Friday, October 16, 2020

Better Times

This is chapter 43 of The Inheritance, a serial fiction novel on FITK

Saturday Morning, October 17, 2020, Seattle

Mary, Sean, Mareka and her friend Sara were in Carkeek Park, on the western edge of Seattle, adjacent to the Puget Sound. The steady rain of the previous week had let up for a few hours and Mary thought it would be a good idea to allow Mareka to burn off some nervous energy by running around the park and the shoreline. After Sara’s meltdown the previous week, the atmosphere in Jo’s little home school had been somewhat subdued and after talking with Sara’s mother they all thought it would be a good idea for her to join them.

“Com’on! Let’s go down to the water!” said Mareka to Sara, “I’ll race you!”

The girls took off, running onto the pedestrian bridge that was over the train tracks and led down to the shoreline. In the sound there were several cargo ships that majestically traversed the horizon. By the time Mary and Sean reached the top of the bridge the girls were already below, poking at things in the sand. Their chirps of discovery were, to Sean’s ears, like bird-song.

“This was a good idea,” said Sean, “The kids have been indoors too much.”

“It is different for them, ” said Mary, “I was always at the beach, or in the woods… until I was a teen… and my inner nerd emerged.”

“I was outside in the summer, at Aunt Tina’s, but not much when I was at school. When I got into computers I was lost to the natural world. Like a lot of people, now. Sara’s mother told me that the reason Sara’s father had been kicked out was his internet porn addiction.”

The couple stood quietly for a minute and then Mary took Sean’s hand.

“This is the spot where we last saw Emily,” she said, “Sometimes I feel her presence in me so strongly that it seems as if she is in the room.”

“The way she manifests herself in Mareka ia frightening at times,” said Sean, “I hope it doesn’t become too much for her.”

On the shore below the girls had been aping the gait of the seagulls on the shore, and were now performing little pirouettes before toppling to the sand in laughter.

“These are better times, aren’t they?” said Mary, “Let’s enjoy them… while we can. In five years they’ll be teen-agers.”

Saturday Afternoon, October 17, 2020, Reykjavík

Hilmar was looking at the stats for the Icelandic Spells app that he and Mary had established seven years earlier. The site was connected to their new video channel that featured Mary’s weekly addresses. He opened the link to the video stats and saw that it has been growing everyday since the first. The second one was now live and was also receiving hits. The app stats had been rising as well with better engagement with its users than it had seen in years.

“All we need now is publicity,” mused Hilmar, “It’s too bad that preacher fellow from Arizona died. Another one of his crackpot sermons would put us over the top.”

Saturday Afternoon, October 17, 2020, Seattle

Barbara Merrit was drunk.

She was in her apartment, writing the latest post for her website about Sean and Mary. She had run out of new material so she had rehashed some of her old ‘discoveries’ with a few previously unpublished images. Since the close call with the Russian agent she had been drunk most of the time. The money she inherited from her brother’s estate was almost gone, her book deal had fallen through, Marcel wasn’t returning her calls, and her dog was dead. In addition, all the things that Sean had said to her in the QSC parking lot a few weeks earlier had made her begin to doubt herself.

“Fuck it,” she said, clicking on the ‘post’ icon on her computer screen, “This is my last splash.”

Mareka and her friend Sara were finishing their picnic lunch. They had both found some sea glass and were showing it to Sean and Mary.

“You could make some jewelry from those,” said Mary, “That would be a good project for school. Could Benny and Jack have some of yours?”

“I guess so, if they want,” said Mareka.

“I have some extra ones, too,” Sara said as she looked shyly at Sean, ”Benny likes red.“

“If you’re all done, put the glass in your pockets and your trash in the bag,” said Mary as she picked up the tablecloth, “I’ll see what Jo has to say about making some jewelry.”

After they dropped Sara off and were back home, Mareka had put her ‘treasures’ on the kitchen table. As she was sorting them she said:

“Pops, I think Sara likes you.”

“That’s nice, I like her too,“ Sean said, “You two really had some fun today.”

“Why do you think her Dad doesn’t come home?”

Sean hesitated before replying.

“That’s something that is their business, something that you don’t have to think about, said Sean, “Things are different for different people. Family Secrets.”

Now Mareka was quiet for a while.

“O.K., Pops. Just wondering… Pops, I could feel Emily with me today, when I was down at the beach.”

“Yes, I could too,” said Sean, “That was the place were Emily left us. The last time we saw her she was walking across that bridge, with her Norn, her spirit guide.”

“Did she walk into the ocean?”

“No, she just faded away, into the mist,” said Sean, “Her time on earth was over.”

Next chapter: Storm Clouds

By Professor Batty

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