“What was it you said to me before, Mal? Oh yeah, I remember. ‘How does it feel to be an old man now?’ ”
“Well, for starters my back is aching. I’m going to have to sit down I’m afraid.”
Lor watched as Malik made a show of groaning and creaking his way to Morgan’s computer chair, where he sat down and practically melted into it. “This is a really nice chair. You should try it.”
“I’m afraid it only sits one,’ he said, smirking down at his friend. “It does, however, spin.” With that he grabbed the back of the chair and began to spin it around.
“Lor! No, stop, please!” Malik laughed, trying to get out of the still moving chair. “I want to get off this ride now.”
Lor stopped the chair, still laughing. “That’s what you get for sitting on unknown chairs.”
“You make it sound like it’s a space chair. A ‘U.F.C.’ or something.”
“If I get really strong we’ll have to see if it can live up to the flying part.”
Malik looked at his friend’s arms and snorted. “No offence, Lor, but I really don’t see that happening.”
Lor raised an eyebrow, and was just about to start thinking of a witty comeback when he heard a noise from the other side of the house. It was faint and echoing, but definitely there.
It seemed to be saying his name.
“Do you hear that?”
“I… I don’t think so.”
It happened again.
“Sorry Mal, I’ve got to check on something.”
“Take your time, I’m perfectly happy here.”
“You’re too happy there if you ask me.” he said with a grin, and left the room. Now, where was that noise coming from?
Lorcán~ Lorcán? Where are you?
Verixe looked around the empty room, confused. It was past midnight, he should be asleep by now.
She spun around, a feat much easier whilst floating that it had been in her last few days. She hugged him, and after a few seconds of stunned disbelief, Lor hugged her back.
“There you are. You should be in bed, young man.”
“Grandma, I’m not a teenager anymore.”
She looked him over, and then looked back around at the room. It was certainly different to when she’d last been in there. It even had a double bed. She opened her mouth to ask him exactly why he needed one, but he interrupted her.
“How are you even here? I thought you’d be with granddad by now.”
“That’s actually why I’m here. I have a favour to ask you all.”
“I’ll go and get the others.”
“Mum! What are you doing here?”
“Well, that’s a short story.”
“Don’t you mean a long story?” Morgan asked, stepping forward.
“No dear, I mean a short one. Even shorter than your new hairstyle.”
“I missed you, Verixe.”
“… so you see, the problem is that I’m still tied to my grave. I can’t move on unless you release me.”
Lissa looked at her mother, trying her hardest not to look through her instead. “I’ve never heard of this happening before.”
“It seems to be quite common on this planet. There’s a bar in Windenburg that actually has a ghost night!”
“Where to you think I’ve been all this time?” Verixe said, winking at her daughter.
Morgan smothered her laughter. She was glad that old bar still kept the tradition going. She remembered sneaking in as a teen, thinking that she was so tough. No one had dared contradict her, especially when the rest of the Renegades were around.
She shook those thoughts from her head. It wasn’t the time to dwell.
“So, will you set me free?” Verixe asked.
“Mal, what are you doing out here?”
Malik wiped his eyes as Lor walked over, trying to hide his tears.
“I’m sorry, Lor. It’s just… well, I miss her. I even thought I heard her voice once you’d gone.”
“That’s because you did.”
Malik jumped at the cold touch around his arm, and his jaw dropped.
“There’s no need to cry for me. I’m happy. I mean, look at me! I’m green! If that’s not a sign of happiness I don’t know what is.”
Verixe looked at him. She was glad that he and her grandson were still friends, even after all this time. Then she remembered the time. Why was he here so late, unless…
“Is this the reason you have a larger bed now?”
Lor looked at his grandma, confused. He looked from her to Malik and back again. Then it clicked.
“Grandma, no! I’m not-”
“It’s ok if you-”
“All I’m saying is remember to-”
“Mum leave him alone, you’re doing this on purpose now.”
Lissa had never seen her son more embarrassed, and as much as she was enjoying it she should probably try to rescue him. Verixe laughed, and hugged her daughter.
“If I must” she said, grinning.
Malik just watched them all, amusement spreading across his still tear-soaked face. He wished that his family could get along like this. He’d even take the teasing.
“I’m ready” Verixe said, moving to stand in front of her tombstone.
“Yes, Momo?” Lissa turned, and her face fell. “Oh dear, not again.”
“Say hi to everyone for me, Morgan!”
“Will do! Bye, Verixe! I hope you have a wonderful time with your husband!”
“I will! Love you Morgan~”
“Love you, toooooooooooooooooooooo-”
And she was swept up into the sky, the last word fading into silence as the ship sped off.
Lissa placed her hands on her hips. “Well that was terrible timing. I’m sure she’d have wanted to be with us for this.”
“We’ve said our goodbyes” Verixe said, still looking at the sky. “Besides, she’ll give them a piece of her mind when she gets there.”
“I wonder who’s working tonight’s shift.” Lissa said, then brought her mind back to the task at hand. “So, how do we do this?”
“I think you just need to say ‘I release you.'”
“That’s a bit simple.”
“It’s easier to remember, though.”
They watched as her spirit faded into a mist and flew into the starry sky.
“Mal? Mal? Are you ok?”
He turned to face Lor, a mixture of emotions crossing his face at the concern he saw. “I’m… I’m just…”
“It’s ok. Grandma is where she wants to be, and mum will be back soon.”
Malik felt frustration welling up inside of him. “Is this normal for you?! Because I’m really confused and upset and I-”
“It’s not normal.”
He stopped his rant at the quiet words. Lor ran his fingers through his hair and sighed.
“It’s not normal at all. I mean, mum gets abducted quite often – they seem to like her for some reason. But the whole ghost thing? That’s never happened before.”
“How are you so calm about this, then?”
“Honestly? I’m not.”
“That actually makes me feel a bit better.”
“Want to wait for mum to come back with me?”
“I think I see her!”
“Oh wait, that has to be her!”
Malik looked over at Lor and shoved him lightly. “You’re just playing around now. You don’t see her at all, do you?”
“In that case” Malik said, dusting off his clothes, “I’m going to head home.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yeah. It’s four in the morning, Lor. We should probably get some rest.”
“You’ve got a point.”
“Oh wait, she’s coming back!”
“Sure she is, Lor. See you later.”