Cassidy bought some soup some the Battleground. Simon refused to step inside; worried that he might be recognized if his father was there. So she got the soup to go, and they made their way to a nearby park so that she could eat.
They sat in the shade of a large tree. Cassidy cradled the styrofoam container of soup in her hands, stirring it gently so that it would cool off. She had a warm bun balanced on her knee, and a bottle of water lying on the grass beside her. Simon was doing his forlorn thing again, blindly staring across the park, lost in thought.
“Do you get hungry during the day?”
Simon gave a start before turning to her. “What? Oh, no. I don’t feel anything during the day.”
“But when you put your hands in your pockets, you must feel your pockets.”
“Not really. My hands can’t move, but I don’t feel it. It’s hard to explain,” Simon said.
Cassidy scooped up some of the soup. “I wish we had another ghost around, someone to compare to you. You’re too different. I mean, you eat and sleep. It’s weird, don’t you think?”
“I didn’t have to at first,” Simon reminded her. “Maybe they would all have to eat and sleep, if they tried.”
“We’d have to ask one to find out.”
“Hmm…” Cassidy turned her attention to her soup for a minute, mulling over the problem. Something occurred to her then. “Maybe we should look for some ghosts.”
Simon looked at her. “The ones in the stories?”
“I was thinking a graveyard,” Cassidy said.
“That’s a bit clichéd, don’t you think? I didn’t show up in a graveyard.”
Cassidy shrugged. “Isn’t a worth a shot?”
After a moment Simon nodded. “Sure.”
When she was done eating, they started walking towards the church. It wasn’t too far, and when it came into sight Cassidy was thrilled at how beautiful it was. Simon patiently waited while she took out her camera for some pictures. It was old, with a single steeple topped by a metal cross. The walls were made of multicoloured stone, and the roof was a rusted red colour. The windows were stain glass, with intricate metal framing. Behind it sprawled a well kept cemetery.
Cassidy kept taking pictures as they walked into the cemetery. The stones closest to the church were old; some tilted at haphazard angles, and covered with moss and lichen. A few had completely fallen over, the names worn away. Further from the church, the stones became newer and more uniform in shape. Together, Cassidy and Simon wandered up and down the rows.
“Look.” Simon stopped in front of one of the older tombstones. The name was blurry and aged. “Samuel Keeper,” Simon read. “Keeper of the Light.”
Cassidy took a picture of the grave. “Why did his lighthouse fall apart?”
“It’s old, and it wasn’t needed anymore. Rinne Light was restored about thirty ye – fifty years ago,” he corrected himself. “Because it’s by the pier, but Keeper’s Light was too worn away by then.”
“That’s sad. Lighthouses are gorgeous.”
Simon nodded. “The ruins are pretty in their own way. We’ll go there for a picnic sometime. Talk to Sam, maybe.”
Cassidy smiled. “That sounds great.” She continued to stroll along the rows, and Simon fell into step beside her.
They were nearing the end of the rows when Simon stopped abruptly. Cassidy paused, taking a few steps back to stand beside him. He was staring at a newer looking stone, with a very clear inscription.
In Memory of
He has Left the Island
Cassidy glanced at Simon. She couldn’t tell if he was upset, or confused, and she desperately wanted to hold his hand. “Simon, I’m sorry.”
He blinked and turned away from the stone. “Is that what I am? The memory of Simon Battle?”
“You are Simon Battle.”
“Am I?” He glanced at the grass at his feet. “Then what’s down there?”
Cassidy didn’t know what to say. She wanted to draw him away from the stone. “Simon…”
“I never left the island.” Simon crossed his arms. “It says I left, but I never left. I’m still here. I need a moment.”
“Of course.” As Cassidy walked away, she found it hard to ignore the lump in her throat. She sat on a nearby bench and wiped away a few tears with her sleeve. Simon was crouching now, still staring at the tombstone as if he was trying to memorize it completely. A cold wind picked up. Cassidy shivered and pull her zipper a little higher.
She found watching Simon upsetting, so she started looking around the graveyard. It seemed like they weren’t going to meet any ghosts. Maybe because it was still day? She allowed herself to be distracted, thinking about the mysterious rules of ghost hood.
Simon didn’t move for a long time. When he finally did, it was to reach out a hand and run his fingers along the inscription. The way Cassidy had done at her grandparents’ graves.
Cassidy gasped and leapt to her feet. “Did you just touch that?”
Startled, Simon flinched and glanced at her, then his gaze went back to his hand and his eyes widened. He stood up slowly, staring at his hand and turning it like it was a foreign object.
Cassidy rushed to his side. She grabbed his hand – and held it. He was cold, but solid. She squeezed his hand and he squeezed hers back. She felt him disappearing, until she was clutching at nothing but air. Simon drew his hand away.
They met each other’s eyes.
“What just happened? It’s still light out.” Cassidy said.
Simon shrugged. “I was upset. I didn’t think, I just touched it.”
“Maybe you’re stronger when you have a powerful emotion?”
Simon frowned thoughtfully. He cast one last look at his tombstone, and then turned around. “Let’s go back to the cottage.”
Cassidy lingered just along enough to take a quick picture of the stone, before following him from the graveyard.