Lori and Connor waited for the elevator. Not too many students were around. Lori was glad. They needed to get in and out. The last thing she needed was someone to hold them up.
“Lori! Where have you been? You missed the Spanish exam yesterday.” A voice said from behind them. Lorelei turned to see her floormate, Robin. “Don’t worry; I told the professor that you were not feeling well. She said you could take it on Monday.”
“Thanks, Robin. I appreciate it,” Lori smiled. “I wasn’t feeling that good anyway.”
“It’s all good.” Robin turned to Connor. “And who’s this?”
“Remember my friend I told you about. This is him,” Lori said.
“OH! You’re, uh, Connor, right? Lori has told me so much about you. You beat her in video games all the time. I saw your score on Lori’s system.” Robin held out her hand. “Robin Thompson. A pleasure.”
Connor smiled and shook her hand.
“Ooh, the strong silent type. Lori, I’m jealous.” Robin laughed
Lori laughed nervously. “Well, we have to head up to my apartment. I’ll see you later.” Lori grabbed Connor’s hand and rushed into the elevator.
“Bye! Nice meeting you, Connor. Lori, don’t do anything I won’t do.” Robin waved at them as the elevator doors closed.
“That was an experience,” Connor thought. “Nice girl.”
“Trust me, five more minutes, and you would’ve changed those words. Robin is cool, but she can be a bit nosey. She’s a Psychology major. Getting to know people is her thing. Sometimes it can get a bit annoying. Love her all the same.” Lori pushed her floor button. “You’re going to have to get your story straight. How are you going to tell people you can’t speak?”
Connor shrugged. “I’ll think of something.”
The elevator doors opened, and they walked to Lori’s apartment. Several spirits waved at her.
“Hey, everyone. Nice to see you.” Lori said as they passed by.
“I didn’t know so many spirits lingered around here. I’m kind of glad I didn’t know.” Connor thought.
“Yeah, they do. They’re all nice, so I don’t mind. Say hi.”
Connor waved to the spirits.
“Wow! He can see us? Cool! Hey, mister!” A small spirit said. Connor noticed that half of the boy’s body was burnt.
“Hey,” Connor thought.
“Awesome! I can hear you in my head! That’s so cool.” The spirit ran off down the hall before disappearing.
“See? Not so bad.” Lori opened her door and stepped inside. Her apartment was a sight for sore eyes. It felt like a year had passed since she was here. “I’m going to take a quick shower and change. You know where everything is.” Lori said, placing her keys on the corner and heading into the bathroom. Connor sat down on the couch and looked at his phone. He looked for Joel’s number and sent him a message.
“Hey, how’s it going?” Connor texted.
“I’m bored. Some kid spirits came up to me and said I was under their protection? Is this a prank?” Joel responded.
“No, Lori told them to watch the car. I didn’t know she had to deal with this many spirits every day. I’ve seen so many since we got here. Most were kids.”
“Really? ****, that’s a shame. Thomas says hi, by the way.”
Connor rolled his eyes. “Is that his way of telling us to hurry up?”
“He says, what do you think?” Joel responded. “Dad’s calling. brb.”
Connor wondered when was the last time he had spoken to their father. He remembers them not leaving on the best terms. “Of course he calls Joel. What a surprise. Would he even care if Joel told him what happened to me? He might find it to be a blessing in disguise.” Connor tossed his phone aside and closed his eyes.
“Excuse me?” A voice asked.
Connor’s eyes opened, and he saw a little purple spirit standing in front of him.
“Is Lorelei around? I heard she was back. What am I doing? You can’t hear me. No one but Lorelei can.”
“I can hear you,” Connor thought. “She’s here, but she’s busy. Can I take a message?”
“How are you doing that? I can hear you in my head. Are you like her?” The purple spirit asked. It sat on the floor cross-legged.
“Kind of. My name’s Connor. What’s yours?”
“Sam, cool name. What happened to you? If you don’t mind me asking.”
“Some bullies made fun of me. They kept saying mean stuff and wouldn’t leave me alone. One day, they took my medicine and threw it out the window. I couldn’t breathe. Then I ended up like this. I don’t like it here. Lori makes it fun, but I want to go home,” Sam said.
Connor could feel the pain in Sam’s voice. He remembers what it was like being bullied. The only difference was he made them pay for it.
“I’m sorry, Sam. I’ve been bullied before too. Both my brother and I have been bullied our fair share of times. It’s never fun.”
“What did you do?” Sam asked. “I used to hide. Sometimes in the closet at home. Sometimes in the bathroom at school. It didn’t matter. They always found me.”
“Well, I didn’t hide. I tried to ignore them at first, but they kept bugging me. So you know what I did? I told them if they didn’t stop, I’d make them stop. I let them know that I wasn’t going to put up with their crap anymore.”
“Did you kick their ass?” Sam asked.
Connor laughed. “Don’t say that.”
“Oh. Some people around here say it. I thought it was okay. So, did you?”
“Yes, I kicked their ass. I did warn them to leave me alone. I know I should probably say violence isn’t the answer or whatever. However, sometimes it’s the only one. They never bothered me again.”
“You’re so cool! I wish I had a brother. It was just me. Can you be my brother?” Sam asked.
“Sure, but I take no responsibility for anything.”
Sam’s spirit glowed brighter. “I-I feel weird. I feel…” Sam smiled. “Thank you.” He said before fading away.
Connor kept looking at where Sam was sitting, then he smiled.
“What are you so happy about?” Lori said, closing the bathroom door.
Connor looked at the ground one last time before turning to Lorelei.“Ah, nothing. You ready?”
“Yes, I got what I needed. Shall we?” Lori grabbed her keys, and they headed back to the car. Before they made it to the elevator, the little red spirit appeared in front of them.
“Lorelei! That guy you told us to watch. He’s um…”
“Hey, what’s wrong?” Lori asked.
“He’s gone. I tried to help him. We all did, but it was too strong. It made my friends disappear. I’m sorry.” The red spirit said before vanishing.
Lori and Connor didn’t bother waiting for the elevator. They raced down the stairs.
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