Rebel Girl wiped her tears away and smiled at Peter. “Thank you.”

“For what?” Peter said.

“Ever since I was little I wondered what happened to her.” She glanced at her grandparents. “I can’t believe it was Mr Cupido. How could he have done this? He was always so nice to me. He never raised his voice to me, and he was always concerned about how I felt about Melissa. He told me stories about her and how they worked at the church together. I can’t believe it…and he was a father. His son Selvin still lives next door.”

“Was? Where is he now? Old Mr Cupido?”

“Dead. He died last year. We went to the funeral. I can’t believe this. Does this mean he’s got away with murdering my aunt?”

Rebel Girl’s sadness disappeared and was replaced with fury. It was like she wanted Mr Cupido to be dead, but she was disappointed that she hadn’t been able to be the one to kill him.

“Dirty old bastard. Death is not enough punishment!” Rebel Girl spat.

“Don’t talk like that, girlie. You must have respect for the dead,” said the old man.

“He didn’t respect Melissa! He killed her, Oupie. I don’t have an aunt!”

The old man kept quiet. Rebel Girl’s rage was uncontrollable. Peter stepped closer to her and put his hand on her shoulder. He wanted to comfort her.

“What’s your name?” Peter asked her.


“Awesome. Now I can stop thinking of you as ‘Rebel Girl’.”

Charlene smiled. His attempt at humour worked on her. Her shoulders eased up. Her rage faded.

“Well sir, what are you going to do about this new information?” Peter asked the old man politely.

“We need some time to think about everything. I don’t want to rush this.”

“I understand.” Peter turned to Charlene. “Do you have a pen and paper?”

She rummaged in a rucksack on the dining table.

Peter scribbled on the piece of paper she handed him. “Here’s my number in case you want to file a report.”

“Thank you.” Mr Peters shook his hand firmly. “Sorry about yelling earlier.”

“Do you have a shotgun?” Peter asked.

“No. Why?”

“No reason.”

Peter stood up. He was ready to leave. The night had turned into bundle of awkward conversations and illogical leaps.

“You’re weird, aren’t you?” Charlene asked.

“Kind of, but I usually don’t communicate with the ‘presumed dead’. That’s new.”

“I’m sure.”

Her smile burnt more than her stare, but Peter did not mind this heat. Her radiance was intense, but he wanted more. He walked to the door and Charlene followed.

“I’m glad we have your number,” she said.

“Why? You want to date me?”

“Maybe. I’m attracted to guys who talk to my dead aunt.”

Peter looked back at the house and saw Charlene at the window. She was watching him leave. He waved at her. She smiled and waved back. He turned around and headed back to the Wilson residence. He hoped that he would see her again.

The coldness of the night did not bother him anymore. Why had Melissa chosen him? Why hadn’t she let him know she was dead?

He ran through all the events of the evening: a ghost, a flirty middle-aged woman and an angry old man. These were all significant encounters, but he thought about Rebel Girl Charlene the most. Was she the reason Melissa had come to him? He shook his head. Crazy, thinking Charlene’s dead aunt had led him to her, but stranger things have happened.

The night was warm with the memory of human experience. He had affected the lives of three people that night – in a good way. Decisions about his future did not seem impossible anymore. All Peter wanted was to connect. All he wanted was to belong. And he’d certainly done that. Peter smiled. Suddenly the world felt like a better place to be in.


Tell us what you think: How has this event changed Peter, and why?

The End