they never helped Sofia and Livania.
Sofia Herald—originally Geraldi, she told me, only the immigration name-takers had heard it wrong—used to be my best friend. Livania was her twin sister, and they both came from Italy. They missed their home so much—they used to talk about it all the time. Green orchards, red tomatoes, golden fields of wheat—so different from the immigrant suburb of Sweet Amoris.
When I saw that girl from my window, I could have sworn it was Sofia. She had my poor friend’s hair, her eyes, her skin…my poor Sofia. She had died long before the earthquake.
Then Nat had come upstairs, his broken face twisting my heart even more. Sofia’s father…what he had done to his daughter…
I’d rushed out without thinking. I didn’t know how I would get the coppers to listen to me, nor how this would end—but I had to try! Not just for Nat, but for Sofia…poor Sofia.
There! Surprisingly, the police station was right where it had been 106 years ago. I floated in.
Inside, at the front desk, I saw a young copper with barely a 5 o’clock shadow sleeping. Things really hadn’t changed—all the policemen dozed on desk duty.
I closed my eyes and concentrated my will.
Nathaniel Argent is in danger, I thought with all my strength. Help Nathaniel Argent. Help Nathaniel Argent.
The copper jumped awake, his gangly legs banging on the desk. His eyes shot wide open, and his half-burned cigarette fell from his mouth.
With satisfaction, I turned around, ready to leave.
I could not have prepared for what came next.
“Nathaniel Argent!” the young copper exclaimed. “Is he…is he the one?” His face was contorted into a scowl. “That murderer! I’ll see him in the chair for his crimes!”
He was waving around a flyer of some sort—it was a photograph of a man with mousy hair, too many pimples to count, and small green eyes.
Public Enemy #1, it said at the bottom, along with, Name Unknown.
What had I done?
This never would have happened if it weren’t for that stupid, stupid stupid boy!
I HATE YOU, NAT!
I floated home as fast as I could to try and save him.
Chapter 10: A Visit from the Coppers
Spoiler Click to display
I was sitting in my bedroom, putting a cold washcloth on my bruise, when Anya showed up. She looked pretty distraught—I was still a bit mad at her, but I was more worried than mad.
“Anya!” I exclaimed. “Are you all—”
“Get out of here NOW, Nat.” I could hear real panic in her voice. “You’ve got to go! The coppers are coming for you…you’ve gotta get out!” With an agonized squeak, she disappeared. Ghosts tend to do that—it’s a bit annoying.
I sat there dazed for a moment. But that moment was enough.
“Nathaniel Liam Argent!” my mother called up to me. “Come down this INSTANT!”
I cautiously headed down the stairs. “What’s up, mom?”
At the door were a frenzied young sergeant and an annoyed-looking Chief of Police. “Sorry to bother you, young man,” he said, “but Sergeant Wagner here insisted that we had to come. He said something, er…” Now he simply looked embarrassed. “That you’re Public Enemy #1.”
“It is him!” the sergeant shouted. “I heard a voice in my head, saying, ‘Nathaniel Argent’! It’s gotta be him!”
“Wait a minute, son,” the chief said. “How’d you get that bruise?”
A million lies raced through my head. “I—uh—I mean—”
Mom cut in. “He banged his eye on a cabinet door. Silly Nat!” Her eyes shot me a crystal-clear message—If you give away your father, I’ll never forgive you.
The chief still looked suspicious. “That’s not the kind of bruise you get from knocking into a door. That’s the kind you get when someone hits you hard.” His face softened. “Son, I’m a policeman. You can tell me anything.”
I was having to hold back tears now. Staring at the ground, I muttered, “Mom’s right. I just banged into a cabinet. I was really clumsy.”
“Well, then.” The chief got to his feet. “I guess we’ll be going, then. Thanks for having us, Mrs. Argent. Sergeant Wagner…I’ll deal with you when we get back to headquarters.” They walked out the door.
“Thank you.” I spun around.
“M-Mom? What did you say?”
“Thank you. You could have told them—gone with them to a better life in foster care—but you didn’t. Don’t make me say it again!” And with a twirl of skirts, she was gone.
Huh. Maybe my mom cared more about me than I thought.
I smiled as I made my way up back to the bedroom.
Last edited by GhostKittichan (02/14/2013 at 03:16)