The ghost chuckled and leaned against the wall. “Got yourself some light fingers, eh kid?”
“I didn’t do it!” the little boy cried. “I swear!”
“We know you didn’t,” she assured him, then favored Peter with another glower.
“I was always getting blamed for things when I was your age, too. And you know what I did?” Peter whispered.
George leaned forward with rapt attention. “What?”
“I proved them right,” he said with a chuckle.
“Oh, excellent advice!” Vi interrupted.
The ghost just shrugged. “It’s true.”
“And look where it got you!” she spat.
“I thought I had you to thank for that.” His quiet words stunned her to silence even as he blazed clearer and darker before her, his pain manifesting in his spectral body. His sharp edges dissolved as he turned to the boy. “Anyway, Georgie. I figured as long as people were going to think the worst of me, I might as well live down to their expectations.”