The tune for Mister Sun's song, in my mind, is this old 1940s radio show theme that my grandfather used to sing for me and my siblings when we were little. He got most of the lyrics wrong, so we have our own special family version. I am honoring him (?) by getting the lyrics wrong on purpose in this new Paranatural version. Thanks for singing along.
Ape’s world exploded into primary school colors as he entered spirit trance. The moonlit blue of East Hill’s night was stripped away, every bush and tree and blade of grass redrawn in crayon, and all sense and perspective scrunched so that the woods felt like a claustrophobic rainbow hug. The skull-masked spectral was immediately miserable, for he was well aware what would come next
A great gasp, the sort that follows breath held far too long, erupted from behind him, then swung into a song sung with a clownish twang and supernatural enthusiasm.
“HELLO BEST FRIEND, HOW ARE YOU?
I’M SO HAPPY TO SEE YOU, TOO!
MISTER SUN’S JUST CHUFFED TO SAY
THAT IT’S ANOTHER BRIGHT, SUNNY DAY—”
“It is night,” Ape growled, then shook his head. “...Just hurry up.”
Mister Sun swept into view, trailing rainbow flowers that became butterflies, which popped like bubbles into sprinkles that fell like snow, weightlessly drifting. Ape’s was a great, garish orb of a spirit, fit to burst, it seemed, with sheer joy at his presence. Its smile quivered with suppressed laughter; having just been told to hurry, there was nothing funnier to Mister Sun (or more difficult for it) than stalling for about one or two seconds. Then Ape made the slightest move to speak, and the colorful spirit exploded into music once again.
“WE’LL START OFF WITH A LITTLE SONG.
TO LEARN THE LYRICS WILL NOT TAKE LONG
’CUZ! THEY’RE AS EASY AS ‘ONE TWO THREE,’
‘TIE YOUR SHOES,’ AND ‘NICE TO ME’—”
Ape ground two sets of teeth, his and his mask’s. Mister Sun paused to take a huge breath as its song reached its crescendo.
HIPPITY-HOT TOAST AND JAMBOREE,
A RAINBOW RIBBITING BUMBLEBEE,
GIGGLES AND JOKES AND EXTRA FUN—
THAT’S THE RECIPE FOR MISTER SUN!!”
Clapping and the laughter of a dozen babies echoed all around them, borne from nowhere.
“Great. Fine. There, I listened to your friggin’ theme song,” grumbled the man who called himself Ape, briefly dropping his alter ego’s austere affect in frustration. “Happy??”
Mister Sun rotated to face him like a birthday balloon, its euphoric grin dawning into view over rosy gumdrop cheeks.
“Eugh,” recoiled Ape, suppressing a shiver. “Forget I asked.”
“AM I HAPPY?? I’m MORE than happy, BESTIE! Ya wanna know WHY??” His spirit swirled around him. “It’s ’cuz YOU’RE HAPPY! You’re absolutely BUBBLING with JOY!!”
Ape scoffed, but didn’t answer. Mister Sun forced him through the same routine each time he used its power, like a recurring segment on a grating children’s show. By now, Ape was used to Mister Sun failing to distinguish between his joy and that of his giddy, punch-drunk doctopus boxing gloves. That suited Ape just fine, though. So long as he could fuel Mister Sun’s power, Ape didn’t care where the happiness came from… even if it never came from him.
Mister Sun pumped its cotton candy cloud hands like a cheerleader’s pom-poms. “There’s no face that a SMILE can’t spruce up, no food that FUNNY won’t help flavor! Yep yep, EVERYTHING’S better with a little bit of CHEER… and we’ve got OODLES to work with, thanks to you!” The smiling spirit floated far too close for comfort. “So what’ll it BE, buddy baby?! What should we cheer up, up and away TODAY?!”
“The usual,” Ape growled, raising his fists.
Mister Sun beamed. “You got it, bestie! Let’s cheer for your MUSCLES!!”
Rainbows and flowers and sunshine streamed out of Ape’s gleeful boxing gloves, wreathing him in power as his spirit trance collapsed. A high-pitched note shattered the silence of the night, and something shone beneath Ape’s robes, something hung around his neck—something now bright enough to pierce the black and still have plenty of sparkle left to spare.
“Ooh!” Crush said, grinning luminescent purple. “Very pretty! But you’re supposed to clash with ME, not your silly little cult outfit! Ha ha ha!”
Ape took a step forward, and both the ground and Crush’s smile buckled
“...The last laugh will be mine. Slaphappy Slugfest...”
Crush raised his tempered arm to defend his unarmored half just in time—Ape had exploded forward in a monstrous lunge, fists streaming cartoon rainbows.
Scary, scary! Crush thought between seconds. Some sort of spirit power’s got the big guy beefed! If I was just a moment late, that punch would’ve—
“Sidesplitter.” Crush realized his mistake as it was punished. His opponent wasn’t aiming for the unarmored side of his body at all. Quite the opposite, in fact.
A left hook exploding with color shattered Crush’s tempered shell on impact, crumpled the ghost against Ape’s fist, and launched him into the woods like a shooting star skipping across the surface of a lake.
Ape let out a weary sigh as violet shrapnel slowly drifted down around him.