Lucas sighed softly as he stared up at the big, beautiful night sky. It had been nearly a month since he first met Evelyn. Ever since, they’d spent nearly every night together laughing, playing games, and sharing stories with one another. Tonight, they had ventured to the tiny park behind Lucas’ house to watch the stars, making a game out of finding constellations.
Evelyn lay beside him, her transparent form barely grazing the ground as she bobbed a few centimeters above it. Lucas bit his lip uncertainly and gave her a sideways glance. He’d been thinking a lot lately about how he might be able to help her, and he finally had an idea. But the thought of actually sharing it with her felt so silly. Still, he had to try.
Without a word, he slowly pulled himself to his feet. Evelyn quickly followed suit.
“Everything okay?” She asked with concern as she hovered up to face him. “You’ve been so quiet tonight… I’m at least 3 points ahead. You’ve got some catching up to do.” The girl smiled playfully.
“I’m fine.” Lucas replied seriously. “I just wanted to talk to you for about something…”
Lucas took a seat at a nearby picnic table, Evelyn following close behind.
“Um… Well, I’ve been thinking a lot about everything you told me… About what happened to you.” The boy stared at the swirling grain of the wooden table as he spoke. “Your parents… They died in the fire too, didn’t they?”
Evelyn hesitated. “Y-yeah… I saw it happen.” She said. “It was awful…” She cleared her throat, and her voice grew noticeably harder. “What does that have to do with anything?”
“Sorry…” The young boy mentally kicked himself for the insensitive way he’d asked. “I just mean… Where are they?”
She shrugged. “I don’t know… I’ve never seen them. Not since that day…” Evelyn paused. “I guess they’re wherever you’re supposed to go when you… y’know.”
Lucas looked at her questioningly. “So why aren’t you?”
The girl shook her head. “Your guess is as good as mine… It’s like I said, everything went all black and that hooded guy… ‘Death’ or whatever he is… He came out of nowhere. I thought he was going to take me with him, but when he looked at me, he just… laughed.” Evelyn narrowed her eyes as she recalled the memory. “He gave me this sweet little wave… It was like he was mocking me.” She sighed. “Then he was gone.”
The boy furrowed his brow, trying to choose his next words carefully. “So… there has to be a reason for all this, right? It’s like in all the old stories… You only stay behind if there’s something keeping you here… If you have unfinished business.”
Evelyn raised an eyebrow at him, the hint of a skeptical smile playing on her lips.
Lucas could feel a slight heat coming to his cheeks. “I know… It sounds so stupid. But I just keep thinking about everything you said– There was all this stuff you wanted to do, right?”
The girl nodded.
“But you never got the chance.”
“What are you getting at?”
“Well, maybe your unfinished business is… living.” Lucas glanced at her nervously, waiting for a reaction.
Evelyn barely suppressed a giggle. “I never got to finish living… Wow, nice detective work there, kiddo.” She teased.
“I’m serious.” He replied, defensive. “Maybe that’s why he didn’t take you – because you weren’t done living yet.”
Evelyn shook her head, saying nothing for a few moments. “Okay… So if that’s true… What can we do about it? I mean… I’m dead.”
“I don’t know yet.” Lucas admitted. “But I promise I’m gonna find a way.” His voice was confident as he spoke.
He could tell by the look on Evelyn’s face that she wasn’t entirely convinced, but she smiled anyway. “Okay, kid.” She said warmly. “Whatever you say.”