Blue Roses, Blackened Heart

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Chapter 12

"I still cannot understand how he could abandon me so unceremoniously, without any sort of goodbye, without looking back even once" – Yann Martel, Life of Pi

Monday 9th July 2018; London, England

Two weeks have passed since the death of Canaan Demetrius Black II, my father.

It is a rainy morning

Cold

Somber. Like the feeling in my heart.

The funeral service is finally being held for him. I am finally strong enough for this farce of a show mother threw together, she had his body cremated a day after his death but she wanted the world to be guests, front and center; in our family's misery. Sure, after having to bury her brother and his family and the rest of her family blaming her for their deaths, she is a little off her games. Both mentally and emotionally.

The ride over to the cemetery is naturally silent. She just sits there looking straight ahead, unblinkingly. Holding the urn that carries his ashes.

The car stops and I drag my body out into the cold, wet world. The cemetery is in an uproar. Reporters and camera crews were everywhere. Walking through the crowds of people, flashing lights and screaming questions about my shooting, about my father's untimely death, of my new position as CEO of Black International.

I completely ignore them all.

Everyone is grains of sand beneath my feet. They are unworthy to be given an iota of my attention. I am focused on the meeting being held later, I have been wanting and waiting for, for the past nine years.

I will never show an ounce of weakness.

I ignore the excruciating pain coursing through my body.

I ignore the doctors and checked myself out of the hospital.

But on to the first item on my day's agenda. The burying of the man I called father.

Mother places his urn on a stand that stands next to a gaudy picture of him, which is completely surrounded by red roses. Mother as always been over-the-top, in everything she does. In attendance is Canaan Demetrius Black - the patriarch of the Black clan, standing stiffly with his head bowed to the ground, chest heaving ever so slightly. Next to him, wearing a demure black dress with a vulgar black hat and veil is Noémie Leblanc-Black, my mother, breathing out cold indifference. Pam and her husband are standing next to me looking downright uncomfortable, probably wishing to be anywhere else but here. And there they are the seven deadly sins, the board of directors of Black International, a pretentious bunch of ingrates. Everyone else is standing behind the barricades erected by the police officers to keep them all out. Some faceless priest is officiating.

A very light drizzle of rain falls over us all.

The priest loudly clears his throat to bring our attention to his person and he begins:

"We have gathered here to praise God and to witness to our faith as we celebrate the life of Canaan Demetrius Black II. We come together in grief, acknowledging our human loss. May God grant us grace that in pain we may find comfort, in sorrow; hope and in death; resurrection.

Please join in with me reciting the 121st Psalm.

I lift up my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip – he who watches over you will not slumber. Indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD watches over you – the LORD is your shade at your right hand, the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD will keep you from all harm – he will watch over your life. The LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore."

His voice alone sings over the silence, we are all like statues; unfeeling, dead-like.

"And now, his son would like to say a few words."

I make my way to the podium and reach into my jacket pocket for the eulogy. As I look down at my speech before me, I cringe inwardly. All the lies on the paper stared up at me, mockingly. Yet again, I am my father's lackey. I am still doing his bidding even after death. I wonder how much people would believe these words I will have to force across my tongue.

Not grandfather; he knew his son. The apple did not fall far from that diseased tree. Mother knew better too; she loved to hate that man and the board members of Black International? All in attendance to make sure that by some warped miracle he does not raise from the dead. They are leaping for joy. The devil is gone – FOREVER. I am the new CEO, the "idiot" son, but they were in for a rude awakening, for the surprise of their lives. I am my father's son, after all.

I look straight ahead and cameras zoom in and the place becomes silent as a tomb.

"Today, the Black family is saying goodbye to the mightiest man born this century. Canaan Demetrius Black II, simply known as Second by his closest friends and family. My heart is breaking apart knowing that I will never see him again in this life.

He had conquered the world from an early age. England lost a true son of the soil. Father was always a busy man – always in constant motion – but was never too busy to share his love of living with all those around him. He could relate to all people, from every walk of life. He was a very empathetic man and was never a cynic, always looked for the good in all persons and usually found it. I was taught from a very young age to hold true to important values like faith and family. He believed that it was important to give back to the community and the country in which is lived.

Father always put Mother first, she was the love of his life, and his company a distant second; they were happily married for over thirty years. He was a straightforward, serious and disciplined man who demanded a lot from those around him, expected nothing but the best from his son but laughed heartedly with friends and loved ones at every given opportunity. He might have been an imposing figure but his reassuring presence kept me going during a difficult period of my life.

As we gather here today to remember and commemorate his life, let's bid him farewell. He has given me gifts that are more precious than anything in this world.

Goodbye father. You will always live on in my heart."

I move swiftly away, bitterness heavy on my tongue.

The priest takes over again.

"Please, place the urn into the ground. As we pray:

"O God all that you have given us is yours. At first, you gave Canaan Demetrius Black II to us, so now we give him back to you. May the road rise to meet you, may the wind be always at your back, may the sunshine warm upon your face, may the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand. Amen"

The heaven opens up and we are all directly drenched in seconds.

I turn and leave everyone still standing there.

It is over

Completed my duty as a son

Now it is on for the second item on my agenda - CEO of Black International

I don't look back not even for a millisecond.

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