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"I'll be back in a few minutes. Hang in there."
"You don't have to leave already do you?"
"I just have to go hunt down the doctor and ask him a question. I'll be right back."
"Okay. Maybe I'll take a little nap while you're gone."
"Do that. I'll be back before you know it."
* * * * *
"He's so weak. Isn't there something we can do for him?"
"No. There's no way for us to intervene this time."
"But it doesn't have to be a miracle or anything. Isn't there some medical treatment that could help him? Give him a little more time?"
"I don't know. There might be. If Sammy was some rich guy's kid he might have a chance. But he isn't and he doesn't."
"Don't sugar coat it, Billy. Just say what you feel."
"Sammy's going to die."
* * * * *
Silence filled the room as the teenager slept with his guardian spirits watching over him.
Both spirits looked on in surprise as the boy in the bed sat up and looked directly at them.
"Don't worry. We're friends."
"You look familiar. I'm pretty sure I've seen you before but I don't remember where I met you."
"We've actually met a few times, but the most memorable time was when we went trick or treating with you and your brother."
"You're the vampire and the zombie?"
"What are you doing here, in my hospital room?"
"That's kind of difficult to explain." One began to say when the other interrupted, "While that would normally be true, this once, I think we can actually explain exactly who and what we are."
"Are you sure?" His companion asked worriedly.
"Yes." He responded, then turned to the boy in the bed and said, "My name is Billy and this is John. Back when you met us the first time, when I was a vampire and John was a zombie, we were ghosts walking the earthly plane on All Hallow's Eve, taking the rare opportunity to visit the world we had left behind."
"So, you're saying that you're ghosts?" Sammy quietly asked.
"Yes. That's right. In fact, we tried to explain to you how things worked so you wouldn't be too afraid if you found out."
"You said that on Halloween, the ghosts can physically walk in the world of the living... but that they aren't mean. They don't want to hurt anyone."
"Yes. That's exactly right."
"It's Halloween, isn't it?"
"That's right, Sammy. What with everything else going on right now, I didn't think that you remembered." Billy said frankly.
"You know my name?"
"Of course. That night that we met, John and I decided to become your guardian spirits. We've remained on the earthly plane, hidden from sight, ever since." Billy carefully explained.
"So all those weird things that happened? That was you?" Sammy asked slowly.
"Every now and then, when we saw something dangerous in your path, we either diverted you or did something to stop it." John quietly admitted.
"So when Jody started saying that I had a guardian angel watching over me... he was right?" Sammy asked with a smile.
"More or less." Billy said warmly.
"Why are you here now? Why are you telling me this?" Sammy asked anxiously.
"I think you already know that." Billy said grimly.
"The leukemia... it's been getting worse and worse..." Sammy said as he fought to contain his tears.
"That's right. It's past the point where anything more can be done." Billy said gently.
"No. That's not true." John interrupted.
Both Sammy and Billy looked at him with question.
"There may not be anything more that we can do to save your physical body, but that doesn't mean that there's nothing that we can do." John said firmly.
"I don't see what you're getting at." Billy said honestly.
"Do you know of some way to make me better?" Sammy asked uncertainly.
"Sammy... Mr. Ewok." John corrected with a pained smile, "What I'm trying to tell you is that even though you may not be able to choose 'if' you're going to die, you can still choose 'how'."
"He's right. Not everyone has the chance to prepare. You can decide what's most important and see to that before it's too late." Billy confirmed.
"All that's important is Jody. It's going to kill him. He's spent his whole life trying to take care of me."
"What do you want to tell him before you go? What's going to bring him the most peace when you're gone?" John gently asked.
"I don't know... I've told him that I love him. I've told him that almost every day of our lives. I don't know what more to say." Sammy said honestly.
"Maybe tell him that you don't blame him for the way things turned out." Billy suggested.
"I got leukemia, that's not his fault. That's no one's fault. I can't even blame it on my mom and dad."
"While it's true that this isn't Jody's fault, it still might help him to hear from you that you don't blame him and that everything he did for you was enough." John explained.
"Do you know when... you know... I'm going to... go?" Sammy asked haltingly.
"How do you feel?" Billy asked in nearly a whisper.
"Okay... actually, I don't feel anything. It's not hurting. I don't feel tired." Sammy said in rising astonishment.
"You passed away just after your brother stepped out of the room." Billy said regretfully.
"But you said that I still had time, that I could tell Jody that it's not his fault." Sammy said in turmoil.
"You can." Billy assured him.
"It's Halloween. On this night, the spirits of the dead can walk among the living." John quietly provided.
"So I can tell Jody all the stuff that I want to?"
"That's right. You tell him everything that you need to tell him. When you're done, we'll take you to what's next."
"What's that?" Sammy asked cautiously.
"You don't have to worry about that right now. Just spend time with your brother and do your best to give him what he'll need in the days and weeks to come." Billy said in his gentle but firm way.
"Just know that when you're done, we'll be here to help you. You're not going to have to face this alone." John assured him.
"Thanks..." Sammy began to say as the hospital room door suddenly opened.
"You're awake!" Jody said with surprise.
"Yeah." Sammy confirmed as he glanced to where John and Billy had been standing a moment before, only to find empty air.
"I asked the doctor and he said that you could have a little candy corn, if you wanted." Jody said encouragingly.
"Sit down, Jody. There's something important I need to tell you." Sammy said as he rested back in the bed, feeling the weight of his body, barely hanging off of him.
* * * * *
"Do you think it was enough?"
"It's going to have to be."
"What if he tells Jody about us? Is that going to get us into trouble?"
"The ranting of a dying boy in his last moments... probably not. But I trust Sammy not to tell."
"Shouldn't we be in there with them?"
"No. There are certain landmark events that Sammy has to handle on his own or they'll have no meaning. This is one of them. We gave our advice, but the rest is up to him."
"This could take some time. Is there anything else you want to do, I mean, since it's halloween."
"No. There really isn't anything in the world that interests me. How about you?"
"Not really. I thought about checking in on my mom and dad, but all that ever does is stir up old feelings that are best left in the past."
"Yes. I feel the same way about mine. I'm glad you're finally able to let it go."
"I guess that now it's going to be the three of us, watching over Jody."
"It could be. That all depends on the decisions that Sammy makes."
"What if he wants to watch over Jody all by himself?"
"Then we'll abide by his decision."
"I've never once regretted being their guardian spirit. I've never wanted for it to end."
"I know. Don't worry about it. I doubt that Sammy is going to ask us to leave."
"I feel like we should be in there."
"It's awfully quiet. We should probably check on them."
* * * * *
As they drifted into the room, they saw the older brother holding the body of the younger and crying as the spirit form of Sammy silently watched.
"How did it go?" John quietly asked.
"I said what I needed to say." Sammy said in anguish.
"No matter what happens next, he's not going to be left alone. We've sworn to watch after you and your brother and that's what we plan to do." Billy said firmly.
"I told him that I'd be watching over him from the afterlife. I can really do that, I mean, since you're here, I can do that too, can't I?" Sammy asked desperately.
"Of course you can..." John began to say, but was interrupted by Jody.
"I'm going to call the doctor now. Don't worry. I got what you were saying. I'm going to be alright. I promise." Jody said as he finally released the body of his younger brother.
"Let's give your brother some time to attend to things and we'll check in on him again in a little while. Right now, you're going to have a few decisions to make." Billy carefully explained.
"Actually, why don't I stay here with Jody while you guys take care of that?" John asked gently.
"I don't want to leave Jody." Sammy immediately complained.
"Don't worry. I'll keep an eye on him. He'll be here once you've decided what you're going to do." John said gently.
"Do you promise that I'll get to see Jody again?" Sammy cautiously asked.
"Yes. If you want, you can choose to stay with him forever."