The Bruce and the Ghost
It was often quiet in that mess of a janitor’s closet. Quietness was appreciated, due to the unstableness of the various chemicals used by the residing scientist. Any distraction could cause a mistake in the mixtures, and as shown by previous events, the nature of the mixtures had a tendency to explode when not mixed correctly.
Of course, as it was a janitor’s closet, people had a tendency to come and go as they pleased, gathering various cleaning supplies or returning them. It was an unlikely place for his small lab to be set up, but he was an unlikely scientist, if you could really call him that.
His name was Vincent. VincentMcAmethyst. Vincent was just an average Ruki wearing a high-class monocle and a low-class potato sack. Of course, no one actually found his choice in wardrobe ‘average’, but it seemed more polite to not ask. Besides, the glowing red eyes and translucent blue body often unnerved most into leaving him alone. He fit the idea of being a frightful ghost well.
There were a few who didn’t mind his company and at least one of them would go out of their way to get it. That particular one was a pink Bruce by the name of Weiiz. Weiiz was the notoriously happy sort. He wore a bow tie and a tuxedo shirt. He also lived in a cardboard box. When asked about his choice of home, he would always say how he lived comfortably in the box and was not about to move anytime soon. The box was bigger on the inside, probably due to some form of magic, so there was certainly enough room for furniture and movement.
Still, even with all the space, Weiiz would manage to ‘accidentally’ spill over the potted plants. The mess just gave him more reason to go into the janitor’s closet, since he could get a broom to sweep it up. Really, Weiiz would only do so to visit with Vincent.
The closet was built for a shop in Neopia Central, and the owner of the shop let Vincent use it for his scientific studies. Weiiz’s box home was situated behind the shop, so the owner would let him go in to get cleaning supplies, provided that he occasionally clean the store for her. She didn’t seem to mind the Bruce bothering Vincent as he worked as long as no explosions were caused and the ghost Ruki stayed in the closet. Random destruction and supposed hauntings were bad for business, after all.
Vincent, at the moment, was still relishing in the quietness of the closet. He carefully added the exact number of drops needed for his current solution, which was some unknown liquid of the glowing green variety. He immediately put a cork at the top of the tube as he heard the door to the closet open.
“Hello there!” Weiiz said to the ghost as he walked in. “Fine day, wouldn’t you say? Of course, you probably wouldn’t realize, cooped up in here all the time and all.”
Vincent let out a low grunt of annoyance and put the test tube on a holding rack with a few others containing various color liquids.
Weiiz chuckled. “Not talking, are we? You must be working on something big. Concentrating so hard on it, you can’t even think beyond it to form words.”
The Ruki rolled his eyes a little and pointed to a broom and dust pan on the far wall. “There’s the broom. Take it and go clean up the potted plant you broke this time.”
“How are you so sure that I broke a potted plant?” The pink Bruce smiled up at the taller ghost.
“Why else would you be here?” Vincent muttered, looking over the list of measurements of what he used in his last experiment. “You only clean the shop on Tuesdays and today happens to be Friday.”
Weiiz shook his head and chuckled softly. “Is it so inconceivable that I came here merely to talk with you? You never allow time for anything leisurely. All you do is work, work, work, every day. I wonder half the time if you even know what you’re doing with that fancy-schmancy chemistry set of yours.”
“If you’re only here to socialize, then please leave and talk to one of your actual friends. You’re distracting me.”
“That’s what I mean!” He threw his arms up for effect. “You still choose work above all else. You have amazing stamina, yet you do all work and no play. How do you not get so tired?”
“It comes with being a ghost.” The Ruki looked a little sad for a brief moment, but it went away quickly and before anybody could notice. He looked down at Weiiz. “Please, I’m asking you again. Leave me with my work. Maybe bother a friend, like I suggested.”
“But you’re my best friend.” Weiiz chimed. “So I rather talk with you.”
Vincent gave him an indecipherable look. “I’m your best friend?”
“Indeed you are. You’re my favorite person to spend time with.”
The ghost tapped on the table for a moment, trying to figure something out. “What is it you want?”
“Cynical, are we?” Weiiz chuckled lightly. “I only want you to spend some time away from here. Maybe go for walk, get some ice cream. Ice skate. There’s more to life than working, you know.”
“You mean afterlife,” he muttered. He picked up volume again and looked at the Bruce. “I float more than walk, as a ghost I don’t eat, and I never tried ice skating before. But if it’ll get you to leave me alone, I’ll spend a day away from working.”
Weiiz grinned. “Brilliant. We can go around tomorrow, and find something that you can enjoy besides work. But for now...” He walked towards the broom and dust pan and picked them up. “Now, I have a potted plant that I need to sweep up.”
Vincent blinked, and then glared a little. “You said that you only came here to talk.”
“No, I asked if it’s inconceivable that I did.” Weiiz smiled as he walked out of the janitor’s closet. “Which apparently, it is. I’ll see you tomorrow, Mr. McAmethyst.”
The door shut, leaving Vincent alone in the mess of a room. “Ice skate?” he asked himself quietly, face morphing into a quizzical look. He shook the train of thought away and turned back to the chemistry set. He continued to work until the next day.
Weiiz woke up the next morning, dressed in his usual attire, ate breakfast and prepared a lunch. He brought along a couple hundred neopoints, just in case. He made sure things were tidy around the cardboard box home and picked up the broom and dust pan that he kept there overnight. He thought that if he waited for the next day to return it, then he could make sure that his friend left the closet for the day.
He walked into the shop, greeted the shopkeeper who was preparing for business hours, and then went into the janitor’s closet. The pink Bruce delighted in seeing that Vincent had apparently tried to make himself look nice for the day. The Ruki still wore his usual potato sack, but at least it didn’t look nearly as dirty as it was before.
Vincent was busy, storing the various components he used and experiments he worked on. If he was going to be gone for the day, he didn’t want to leave them out in the open. He was too caught up in storing everything that he didn’t notice Weiiz come in.
Vincent almost dropped the beaker he was holding. He placed it on the table to prevent dropping it again and turned around. He looked down at the Bruce. “It’s Vincent. Not Vinny.”
Weiiz chuckled. “Busy at work again, are we?”
The ghost shook his head. “Not exactly. I was just putting things away, since we’ll probably be gone all day.”
The pink Neopet smiled at that. “Wonderful! Ready to go?”
“Just a moment.” Vincent put away the final few beakers and turned back to Weiiz. “Now I’m ready.”
“Great! Follow me!” Weiiz walked out of the closet. He waved to the shopkeeper as he passed her.
Vincent floated after the Bruce. He nodded to the shopkeeper in greeting and continued to follow Weiiz. As they left the shop, the ghost took the time to look around the Neopia Central Marketplace. He hadn’t been outside the shop in a long while, so everything was a surprise to him. It was still early morning, the sun just rising up in the distance. It was a mixture of darkness being over taken by light and emptiness in the marketplace streets. Not very many people were out at the time, since stores were only just preparing to open for the day.
Vincent almost found it delightful. It was like some quiet beauty. But he knew that as a quiet beauty, it would soon grow loud as stores opened and customers flocked into the street. He noticed Weiiz ambling down the street and followed, eager to get leave before it did become loud.
The Bruce smiled warmly at his friend. “So I figured we could go to Happy Valley today. A walk in the snow would be very different from working in a closet all day, eh? You could have a snowball fight!”
“Snowball fight? But that sounds so... childish...”
“That’s not the point, Vinny.” Weiiz chuckled at the ghost. “The point is to have fun!
“...Don’t call me Vinny.”
“Vincent, then.” Weiiz looked up at him. “You really should try it at least once. It’s always a good thing to try something new.”
“Hmm...” The Ruki said nothing more and followed the Bruce to Happy Valley.
By the time they got there, it was bright enough for various Neopets to be up and about. Vincent watched idly as young pets frolicked in the snow. He couldn’t help but feel out of place there. He was just a ghost, floating around with a constant frown on his face. He knew that he didn’t really fit with the theme of a HAPPY valley. He sighed and wanted to go back to his work. At least then he wouldn’t stand out.
Vincent blinked a few times, distracted from his thoughts by a short whistle. He looked at Weiiz, who whistled again.
“Are you okay there?” the pink Bruce asked, sounding concerned, “You look a little... sad. That would be odd, since I normally only see you slightly angry.”
“I’m not sad.” The ghost waved off the thought. “And I normally am angry because you keep interrupting my work.”
Weiiz smiled a little. “Very well then. What do you want to do first?”
“You choose. I have no idea what there is to do here.”
“Alright then, Mr. McAmethyst. Follow me.” Weiiz walked ahead of Vincent, humming a little tune.
Vincent frowned a little and followed the Bruce. He wondered his judgment of agreeing to spend the day him. The Ruki realized that he wasn’t paying attention to where he was going and looked up to notice that Weiiz was gone. “Weiiz? Where did you...” He trailed off as he felt something pass quickly through him. It hit the ground with a slight thud. Vincent picked it up and noticed that it was a snowball. “Strange...” He looked around and saw who threw it.
Weiiz stood a little ways away, with a group of other Neopets, all holding snowballs. Vincent suddenly had a bad feeling, made worse when Weiiz shouted for everyone to throw their snowballs.
The Ruki braced himself and was soon covered by a pile of snowballs. He heard the laughter of the other Neopets and sighed. He didn’t think it was so funny. Suddenly he had an idea. He floated through the pile of snowballs and looked at Weiiz. The pink Bruce had his back turned, to congratulate the other pets for helping him. Vincent took aim and...
“Oof!” Weiiz felt something cold hit his back and he tipped over into the snow. He got back up and looked at Vincent who seemed to be smiling softly. He smiled as well. “Good aim, my friend! Want to continue with this snowball fight?”
“...Continue?” Vincent honestly thought that the last snowball he threw would be the end of it.
“Yes, all of us against you.” Weiiz chuckled. “Ready? Fire!”
Some of the pets started throwing snowballs at Vincent again and others took their time to make snowballs. Vincent dodged what he could, but was hit by others. He took snowballs from the pile they originally threw at him and threw them back at the other pets.
The pets giggled and the fight continued. Some eventually even joined Vincent’s side against the others. Eventually, they all lay in the snow, tired from the fight.
Weiiz sat next to the ghost and laughed. “Good game, yes? I had fun.”
“Yes, that...” Vincent smiled a little and chuckled. “I agree, that actually was fun.”
“Indeed. But I must know, that first snowball went through you. Why did all the others hit you?”
“Oh...” The Ruki frowned again. “I am a ghost, I must remind you. Normally I just go through things. But if I’m aware of an object, I can make it so that I can touch it, pick it up, etcetera... Mind you, I didn’t want to be hit, but I didn’t have enough time to think against being tangible. It’s a little confusing.”
“No, not at all.” Weiiz smiled at his friend. “I understood it. Are you hungry? I brought lunch.”
“No, I don’t eat.”
“Do you mind if I eat, then?”
“No, go ahead.”
The Bruce nodded and pulled out the lunch he packed. It was still a warm, though the cold air was cooling it quickly. He ate quietly and noticed Vincent watching him. “...You used to eat when you were living, yes? I bet you miss it. You always seem to get a little upset whenever you mention that you’re a ghost.”
“...I don’t get upset.” The Ruki knew it was a lie, but he didn’t really want to say anything else about it. “...What are we going to do now that you’ve finished eating.”
“Hmm. Why don’t we just talk?”
“Talk? About what?”
“Do you like being a ghost?” Weiiz didn’t sound so chipper for once. He sounded serious about the question. “Be honest this time.”
Vincent frowned. “Of all the questions...” he muttered. He sighed and looked off in the distance. “Not really. I had some things in my life that I wanted to do but now will probably not get the chance, since I’m... Right...”
“Some things? Ooh, like what?” Weiiz chuckled.
“I had people I cared about... I wanted to make sure that they would have a good life. But I scared them so much when I came back as a ghost, so I left in shame. I grew used to being alone, so I prefer that now. So I normally work for all I can in that janitor’s closet.”
“I see...” Weiiz thought about this a moment. “Not everyone would be scared of you, though. And company is always a nice thing to have. That’s why I visit you as much as possible, since no one should have to be alone.”
“Hm. Is that why I’m your best friend?”
“Yes,” the pink Bruce grinned, “though I know that you like to spend time alone. It’s alright if you don’t consider me a friend.”
Vincent looked at the snow on the ground and then at Weiiz. “What are we going to do now?”
“Well, if we leave now, by the time we get back to the shop it’ll be dark. I think we had a nice day here, don’t you?”
“Yeah... Nice day.” Vincent nodded and got up. “Let’s go.”
The ghost followed the Bruce and they made their way back to Neopia Central. It was dark and the shops were just closing up. It was another kind of quiet beauty, but this time Vincent didn’t notice because he was busy thinking of something. The shopkeeper let the two in and Vincent made his way to the closet. Before he went in, he looked over at Weiiz. “We can do something like this again, right?”
“Oh? Would you want to?” Weiiz looked up at the Ruki, smiling at the thought, “It would be a nice thing to do, but are you sure you are willing to?”
“I think...” Vincent trailed off but then continued talking, “I think that I’m busy with my work. But I’d be willing to take some time off every now and then to spend time with a friend.” Vincent smiled fondly at Weiiz and then went into the janitor’s closet to continue his work.
VincentMcAmethyst and Weiiz are pets on my side account pi_x_infinity.