Guilford, Maine

August 2000

It was early dusk, and after exploring the town--not too much to it, but still more to see than in Friendship-- Kat Harvey was sitting up in her chintz covered bed, still reading over Casper's file. There were several incidents of his misbehaviour, including a teacher's numerous collisions with a stubborn inkwell that had exploded upon his opening it. Casper had later confessed to gluing the top around the edges so the stopper would hold fast. "So," Kat mused aloud. "The little glow-worm does have a mischievous side after all,".

She kept reading, sifting through yellowed and brittle papers. She came across a copy of his birth certificate. She saw he was born at home, and was 21 inches long at birth. She scanned the page until she came down to his birth weight. "Holy shit! He weighed nine pounds?" Kat thought. She then came to a copy of his death certificate. The official cause of death was pneumonia. Kat knew from history class that pneumonia was a common cause of death before the discovery of antibiotics. Suddenly feeling sad, she put the paper in the back of the file behind all the other papers.

Sighing a deep, prolonged sigh, Kat laid her head back against the soft down of her bed pillow. She suddenly felt very tired, and realized how little sleep she had gotten over the past 48 hours. She decided she would take a little nap. She began to drift off to sleep…

About two miles away, Casper was on his way to his old school, a place he hadn't been in at least a century. He had been flying for several hours in invisible mode, trying not to panic. Why would Kat come here? What did she need? What did she want? She could have just asked him! As he reached the building, a flood of memories came back to him. The classrooms, the bedroom that he had shared with three other kids his age, the teachers…he felt overwhelmed. He wanted to find Kat as soon as possible and bring her back with him…where she belonged.

Casper slipped into the building undetected, mostly thanks to his invisibility. There was only a young concierge at the front desk. Casper felt a bit disoriented upon seeing the inside of the building, but then remembered it was now a hotel. He had now idea where Kat could be--he had searched the town upon his arrival just in case and had turned up with nothing. There was only one thing left to do: he would need to search the rooms one by one. Now, for any human, this would be a daunting task. Luckily for Casper, he could literally go through walls in a matter of seconds. He decided to check from the top down, and reached the first floor eventually. He vaguely wondered what had become of his room. He racked his memory, and remembered it was on the second floor. Acting on a whim, he went to the seventh room on the floor and peeked inside. It was decorated in a floral pattern that made Casper cringe. Certainly a far cry from the masculine hunting lodge vibe the room had been decorated with a hundred years ago. Casper felt strange--he didn't feel…anything. Not a single sense of longing or sadness. Maybe because he had spent only a few years here, but he could still recall a few things, mostly people. He could see their faces in his mind's eye, but couldn't quite attach a name to the face. Taking one last look around, Casper dropped down to the first floor. He checked the first and second rooms, and was disturbed to find a raunchy young couple having sex in the second room. Casper was sure they would have been scared shitless--not to mention celibate--if he had made his presence known. Finally, he reached the third room. No light came from any cracks in the door, but Casper decided to look in anyway, feeling hopeful.

Suddenly, deep in her subconscious, Kat felt cold. Her brain woke her up. The room was pitch black and frigid. It was August…why in the hell was it so cold? Kat laid in bed a while longer with her eyes closed. Shivering, she wondered if she should find a spare blanket. She suddenly felt a cold hand against her cheek, and on impulse screamed--only to have the cold…something…clamp over her lips. Then, in the dark, a shape began to take form. It was short, a bit squat, with a bulbous head...not to mention transparent.

"Casper!" Kat shouted. She turned on the bedside lamp, and light instantly flooded the room.

"How did you…why…"she stammered.

"I should be asking you the same thing," replied Casper smoothly.

"I just thought…I wanted…to…" she trailed off.

"You know, you could have just asked. I wouldn't have minded," he said nonchalantly. Kat's mouth hung open stupidly.

"But I thought it would be too--" she said quietly.

"What, sensitive a subject?" he countered coldly. He looked a little…well, pissed off.

Kat nodded her head silently, and looked down at the rose coloured carpet. Casper sat down next to her. Casper's tone had softened, and he said, "I'm sorry. I just don't want you to leave." A pause. Kat looked up at him.

"I know you'll come home on breaks and stuff, but…" he trailed off.

"You know," Kat ventured. "I'm still here now,".

Casper smiled as Kat laid down on the bed, and he did the same.

"That's good," he teased. looking at her. She giggled. "Because I have a great story about a crotchety old man and a certain ink bottle…".