Stevie Kenarban was eventually charged with illegally hacking into the theater's computer system which, considering the outcome was a complete slap on the wrist. He had tried to apologize but none of the Wilkersons was in any mood to see or hear from the little bastard that had caused the death of one of their own.
Each family member was reacting to the tragedy in a different way. Lois was stoic as ever, directing the everyday chores of the household and making sure everyone was fed and had clean clothes. Hal had taken to drinking non-stop and spent hours at the kitchen table looking at photos of the boys growing up. Dewey had turned off his emotions and acted like a robot. No one had seen him smile or play since the accident. Everyone had a bad feeling about that and was prepared for Dewey to eventually collapse into a sobbing mess.
Francis and Piama arrived the day after Reese's death. They were the only ones in the house that exhibited any sign of normalcy. Francis immediately noticed Malcolm was acting very strangely.
At the hospital, the doctor told Hal and Lois that Malcolm was suffering from severe emotional trauma and he was in shock. He was also suffering from a form of retrograde amnesia and a regression to earlier childhood. In plain English, Malcolm had no memory of the horrible events he had witnessed and he seemed to be mentally about 5 years old. Many people with this condition get better, however some do not. If that was the case here, his parents realized he would require care for the rest of his life.
When Malcolm saw Francis he tried to jump into his arms, apparently unaware that his body was far too large to be held by his oldest brother. "Francis! Francis! I love Francis!" Malcolm danced around the living room as Dewey stared at him with a blank expression and Lois just looked worried. Hal didn't react at all and was too deep into an alcoholic trance to care.
Later that night, Lois asked Francis to put Malcolm to bed. He eventually got him into his PJ's after 20 minutes of squirming, wrestling, and an incident where Malcolm streaked the rest of the family by running through the living room naked. Eventually Francis prevailed. He lovingly tucked his brother in and asked him if he understood what was going to happen the next day at the funeral.
"Buddy, do you know where we are all going tomorrow?" Francis smiled as Malcolm nodded his head.
"We're going to see Reese!" The smile faded from the older boy's lips as Malcolm gave him a big toothy grin.
"That's right, buddy. Tomorrow is for Reese, do you understand why?" Francis had a bad feeling about this conversation.
"We're gonna go see Reese in his play! I love Reese! I love Francis! I love mom! I love dad! I love plays!" Malcolm was getting excited again.
"Settle down, buddy. You have to go to sleep soon." Francis remembered his mom's advice about the sedative; if he couldn't get Malcolm to sleep right away then give him one spoonful of the blue liquid. "Here you go buddy, put this in your mouth and swallow, here's some water to help it down." Francis held the glass to his brother's lips and wondered if he would ever be ok again.
"Francis, can we get ice cream after the play? Reese likes ice cream and I do too!" Malcolm yawned and Francis was impressed at how fast the sedative was working.
"Sure buddy, we can get ice cream."
"Francis, will Reese come home after the play? I miss him!" Malcolm thankfully rolled over and went to sleep before Francis had to answer. He held his emotions together just long enough to lock himself inside the bathroom. He cried for a solid hour.
The next day was hot and muggy, adding to the general air of misery. Malcolm had seemed a little better, he no longer was acting like a 5 year old but he still had no memory of the tragedy that had befallen his family. He sat in silence throughout the long church service but seemed to make no connection to the big shiny box in the aisle. He actually wondered what was inside it.
Everyone piled back into their cars for the short drive to the cemetery. The priest droned on for 20 minutes or more. It was painfully hot and humid and the sky was turning dark as thunderstorms moved into the area. Malcolm Wilkerson tugged at his tie and felt light headed. He didn't care what his mom thought; he stripped off the light weight sport jacket she had forced him to wear and threw it to the ground.
Malcolm's eyes went in and out of focus. He had no memory of moving but he found himself standing next to his dad, holding a handful of dirt for some reason. Malcolm wondered if this was still the play, he wondered where Reese was, he wondered why he felt so sad all of a sudden. The guy playing the priest just said Reese's name, something snapped inside of Malcolm's head as reality came slamming back.
" … earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust."
Malcolm screamed. He sobbed so hard he couldn't breathe. He fell to his knees. He remembered everything.
"I'm sorry, Reese. I'm so fucking sorry!" Malcolm sat down in the dirt next to the grave and cried, pushing away everyone who tried to help him up or offer comfort.
"Dude, quit acting like such a big wuss bag, it's embarrassing."
Malcolm looked to his left and saw Reese sitting on the ground next to him, all decked out in the suit they had just buried him in; he looked happy. "Reese? Are you ok?"
The Wilkersons realized that their emotionally damaged son now seemed to be talking to his brother's ghost. Lois turned away; she simply couldn't deal with this. She fished the flask out of her purse and took a big hit of vodka.
"Dude, I'm dead. Aside from that, yeah I'm ok, it's not so bad."
Malcolm tried to hug his brother but his arms simply passed through him.
"You can't hug me; sorry about that but I don't make the rules. Anyway, I'm here to talk about you, not me. Look man, you have to pull yourself together, the family needs you. Dewey is about to crack wide open and dad is trying to drink himself into a coma. Did you know that Francis locked himself in the bathroom last night and cried because of something you said?"
"No way! Francis doesn't cry!" Malcolm felt defensive.
"Trust me, he does. The whole family is in pain, dude and they need you to stop being crazy. Like right now, stop being crazy and help the people who love you."
Reese began to fade as Malcolm felt himself regain his composure. "Wait! Don't go yet, man. I miss you so much, I love you so much."
"I'll always love you, dude, and I know you will always love me. I promise one day we will be together again. Now go and help our family. I love you, Malcolm, goodbye." Ghost Reese was gone.
Malcolm stood and wiped his eyes with his dirt stained hands, leaving dark marks on his face. It would have been comical under any other circumstance. He dusted himself off, knocking the dirt from his pants. He walked to his family who had been waiting a respectful distance away while Malcolm worked out his craziness.
He spoke softly. "Let's go home." Malcolm climbed into the back seat with Dewey and Francis. "Let's go home. We have some healing to do."