Ghostbur remembers the rain.
He remembers when it would put out his cigarettes and soak into his shoes, but despite all this he was happy because the water helped him breathe.
He must have been happy.
He must have been.
How else would Ghostbur remember it with so much clarity?
When Fundy was little, he would take him out on rainy days to play.
”Daddy! Daddy! Look!”
“I see it, sweetie-”
“No, look! There’s a birdie over there! Just like gwampa!”
“I can see that. Also, you really should call him ‘Phil’, and I’m ‘Wilbur’, remember? We’ve talked about this,” Wilbur suggests softly, leaning down to smooth out the fox-hybrid’s dress.
“Why, da- Wilbur? Is it ‘cause you call him that?”
“That’s just how he raised me, I guess. You don’t have to call him that if you don’t want to.”
Wilbur stopped aging when he was twenty-three.
It took him a while to realize it, but when he did it just made sense.
Philza stopped aging when he was thirty-two, however long ago that was, and Wilbur figured it was only a matter of time before he did too.
Phil seemed to think differently, however. When Phil found out, the man began to weep from joy. None of his other children had ever inherited his immortality.
Wilbur was born in 1977 to Phil and a woman named Samsung. When he told Tommy that, years later, he laughed and said she sounded like a Smart Refrigerator.
Wilbur only laughed and tousled the boy’s hair.
”Did mommy wanna be called ‘Sally’ the way you want me to say ‘Wilbur’?”
“Naw, she was brought up a little differently than I was.”
“Why did gwampa Phil raise you to call him ‘Phil’?” Fundy asked, splashing in a puddle.
“Well, Phil has been around for a very long time. I’m not the first child of his and I doubt I’ll be the last. They’ve all passed on now. After he realized his kids wouldn’t live forever like him, he started having them call him by his first name. I don’t exactly know why, maybe it’s because he didn’t want to get too attached. Then he had me. I was the only one of his offspring to inherit his gift, but by the time we realized it was too late and I had already adjusted to calling him that. We have some theories about why that is. Maybe your grandmother was immortal too before she ran off.”
“Will I live forever, Wilbur?”
Fundy was an enigma. He was born only a year prior and already took the appearance of a five-year-old child, something he must have inherited from Sally. Wilbur didn’t know much about nature spirits at all. He didn’t even know why his baby came out with fox ears.
Wilbur sighed, “I don’t know, love. I hope so. I think it’d be best if you call your grandfather ‘Phil’, just in case.”
“Okay! So you’ll never ever leave me, right, Wilbur? You’ll never ever die?”
“I wouldn’t say never, I mean, I could still die of unnatural causes-” he looked into his child’s eyes, which had begun to water with tears, “No, Fundy. I will always be with you.”
“As sure as this rain won’t last forever, I promise.”
“Okay! Let’s go find some bigger puddles!”
Wilbur chuckled, “Alright.”
Ghostbur looks down at his hands.
The blue in his hands has stained his fingers, gathering in a small puddle on the wet pavement at his hovering feet.
“What are you looking at, mate?”
“Oh! Hi, Phil!”
“You’ve been standing at my doorstep looking at the rain for a while now. I was getting worried you’d step out and burn yourself. You wanna come back inside?”
“In a minute, dad.”
This takes Phil back a bit.
“You’ve never really… called me dad before.”
“Well, it’s not like I’m going anywhere anymore, now am I?”
Phil can’t find the right thing to say, so he doesn’t say anything at all.
“Goodbye, son,” he says, simply, withdrawing back into the house.