The B&B in Barry had been quiet for nearly a month now. Something had happened and now... Well all the supernatural shit had stopped. For now at least, Annie thought miserably. She moved silently from room to room examining the unmade beds and dusty dresser tops. George and Nina were downstairs. She could hear them talking, whispering in fact, not wanting her to hear what they were saying. But she heard ever word as if George and Nina were leaning in her ear and shouting at her. So she hummed a dainty tune to keep her mind occupied. George had suggested that Annie should get out of the house and clear the cobwebs, so to speak. But Annie had found no reason to. Why would she leave this place? Full of memories and happiness...
And disease, George had pointed out. This house, though a home for many months now, was not really a place to be if you wanted to forget.
Where to go?
Annie paused outside of George and Nina's room. Her hands lingered on the doorframe. Her tuneless tune had evaporated. Before she knew it, she was staring at Mitchell's room.
Should she go in?
Annie closed her eyes and smiled. Memories fuzzy but still there, clearer than the memories of her being human.
"Shit, can you see me?"
"Of course! Who are you?"
"You can see me? Can you see me do that?"
"What's she talking about?"
"Oh my God you can hear me too. I don't believe this!"
"You don't believe it? Mitchell, call the police."
"George, its okay."
"It is most certainly not okay, we paid a deposit!"
"George, shut up! She's a ghost."
"Your point being?"
Annie opened her eyes and looked around the familiar living room. Students sat happily on Mitchell's sofa, laughing at the TV. There were four of them. Two girls. Two boys. Annie envied them as they sat oblivious to the ghost. Her eyes glazed over the relics that they had left behind. Mitchell's stereo system... George's old movie collection... They had never come back for their things. In a way, Annie was pleased that they were being used by someone and not something. Her hands glided over the 1980's records that Gilbert had bought. The wall where her door had appeared... Where Syke's door had appeared. Where she managed to defeat death.
They had moved the furniture! Bloody hell! Annie frowned looking at the new set up. The TV was just under the window and the sofa was pushed up against the fireplace. What on earth was the point in that? Surely it would make more sense to put the sofa against one of the walls and push the TV against one of the other walls.
Stupid sodding students.
Can't do a thing right.
Slowly Annie turned and saw the cracked floor where it had all begun. She didn't linger on it long. Owen was far, far away and could never hurt anyone ever again. A childish idea because in the fucked up world that she lived (or died, whatever it was) in he'd be out in 15 years, along with the insanity thing, he'd never be charged, he'd do it again. She looked up and saw the wall where she had painted the words "Get Out!" in red spray paint. Of course it had been painted over and now there was a picture of David Bowie that frankly looked unattractive. She secretly wished it had the desired effect and warded George and Mitchell from the house. Maybe then she would be spared the heartache.
She looked over the kitchen and saw that the table and chairs had been moved. All her favourite mugs were still there. She opened a cupboard and saw a crappy tin of cheap Tesco tea. She rolled her eyes and tutted. They were either born with no taste buds or they had them burnt off with years of crap food and drink. Annie bent down and opened one of the cupboards. Yep, she knew it. Cheap, cheesy crisps, bottles of plastic cheap soda. And not a hobnob packet in sight. Not even a jammie dodger. Instead of sugar they had opted for sweetener tablets. Price of living for you. Annie was almost glad she was dead.
Annie let out a sigh and wandered upstairs, her hands tracing the walls.
"Vampires can't come back, Annie,"
"You don't know that! He might come back! He might be fine! You and your bloody Jewish guilt, I know it's just easier to accept that he won't come back, but I know Mitchell, he won't give up!"
"I can't accept that he's gone!"
"Don't you 'Annie please' me, Nina! You don't know him like George and I do! He'll come back! Maybe not as a vampire, maybe as a ghost."
"There's no coming back,"
"Annie, no! I don't want to talk about it!"
Annie stopped and looked at the bathroom. There was no purpose for her anymore. George and Nina and the baby... They had each other. She was just going to be cold Aunt Annie. A spare part that nobody wanted. That nobody really needed.
She supposed she would look after the baby when George and Nina went off on a full moon. That is of course if the kid wasn't a werewolf as well.
Even then when it got older, it wouldn't need to be babysat.
Maybe she should just go through the door. She'd be with Mitchell. Her eyes flickered. Could she summon one? Should she tell Nina and George what she wanted to do? They'd put up a fight of course. But they couldn't see what she could see. They weren't dead. They could move on. While Annie would just waste away into dust and fade into the background.
She shook her head sadly and made her way back downstairs. One of the students was speaking happily to the other three. Annie watched them from the bottom of the stairs.
"Anyway, I was thinking maybe we could get some new tiles for the bathroom?" She was saying.
One of them grunted from behind their newspaper.
"I was thinking that we could actually redo the entire bathroom, because the last owner seriously had no taste."
Annie folded her arms, frowning. "What?" She said.
"And I was thinking we could take out the fireplace because it just gets in the way. And it looks ridiculous, to be perfectly honest."
"Oh, no!" Annie said. "I bought this house because I liked the fireplace!" She said. She paused. "But that's not all. No, I'm not that stupid just to buy an entire converted pub just because of the fireplace. Don't get me wrong, the fireplace was an integral part of the decision making process-"
"Vikki, it costs money to take out all that crap," Said one of the boys.
"Yes but I was thinking if we got a jar and put all our spare money into it, we could maybe afford it-"
"What about leaving everything as it is and using the spare change to buy proper food?" Annie suggested.
The other boy sighed and nodded, putting down his paper. "Okay, do what you want. As long as we don't rent out contractors that stay for three years and never let us back into our house."
"No, it's okay, I'll get my brother Barry to do it."
"Your brother's name is Barry?" Asked the other girl, frowning.
"Dad wasn't as mean to me," Vikki shrugged. "Now, who wants tea?"
One of the boys let out a grunt.
"What?" She asked.
"What is it with you and tea?" he asked, waving his hand, making her move to her left so he could see the TV.
"It's nice and homely and-"
"Because she's not working or going to college that she has to have a purpose," Said the other boy draining the last of his beer.
"Thanks Philip." Vikki said. "That's boosted my self esteem."
Philip seemed unfazed and continued reading. Vikki sighed and went to the kitchen. Annie followed her.
"I know how it feels," She said silently. "It feels like nobody wants you. It's like being closed away in a clear box where no one can see or hear you. You become part of the furniture. Nothing. You're just there."
Vikki dropped one of the crappy teabags into a cup along with several sweetener tablets. "Damn Harry and his bloody health kicks." She muttered.
"Oh so the other one is called Harry? Like Harry Potter?" Annie asked sitting on the chair. "I never really got into those books. I mean I saw the movies... Which one are we on now?"
Vikki poured the boiling water into the cup and stirred.
"Do you not want to check if the other girl wants one?"
"Sophie? Do you want tea?"
"No! I have beer,"
Vikki turned back to her cup. Annie stared at her.
"Why do you stay here?" Annie asked. "You're obviously not happy."
"They're my friends," Vikki whispered.
Annie nodded. "Yeah. I know what you mean."