The age-old battle between good and evil with a twist: the heroes are already dead...
Drawn to the river, Aaron stood on its sloping banks and gazed at the sky. The water's soft rumble soothed but he willed the heavens to swallow him whole just the same. He turned and shaded his eyes as his father stumbled, crossing the narrow bridge. The necktie he wore was periwinkle and devoid of design. Periwinkle had been his twin sister's favorite color.
Periwinkle is purple and blue and soft pink all mixed together Amber would quip, educating those around her like it was the most important fact they’d hear all day.
At the time he couldn't have cared less. He never thought much of fashion nor those who orbited his popular sister. It was funny though, now he would linger on the distinct shade whenever he came across it, like this afternoon when they had gathered around her custom-made silk lined coffin.
Jim Woodgrow reached his son. “You ready?” he asked.
They stood for a bit and watched the wind-swept willows across the way. The racing river sparkled in the sun.
“Yeah.” Aaron rubbed his eyes. He turned and without another word heeled it toward a shiny black limousine in a now-empty parking lot.
Jim looked after his son then strode forward, attempting to match his long-legged gait.
As they approached the vehicle, its driver sprang out from behind the steering wheel. He nodded to them and opened the passenger door.
“Thank you, Jackson,” Jim said. He glanced back at Aaron. “After you.”
Aaron shrugged then climbed inside.
Lily Woodgrow perched at the far end of the supple bench seat, twisting a handkerchief between her fingers. She neither spoke nor glanced their way.
Aaron sat opposite his mother then stared out the window, thankful for the distance between them; he didn’t have to answer her stupid questions that way.
Outside shafts of light streamed through the trees. His father stood with his head bowed, his broad back like a wall repelling the sun.
Aaron glanced away.
Jim Woodgrow reached into his pocket and pulled out a wad of kleenex. He mopped his face then cleared his throat before he joined his family.
Jackson strode around and secured their doors. He straightened the black cap on his head then slid back behind the wheel. Shifting the engine into drive, he eased the limo past the cemetery gates and on to the reception.
As the motor hummed, Aaron sank down in his seat. He picked at the hangnail on his thumb then looked over at his parents. Once they had been a family of four. A nice even number, his mother had often said. Now they were a family of odd.
If Aaron had realized just how odd, he might’ve noticed the shadow lengthening on the river bank behind them --or made note of the tingle coursing up his spine. For unknown to him, a horned, slit-eyed creature perched atop a tall tombstone like mischievous golem, glaring after their limo as it snaked down the hill.