I know my first wave of memories came back the day Kat had set up my old toy room. All the mechanical whirring reminding me of shreds. These shreds scattered fragments of the memories still remaining from when I was alive.
Shreds of my mother and her kind, round face as she mended my clothes. The dress she wore only on special occasions, the same gown that Kat had worn to the Halloween party. How she always kissed my forehead before sending me off to school.
I remembered my father who only smiled at my mother and I, my father who despised meeting new people, my father who always stood at the cliff by the water watching the waves crash against the rocks, and my father who wrote poetry.
I remembered how I was an only child, but never felt lonely because of the immense love I felt for my mother and father. My memory remained spotty for a while after that, as though pieces were missing in the grand scheme of things.
I remembered more when Amelia granted my wish, allowing me to be alive with Kat for one night. I remembered how my uncles looked when they were alive. They each died soon after I had, but from different reasons.
My uncle Stretch was, needless to say, a tall, lanky fellow who lived with albinism, his eyes a strange purple with his hair and skin as white as porcelain. Uncle Stretch smoked like a chimney, a cigar perched constantly between his lips or fingers. He died of cancer in his lungs, but even on the day he died he refused to put down his cigar. He had a knack for being very persuasive (although at times a con-artist) and was a very influential man.
Uncle Stinkie was average height and weight with his only outstanding feature being his constant bad breath. He insisted on eating any strange foods he came in contact with, traditional or not, and it surely showed. He had amber-colored eyes like his brother Fatso, and my father (though my father's were darker) and dark hair. He died one day from extreme food poisoning, you can still smell the bad sushi from his final meal on his breath. My uncle, though, he could recall just about anything you told him no matter how long ago- that was his gift.
My uncle Fatso died last from a heart condition, one my father eventually succumbed to. He had light hair, amber eyes and was, as people would now call him, morbidly obese. However, he could make anyone laugh, no matter how terrible the joke was or how bad you felt.
They were mean-spirited at times, sure, but Dr. Harvey saw the good in them, just like I do. Before Dr. Harvey and Kat came along, the days were monotonous. None of us had any memories and our unfinished business was never going to become finished, so they spent their time haunting and I spent my time thinking. At the lighthouse every night, I wondered if my day would ever come so I could move on to the Other Side. Whatever that meant.
My stream of thought is interrupted by the sound of heavy footfalls on metal, my eyes dragging from the moonlit horizon to Kat climbing the stairs with a root beer in her hand and a smile on her face.
"Thought you'd be up here," she smiled, opening and then closing the glass door to sit beside me.
"Every night," I reminded her.
"No kidding. By the way, it was an awfully long walk to get here without flying." she chuckled, putting hair behind her ear before taking a swig of root beer.
"I was thinking about my memories, and what I've remembered so far."
"I need to remember everything, I feel like I'm missing pieces."
"Like a puzzle?" she asked, looking over at me.
"Kind of, it's just that I feel like I'm not all there."
"You don't say," she put her hand through my stomach, smiling.
"I'm serious," I told her, "I want to know everything."
For a moment she was quiet, then she set down her drink and looked at me with betrayal in her eyes.
"And what if you cross over, huh? What about that?" she seemed angry, eyes narrowed as she seemed to struggle to level her voice.
"Then it happens, Kat."
Kat stood and walked back through the glass door, leaving me alone. I sometimes forget we're only 12, my time spent as a ghost making me feel endlessly older. I glance over at the forgotten bottle, liquid stilled inside and I wonder if a person can be forgotten just as easily as that bottle was.
Once morning broke and I was sure Kat was at school, I found the nerve to leave my thoughts at the light house and return to Whipstaff. Her father sat in the kitchen, drinking coffee as he and my uncles made something like small talk in the meantime. When I phased through the door, Stretch was the first to notice.
"Hey, Bulbhead. Where ya been all night, huh?"
I consider lying, then don't.
"I was at the lighthouse all night, I've decided I'm going to repair my memories."
"They're not broken," Stinkie grinned, "merely forgotten."
"Then I'll remember them, then." I corrected, my eyes drifting to the observant eyes of Dr. Harvey. "Good morning."
"Good morning," he returned, "would you like a session today? I don't have any appointments for the day, alive or otherwise, if you'd like to have a chat."
I had confided in him only once before, after I became a ghost again the night of the Halloween party. I confessed to him the crush I had on Kat and that we had kissed on the dance floor (however briefly). He made a point to tell me he approved of me, but not of his daughter interested in boys at age 12. I reminded him her birthday was in May, but he heard nothing of it, ushering me on to speak about myself.
I had told him of my mother and father, and my death. He insisted I tell him great in detail how the pneumonia claimed my life, in case it were to trigger any significant memories. It didn't. It did remind me of the pained expressions of my parents and the eventual madness of my father.
For today's session, though, I hoped we could leave the manor. I voiced that hope to him.
"Leave the manor? I didn't know you could," Dr. Harvey replied. "I thought you were anchored here, like most spirits are."
"My uncles don't," I muttered petulantly, "neither do I. I even followed Kat to school once."
He nodded, "Well, alright, Casper. Where would you like to go?"
I found I didn't really know of anywhere to go. I didn't explore the area much even when I was alive, so it must have changed. The thought made my excitement ebb.
"The lab?" I asked, fully aware it was still considered to be on the property.
Dr. Harvey made no comment, only smiled, allowing me to lead the way. He didn't have to go through the chair, since I pulled the lever and Dr. Harvey eased himself into the hole in the floor, the chair entering soon after and beginning the cycle. I phased in immediately after, floating next to Dr. Harvey as he paced slowly behind the invention at work.
"It's amazing how well it still runs," Dr. Harvey commented, hoping to spark conversation.
"Yeah, Dad was great at what he did."
"Very avant-garde," Dr. Harvey agreed.
"Gezundheit," I deadpanned.
"What?" Dr. Harvey laughed, confused.
"I thought we were just saying phrases we knew in other languages," I admit.
"It means he was ahead of his time," he clarified.
"Right," I said to no one in particular, reaching the end of the track, chair waiting at the end. "Dr. Harvey, can I tell you something?"
"Sure." he told me, stepping off the track and into the lab area.
"And you won't tell Kat?"
"Not if you don't want me to." Dr. Harvey smiled.
"I'm going to find a way to be alive again."
"Last time it was temporary, through an angel's wish-" he starts, but I stop him.
"You weren't, though. My dad didn't leave notes about his inventions, he was scared they would be stolen, so he memorized them. However, things are different now." I picked up the last vial with a decent amount of fluid in it, about an inch of red liquid. "On TV, it said they can analyse ingredients in things, right?"
"Yes, they can tell you what it is made of but it isn't an exact science, Casper. It could take a while to figure out how the ingredients go together and how it's made."
"I don't care how long it takes," I mutter, glancing at my hand through the red liquid, my flesh mirrored back at me. "I want to be alive."
"Alright, Casper. I have an old college roommate, he works in a lab now at some big-wig facility. He tends to be a bit of a loner, but if I call in a favor I think he could help us. Except, he can't find out what it's for, obviously."
"Obviously," I parrot back, rolling my eyes, slightly disappointed. I never considered that part. The 'if someone found out' part, I don't want a repeat of Carrigan and Dibs. Then again, it's very outlandish. It's unlikely anyone would believe in such a thing anyway. "Let's just try."
He nods, taking the vial from me. "I'll take care of it."
So, my future life as a living thing now rests on his shoulders. I hope he realizes how literally he holds my life in his hands. I am not supposed to be able to cheat death, but Dr. Harvey did with no side-effects. I should be able to as well.
"Is this all for Kat?"
"Why do you ask?"
"She told me a while back, a while before the dance, that you asked if you could 'keep her'."
"And?" I ask, scared, I thought she would have forgotten.
"She told me she said yes."
"She did," I admit, oddly bashful.
"If this is to stay by her side, then I will do this for you. You never got to love, dying so young. I want to help you, Casper. There is such goodness in you, and you bring out the best in Kat. You two are young but even only as friends you two would be an amazing pair. Even if you two were just friends, your bond would last a lifetime." Dr. Harvey pinched the bridge of his nose, "I took your chance at life, Casper. I want you to have that chance to live back."
"Thank you, Dr. Harvey."
"You're very welcome, Casper."
I watched him shift his weight from foot to foot. I should probably give him an excuse to go. No doubt he feels uncomfortable in the place that reminded him of his short-lived death. (Paradoxically put, but truly enough.)
"I think I need to be alone now, Dr. Harvey, I want to see if my dad has maybe hidden anything for me to find." I muttered pointedly, floating towards where The Lazarus hides.
"Right, I'll make that phone call." he says more to himself than me, making the trek backwards up the track in the armchair.
I turn back around, floating above The Lazarus, and see him gone. Seems as though I'm alone now. I lie on my back for a while, floating idly as I stared at the ceiling. Is there something my father left that could give me an inkling of the formula or it's mixing procedure? Something akin to sleep happens as I linger there, when I come to- it has already gotten dark.
Upstairs, I find Dr. Harvey reading some files in the study. He sees me through tired eyes and takes off his glasses, rubbing his eyes of sleep for a moment before replacing the glasses back on his nose.
"I made the call, he said he would be happy to do it. I headed up there and dropped it off. He happens to be having a really slow time where he works due to the seasonal weather, so he has plenty of time to analyse it alone. He said we may hear back from him as early as tomorrow."
"Tomorrow?" I ask, my heart leaping into my throat.
"I doubt tomorrow, these things can take time, but I know it should be analysed before the upcoming weekend." He tells me, taking a drink of what looks to be tea from his mug. "Kat is asleep already, seems she had a rough day."
"We had a fight last night," I admit, "I hope that isn't still bothering her."
"Well, what did you say?"
"I told her I wanted to repair my memories."
"That can't be it," Dr. Harvey shook his head, crossing his arms on the desk.
"She asked me not to, in case I crossed over but I told her if it happened, it happened and it wasn't in her control." I tell him, in retrospect realizing how harsh my words must have seemed.
"Casper," he whispers, disappointed. "She cares about you, it's natural for her to be upset at the thought of losing you."
"I know, but parts of me are missing because I don't remember!" My voice raises, then remembering Kat is asleep, I quiet down. "And just becoming human again won't bring those things back."
"I understand," Dr. Harvey whispered, "You don't want to tell Kat because you want it to be a surprise or you don't want her to get her hopes up but, Casper, if you were to cross over now I don't know if she would ever fully recover from the abandonment, so please be careful."
"I don't need to be," I smiled with something morose, "My unfinished business isn't the sadness of dying young anymore, my unfinished business is Kat. Seeing her grow up, growing up with her- maybe even being with her, Dr. Harvey. I cannot cross over when Kat is still alive and smiling at me."
"What about your uncles? Do they know all you've told me?"
"Of course not." I answer immediately.
"How do you know they don't want to be involved in this with you? Maybe they want to live too." He told me, a cryptic smile on his face.
Maybe they might, I think to myself. Maybe they have the want, deep down, to live again. Sure, they love haunting- but maybe they have the potential to want to be alive again. Maybe.
"I'll tell them when we get the results back." I tell Dr. Harvey and he nods, going back to reading. I take my leave, returning to the light house to think.
I sit in my usual spot on the railing, my eyes skimming over the water. I hear an owl's call from the ground and let out a sigh. My father used to come here to think too, before he created The Lazarus.
I know that my death had to have broken something in my father, but what, I'm not sure. As I watched over him the first few days after my death, I began to notice lines creasing his brow that could have only formed during the last few days I was alive. My demise came slowly, my mother leaving my bedside only to make meals for the three of us. The fever took me slowly, that much I can remember clearly- because for the few minutes a day I had a reprieve of lucidity from the fever, all I could remember how much I would miss my parents. To this day, I can only remember these details because the memories have wrought so much grief.
More than my death, I want to remember my life- or at least make a new one with Kat. That's what I want, more than anything. I want memories that will not fade because my spirit- my heart- is moving forward, not in reverse. Making memories that I can share with someone else, with Kat and Dr. Harvey (and maybe even my uncles).
A light turns on at the manor and when I look, I find relief in realizing it's Kat's room- that she must be awake. Floating over the water, I make the way to her window, watching her through the glass I see her holding the picture of her mother tightly in her hands. Her mouth is moving, possibly talking to her mother the only way she can.
I wave my hand back and forth in front of the window, after she wipes her face with the back of her hand, she notices me and scrambles to put the picture back on the bedside table.
"Come in, Casper." She beckons me in with her hand, sniffling.
"Kat, I wanted to say I'm sorry."
"I get it," she pauses to sniff and wipe her nose with her arm, "I do, I just- you promised you'd stay with me. You promised that."
As I watch more tears form in her eyes, I realize the gravity of my relationship with Kat. We're barely teenagers, and when I promised to be her keeper- I swore that I would be there, protect her, hold her dear. I promised all of that in the fine print of my words and they shouldn't have been taken so lightly. Yes, we're practically kids, but I made an adult promise.
"I did promise," I tell her, fingers twitching to avoid touching her, avoid anything beyond verbal reassurance. "I will keep that promise."
"I trust you, Casper." she says softly, moving to lay back down.
I move beside her and hum some long-forgotten tune, relaxing her in hopes she will fall asleep soundly. When her eyelids seem to get heavier and they fall shut for the night, I turn out the light and make my way to the laboratory.
I hover by the table, the Frankenstein book lying in front of me. The button to The Lazarus rested in the false book, so could something else be there too? Opening the front cover, I study the inside intently. A particular seam on the inside cover catches my eye, it's a little more worn at the edge than the rest. Using a paper-knife, I pry off the paper cover to show etchings underneath.
Within my light and shelter, you shall find the key to my heart.
My father who used to play pirates with me is sending me on another treasure hunt. Something about it makes my phantasm-heart ache. Another riddle would surely follow, my father always made a sport of our hunts. Maybe he left these for me, so I could come alive by myself as his health and faith dwindled.
But even for me, that's a childish thought.
So there I wait, trying to make sense of the words- maybe the last words- my father wrote to me.
The light comes faster than I expected, the sun already risen when Dr. Harvey enters the lab. His footsteps are what wake me. He cringes when I turn to face him.
"Did I wake you?"
I nod, "I must've exerted myself too much, if I needed sleep that badly."
"I heard back from that friend I told you about. He faxed over the contents, along with a very long note attached asking me where I got the vial and why the components were so strange." He admitted, watching me stretch. "I didn't tell him anything, obviously, but I figured you might want to see this immediately."
I took the paper and thanked him, watching him walk wordlessly to the ramp until he paused, "Casper?"
"Yes?" I asked him.
"Kat's better this morning. May take her shopping today, let me know if there's anything on that list you need me to get." Dr. Harvey said vaguely.
I glanced at the list and found myself surprised at it's contents, "I believe I can manage. Thanks."
I don't know for sure when he left the room, but the yell of a boat's horn from a few miles away caught my attention, looking around I saw I was alone. Bringing the paper back to my face to read, I suddenly had a realization.
"Of course... Of course!" I flew through the window and toward the lighthouse. The riddle!
Within my light and shelter, you shall find the key to my heart.
It was so simple! The answer to the riddle reminded me of a story my father used to tell me. (Much to my mother's dismay.)
"Your mother and I grew up in this town, Casper, knew each other since childhood. The evening after our marriage, I was 19 and she was 18, we decided to take a walk by the water to have a romantic picnic. Your mother painstakingly prepared a perfect meal for the occasion and a bad thunderstorm was going to brew not even a bite into the picnic. We scooped up our things and took refuge in that lighthouse." He'd say, pointing out my bedroom window to the lighthouse. "That was the night we had begun a family-"
"Dear!" my mother always interrupted the 'bedtime story', "little boys needn't know such things!"
My dad would smile at her, lovingly, and would say, "Yes, dear." Before telling me goodnight.
I had only heard the story a handful of times over the years I was alive, but it suddenly came back in a wave. The light and shelter from the storm was the lighthouse.
Entering the lighthouse, the base of the building seemed empty save for a portrait. A portrait of my mother and I in a rare photo we had alone together. There you will find the key to my heart...
Removing the picture from the wall was not a key, at least by ordinary means, it was a strip of parchment- the faded words reading as: My heart is buried at the site where many tears have been shed.
My body. He buried the instructions to The Lazarus Concoction with my body.
Upon arriving at the site of my grave, I was lucky enough to not have to look at the gruesomeness that must now be my body. I saw a glimmer in the trunk of the weeping willow that shaded my grave. This glimmer turned out to be a metal box no bigger than a child's hand, age tarnishing the color, but not the integrity of the box. I flipped the lid to the box and there it was. A few folded sheets of parchment, the word Casper printed in my father's handwriting.
Carefully, I opened the sheets. The first page was a letter.
Casper, my son, if you are reading this it means you really are still here, just as I hoped you would be. It also means I am not there to save you myself, and for that I am sorry. You are my only son and I may not have told you enough but you are precious to me and your mother as well. The Lazarus is quite a confounding contraption. I tested it on a good many things before considering it a success, though if you saw any of that I would not know. You were not gone yet, then, at least not completely.
As morbid as it is to say, the most confounding thing about that Lazarus is that it is not just a restorative machine, but a creative one. By logic that confuses even me, it could create bodies out of a single soul with no other components than my red elixir. I once sensed some overwhelming presence within my lab and when I tested the machine, a large and mangy dog lumbered out with its teeth bared at me. I had put no carcass within The Lazarus and yet by some sense of pure magnetism to the inside of the chamber, it found itself alive again. Sadly to say, I had to kill the beast after one too many times of it trying to gnaw off my hand for the sheer fun of it.
That aside, I am glad you have found this letter. The ingredients and elixir instructions are included here. Good luck, my son. May your new life extend the bounds of the short time you lived before.
If I had been alive or had any ability to shed tears, in that moment, I know I would have.
I returned to Whipstaff in a daze, arriving unannounced in Dr. Harvey's office- my uncle Stretch turned his head and looked shocked at something he must have seen in my face. Dr. Harvey must have saw something too, because he gestured my uncle to leave.
"Stretch, it seems Casper needs to talk." Dr. Harvey explained.
"Yeah, Doc..." Stretch trailed off, his accent hitching on the last syllable as he sees the box in my hand. " 'course... See ya 'round."
"I found it," I found myself saying weakly, "it's all here. Could have it all ready by tomorrow night."
"I think they know what you're up to," Dr. Harvey said cryptically, moving from his chair to lean the back of his thighs against the front of his desk. "Your uncles. Stretch just came to me with concern about how distant you've been lately."
"I didn't think he would notice," I admitted.
"They all did, he came in all of their steads. Said something about him being better with words. He said he thinks you're digging up your father's old skeletons. Do you think that is what you're doing, Casper?"
"No," I said defensively, then calmed my tone. "My father was an overly-mundane person in his everyday life, I think he worried that the general public would misjudge him if he let on to his eccentricities, but when he was with me all he ever did was make sure we had real fun together." My voice snagged at the thought of my father's letter, I set the pages beside him on the desk and he glanced it over. "Even to find those I had to do his famous riddles we used for treasure hunts. He only ever put precious things in those hunts-" I tried desperately to hold my voice steady.
"Your life was a treasure to him, Casper. He wanted you to come back." He reassured me in a voice I'm sure he reserved for his daughter, but I felt a sense of loneliness to hear it.
"He's gone now. I'm remembering some things but they aren't very happy, Dr. Harvey, and I just wish I could tell him I'm grateful for all that work he did. I can possibly live again, with you and Kat. My uncles-"
"You're a part of a family, Casper, ghost or not." Dr. Harvey smiled at me and I felt desperately undeserving. "Kat had an early dinner, why don't you take those things to the lab and then talk to her."
"You'll think of something," Dr. Harvey smiled, shooing me away.
After I drop off the box and papers, I knock at Kat's open bedroom door, something I've never really done before. She looks shocked to see that I'm the one who knocked. I open my mouth and close it a few times before moving next to her.
"Do you think I'm acting strange?" I asked, trying to start a conversation.
"Define strange." Kat laughed, "Is the standard for weird different for ghosts like you, Casper?"
"I guess not," I admitted, caught up on the word 'ghost'. "Hey, Kat?"
"Do you ever think about your dad, you know, how he came back to life?" I ask.
She gains a hint of darkness in her eyes, mingled with shock, "No, I never think about it. I was just so happy... I never questioned it."
"Well, according to my uncles, he walked through a construction site that night and fell off a steep cliff and it killed him on impact." I say matter-of-factly, doing my best to try to reason myself through putting her through this dark memory. "Don't you ever wonder how he got his body back, good as new? I mean, is his body still where it was, or found somewhere, or did his new body come into existence and make the other one disappear somehow in the process?"
"I... don't know." Kat admits, "But he's exactly the same as he was, nothing has gone wrong with his health that is out of the ordinary... it was like a miracle. I just think we should be grateful and not question it. Whether it was only because of your dad's machine or something else, I think it doesn't matter. It just matters that it worked, I mean something was special about it since it managed to turn your ghost body into a runny egg." Kat laughed, and I smiled in return. She was right.
"I have to go talk to my uncles, goodnight." I smiled her, watching her climb into bed without a word.
Leaving the room and heading down the hall, I hear a quiet voice from Kat's room. "Goodnight."
"Goodnight," I say again, this time to myself, and go to have a long-overdue talk with my uncles.
When I enter through the closed doors, they're floating in a half-circle waiting for me. I use my first few words to apologize for avoiding them the past few days. Uncle Fatso, watching me with a rare somber expression, talks first.
"You found your dad's stuff, didn't ya?"
"I did," I nod, "I found everything."
"The machine he built, worsened his heart and sent him to an early grave, you know that, don't you?" Uncle Fatso continued, "We all managed to be around awhile after you died before we all kicked the bucket ourselves. You sure you want to try it, Casper?"
"Absolutely... what about you three?" I asked.
The room quieted, and they all stopped moving suddenly, thinking.
"I'll do it." Uncle Stinkie said first, "but Stretch, you'll need to help me get papers for all that-"
"Guess I might as well join you two," Uncle Stretch groaned, smiling. "I'll have to make sure you two don't get yourselves killed again."
"Me too," Uncle Fatso pushed them both aside, smirking at me. "Can't let you three have all the fun."
And so it was decided, we were all going to try to become alive again.
When the time had finally come for us to test the machine with our new concoction, Uncle Stretch volunteered to go in first.
"If somethin' happened to you, Casper, it'd break Kat's heart," he started.
"All of ours," Fatso corrected.
"Yeah," he continued, "so I'll go in first."
All of us agreed to the arrangement, waiting for Kat to leave for school. Once she had, Dr. Harvey came into the lab and stood by my father's desk. The machine was loud, the gears ground against each other, and the lever screamed. When the door was eased open, I was met with the face of my uncle. Tall, his white skin and pigment-less smile shone back at us.
Dr. Harvey rushed to hug him, then thought against it once realising my uncle was as naked as a newborn.
"What?" Uncle Stretch grinned, "most ghosts don't need to wear clothes, Fleshie. We're not the modest sort."
Dr. Harvey cleared his throat awkwardly, "Well, uhm, seeing as the machine works I should find all of you some clothes."
"Our clothes are still in our room," Uncle Stinkie told him, "they're in a chest in the closet. Casper's should be in the attic."
Dr. Harvey nodded, making his way back up the machine tracks. I turned to my Uncle, alive and well, and he gave me a rare, genuine smile rather than a smirk.
"You're next, Casper."
And so, once we were all alive again, in our bodies and changed into clothes, we made the trek up the machine track up to the library.
"Being alive is great and all," my Uncle Fatso huffed, "but I am really gonna miss floating."
We all laughed, Uncle Stinkie nudging him with his elbow. Reaching the top of the landing, we met face to face with Kat. Her expression was evolving very slowly from confusion to utter shock.
Dr. Harvey stood in the door frame, expression masked behind his professional 'we should discuss this' face, "I think we should have a family meeting, including you boys."
The walk to the kitchen was an awkward one and once we'd all sat down, Dr. Harvey was the first to speak up, as expected.
"I brought Kat home from school early so you two could sort this out. So, Casper, you don't have to explain it all now, but just say what you feel is most important for Kat to know right at this moment." The doctor's voice Dr. Harvey put on was not lost on me.
I thought about it for a minute or so before speaking, "Well I guess you know why I've been acting so weird now."
She laughs, a strange choked laugh as if she hadn't expected my words to draw that reaction out of her, "You can say that again."
"He didn't want to get your hopes up," Dr. Harvey says in my defense, "he wasn't sure if he could recreate the mixture for The Lazarus."
"How did you?" She asks, genuinely curious.
"My father- my dad-" I correct myself, "left me instructions."
She seemed to accept my answer for the time being. Then, out of nowhere, Dr. Harvey speaks again.
"What will you do about The Lazarus now?"
I exhale sharply and avoid everyone's eye contact as I stare at my flesh-covered hands.
"Destroy it." There's a gasp from someone at the table but I don't bother to figure out who. "Served its purpose. I cheated death once, doing that more than once would make me take my second chance for granted. It's unnatural."
"What a mature observation," Dr. Harvey praises me.
I shake my head, not wanting the praise. "We need it gone. Immediately."
And so we did. We destroyed all that was left of my father's invention and burned the recipe for the red liquid of life. I saved the words my dad wrote for me, and I saved the book of Frankenstein after dismantling the button from inside.
After a few weeks, the inside of what used to be the lab was cleared out. It became my new bedroom (since my old room was taken by Kat) and study area. Dr. Harvey, being the connected man he is- called in nearly every favor he had to get my uncles and I new (but primarily fake) documentation. I was the only one able to keep my name, although it was my middle name now.
I enrolled with Kat in the new school year, we told a tall tale about how the Halloween party was actually a thoroughly planned hoax between the two of us. Thanks to fuzzy teenage memories and love of gossip, everyone readily believed the story.
A few months after our returns from the grave, my uncles each found a steady job that they felt suited them. My Uncle Stretch is a DJ on a local radio station, taking up to the technology faster than any of us could have expected. My Uncle Fatso works as a freelance tax accountant and makes pretty decent money doing it too, thanks to his customers' word of mouth. My Uncle Stinkie drives a school bus during the day, and hosts a private cab service the rest of the time.
Things are good. Kat and I are closer than ever, and I think that when the time comes, I'm going to ask her the same question I always ask. Except, when the time comes, it'll be with a ring.
~ "Can I keep you?" ~
To those wondering, this is actually a rewrite of a fic I did years ago so if it seems familiar thats why xD