A/N: I will just go into hiding before people can hurt me once they’ve read this….
The sun was shining, its warm rays gently spraying across MegaKat Memorial Cemetery, all over the tombstones, crypts and crosses. Along one of the paths, a couple was walking. Both of them not speaking. In this place, it seemed somehow wrong to do so. They just held each other close for comfort and warmth.
A little she-kat with golden fur and raven-black hair had gone ahead of them, chasing the autumn leaves that were blown around by the wind. Her golden eyes that she had inherited from her dad glittered in the sun as she looked up, a voice calling to her.
She instantly ran back to both of her parents who had stopped by a family grave. Her mommy picked her up and held her close as they quietly stood there, saying nothing. She looked to her daddy and frowned, worried, as she saw that he had a sad, upset look upon his face. Slowly, her daddy kneeled down and placed some flowers in a vase in front of the tombstone. Erica didn’t know how to read yet, but her mommy had told her what the inscription said:
BORN: MAY 17th 1998 + AUGUST 11th 2003
LOVED AND MISSED
“Come on, sweetheart…” Kathy muttered gently to her daughter before carrying her off.
Erica looked over her mother’s shoulder to her daddy, frowning puzzled at what was going on. Why was her daddy so upset? She hated that he was so sad…She knew that in the grave they visited was her brother. The older brother she had never met, and never would. But, how she had lost him would be told to her one day in the future when she would have become old enough to understand all about magic, sorcerers, gods and creatures you only find in your worst nightmare.
Elrod sighed as he gazed at the tombstone, gently brushing his fingers across the inscription. A moment, his vision was blurry, and then he blinked it away. The day still stood clear in his mind….
With the Chaos and Balance spell, Nexus had used himself as a sacrifice. In one burst, all had been chaos. Fires, earthquakes, floods…
But then, like a powerful soundwave, it all disappeared. No buildings had been torn down. No people were killed. Fires had never been ignited and earthquakes had never torn the ground.
Chaos and Balance. Perfect balance.
When Elrod woke up, he found that Nexus was gone. Not a single trace of him was left…. David on the other hand, lay curled up in his blanket. Quiet, his eyes closed and with a such peaceful expression that you would think he was just asleep…. Elrod remembered how he had scrambled to the still form of his son, had picked him up and held him close, searching for a sign, ANY sign, that he was still alive…
But, with all sacrifices, you pay a price…..
He only half-remembered the trip back home. He had taken David’s body with him the same route he had taken to the building. First, down the building, where he luckily didn’t meet any as it was closed for construction, through the sewers and to the place where he had left his car…. Finally, he had arrived home.
Kathy had stood there, waiting for him anxiously. As he came up the path leading to their home, her worried expression changed to horror as she saw the unmoving limp form in her husband’s arms, and the mourning look on Elrod’s face. When he looked up at her, sorrow was clear in his eyes as tears formed in his eyes … a horrified disbelieving shriek escaped her and she hurried to him and their son, and when he had told her all that had happened, they both wept…
The pain had become too much as he went through the memory of it all in his mind….the trip to the hospital…the doctors grave look telling them of how David seemed to have died from a mistake in his heart. He had by any chance been spared any pain, and had found peace in his sleep….
Then, came the funeral. Elrod didn’t remember much of it, but he knew it would be a day he would never forget. The priest’s words…
“… Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil, for thou art with me…”
Kathy had cried so miserably it had been hard to calm her down. Elrod himself had not cried at all. Not a tear had escaped him…it was as if that the very part of him that contained all that was sorry and worry, fear and anger…had locked up. Every day, they visited David’s grave. Sometimes, Elrod was along with Kathy. Other times, he went alone.
And after each time, he felt more and more miserable…
The voice made him snap out of his thoughts and his head shoot up. No! It couldn’t be…
“Daddy…?” the voice sounded once more….and there, through the tombstones and crosses and autumn-leaves was David…he looked stronger and healthier than ever, his bright green eyes shining like gem-stones in the sunlight, and his raven-black hair having a shine to itself… But, all of this image was also transparent. Elrod could only stare in disbelief as the kitten headed towards him. Sometimes, he walked around the tombstones, other times he passed through them…but he was there.
“D..David..” Elrod whispered hoarsely, his eyes widening as the kitten now came close enough for him to touch.
David smiled. “Hiya daddy! How are ya!?”
Elrod felt a lump in his throat and swallowed it. “I’m fine…”
The smile that had been on David’s face vanished and was replaced with a frown. “Daddy, you know it’s not nice to lie … you’re *not* fine!”
Elrod closed his eyes and felt something inside him quiver…the boy was right. He was lying again…
“I’m sorry … I didn’t mean to…” he managed to whisper.
David smiled softly and, without a warning, the ghost of what had once been his son reached out. Elrod felt the ghost’s arms around his neck in a hug. David snuggled against him, smiling softly.
“I know, daddy …. I know you didn’t mean to lie… You didn’t know what would happen.”
For the first time in a long time, Elrod felt tears in his eyes. A painful lump in his throat prevented him from talking, only allowing him to let out a croaking, half-choking sound. He felt something inside of him break and, without thinking further, he embraced the ghost. The most wonderful thing that moment was that the child felt *solid*! And, in his mind, Elrod prayed that he would not vanish… that he would stay with him… with them all… And, when all became too much, he finally broke down crying, his tears giving air for all that had been locked inside of him for so long… his sorrow, his anger, his misery…. everything!!
David said nothing as he hugged his dad. He knew that crying would be the best for him this very moment … After a time that seemed like forever, Elrod slowly got a hold of himself and he looked at David, tears still escaping his eyes but now in a more calm stream. He smiled. David smiled back. And, they both hugged each other tightly.
“I love you, daddy…” the kitten whispered, his phantom fingers brushing through his dad’s mane of black hair.
A choked sound escaped Elrod, and he hugged David more tightly. “And, I love you, David…oh God .. I miss you so much…”
“I know, daddy….but please don’t be sad… Mommy and Erica needs you too…” David said, looking at his father once more with a serious frown upon his face. “Mommy needs you… She misses me too, you know…. and Erica is my lil’ sister… She needs to be taken care of….”
Elrod nodded slowly as he listened. He had known all this the whole time… but all had been so difficult, and he had been so miserable he had selfishly not been giving it any thought…
“I have to go now, daddy…” David whispered quietly. “Please stop being so sad… I’m still with both you and mommy … right here..” he said, pointing at Elrod’s chest, right at his heart.. “And here…” he added, pointing to his head.
Elrod nodded quietly as he listened. He knew, that the gods had granted him this final chance to see his son. And, he was grateful for it.
“I will always miss you, David…” he whispered, closing his eyes. Then, he opened them again and sighed. “But, I will never forget you…”
David grinned to him. “And, someday, we’ll be together again! It’ll take a while, but we’ll all be there! You and me and mommy and Erica.. and aunt Samantha and Nicky…”
Elrod nodded, smiling softly. The kat and the ghost just sat there, silently for a while. Then, they hugged each other tightly again. For the last time, in a long time.
“I love you, daddy…”
“I love you even more, David… my little boy… my champ…”
Slowly, David untangled from his dad’s grip. And, as a gentle wind softly blew a few autumn leaves past Elrod, he began to fade more and more… He smiled one last time…
And then, he was gone.
Elrod sighed quietly to the wind as he thought over what had happened just now…. Standing up, he looked around. Suddenly, the wind had a more crisp scent to it… the scent of the approaching winter… The sun had a sharper glow to it, like the true autumn sun could only have it… The grass among the tombstones and crosses had a powerful but peaceful green color over it, and the lonely weeping willow near the military crosses for those who had fallen during the MegaWars had a gentle sway to it as the wind played through the branches of it… Elrod looked down at the tombstone before him… and he smiled.
Kathy looked up as she heard footsteps and she saw Elrod approach. She knew something good had happened when he looked at her and smiled. It seemed like so many painful years ago that he sent her a smile like that. Then gently, without a warning, he reached out and took her head between his hands and kissed her ever so softly. Erica giggled and let out a gagging sound before her daddy stopped kissing her mommy and smiled to her. Then, he kneeled down and hugged his daughter tightly. An action she had no objections to.
“I love you daddy,” she whispered, digging her fingers into his black mane.
Elrod smiled. “And, I love you, Erica…” Then, slowly, he let go of her and stood up, and he smiled warmly to Kathy who smiled back.
“Let’s go home.”
Gently, they took each others’ hands and went along the path that led out of the cemetery.
Somewhere behind them, David watched them, sitting on his tombstone. He smiled. He knew that his mom and dad would be OK now. And, the same with his little sister who would never meet him. Except for in dreams if she wanted… and, with the force of a gentle breeze, he had vanished.
Don’t stand by my grave and weep
I am not there, I do not sleep
I am a thousand winds that blow
I am the diamond’s glint on snow
I am the sunlight on ripened grain
I am the gentle autumn’s rain
When you awaken in morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circle flight
I am the soft stars that shine at night
Do not stand at my grave and cry
I am not there, I did not die.
I’m Not Here ~ Anonymous
…………….well…. yeah, that’s it! Go on! Review it, flame it, go home, I dun care!
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