Chapter 13:

Fennel and the Haunted House - IV

I Can Hear You

I was personally surprised when I saw that Prescott would believe in me enough to tell me about his most personal memories, maybe it was because he truly thought that I had a full intention to help him and his family, but I believe that it was more like a feeling, he felt that I was something like the last chance that his family had, he is a man who doesn’t have anything to lose.

“Tell me, Adam, have you ever maintained a secret only for yourself, something that you can’t tell because it would change the course of your life forever?”

“I don’t know if you already realized, but man, I can talk with ghosts”

“Well, I’ve never experienced something like that, but I’d assume that it is a life-changing thing *chuckles*”

I can’t be completely sure if little by little he is opening to me or not, but at least I know that seeing him reacting in a more positive way is a good sign, a sign of his hope in me, or, hopefully, something quite similar to that…

“So you want to know about how we died, right?”

“Yes, please, tell me your story, Prescott”

Prescott sat down on the grass once again, then he extended his hand in front of himself, using a gesture to tell me that I should sit there, which I obviously did.

“You know how many years have passed since the first call?” – Now Prescott was being totally serious, before that moment he seemed a bit calmer, but now his face was showing how important for him was whatever he was about to tell.

“Uh, I was told that the first call happened years ago, but not the exact time, but based on what my co-workers told me… I think that seven years or so, right?”

“That’s right, and that call was during the first anniversary”

“Ok, then you have been dead for eight years”

“No, it was my family that had been dead for just one year, I’ve been dead for nine years now”

“I see, so you died one year before them, and you couldn’t even enter the house to see them, nor rest in peace as a dead person should be able to…”

“Yes, you can say that it’s been quite a painful experience, even more than death itself”

My family isn’t perfect, and I don’t have lots of friends, but passing one year with someone you love living next to you and not being able to be with them, to see them, to talk to them, all of that seems so painful, I’ve been unfair to Prescott until now, he seems like an obvious reason as to why the siblings are so strong-willed, their father is as resilient as a person can be if hasn’t gone crazy.

“The thing is that I’m not even the person who suffered the most”

“Oh, you mean because you left your children alone, right?”

“They were hurt because of my departure, but the person who had to go through the biggest pain wasn’t Oakley or Brooke, they’re quite strong for their age!” – Prescott finally chose to show a big smile, talking about how proud he was of his children made him look like a really cheerful man, but that big grin was instantly shadowed by his next words.

“The person who lived the biggest pain was Amaris, their mother, my wife, and I’m the only person who deserves to be blamed”

“But why do you think that? Because you died before she did?”

“No, I feel like she could’ve accepted that, but it was because I betrayed her”

“Betrayed!? What do you mean when you say that you betrayed her? You mean that you…?”

“Are you implying that maybe I had something out of our dream-like relationship? *laughs* Nah, I would’ve never been able to do something like that, I don’t think that I would even have the chance to go to Heaven if I had done something so horrible, but being honest, even when I didn’t betray her on such a way, I think that I did a thing that was almost as bad as that can be, but I wouldn’t blame you if you consider it something worse”

“What do you mean? It’s hard to think of something even slightly worse than that, obviously unless you mean something like killing or stealing, that would be the only thing that comes to my mind, and I hope that you don't mean such a thing”

“I’m not a criminal, you can be sure about that, but I think that maybe I should explain it in a clearer way, or you are going to misunderstand everything about me” – He said almost laughing, that’s good progress if I’ve seen one.

“Well, at least I’m letting you explain yourself; other people would be instantly calling the police based only on a doubt”

“*LAUGHS* Yeah, but other people wouldn’t even be able to hear the things that I’m telling you”

“Yeah, I think that I’m officially crazier than anything you could talk about”

“Well, at least what you say is way more coherent than any of the things that I will tell to you; you see, I and Amaris married when we were quite young, just give it a thought, how old do you think I was when I died?”

“Ah, well… I’m thinking that thirty-something, or at least around that maybe…”

“I should thank you for thinking that I look that young, but boy, you are far from correct, my daughter was fifteen when I died, so calculating isn’t really a strong point in your brain” – Well, we passed to depressing attitude, then a bit aggressive, later he was a bit friendlier, and now he is just totally mocking me, my progress isn’t as good as I thought…

“Then how old were you when you died?”

“The exact number doesn’t matter, you just need to know that we were together for a lot of years, more than twenty even, so even our souls were both a half of one whole thing”

“It must’ve been hard to leave her alone…”

“It was, but I committed a big error during my last year with her…”

“What do you mean? What kind of error?”

“I lied to her; a few months before I died I started feeling something weird, my body started to feel weaker, almost like I was dying little by little…”

“So you weren’t that far from the truth”

“Yeah, but if I had to choose one thing, just one thing on my whole life to be wrong about, I would have chosen that, I would’ve given anything at the time just to be wrong, but well, I can assume that I ended giving everything that I had, the things that I liked to do, my life, my friends, my family…”

“You didn’t go to the hospital? I don’t want to sound bad to you or anything, but it would have been the best idea”

“Oh, but I did go to the hospital, more than once”

“And they weren’t able to help you…”

“They could’ve helped me, but it was impossible for us to pay, the problems that I presented were bigger than what I could afford for”

“And you didn’t have any way to obtain that money?”

“My wife, Amaris, she was born in a common family, nothing out of the ordinary, but her parents died when she was way younger, no one else wanted to take her in, so she ended living as an orphan, completely alone; I was born on the opposite side of this reality, a wealthy family who could’ve afforded it without any problem, but they arranged a marriage for me because they wanted to expand their relationship with another big family, even if you would believe that things like that should have stopped centuries ago”

“Don’t worry; I know that those things still happen, even to this day; if you had such a family, then why didn’t you ask for help? It would have been a good idea, don’t you think so?”

“No, we cut any relation that I had with them when we married, they didn’t even know about Amaris, maybe I should have gone to them, but it wouldn’t have been my first option”

“I understand, I’ve seen situations like that” – Although I don’t know if I would avoid asking for help from my family, I don’t think I would be as brave, or egotistical if you want to call it that, to avoid the help of my family on a life or death situation.

“But I was stupid, my recklessness made me think that this would be just a matter of time to feel fine again, and as just may have realized, time didn’t help at all”

“And what did Amaris think about it? What about your children? It must have been quite hard to accept that you were sick, even if none of you knew that you were going to die soon”

“That’s when the lie comes in the story, I didn’t want to tell them how sick I was, so when I went to the hospital for the first time I lied, I said that just resting for some days would have been enough to cure me”

“This obviously didn’t work”

“You are right, sadly”

“But you managed to avoid that sickness for some time; otherwise it would have been impossible for them to not realize that you were dying”

“I always acted as if nothing happened, even when I had problems to breathe, to do basic things like running or even something as simple as just waking up in the morning and going to work, I suffered a lot, but I didn’t want them to worry; every time I was moving awkwardly or something hurt, I had a twisted ankle, I had a nightmare, so I slept quite badly the previous night, only lies…”

“It’s hard to admit that you are feeling bad, I know that it feels bad to feel like a victim, but don’t you think that it was stupid?”

“That was stupid, I shouldn’t have done that, but I just kept going forward as I would usually do, I thought that I would be able to keep going forever until my age wasn’t accompanying me anymore, and even if I wasn’t on the youngest side of life, my life ended way before what I thought would have been my real end”

“So it was just an egotistic desire to act as if nothing was happening, right?”

“Sounds hard to admit, but I can’t deny that you are completely right, I had an egotistic behavior that ruined my family”

Prescott was avoiding his tears, he didn’t want to let them flow normally, I thought that it was just his proud attitude, but it was more than that, he knew that he wasn’t the victim of this story, if anything, he would be usually considered the criminal in this story, the perpetrator that caused all of this catastrophe.

“As I told you, I did my usual routine, I started saving what you can call a little, really small, fortune, not a lot, but enough to keep them living a normal at least until Brooke could end her studies, enough to make time for Amaris and Brooke, so they could help Oakley while he was growing, both of them would have been great! They’re both intelligent, good-looking, good people over all things! The only thing that doomed them was my own stupid behavior…”

“But they never managed to realize that you were sick”

“They didn’t… I kept going to work as usual; day after day I woke up early in the morning, going to work, destroying my back on that damned seat, and then coming home for lunch, everything was seemingly perfect, I was even starting to feel better!”

“But how was your last day? Did you go down step by step?”

“No, it was shockingly fast if you asked me; I went to work as usual, way earlier than the normal day, stood there for some hours, and then went back home for lunch, during the day I was feeling bad, nothing out of the ordinary, but I was getting more tired at every minute, every second that passed was a nightmare, so coming home felt horrible; when I was in my way to home I felt in a rush, I only wanted to say “Darling! I’m home”, to embrace her and my children, but I wasn’t able to, I was just a few steps from the door, exactly where we are sitting right now, to make it even worse, and suddenly my chest felt like it was burning, it was moving so fast, but the door was right there! Just a few steps and I would enter, go to my room, rest in my tender bed with my family taking care of me, I felt so bad about lying to them that I even would’ve told them everything that same day, my body wasn’t able to take those few steps though, this same month, this same day, but nine years ago, I fell down on this same grass, closed my eyes, and then opened them again, only to realize that the pain had stopped… I thought that it was a dream, but not even a nightmare could feel that weird; I went to knock on the door, but when I got close to my house it felt like something didn’t want me to enter there, it almost felt like something was pushing me so I wouldn’t be able to enter, then after some minutes the door suddenly opened in front of me, Amaris was there, face-to-face with me, I obviously went running to embrace her, to kiss her like I always did when I came home! But she didn’t realize what I wanted to do, she completely ignored me, had I done something wrong? Well, obviously, but aside from the lie that she didn’t know about, I thought that my beautiful wife wouldn’t have a reason to ignore me in such a way, but she wasn’t ignoring me, if anything, she went directly to me, to my old corpse that was lying on this same grass, this image of my Amaris opening that door, that was the last time that I saw her..."