"Ghosts don't breathe air," Amy said aloud. Lucy looked at her with those clear blue eyes and said "Ghosts live forever,"
Amy got up from her stool and went to sit next to Lucy. She started playing with her hair. Amy liked that.
"Ghosts are scary and jump out on you and scream 'boo'" Amy said.
Lucy nodded, pulling her hair momentarily away from Amy's hands. Lucy let out some musical air: a little whimper or a purr as a cat does when happy.
"But if they don't breathe the air" Lucy said, "then how do they live?"
Amy stopped playing with her hair for a moment. She had a frown on her face as though an invisible man had appeared without his supernatural disguise. "Ghosts don't need to breathe the air; they have all the air from their lives stuck in them."
Lucy carried on purring. A thought struck her at a fast speed. "Ghosts can hide really well."
Amy agreed by nodding.
Amy looked up and saw the clock. Both of the hands were pointing at midnight. "Ghosts don't need clocks in their homes; they don't need to know the time anymore,"
Lucy, with her blue eyes, turned around and looked at the clock. It was above the dining table where mummy used to sit and eat. Before the accident.
"I think clocks stop when you're a Ghost."
Amy agreed to this too.
Lucy stopped purring and asked Amy if she wanted to play in her room. They both walked up the cold marble stairs hand in hand, carefully stepping over the pile of fetid rubbish lying in the hallway. Mummy and daddy used to clean the house, Amy thought.
The room smelt of death and decay, combined. The only thing that looked natural was the pair of them - Lucy with her blue eyes and Amy with her small hands. Nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands.
Lucy looked in her dark brown oak cupboard and brought out her favourite doll. Her name was Susan. Amy, with her small hands, took the doll from Lucy's bigger hands. She played with her hair just like she had done with Lucy. Amy liked that.
"What are Ghosts made of?" Lucy asked Amy.
"Maybe cotton," spoken softly because she was concentrating on making Susan's hair look pretty. Just like them.
"When you die do you think we will become Ghosts?" Lucy said looking at Susan's new haircut. Amy nodded as though this was the surest thing ever.
"Ghosts can fly really high." Susan said, in a doll-like way. Lucy and Amy weren't sure whether they imagined that or that the house was playing another trick on them. Amy, nevertheless, put Susan down on her special chair daddy had made her last Christmas. Amy thought she looked really nice with her new haircut.
"Ghosts don't need to use doors because they can walk right through them," Lucy said.
"But," Amy replied, "if they can walk through doors and walls, then why don't they keep falling through the ground forever and ever?"
Lucy thought for a second, and then said "They can fly like airplanes but they don't need wings,"
"because they have all that air stuck in them that helps them stay up." Amy concluded.
They were both happy they arrived at this fact. It made sense.
A whistle could be heard from outside in the yard where daddy used to work with his hands and tools. Amy went to the window and looked out: a small bird circled the peach tree where they picked fruit in the summer. The tree hung on its own, its withering branches fighting the wind like a decrepit man reaching for his glass of water. Lucy came to the window but Amy pushed her back.
"There is nothing out there, just a silly bird whistling to herself." Amy said in a firm voice. Lucy picked up a piece of cotton, avoiding the mouldy plates and other greasy utensils littering the floor. "When I was a bird I used to chase Ghosts." Susan tweeted. Her plasticity had left her, for good. Lucy and Amy giggled.
They both looked at each other and thought the same thing, even though neither of them wanted to say it.
Lucy put the cotton down.
"I think there are bees outside because daddy said whistling makes them go away." The picture on Amy's face produced a melancholy in the room as though the sun had fallen out the sky creating an eternal darkness. "Amy, I think the bird is trying to help us," Lucy said, in a sad tone. Lucy knew that Amy didn't like birds. She also knew Amy had a bird but it escaped one afternoon after they had eaten supper. No one knew where it went or how it got away. Lucy had told Amy not to worry and said it would come back one day. One day soon she had said.
The piece of tangled cotton fell onto the diseased floor. Nobody noticed it falling.
"Do you think we will be friends forever? Amy asked Lucy. Lucy was staring at something in the corner of the room. She looked like a tiger focused on its only meal of the day or a fly trapped in a spider's web looking at its fate slowly fading away.
"What's the matter? Amy asked Lucy.
Lucy rubbed her eyes. Nothing is the matter she whispered.
"Why are you whispering?" Amy asked Lucy.
Because I'm scared, Lucy replied, still whispering.
Amy stopped looking at Lucy and decided to look at the something in the corner of the room. Susan was playing with the piece of cotton in her hands. She was making something. Amy didn't know what she was making but it looked scary. Lucy sunk into the bed as if she was in sinking sand and escape had vanished into the sky like Amy's dead bird. Lucy began to cry. What is she making? Amy whispered to Lucy. Lucy started to shake like a mountain erupting.
Amy played with her hair to calm her down. Susan let out a cry: outside started raining cats and dogs. Lucy's head bobbled above the duvet, her body vanishing into the mysterious bed. Amy carried on playing with her disappearing hair.
Amy tightly held the last strand of Lucy's hair; her body had vanished into the house. Susan turned around with a sardonic smile from eye to eye. She had a figurine standing up in each of her palms. They were small, ghost-like and made of white cotton. Amy knew who they were.
They were mummy and daddy.
Written for, my first quest, They Hunger For Nodes: An e2 Halloween Scary Story Quest
Thanks to these two who helped me, in different ways, with this story.