Allison’s pen runs out of ink one Tuesday morning at the breakfast table, and Klaus is ready, holding out his Ouija board and smirking at her. She ignores him, scowling at her untouched toast and carefully sipping at her tea, but Klaus is patient. She’ll want to say something eventually. He drinks another pot of coffee and bides his time.
He spends the day watching her. He watches her avoid Luther and watches her stare at their sweet simple sister in her white coffin bed. Allison grits her teeth and clenches her fists; Klaus holds out the board game again and she looks right through him as she strolls out of Vanya’s room. She picks her way through the wreckage of their home, graceful as always, and Klaus floats behind her cheerfully. He can afford to wait; he has nothing else to do besides fetching ice cream and pralines and soda pop for their fearless team leader. He’d rather watch Allison listen to messages on her cellphone and then fling it against one of the crumbling balustrades—Luther can make do with the snacks he has.
Klaus watches the phone clatter to the floor, cracked but still intact, a dial tone humming in the air, and then Allison is whirling on him with flashing, furious eyes, and he’s won.
“Oooh, catty,” Klaus says interestedly as she swears in the language of the dead. He nobly ignores her misspellings and the way she throws the planchette at his forehead and screams silently. “What would I want with paper and pens?”
She rolls her eyes and gestures expansively. Klaus smiles.
“Do you know?” he says confidentially, leaning in over the board. Allison eyes him but doesn’t move away. So tired, his sister. So worn down. She hasn’t let him this close in years. “I actually miss your voice? I never expected that.”
She taps on two letters, succinct and exacting.
“Fuck you, too, darling,” Klaus says with a smile, annoyed at how something twists in his thin chest. “Anytime you like.”
He wants to ask her if she’d let Luther touch her with his massive, coarse palms, if she’d ever writhed beneath that gorilla body, if she’d wanted to, before Luther retreated into a television world of lethargy and saturated fats. He could ask. Maybe he could become the anti-Rumor, have the things he says become categorically unreal.
If she were truly dead, Klaus could have asked and known for sure—the dead cannot lie to him. But only the Rumor is dead; Allison’s heart still beats hot and red, even if her voice is stilled. Anyway, Klaus doesn’t much care for the truth. In honesty, he wants Allison’s heart to go on beating, regardless of who it is beating for. Dead, Allison would be his alone, but he prefers her alive. How annoying.
“I heard a rumor,” he says, his voice cracking slightly with laughter as she glares at him, “that you might want to talk, sister mine.” She snatches the board away and hits him with it, but her mouth is twitching slightly. Allison always did share his sick sense of humor.
“Let me tell you a secret,” he says to her, and she raises an eyebrow. He can hear Ben whispering, even now, just out of earshot. Somewhere close Pogo is sighing heavily and disapprovingly, and beyond that there is a countless mass of other voices, some that tug gently at his mental coattails and some that bellow and ring gongs and call ceaselessly for his attention. The living are easier to ignore, if Klaus isn’t careful.
“Sometimes,” he tells his sister, and his voice is more serious than he would like. “Sometimes, silence is golden.”
She looks at him, bitter and bemused, and picks the Ouija board back off the floor and traces her finger across the letters. It is late afternoon and the sunlight is glinting off her hair. She looks exhausted, and beautiful.
I already know that secret, she says to him, and Klaus nods.
“Thought you might,” he replies, and fumbles in his pocket for his sunglasses. He’s coming off an opium buzz, after all, and the daylight is starting to hurt his eyes.