Lucas sighed heavily, peering at the screen of the genetic analyzer. He’d managed to successfully cross-pollinate a few of the plants in his garden a few weeks ago, but he didn’t have his hopes up. The last two times he’d done it, the resulting seeds had not been a match with anything in the database, and had failed to germinate. Still, it was worth a shot to keep trying, wasn’t it? At least, that’s what Lucas had been telling himself.
Huh? He was called back to the present by a trio of soft beeps. He’d never heard the machine do that before. A message popped up on the computer screen. MATCH FOUND.
Lucas’ eyes lit up and he laughed softly to himself, overjoyed. Finally!
As soon as his parents had gone to bed, Lucas practically ran outside. “Evelyn!” He called out happily.
The ghost floated over toward him, puzzled. “What’s going on?” She asked uncertainly.
“We’ve finally got something!” Lucas replied. “Those new seeds… They’re pomegranate seeds!”
“No, no, you don’t get it.” Lucas laughed softly, explaining. “They’re pomegranate seeds… but they came from my cherry tree! I didn’t think it would work, but I guess this cross-pollination thing is really possible…”
Evelyn paused, confused. “But… I thought you were looking for a flower.”
“I am.” Lucas agreed. “And I think this might be the first step… I mean, we at least know it’s possible now, right? And, well, it’ll take a few years for the pomegranate tree to grow… But I can keep trying in the meantime, see what else I can do… Isn’t this great?”
“Uh… I guess so.” Evelyn replied, completely unenthused.
Lucas narrowed his eyes at her. “What’s wrong?” He asked, his annoyance apparent in his voice. “I thought you’d be happy!”
“I dunno… I guess I just don’t see how it’s really supposed to help…” Evelyn replied uncomfortably. “I mean, it’s been months, and after all that…” She shrugged, leaving the thought unfinished.
“What?” Lucas practically snapped at her. “What are you trying to say?”
Evelyn took a deep breath. “You’ve been so obsessed with this whole thing, spending practically every waking moment on it… And for what?” She shook her head. “A few seeds for a plant you don’t even know you need?”
Lucas stared at her for a few moments, dumbfounded, before finally finding his voice. “How can you be so ungrateful?!” He demanded. “I’ve been working my ass off for this, and now you’re making it out like some huge waste of time or something!”
“That’s not what I mean!” Evelyn insisted. “But Lucas, this is all you do. Can you even remember the last time we watched the stars together? Or played cards? Or chess? Or, I dunno, actually had a real conversation? Because I can’t.”
Lucas’ anger and frustration continued to rise. “You don’t understand, I have to do this!”
“For us!” He cried.
“No.” Evelyn shook her head, a fiery heat rising inside of her, turning her entire form a deep red. “For you.”
“What are you talking about?!”
“You keep saying the same things over and over and over.” Evelyn practically snarled. “‘Us’, ‘us’, ‘us’… That’s bullshit, Lucas. And it’s been bullshit for a long time.” She balled her hands into fists at her side. “If this was really about ‘us’, then you’d see that all you’re doing is driving us further and further apart. All you care about is the ‘us’ you want us to be. Well what about the real ‘us’, huh?”
She stepped forward almost threateningly, pointing an accusing finger at him as she continued. “You think that all your problems will magically be solved if you bring me back.” Evelyn narrowed her eyes. “It’s all about you now… What happened to doing this for me? Isn’t that what you promised? That you’d help me get my life back. You’d help me be normal again. When did you get so selfish?” She asked, disgusted.
Lucas glared daggers at her. “I’m selfish?” He asked coldly, incredulous. “Do you even hear yourself? How many hours have I have spent trying to find this cure for you? How many nights have I stayed up with no sleep for you? You can’t even imagine how many times I’ve wanted to give up… But I haven’t.” He paused. “Name one thing you’ve done for me.”
Evelyn stared at him for several moments, silent.
“You are unbelievable. I’m done here.” She said finally, fighting to control her rage. Evelyn took a deep breath, speaking as calmly as she could. “I’m walking away before I say something I’ll regret.” The ghost turned and floated away back toward her grave.
Lucas watched her float away, regretting what he’d said almost instantly. “Ev, wait…” He called out to her. Of course, she ignored him completely.
“Goddamn it…” Lucas held his face in his hands. Me and my big mouth…
A hooded figure watched the scene unfold from the shadows. Perfect… Death smiled to himself, satisfied. Serves them right for trying to undo all my hard work. His prediction had been correct, it seemed. That’s all it takes — Just one little push…