“Ladies and gentlemen, we’re approaching London Gatwick. If you could please return to your seats and fasten your seatbelts, we will begin our descent. Thank you for flying with BA, and we hope you enjoy your time here in beautiful England.” A man’s voice announced over the speakers as the plane readied to touch down to the tarmac below.
A storm of emotions roared inside me like an untamed beast. One side of me was worried and scared for Hallie. I may not have known her long in comparison, but I knew her needing human blood was unusual. I could only pray it was all the stress and worry of everything.
We’d only moved to Willow Lake four months ago, and in four months, too much had happened. She found Zach after all those years, then lost Mr. Walton, and then Eric, I knew that was rough on her.
I never much liked the guy, but I knew Hallie cared for him in her way. He’d become a friend to her, and she’d grown accustomed to his teasing, silly remarks, and playful banter between the pair.
I also knew it hurt her because she had to lie to Mahala’s face every day. She had to tell Mahala that she didn’t know or understand how or why when she knew the truth. She hated having to carry the burden of the truth and keep it hidden from the one person who deserved to know what happened to her cousin.
That was all the while I’d decided to propose, and we began to plan our wedding. Knowing my father was slipping by the day, studying, finals, monitoring things to make sure what happened to Eric didn’t occur again.
She’d used a lot of magic recently too, more than what she’d used in the past. Yet still, something didn’t sit well with me. Something was wrong; I didn’t know what, but I knew something wasn’t right. Ever since that day, I met Ms. Jameson; I’d had an awful feeling in the pit of my stomach.
Unbeknown to Hallie and the others, I’d been looking into things on my own. I didn’t want to put more stress on Hallie, or Zach, they needed to pass their finals, so I played along with their Banshee hypothesis.
I knew it was possible, but I couldn’t shake the feeling there was much more to it. I must have gone through one hundred different theories, and only two made sense to me until they didn’t. I was going to get to the bottom of who Ms. Jameson was. I tried to convince myself Zach had been right, but deep down I knew, he wasn’t.
However, right now, I needed to see my father. The father I’d no longer be able to say I had in a few hours, and that thought caused my heart to break. I loved my father. He’d be nothing short of the best father a son could have.
All the times in Japan spent playing games, while he taught me all about who I was, how he taught me to use and control my powers, and our history. All the ways he’d been there every step of the way in my forty-odd years on this earth. It was only because of his teachings I was able to conserve my powers enough to have little effect on my aging quickly.
But, in a few hours, he’d be gone, his powers willed to me, and that alone was a heavy burden to bear.
“Mama?” I called as I opened the door to the small farmhouse.
“Masato, oh, I’ve missed you.” My mother appeared from the kitchen, tears fresh in her eyes as she ran to me and engulfed me in a hug.
“I missed you too, Mama. How’s Dad doing?”
“Honestly? Since he decided that he was going to end it today, he’s been much happier. He’s even been a little more active, although I know that’s only because he knows his pain is going to end today.”
“And you’re okay with this, Ma? I mean, he’s committing suicide!” I honestly tried to wrap my head around it, but it was next to impossible to accept his choice as if it was something normal.
“Masato, sweetheart, your father is well into his nineties. His body is one of a man who’s edging well into one hundred now. He’s in pain, every day, every hour.” I could tell my mother was holding back tears as she spoke; it was evident in the way her voice cracked and wavered.
“After you visited last month, he’s declined so rapidly. He’s seen Hallie once more, and he’s seen Zach’s alive and well. He knows you’re about to marry Hallie, and you’re happy. You have a whole life over there now, with Hallie and her family. He’s ready to let go, and I think with everything he’s been through, he has every right to make that call.”
My mother reached her hand up to my cheek, brushing her thumb softly over my skin.
“But, are you okay, Ma?”
“I will be. It’s hard to know I’m about to lose the man I love, but I accept his choice. It’s what’s best for him. We’ve had a good, long life together and had the chance to see our son grow as you have. We’re both so proud of you, Masato, and Hallie too. We both know you’re going to be just fine.”
“You can still come live with us, you know.”
“I know the offer is always there, but I think it’s best to let you live your life. I think it’s time I returned to my coven, with my family I left behind. But you know you’re welcome to visit any time, and I’ll come to see you every summer. And of course, I’ll be there for your wedding, crying along with Alica as we watch our son and daughter marry. I’ve managed to work enough overtime at work to afford the flight now.”
“I love you, Ma.” I sighed, wrapping my arms tightly around her. I knew she was right in everything she’d said, but it didn’t make it easier.
“I love you too, son. Now, your father is upstairs in bed, and I think he’s very much ready.”
“I need to talk to him about something first, though, Ma. Something is going on back home, and he might have some insight. You think he’s got enough energy for that?”
My Ma stepped back and nodded, “If it’s something that will help you and Hallie, I’m sure he’ll find strength enough. Is it to do with what was mentioned last time? The attacks?”
“Maybe, I’m not sure, though. It may be linked, but honestly, I have no idea.”
“All right, well, let’s go talk as a family, see what we can do to help.”
“Thanks, Ma.” I leaned down to press a soft kiss to her cheek before we headed upstairs.