"Is it ready yet?" Brianna exclaimed as she jumped up and down with excitement.
"Almost done, and finished!" Mrs. Quill said in a prideful manner as she lifted up the costume.
"Wow, Mom, it’s beautiful! Thank you so much!"
"Anything for my little doll. But, I have one question. Who exactly is the character you're dressing up as?" Brianna's mother asked, teasing her.
Brianna gave a fake gasp in disbelief, pretending to be in utter shock and acting like a drama queen in front of her mother. Everyone knows about the one and only Princess Sprinkles from Brianna's favorite horror video game, "Illusions of the DreamWorld."
"Mom! How could you forget? She's my favorite character of all time," Brianna pouted.
"I'm only joking around. Plus, I'm glad you like it!" Mrs. Quill hugged her daughter.
Mrs. Quill glanced at the clock on the wall and realized she had lost track of time. Then, she looked at the cat calendar and saw a note that read, "Visit James." She bit her lip a little and then smiled at her daughter.
"Are you ready to see your father again?"
Mrs. Quill missed her husband and almost forgot that she had to go visit him. Brianna gave her a calm and reassuring smile.
"It's okay, Mom. I know it’s a bit difficult, but we can do this together."
"You're right! Let's go," Mrs. Quill reassured Brianna.
Before leaving, Mrs. Quill grabbed their coats from the coat rack because it was breezy. She saw the flowers in the vase and then took them out, wrapping newspaper around them. She grabbed her daughter's hand as they walked outside the house. The car ride seemed to take hours. They drove under the gray, cloudy skies that seemed to frown upon them. The trees looked bare and wrinkly, with nothing to keep them warm. After what seemed like an eternity, they finally made a stop.
"Hey honey, how are you?" Mrs. Quill said.
"Hi, Dad," Brianna whispered, placing the flowers on the grave that read, "James Quill, Beloved Husband and Father 1985-2006."
"We've been doing pretty well. Brianna has been doing well at school. Also, I got a new job! I'm pretty happy with it. This is something that I'm passionate about. But, not a day goes by that we don’t think of you… I miss you," Mrs. Quill whispered.
Mrs. Quill continued talking about how they were doing. Brianna knew how much her mother cared for her husband, even though Brianna had never met her father. He had died a year after she was born. It pained her that she never got to meet her father, but with or without him, she was still happy with her mother. The sweet moment was soon interrupted because she heard someone whisper her name.
She frantically turned around, but there was nothing there. She wondered if it was all in her head, so she continued to look forward towards the grave. Then, yet again, she heard the whisper. But this time, right ahead of her, there seemed to be a figure in the woods. She soon felt lightheaded and couldn't breathe. She felt herself fainting, but before she lost consciousness, she heard these exact words:
"Your father died because those around him were playing him for a fool!"
The next moment, she woke up to blinding lights. She looked around and saw her mother trying to shine a flashlight on her face and performing CPR.
"Mom?" Brianna whispered.
"Oh my goodness! You're okay. What happened?" Mrs. Quill asked.
"I don't know. I think I fainted when I saw…"
Brianna looked back at the figure that was once there, but it had disappeared. Could she just be imagining things? Soon, her mother put her hand on Brianna's forehead to check on her. Brianna tried to get up, but her mother stopped her immediately.
"Try not to get up so fast. You're probably dehydrated. Here, drink some water."
Brianna took a few sips of water, which helped a bit. But it didn’t explain why she fainted or who or what was whispering in her ear.
Image courtesy of Pexels.
Photo by Alexander Mass: https://www.pexels.com/photo/two-clasped-hands-18998689/