Over the years the residents of Button House had settled into a comfortable routine. Mondays were for food club, the TV was all Pat’s on Friday mornings, and Kitty joined Alison for a sleepover once a month. Another part of this routine was the constant chaos that clung to the house’s walls and the discoveries the ghosts made almost everyday.
Last year Alison had started a vinyl collection; it had begun with the Beatles and David Bowie (much to Pat’s delight) but had recently grown to include more modern artists, including the Peppa Pig vinyl. The Captain and Pat were currently huddled around Alison and her newest record, Pat out of pure excitement and Captain using the excuse of ‘supervision’ to, poorly, hide his own joy. This record was housed in sunset orange, the cover was psychedelic in nature, with two figures surrounded by flames on grassy hills illuminated by the never-ending sun behind them.
Cap was, undeniably, fascinated. Most of Alison’s records featured edited photos of artists’ faces or were simply text on a coloured background and this new style was very intriguing.
At first he hadn’t understood Alison's hobby of reverting to such an old method of playing music when it seemed she could conjure it with a swipe of her finger on a ‘smartphone’. His uncle Percy had owned a phonograph that played records with a gritty crackle and sanded down his ears. That had been unpleasant, unlike Alison’s teal Crosley, which filled the room with the smooth melodies of various genres. Collecting vinyls clearly made Alison happy so the Captain had also come to appreciate them. The other ghosts tended to have a passing interest, occasionally sitting by Alison’s side as she listened to music with a glass of wine, but Pat was always there. Pat’s face would light up when Alison played Queen or when a flat package arrived in the post and Cap couldn’t help but feel his joy alongside him; so Alison, Pat and himself became accustomed to sitting together and revelling in the collection.
Alison carefully removed the vinyl from it’s sleeve, revealing an equally orange record flecked with gold paint. Cap wanted to touch it, to feel its grooves and textures, and was disappointed as he remembered he couldn't. From the corner of his eye he saw Pat’s leg begin to bounce with anticipation as Alison set the needle on the disc.
It was very different to what Alison usually listened to and wasn’t quite his taste but watching it spin made his head fuzzy and full. He straightened his back and watched Alison and Pat intently listen– their head’s swaying occasionally– and wondered how they could enjoy themselves without a care. A pang of jealousy struck his heart momentarily before he locked it away.
Kitty entered the room, coming to sit next to the Captain with a bright smile and a flash of curiosity behind her eyes.
“Hi, Captain. What are you listening to today?”
“You’ll have to ask Alison that one. I’m not too sure.”
Kitty moved to sit by Alison, whispering thousands of questions into her ears, and Cap once again zoned out, watching the scene as an outsider. Alison’s phone rang and she excused herself, leaving Pat and Kitty to dance to the more upbeat songs and listen in awe to those more sombre, eyes as bright as the sun on the record cover and filled with mirth.
The final song faded out and he hurried to bed.
He dreamt of the sun and laughing children, with beady eyes and flaxen hair.