Haunted

Melinda shook her head and laughed, reaching out to tickle her son energetically. "You're such a silly boy! Of course there's no such thing as werewolves?"

Aiden giggled happily, shying away from his mother's fingers. She let him go, and he flopped down on the park bench beside her, looking thoughtful. "But how do you know?" he asked seriously after he'd caught his breath. "Have you ever seen one? No. But you haven't seen a Shiny either, and they exist."

Melinda shook her head, exasperated. "That's different and you know it."

Aiden sighed. "Can I at least make believe that there are werewolves? I bet it'd be really cool to know a werewolf."

"Of course you can—" She looked over at Aiden and paused. "—pretend."

Her attention was elsewhere, on a family walking across the grass, happily chattering about nothing. Aiden frowned and turned around, his eyes instantly locking on the family too. He shook his head. "It's almost like they know she's there," he commented, looking back at his mother seriously. "They don't, do they?"

The family, a husband and wife and son, were strolling through Grandview Park and enjoying the good weather. The father, a tall, burly man with a friendly expression chuckled at something his well-dressed son said and patted him on the shoulder as Melinda watched them. His hand passed through his wife's body while doing so.

"No, Aiden," she said with a sad smile. "They don't know she's there."

The woman, a thirty-something blonde with vivid blue eyes, was dressed in a hospital gown and pyjama bottoms covered in little puppies. She looked lovingly at her family, smiling and laughing with them, keeping close to them. Though she looked happy, her cheeks were sunken and she had dark circles under her eyes; Melinda guessed that she once was beautiful, but whatever she had died from had robbed her of her good-looks.

Out of nowhere, the ghost turned away from her family and fixed Melinda with an icy stare, the laughter and love draining from her face, leaving her pale and haunted looking. She disappeared from her husband's side and was suddenly just a foot from Melinda, her fists clenched at her sides.

"Please, leave us alone," the ghost whispered; her voice was soft and raspy, but still held some of its former musicality. "Please. We're happy."

Melinda blinked as the ghost disappeared again, turning to Aiden, who shrugged. "They look pretty happy to me," he said, his eyes once again locking onto the father and son as they made their way across the grass. Melinda shook her head.

"To me, too," she agreed, tilting her head to the side in contemplation. "But looks can be deceiving." She turned to her son and smiled. "Why don't you go play, while I go talk to them?"

Aiden shrugged and stood up, and while walking towards the playground, grumbled, "Whatever. As long as I can pretend the other kids are werewolves." His mother shook her head, wondering if she should be concerned about his fascination with underworld creatures.

Turning her attention back to the ghost's family, Melinda realised that they had been walking faster than she had thought, and were already on the other side of the park. Her instinct was to run after them and ask them about their ghost, but one glance in Aiden's direction made her drop that idea. Maybe the ghost was right, anyway; maybe they were happy. If there was anything she didn't need right now, it was an extra ghost on her hands who didn't want or need her help. After all, Eli's parents were perfectly happy staying on Earth until he could join them in the Light— perhaps this woman was just doing the same.


"Remind me again why we're here?" Kurt sighed loudly, sticking his hands in his pockets and tensing his shoulders. Not that Grandview wasn't wonderful, but he really didn't need to be here; he'd applied to Juilliard. He didn't want to see other colleges. As soon as he got his acceptance letter, it'd be good-bye Lima, hello New York City. Grandview didn't fit into his perfectly planned out future.

"You need other options, Kurt, in case you don't get in to Juilliard," Burt said for what seemed like the umpteenth time, his mind seemingly already made up. "Besides, wouldn't you rather upgrade from Lima to a place like this— busy and populated, but not overwhelming— instead of jumping right into New York City?"

Kurt groaned. "Absolutely not," he said, shaking his head and taking a moment to look both ways before taking his father's elbow and leading him across the quiet street. "I belong in New York City. I'm going to be on Broadway one day, just you wait and see. I don't need 'other options'; I've got my life laid out in front of me."

Burt rolled his eyes, muttering, "I thought teenagers were supposed to love road trips."

Kurt chuckled and shook his head, taking out the pamphlet they had gotten online from Rockland University's website and handing it to his father. "I'm not enjoying myself because you wouldn't let Mercedes come along. If you had, we'd be off making noise somewhere, and you could check out the University all you wanted." He shook his head as Burt checked the address on the pamphlet, looking up at a street sign.

"I told you; this is a man's trip. It wouldn't do to have you bring Mercedes with us."

"You brought Carole!"

"That's different."

"No, that's hypocritical. The only thing that's different is that you are sleeping together, whilst Mer and I are not."

"Kurt!"

"Just saying."

The pair continued to bicker as they made their way to the main building of the University, as an amused ghost trailed behind them, shaking her head. "That's my boy," she whispered reaching out to stroke Kurt's hair lovingly. Kurt ran a hand through his hair, straightening it into place again from where it had been mussed by the wind. He shook his head, and then looked straight at his mother. He smiled.