I couldn't help but just gape at Michael. He was dead? Meaning he was a ghost? I was sitting in a room with a ghost?
"Not just one, honey." Luke said from his spot on the floor.
Not just one? How did he know I was thinking about that? Before I could ask anything, Calum sighed.
"Luke," he scolded. "One thing at a time, please. Let her process this. Okay, where was I? Yeah, so Michael's dead."
"Yeah," I said slowly, nodding. "I got that."
Calum flipped a page in his book. It opened to the same article I read the other night about the motorcycle accident. Why would he have this?
"I know you asked Michael about this," Calum said. "And he got upset about it, right? He didn't want to talk about it. Because that was him, Bridgette. Michael died in a motorcycle accident."
My eyes flickered to Michael. He played with his fingers in his lap, not wanting to look at anyone. I brought my focus back to Calum, hoping he'd elaborate on what happened, but he didn't. He just moved on.
"Him and Luke were friends before the motorcycle accident," Calum continued. "Luke heard about the accident and came to me for help."
"Help?" I questioned. "With what?"
"The thing about me, Bridgette, is that I...dabble in dark magic," Calum said, scratching the back of his head. "I can bring people back. Not necessarily back to life, but I can conger up the ghosts of the deceased. Luke knew that and came to me. No one knew what caused the crash and Luke had to know. But the thing with getting my help is that you have to pay for it."
"Pay for it?" I asked, wanting more elaboration.
"Yeah, pay for it," Luke nodded. "You have to give up something or have a burden put on you."
"What was your...payment?" I wondered.
"Truth." he stated.
"Luke knows what everyone and anyone is thinking," Calum explained. "He knows the truth. But someone found a loophole." he said, exaggeratedly looking behind me at Ashton.
"The sunglasses." I breathed, putting two and two together.
"Luke gets into your mind via your eyes," Michael interjected. "If he can't see your eyes, he can't see your secrets."
"You can always tell if someone's lying by their eyes," Luke said. "If I can't see their eyes, I can't see the truth."
"We're getting off track," Calum sighed in annoyance. "Anyway, Luke was given the gift of mind reading. Michael was brought back and he explained that even he didn't know how the accident occurred. We don't know if we'll ever know."
"Sorry to get off topic, but where does Ashton fit in all of this?" I questioned. "And is the story of the Hemmings family actually true?"
"Oh, it's true," Luke said, almost smug about it. "Because I could see the truth about everything, I knew it was my mom who killed everyone in my family."
"Then why did you kill yourself?"
"I couldn't live with the fact that I killed my family. Plus, the gift was ruining my life."
"But I had to bring him back," Michael shrugged. "He was the only person I had."
"And this is where Ashton comes in," Calum added. "Ashton said he'd take the payment for Michael. He never said why."
I turned and looked at Ashton, who looked away from me.
"He didn't even have anything to do with it," Michael laughed. "But he insisted he take the payment for me, so I let him."
"And I'm assuming the payment was silence?" I guessed.
"Actually, no," Calum said. " His was the complete opposite. It was voice."
"Ashton has the power to make someone fall in love with him simply by saying the word 'love'," Michael elaborated. "That's how powerful his gift is."
"He has to be extremely careful with what he says," Calum continued. "He learned that the hard way."
"It took a few tries too." Luke added quietly, almost as an afterthought.
I looked at Ashton. "You said you could talk to your family."
"That's the loophole with Ashton's gift," Luke said. "It doesn't affect the dead."
My jaw dropped as I looked back at Ashton. "Your family..." I couldn't even finish it. Ashton's entire family was dead.
"Someone broke into the house and killed his family while he was away at school," Michael said. "He dropped out after that."
I placed my hand on Ashton's and gave it a squeeze. He squeezed mine back.
"Wait," I said, remembering an earlier question of mine. "Why did we have to come here for this?"
"Luke can't leave his house." Michael replied.
"I died here so I stay here." Luke shrugged.
"And since I died outside," Michael began before stretching back on the love seat. "I can go wherever I want to."
This whole thing was just creating even more questions than answers. How did they know Calum practiced black magic? Why was he even practicing black magic? Why couldn't Michael remember who caused the accident? Who actually did cause the accident?
"Look, Bridgette," Luke began with a sigh. "This whole thing is very confusing and will make you want to ask a lot of questions. Just try to keep them to a minimal, okay? We're dead but we still get tired."
"Can I ask just one?" I wondered, playing with the hem of my shirt. All of the boys nodded, giving me the okay. "So, it's just Michael and Luke that are dead, right?"
Michael gave off a tiny smile. "Yeah, it's just us two. Ashton and Calum are still alive," he started to laugh lightly. "Not everyone on this street is dead, Cooper."
Ashton started to walk me home afterwards, but Calum asked him for a ride home. He gave me a smile before getting back into his car and driving off down the street. So Michael took it upon himself to walk me across the street to my own house.
"So, you've done that to other people too?" I questioned, referencing to when he dragged me into Luke's house to scare the crap out of me.
Michael shrugged as a smile played on his mouth. "Yeah, but I never actually became friends with them beforehand. I'd just appear and tell them that my little brother or sister wandered into the house and got lost. Some poor sap would help me 'look for them'. It was sad, really, but it's the only way Luke can ever have any fun."
"Right," I nodded. Luke can't leave the house. "Has he ever actually...tried leaving the house?"
"Yeah," Michael nodded as he looked down both ways of the street before leading me across. "One time he tried to follow me out of the house. He disappeared and reappeared in his room completely passed out. He came to a few seconds later. He didn't remember anything that happened."
We had reached my door and Michael continued to stand awkwardly outside. He kept opening and closing his mouth again, like he wanted to say something.
"Cooper," Michael interrupted, putting a finger in front of my face. "I just want you to know that I do want to continue to be your friend. You're the only person besides Ashton and Calum that's alive that actually talks to me and...I like that. I was just trying to have some fun with Luke. And we're both sorry, alright? Just don't keep telling me to go away."
I couldn't help but smile a little at Michael's apology. He was just lonely. He wanted more people to talk to besides the three same people that were always there. And he didn't mean to scare me. Well, he did but it was just to help a friend get some sort of amusement.
I nodded. "Alright, Clifford," I said, using last names just like he did and he smiled. "You've got one more chance. But I don't want to walk into that house and see you dead on the floor again. Tell Luke to cut it out."
"Just tell him yourself," he advised. "He said you're welcome over there any time. He actually hasn't talked to a girl since he died. Might be nice for him, you know?"
"Hey," the door flung open to reveal Jeremy. He leaned against the door frame with his arms crossed over his chest. "Who's this?"
"Michael," I replied coldly. "Why do you care?"
"Oh, is this that creepy dude you hang out with?" he smirked at Michael.
"I'll show him creepy." Michael muttered in response.
Jeremy's eyes went wide. He stepped outside and looked around before waving his hand in the space Michael once was. "Where'd he go?"
"Go along with it." Michael's disembodied voice whispered in my ear. Disappearing was something they never told me about.
"What?" I asked Jeremy.
He looked at me, his eyes still wide as his eyebrows furrowed together. "That Michael kid."
"Michael?" I questioned. "Why would Michael be here?"
"He just was!" he shouted in my face.
"Oh," I nodded. Then I continued inside, shouting over my shoulder, "Too bad I missed him."
I’m sorry if this chapter was confusing. Basically Luke and Michael are ghosts, Ashton has the power to make people do things for him just by talking so he chooses not to talk, and Calum practices black magic. Oh, and Luke can read minds by looking into your eyes which is why Ashton likes wearing sunglasses all the time. Maybe he's go something to hide... c;