"The amount of washing that werewolf generates is unbelievable!" Annie sighed pulling out the wet clothes from the washing machine and throwing it into a basket. "And I don't see you being much help either."
Hal lowered his coffee and looked over at the ghost who was tutting away, whether she was content about being unhappy, or unhappy because she was content doing the domestic housework, he couldn't tell.
"You've never complained to me before," Hal said, turning the page to his newspaper. "Ah, two for one sale on at Morrison's,"
"Unless it's a two for one deal on nappies and bottom cream," Annie hauled the wash basket over and sat it on the counter. "Then we are not going."
"And why not?"
"Because Tom will steal things that he wants but can't afford, and you will put back those things that he has stolen and inevitably get caught by the security guard who happens to want a donut at the time," Annie said.
"You underestimate my stealth skills," Hal said mildly.
Annie laughed. "I think you overestimate those abilities,"
"500 hundred years you tend to learn a few things," Hal said.
Annie chuckled. "That's what Wyndham said when he entered here uninvited."
Hal's head shot up. "Wyndham?"
"Don't tell me, you were best buds back in the day?" Annie said.
"Well sort of," Hal smiled. "He was an arrogant sod. Where is he?"
"George staked him after killing…" Annie sighed. "Does it matter? He's dead now."
"Wyndham was powerful," Hal said. "Over 1000 years old, George must have been very strong to have killed him."
"Well didn't do him much good in the end," Annie said. "His strength, leaving his daughter to be with Nina,"
"Annie," Hal looked over. "You're trying to make his passing easier by blaming him for not being strong enough. Don't do that."
"I can't help it Hal," Annie said. "These thoughts, they're like… Parasites."
"Probably the best way to describe them, yes," Hal said.
"You think that way about people who have… Passed over?"
"On more than one occasion, and about many," Hal said, in a tiresome voice.
"Oh," Annie sat down.
Hal turned a page and yelled. "THAT'S MINE!"
"What?" Annie got up and moved around him as he pointed to a posh detailed pocket watch with a cracked face that dated back from the 1900's that was going to auction in the area, along with other personal effects like a miniature portrait of an upstanding gentleman and his horse. "How do you know it's yours?" She asked.
"Because I do!"
"Er…" Annie squinted.
"I accidently dropped it during a patrol and the bloody horse trampled it when I was out in India!" Hal cried. "I couldn't get it fixed and by time we had returned to England the parts to fix it were out of production!"
"A horse? You're kidding me!"
"That's what you are concentrating on?" Hal asked, looking up at her.
"Oh," Annie didn't know how to react to this. Mitchell never really had this problem, coming from a small village in Ireland without much things and staying largely in the same areas. "Hal, are you sure it's yours?"
Hal pointed at the second photo which observed the back of the watch and two initials were engraved in elegant hand.
"H. Y…. Hal York?"
"Or as I was known, Henry," Hal said.
"You can't afford it," Annie said, pointing towards the price.
Hal huffed a little. "I know, but it's strange seeing something from your past that you never thought you'd see again."
"So, do vampires just shed those old things and let them go?" Annie asked.
"In a way," Hal replied. "I know some who have become collectors of the past, their specific pasts. Others tend to push it away and start again every couple of years, become someone new. It's just easier, helps us forget the things that really shouldn't be forgotten, like morality."
"Mm," Annie smiled. "Wouldn't mind starting again, forgetting all of this," She nodded around her. "All the things that I've done since I died, I'd like to forget some of them."
"Surely not your friends?" Hal raised an eyebrow. "Not Tom, or Eve?"
"No, you guys… You, Tom, Eve, George, Mitchell and Nina… I think I could never forget any of you. But everything in between… The death, the constant fight to be human, having to protect those I love when they shouldn't need protection, this shouldn't be happening," Annie stopped. "It's when it gets comfortable – the killing, that's when I'm really scared. When it becomes okay…"
"That's how it feels." Hal said, closing the newspaper. "The death, becomes comforting because we know what lies beyond. Death should never be a comfortable thing. It's the loss of breathing, the loss of tangibility, the loss of everything natural and rational."
"Well," Annie's face broke into a beautiful smile. "I'm glad I'm not a vampire at any rate."
Hal chuckled, finishing his coffee. "Being a ghost would certainly be the kinder options of the supernatural world."
"Oh I'll let passing ghosts I meet know that," Annie said. "At least you can be seen and heard."
"It's not always a good thing, because then people can see your mistakes and make… Make so many judgements on your decisions and choices. Perhaps it is better to stay hidden and so forth."
"People judged me all my life and pretty much when I was dead too." Annie said. "Isn't that strange? How a person's opinion of you can change like that when you're dead?"
"I knew this woman back at home and we hated each other. Absolutely hated each other. She thought I was a stuck up so-and-so and she was just some tart who liked to sleep with everyone and anyone she could. Turns out, she was so intimated by me and so broken she didn't know how to address other people." Annie sighed. "Strange really,"
"Death also reveals truths about us that we'd never thought existed. A seemingly cold man, who cries at a funeral becomes a man who has in fact become hardened by loss and tragedy and in fact is not cold at all," Hal said.
"Hal, your age is showing,"
"It also brings out the redemptive qualities," Annie said, twisting her fingers. "To love, and forgive, and move on. Enemies who have lost a common friend in turn reach to each other for support. It's really strange. I'm certain that someone said something deep and meaningful about death, but I can't remember it."
"Death unites us, grief unites us," Hal said.
"Something like that." Annie said. She cleared her throat. "Tea?"
"Please," Hal said. "Would you like me to put the washing on the line?" He got up and picked up the heavy basket, his arms flexing under his jumper.
"If you could," Annie said clicking on the kettle. "And Hal,"
The vampire stopped and looked at the grey ghost pulling out two cups. "Yes?"
Annie smiled sadly. "Nothing, doesn't matter. Don't forget you have Eve in an hour,"
"I never forget," Hal said, opening the back door and ducking out into the garden. Annie watched him quietly.
"No, I suppose you don't," She muttered.