It was just me and dad. “Dad, I…” I didn’t know what to say. What could I say? The love of his life lay motionless on some autopsy table. There were two gunshots in Ethan’s chest, right where his heart was supposed to be. That’s when I felt it. His tears began to soak my shirt. I held him tightly trying to fight back my own tears. But it was no use. So, there we sat, huddled close, crying until we were sure it wasn’t possible for our eyes to produce anymore of the sticky substance.
“Alistair,” he said quietly. “I want you to speak at your father’s funeral. You’re his legacy.” I stared at my broken father, eyes red from crying, and nodded. Yes, I was a Gray, but unlike my siblings, I was a Nair as well. I carried a part of my father with me always. His magic.
“I promise I’ll make him proud. I’ll find them, I’ll…” I began to sob once again because I knew it wasn’t true. I was a failure, and I’d never be on Ethan’s level. I couldn’t stop all of them from leaving. I couldn’t stop him from leaving, and now he was dead. I couldn’t find my siblings. Police searches found no results. If they couldn’t find my siblings, what made me think I could? It was a stupid and fleeting thought. He wasn’t meant to be a hero. Ken, Bailey, Pandora, Scarlett and even Night were gone and if it was anything like Ethan’s departure, they wouldn’t be coming back alive. “Don’t do this to yourself,” My dad said, shattering my abysmal thoughts. “I just want you to be happy. I don’t want you to get hurt.” Because he knew I was thinking of doing something reckless.. He knew I let my emotions get the better of me. He didn’t have to worry. Despite my racing thoughts, no plan would be good enough to rescue my family. We were destroyed, and without Ethan there’d be no way to put the pieces together. I wasn’t strong enough, and neither was my father. Especially not now. We couldn’t do it, and so there’d be no point in trying, even my strong willed father knew that. “They’re gone. I’m sorry.”
“I know,” I mumbled. “I guess all we have is each other.”
“No…t-ha-tt isn’t true,” he stuttered. His chest heaved with each loud sob. It was true. Who else did we have? Grandma and Grandpa were dead. It wasn’t like they didn’t live a long life, but it was still a terrible loss. Ambrose was married and moved to Twinbrook. It was wonderful that he was happy, but he barely kept in touch anymore. He was busier than usual. The rest of the family was distant. It wasn’t anything new, they had always been, only coming around on holidays or special events. When everything was over, it would just be me and my dad, like it had been for the past few years. Except this time, there was no hope. We had no good news to wait for. When Ethan left, we waited for news of his return. He was supposed to find them…but he was gone. Whatever my siblings had involved themselves in would inevitably lead to their death. “We’re Grays, we’ll always have someone to fall back on. There has never been a time in my life that I was ever truly alone, no matter how desolate I felt. There was always someone there. I’m here, I’ll always be here. I know it doesn’t seem like it, but your dad is with you always, and so are your brother and sisters. And, you have those amazing friends of yours…”
“And all you have is me,” I mumbled. “I can’t be enough for you dad. I…” He released me and looked directly into my eyes. They were mirrors of his deep brown ones.
“You are more than enough, Alistair. You will always be more than enough. You are the most valuable thing in my life. That’s why…I can’t have you do anything stupid. Losing you, would kill me.” I took in a gulp of air, trying not to flinch in his grasp. He needed me here, as much as I needed him… I knew it’d be hard to see his corpse. It was the first time anyone other than the forensics analysis was seeing it. I tried to recall how exactly we hard the news. How could I ever forget?
“Mr. Gray?” The voice was one I never heard before.
“You must be looking for my father, what is this about?” I asked.
I heard a deep sigh. “Yeah, maybe it’s best if I tell him first. Is he home?”
I shook my head, forgetting that he couldn’t see it. “No, unfortunately he’s not. He’s at a meeting with his agent. I can take a message, unless you’d rather speak with him?”
“How old are you, kid?” The voice asked suddenly. “Eighteen,” I answered.
“I guess that might lessen the blow.” I was sure he was mumbling that to himself. “This is Sunlit Tides forensics office. A body was brought to us, early this morning. There was no ID on his persons, but someone had stopped by and was able to identify him. We found no city records of him, but we we were provided with a photo that links him to your father. We’d like for him to call us when he gets a chance.” The picture was one I’d never seen before. The man gave it to my father to keep. Dad explained to me that it had been taken before I was even born. He and Ethan dated for a short amount of time, but they’d been through a sticky situation that really bonded them. I never knew what, only that it was something huge. They got married shortly after, and it was awhile until I was born. The pressing issue, was much more than this picture. I’m sure Ethan had it on his person. The forensics specialist had informed my dad that a unique looking man came and brought the picture as well as the last name Gray so that they could find us and contact us. They were concerned with contacting us, and the man had fled. No one had seen him since, and no matter how many times they described him to us, we hadn’t heard of him. What was scary, was where his body was found. It was left in the open near a lake, almost as if someone was trying to dump it…but, that lake was in Sunlit Tides….which raised even more questions. Was he returning when someone shot him? What exactly happened? Cops found no murder weapon, or any clues around his body. It was as if he had just appeared there, already dead, which was kind of impossible. So many questions were left unanswered, but…did I really want the closure?I was afraid to find out what had happened.
“Hey, Alistair, how are you holding up?” I looked up, broken from my thoughts by my uncle Ambrose.
“Of course…Ethan was a great man. I would never give up the opportunity to honor him. Plus, my brother…” Ambrose stopped himself. “Well you know.”
I nodded, and changed the subject quickly. “Where’s the family?”
“I hate that you say that,” Ambrose mumbled. “Just because I got married doesn’t mean that I’m not part of your family. I didn’t lose family, I just gained some.”
I looked away. “My dad is over there by the coffin. He’s really distraught, maybe you should talk to him.” Ambrose nodded slowly. “Yeah, I probably should.” Stepping up to the podium that displayed a picture of my dad and I a few years ago, I took in a deep breath. It had really happened. He was dead. My best friend was dead, and he wouldn’t ever be coming back. I looked into the audience of frowning faces, there weren’t many, just a few of my dad’s coworkers and our family that were still in Sunlit Tides. I don’t think Ethan would have minded much anyway, as long as the few people he loved were there. “Thank you for coming everyone…” I felt tears well in my eyes before I even began my speech. “I’m here to speak on behalf of my father, Ethan Nair. If he was here, I bet he’d be thanking you guys for showing up. Well, we wouldn’t be having this funeral in the first place…” I was met with nervous laughter. Taking in another sharp breath of air, I had no choice but to continue. “He was an incredible man. He was the one who taught me how to walk, how to talk…everything I know now is because of him. He loved my father and our family unconditionally. He put himself in some seriously dangerous situations to protect the ones he loves…loved.” I couldn’t think straight. He’d never love again. I could barely contain my emotions. How could I tell everyone how I would never be the same again? How I’d never be able to forgive the person who did this to him…to our family…to me? How could I look these people in their eyes and talk about my fond memories, when every time I thought of them, it tore me apart? Shaking violently, I bounded off the stage. I couldn’t say anything more. I didn’t want to think about this anymore….this wasn’t happening. It couldn’t be happening. “Alistair?” I looked up at the heavenly voice. It was Madelyn, my girlfriend and best friend. She reached out for my arm, and I graciously took her hand. She led me to a few empty seats where I collapsed into her arms. “Everything will be okay. I promise.”
“No it won’t.” Tears began to drain from my eyes. “My best friend is dead…what can I do?”
“We’ll never replace your father, but we’re here,” Emil said. I looked up at my other best friend. I seriously loved these two. They were the greatest friends I could have ever asked for. I striked out with them.
“Thank you, seriously. It means the world to me that you two are here,” I said.
“Of course!” Madelyn said. “Why wouldn’t we be here?” She stroked my hair. “I love you so much Ally. Don’t even doubt that I wouldn’t be here.”
“Me too,” Emil said softly. “In a completely friendship kind of way, but I do love you man. So, if you need anything at all, just ask. We can go and get you some coffee, or junk food, the latest manga? That always cheers you up.”
I shook my head. “Please don’t leave me. That’s all I need, is to know that people are here.”
“We’ll always be here,” Madelyn said soothingly. “No matter what.”
“Thanks, but I couldn’t even finish it.”
“You didn’t have to.” Ambrose shrugged. “He’d be proud of you, you know.”
“I know,” I said softly. I looked away to avoid Ambrose’s gaze. Before I could continue, Madelyn began to speak.
“Who is that?” Madelyn asked. I looked over in the direction of her gaze and caught a glimpse of a pink haired female.
“Her mother,” Ambrose said. I could tell he was upset by her presence.
“Why is she here?” I asked angrily.
“Don’t get mad,” Madelyn said. “She knows your dad too right? Maybe she’s here to comfort him?”
“Uncle, Ambrose,” I said coldly. “You know she shouldn’t be here!”
“Hey, I’ll go settle this, alright? Just…I don’t know, don’t beat anyone up.” He turned to face her, a mortified look spreading across his face. “Looks like your dad had the same idea as you.” “Is…is he yelling at her?” Madelyn asked. I silently stood up and moved closer to the two, Ambrose close behind.
“What the hell man?”
“Your dad is upset, don’t add any gasoline to the fire,” Ambrose said.
“How can I not?” I looked up at him. “She let that guy hit my sister!”
“They told you about that?” Ambrose looked away. “You were only a baby when that was happening. Ethan…Bailey hated him, but no matter what, he couldn’t let her get hurt. That’s how the family really became close. Bailey warmed up to him and…”
“Now she’s gone,” I mumbled. “Forever.”
“Don’t say that!” Ambrose said, just a little too loudly, causing the two adults to look over.
“Alistair,” My dad said sternly. “What are you doing?”
“What is she doing here? You abandoned my siblings when they needed you! Scarlett is destroyed, or at least she was! I don’t even know what the hell happened to her, and Ken and Bailey…you…stupid-”
I felt a rough hold on my shoulder. “Enough! Alistair!”
I looked up at my father, anger boiling in me. “It isn’t fair…”
He looked over at her and shook his head. “This isn’t the time or place to deal with our problems. Thank you for coming to pay your respects to Ethan, but please just leave. We can meet up some other time to discuss thing.”
She nodded quietly and headed out without any protests at all.
“Dad…” I began, but he held his hand up. “I’m just as angry at her as you are, but yelling is not the way to handle it. Please let me take care of it. She was my wife and best friend before all of this happened,” He said.
I blinked back the tears that were now again forming in my eyes. I was angry and confused. “You never told me about that.”
“I didn’t want to make things more complicated, I never thought she’d come back.”
I thought I’d try writing in first person for this story. I think it really gets the emotion across, but I don’t know if I’ll keep it in this perspective, because it is limited to what Alistair sees, feels and thinks. Let me know what you guys think about this point of view.