Lyric laid back in the sun warmed grass and took a deep breath savoring the smell of fresh growing things. This had become her special place when she needed to ponder upon the sky and try to understand her spot in the universe. She could almost feel the earth cradling her keeping her safe even in the quickness of change. Lyric had seen her father Orson at last. She had hoped that she would get the opportunity since she had spent that night talking with her mom. It had been such a moment of hope and joy. So in her greedy moments she had let herself daydream of spending some time with her father. Now that she had Lyric was confused on whether it had been a good thing or a bad thing.
Lyric had been munching on some cereal and talking to Cora about school when he appeared. Cora yipped an odd noise tossed down her notebook and scurried away in search of Anderson. He looked like he had when he had argued with Grim that distant night. Chest puffed out, eyebrows down around his nose, hands in fists he was still in protector mode it seemed. Spinning in a quick circle he took in his surroundings. Seeing Lyric who was just standing there. Her cereal dropped on the ground from the surprise. He spoke his voice ringing with urgency “Has she been here?”
Lyric shifted feeling the wetness of the cereal milk soaking into her pants leg where it had sprayed from its impact with the ground. Her happiness slightly dampened by the aggressive way that her father was acting. Had he lost it when he died the thought scuttled insidiously across the back of her mind. She managed to squeak out “Ummm who is She?” her curiosity overriding her nerves. Her bewilderment seemed to ease him from whatever fight he had been ready for.
Looking around the yard one more time seemed to finish calming him down. “Lyric, it is so good to see you little one.” His voice lilted with happiness this time. He gestured around at the makeshift kitchen and the children’s activity tables. “I see that you have managed a great many things without your parents help.” “I am sorry we had to go so quickly and so permanently.”
Lyric couldn’t help the smile that bloomed across her face. With pride as she said “Well, I am a Oakenward.” “How are you Dad?” “Where have you been?” Just like with her mom she found herself talking in rapid fire sentences filling in her father on her life. It was when she pulled out her phone to show him pictures some with her mom’s ghost hanging out with them that he finally spoke again. “So she has been here.” Lyric watched him stiffen with tension again.
It was as if a pitcher of water had been dumped unceremoniously on his head. “Lyric, you must keep her away from them” gesturing over his shoulder at her brother and sister now asleep in their cots. “What?! Why?! She is their mom that makes no sense.” she said. He looked at her, his shoulders slumping slightly. “Because sometimes she isn’t.” He said it softly although it seemed to echo around her.“Now that really doesn’t make sense dad.” Lyric heard the snap of impatience in her voice twisting away from him she said “Our mom is our mom.” “I mean sure she had some issues but those had been worked out before you guys… quote on quote… had to leave.”
“Oh Lyric, I wish that were true.” he said. “I would rest easy if it was.” “However something happened to her before we died something that caused Grim to come when he did.”
“What are you talking about?” Lyric stuttered. “She had a mental breakdown…from stress.”
“No, Lyric no she didn’t.” ” I have talked with Grim.” her father said “we were not supposed to be on his list that day.” “Something changed it.” “Something changed her.” Moving in front of her he continued. “Why do you think I moved us out to this remote island.” “I was trying to keep my family safe.”
Lyric shook her head trying to deny his words. She couldn’t deal with more supernatural things. Anderson, Cora, grim reapers and ghosts she simply could not add even more to the list of things she needed to worry about. Stepping backwards away from him she kept shaking her head. “We still need plumbing for god sake.” she blurted out.
Sighing her father said “Don’t worry Lyric, I won’t push it.” “Just keep an eye on your mother anytime she is around.” “I mourn for what might have been but seeing how well you are doing with the kids gives me hope for the future.” Lyric felt her heart twist at his words. Part of her wanted to believe him. To finally have a reason for losing her parents. Glancing over at Cora and Anderson sleeping peacefully in bed. She knew she didn’t want to bring the madness of that horrible night closer to them. “I just.” she began I.. ” her voice trailed off weakly as she let her head sag with weariness
He said “Lyric it’s ok, the most important thing you can do is to care for our family.” “Maybe one day we will have time to deal with whatever did this to your mother.” “For now though, just focus on helping our family grow.” She felt a light weight go around her shoulders and realized Orson was giving her a hug. While it was a little cold it was still nice to get a hug from her father again. Closing her eyes she wrapped her arms around his ghostly form and pretended for just a moment he was still alive. Opening her eyes she saw with regret the first rays of the sun coming over the horizon. “I love you little one.” her father whispered in her ear as he faded from her sight.