AN: My first Thirteen Ghosts story! I usually hate movies like this…but this one just grabbed onto my mind and wouldn't let go. I fell in love with it. And so, of course, I came up with a fic idea.
Summary: 17 year old honor student Julia Thurston didn't have a care in the world- until she found out that her parents did. Until she found out that her parents had gone so far as to change their names to keep her older brother a secret from her. But now that he's dead, Julia will stop at nothing to find out what killed him; but it won't be easy…
"Julia! Dinner's ready!"
I flopped over on my back, finishing up the last sentence in the paragraph I was reading before I shut my book and tossed it aside. I was still wondering who killed Mrs. Sylvia as I headed downstairs, pulling my hair back as I walked into the kitchen.
"How was your day at school, honey?" My dad asked, kissing me on the top of the head as he went to hang up his rain-soaked jacket.
"I got an A on the chemistry test," I said, and he grinned.
"That's my little genius."
"I'm not a genius, Daddy."
"Okay. My little prodigy."
"Sit down you two," Mom said, pouring chocolate milk for me. We sat down and said a quick prayer, thanking God for everything except the toilet and the burnt casserole.
"The book we're reading in English is really cool. It's about a psychic who has to save her family from the ghost of a serial killer," I said, and the air at the table seemed to freeze.
"Sounds very interesting," Mom said quietly, forcing a weak smile in my father's direction.
"But you know that there is no such thing as a ghost. Or a psychic, for that matter," Dad said.
I laughed. "Dad, if psychics were real, Miss Cleo would have won the lottery by now."
They both laughed at that one, and dinner continued on as usual. That is, until the doorbell rang.
"I'll get it. It's probably Ashley," I said, pushing back from the table and running to the front door to greet my friend.
But it wasn't my friend at the door. Instead, I found a man in a grey suit, slightly overweight and holding his briefcase over his head and a small box under his other arm. I opened the door, gesturing for him to step in out of the rain.
"May I help you?" I asked as he shook the excess water off his briefcase.
"I'm Thomas Johnson, from Johnson and Tanner law offices," he said, reaching out to shake my hand. "I'm here on behalf of a Dennis Rafkin."
"Dennis Rafkin?" I asked, weakly shaking his hand.
He looked around, flustered. "I am at the right house, aren't I?" he asked, and then he opened his briefcase a crack and pulled out a couple of papers. "Dennis Rafkin. Son of Andrew and Beverly Rafkin, who live at 313 West Rennard Lane, and have since changed their last name to Thurston."
"No…no, that can't be right. I don't have a brother."
"But this is the right house, isn't it?"
I eyed him carefully, stepping back a few steps. This had to be some kind of a joke. "Mom? Dad?" I called, and I waited a few excruciatingly uncomfortable moments for them to come to the front hall.
"Yes, how may I help you?" My dad asked the man, laying his arm across my shoulders.
"Mr. Rafkin…well…Mr.Thurston…your son died three nights ago in a horrible accident," the man said, pity evident in his voice.
There was dead silence in the hallway for at least ten seconds. Then I stepped away from my dad, looking at the expressions on my parents' faces.
My dad looked stunned, and my mother already had tears in her eyes.
This was serious.
"Why didn't you ever tell me?" I forced out between gritted teeth. Dad just ignored me and spoke once again to the lawyer.
The lawyer shrugged. "Honestly, I don't know. All it said on the report was that he was killed in a freak accident. But…I have a few of his belongings here for you."
He held out the box to my dad, and then handed my mother a business card.
"If you have any more questions, call me," he said, and without another word, he left. My dad turned, practically in slow motion, and went into the living room and set the box down on the coffee table.
"So it's true? I have a brother, and you never told me?" I asked as my mother sobbed.
"It's true, Julia. It's all true," my dad said, and I sat down on the couch across from him.
Dad pulled the lid off the small box, sighing heavily as he looked at the contents. He pulled out an old photo, so battered that it was barely intact- it was a picture of me and Mom and Dad, when I was about five.
"He was eight years older than you," Dad said, lifting a few books out of the box as Mom sat down beside him. "He left home when you were only five."
"Left home?" my mother snapped. "You mean you kicked him out!"
"I had no choice! That boy was going to be the death of you!"
I was barely breathing. I'd never seen my parents act like this before. "What are you talking about?" I asked desperately.
Dad dropped his gaze to the floor. "Your brother was…different, Julia."
My mother shook her head. "He was psychic."
I looked at my mother in stunned silence, and my dad said, "She doesn't need to know all this shit!"
"She has a right to know!"
"He's dead, Beverly. You're only making things worse."
"Both of you, just shut up!" I yelled. I took a deep breath, and then I leaned forward and pulled the box to my side of the table. As they sat silent I looked inside, pulling out a wallet and an odd looking pair of glasses. I set the glasses aside, opening up the wallet and pulling out the driver's license.
Dennis looked just like my father, only his eyes were a different color and he was quite a bit taller.
He'd only been twenty five when he died.
Stuffed in the wallet, along with a couple dollar bills, was a paycheck for four thousand dollars signed by a Cyrus Kriticos.
"You weren't ever going to tell me, were you?" I asked them, looking up from these simple objects that I suddenly had a very deep connection with.
My mom shook her head. "It would have only caused you pain, darling. We loved him, but…"
"He just wasn't fitting in here. If you knew him, you would understand," Dad finished.
"But I didn't know him! And I don't understand!"
I looked back down at the driver's license, surprised to find that my own brother had lived in the same city as me all along- in an apartment in the downtown slums.
"This discussion is over," my dad suddenly snapped, grabbing the wallet out of my hand and throwing it violently in to the box. He grabbed the box, shoving it into my mother's arms. "We can't expect you to understand. We'll discuss this tomorrow."
"Don't you have funeral arrangements to make?" I snapped right back at him. He hesitated, but only for a moment.
"I do not consider that freak my son."
He stormed out, and my mother followed right on his heels dropping the lawyer's business card as she pleaded Dad to talk this over, but he ignored her. I looked back down in my hands; I was still holding Dennis's driver's license, and those funky glasses were still on the table where I'd set them aside.
That was all I would need.
Before I even knew what I was doing, I was by the front door grabbing my purse, car keys, and my jacket, stuffing Dennis's license and the glasses into my jacket pockets. I picked up the business card from the floor where my mother had dropped it, and then I headed out the door.
With or without my parents' help, I was going to find out what happened to my brother. I owed him that much.
AN: Alright, people…what do you think?