I could smell the scent of sweet decay, fallen leaves crunched under the my weight. I ran my small, ivory fingers over the cold marble of her tomb stone. I felt Trish's hand tighten over my small, 9-year-old one.
Even if I was staring at the cold, all-too-real tomb stone that belonged to my mother I could still see my 13-year-old sister Kelly crying like there was no tomorrow... to her, without Mom, there wasn't. I remember the chocolate glow in my mother's eyes... never again would I see such happiness.
Nicole wasn't at Mom's funeral... even though I begged her to at least see the cemetery, acknowledge the fact that that sight was now Mom's new home. For just being just 11 she was pretty strong... she had thrown me out of her small, closed off room like I had been a rag doll. She locked herself up and didn't let a single soul in. She ate minimally and rarely went outside the comfortable darkness of her bedroom... long-story-short, I was extremely worried about her.
I didn't cry though... even though I am the youngest of all three of us. I was numb inside... I couldn't feel a thing. Like... hearing the news that night had made me just... shut down altogether...
The chime of the doorbell rung, echoing through the house. “I'll get it!” I heard Kelly call, her soothing voice reaching my ears. I relaxed and continued watching SpongeBob Square pants. I happily sang along to the to the F-U-N song, my eyes glittering with happiness as I pranced around the room, Nicole covering her eyes with her arm as she chatted happily with her best friend, Emily.
Kelly was babysitting us since Mom was running late singing her talented heart out at a bar on the other side of town. Mom said never to go visit her... and honestly I didn't plan on going anywhere during the dark hours of night. I hear the shrill sound of a pained howls run through the streets, I swear causing the twinkling stars to dull in fear.
“Oh my god...” I heard Kelly's voice choke, just above a whisper. I immediately clicked off the TV... causing a questioning glance to be shot at me from Nicole. I heard her say, “I have to go, Em. I'll talk to you later.” and with that, she hung up, throwing the phone aside. “What's going on, Mona?” I heard Nicole whisper, staring out the door at Kelly... what was Kelly doing? We sat in silence and all I could hear was the soft pitter-patter of the rain hitting our window. “Kelly! What's up?” I smiled, skipped happily over to her... oblivious of what grim news that was to follow.
“Um...” Kelly thought, her dark eyes staring down the shadowy figure in the doorway. I heard somebody clear their through, leading a deep, unfamiliar voice to my ears. “Hello, Mona. I have some unfortunate news for you three." the deep voice spoke as I heard another nightmarish howl tear through the city.
“I'm Officer Thomson and I have some news regarding your mother... um... can I come in?” he asked, holding his hat in his hands. “Yeah... and Mama's not home right now! She's working!” I squealed, leading him in. “Ms. Phoenix? Could you come in too as well?” Copper asked politely, his light eyes filled with sorrow and... pity? “Well I wasn't going to just stand around in the rain.” Trish's voice filled my head. “Trish!” I squealed, hugging her waist, my head on her stomach. She gently patted my head, before returning the embrace. “Hey, Baby.” she sighed, her dark eyes filled with grief. She gently picked me up and held me, carrying me to the sofa. I sat comfortably on her lap as I saw the officer restin the comfort of the arm chair... sorry clouding his eyes.
Officer Thomson's POV:
I couldn't tell them... three innocent children staring at me with concern... all had the same gleaming chocolate brown eyes their mother had. The eldest one looked utterly frightened, her dark locks of hair pulled into a ponytail, her lips quivered, knowing she was about to cry over the news I brought. The middle child, Nicole I believe, shot me questioning glances but she would mainly stare at the grey tabby rolling around in her lap... but the youngest child...
Her waves of dark hair were cut short, just around to her chin as her curious, naïve eyes just bore into my soul with utter innocence and a certain... friendliness that her cruel life needed. The mocha-skinned woman held Mona in a tight embrace, holding onto the small girl as if she were her last weight holding her down to sanity.
Trish Phoenix... a kind woman she was... but she won't be able to handle six children... she already has a hyper 3-year-old, a too-curious-for-her-own-good 10-year-old and a mischievous 11-year-old at home... and to make matters worse, her husband had divorced her two years ago. How would she able to handle this?
A million thoughts ran through my mind at that point...
'Should I lie?'
'Should I tell them the truth and just disappear, leaving the small group to wallow in their sorrow?'
'I can't lie... I already told Trish... oh, God, help me... please?'
“Well... I found your mother--” I started before the cheery girl I know as Mona interrupted, “Of course you have! She was never missing!”
I wanted to say something along the lines of “After this, you'll have a missing piece in your heart, Mona.” Instead, I nervously started, “I found your mother... uh... how do I put this...?” Suddenly, Trish piped up, “Just tell them, for God's sake!” Trish cried out, a tear running down her face. “I found her... dead. I-I'm sorry--”
“Dead!?” Nicole screamed, jumping up, causing the cat to meow in surprise and fall to the floor. “Put it bluntly, why don't you?” she raged on, her brown eyes blazing with flames... anger bubbled inside her. “Please, calm down--” I tried, gently grabbing her arm but she jerked back, screaming at the border collie sleeping innocently on the floor next to Trish's feet as she stomped out of the room, furious tears bursting out of her eyes.
The older girl, Kelly, didn't say a word. She just hid her face with her arm and ran up to her room to cry... but the reaction that bothered me the most was the youngest girl's.
Back To Mona's POV:
I watched as my strongest sister ran up to her room, covering her eyes with her arm... probably going to blame God or something. “Really... is she really dead?” I asked, staring up at the police officer. “I'm afraid so...” he trailed off.
I could sense the officer wasn't comfortable in this situation... but... who would be? “Just... please, officer, go?” I heard Trish ask, not bothering to be all that polite. I shut my eyes, nuzzling my head into the neck of Trish, breathing in her scent. She smelt so much Mama... I already miss her...
I snapped out from the grim memory when I felt Trish tugging at me. “It's time to go now, Hun.” she whispered softly, her warm eyes staring down at me. “Okay.” I sighed, taking one last look at my mother before sleepily stumbling to the car.
As soon as we got home, I pulled on my pajamas, closing the door behind me. I stumbled to my bed and dropped to my knees. I rested my tired head on my hands, positioned for praying. I closed my eyes and let the words just flow from my mouth.
“God... all I ask of you is... could you keep Mama safe? I love her... and I know you do too. I miss her so much but I understand that everybody has to go someday. Oh, and tell Mama I miss her too. Tell her Trish is a good mama but she'll never be as good as you... and if Daddy's up there... could you tell him... I... I love him... even if I never met him. Uh... I don't know what to say... just... make sure Mama's happy. Amen...?”
I finished, unsure of how to end a prayer (since, I... well, I've never really looked to God before) then climbed into bed and fell into a dreamless sleep.