something from the stories, and the vapors, who had never seen such a thing, shrieked and darted about, passing through each other, wailing and throwing themselves about, and their eyes widened and there was terror on their faces. The myst over the pond thickened and swirled into a tornado, and the vapors fell into the myst and became part of it, and there was a loud burst and the tornado collapsed, and the vapors fell and scattered about the surface of the pond. Then, one by one, they drifted off into the shadows quietly as before. As always. The girl spoke again.
Remember. You have to remember.
Think. Hard. Think about what you may have forgotten. Clear your mind of me. Of this pond. Of the shadows. Of the vapors. Clear your mind. Hold my hand.
Yes you can. Hold it. Hold it and remember.
So he did. He passed his hand through hers again and thought hard. Thought about it being a solid. Thought about what he might know but had long forgotten.
And he remembered.
Mum and I sat in the hallway and she held her shirt sleeve against my nose to stop the bleeding. The men came out, all their gear packed away. Sorry, they said. We thought. Maybe. We thought that there was something, but no. Think of it like a false positive. Sometimes these old houses do that. They set our instruments going and it cascades, and most times when that happens we have something. But not today, but the good news is that you’ve got nothing to worry about.
Mum swore and thanked them for showing me that nothing was wrong and told them to send her a bill and that she would pay it as soon as she got pay again, whenever that would be, and she left me in the hallway. She went to her bed and slammed the door, and I could hear the bottle open again, and she chewed and crunched at her pills, and I left her alone like always.
I went back into my room, and I first I didn’t notice it. Sometimes you don’t notice things, even when they’re right in front of you. Things are funny like that. In the corner of my room was a crumpled blanket, and under that blanket was the shape of a small form. I knew that form.
I slowly peeled up the blanket, and there he was. Samuel, just like he was before the bad day. He was sleeping, and his skin was flush with color, and he snored a little. The bad thing that had caught him unaware and eat’n his flesh from the inside was gone, and there were no more sores or open wounds or globs of puss dripping from him. Not like on the bad day. Not like on the day that he cried for mum and father and was gone. I didn’t want to wake him, but I squeezed him as tightly as I could, just to make sure that he was real, and he was, and I wept so hard that I was sure I would crush him and wake him, but he just slept soundly, with a smile on his face as I ran my hands through his hair and I was suddenly so tired, so exhausted, that I fell asleep on him.
I woke up before him, which was good, because he didn’t see what I saw when I went to fetch mum. Mum was on the floor of her room, her eyes wide open, completely blank and glassy. Half dissolved pills lay on her chest, and she reeked of drink, and her head was surrounded by a puddle of vomit and blood. She had fallen and hit her head there’s nothing