Birth of The Free Bird

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It was raining again that day. Another wet day which seemed endless in Easton. For Angus, Easton was his true land. He was born in Easton and he grew up in Easton. But Easton was not the place where his wife came from. His wife, Marry, was from the the land that was far to the north, away from Easton. A land which he had visited once when he went for business with his father, which was called Forthland.

Marry was only coming to Easton for the sake of Angus. After they got married and had their first son, Marry had decided to stay in Easton for the rest of her life. Until she gave a birth to her second son that weakened her body and took away her soul, Marry passed away in her husband’s arms. She asked Angus to bury her body here in Easton for she knew that her sons would spend their life time here in Easton, the land that always rained.

With money that Angus had from selling vegetables and fruits that he grew himself in the glass house at the back of his house, Angus managed to get a proper burial for his wife at the local cemetery near the town hall.

It was twenty minutes walking from his home. He had been avoiding people’s eyes while he walked down the road, hiding his face under the umbrella that was wide open over his head.

The silence at the cemetery was absolutely deafening to Angus. But it was all he needed to release his anger and frustration.

He had many reasons to be angry now. He had not forgotten the humiliation that he got from the Mayor yesterday. He had not forgiven Edmond for being so reckless and stubborn to go to the forest by himself. He had not gotten over yet the fear that he felt yesterday from the thought of losing Edmond. He felt like he was going to lash out to anyone around him.

So he stood there now, in front of his wife grave, telling her everything. He wished she was still there with him. He missed her so dearly.

“I’m afraid that I would lose Edmond again.” He whispered. “He’s always curious about everything and always stubborn. I don’t know what to do, Marry.”

He then cried. He cried to his heart content. It would be different if Marry was still alive. Edmond would be looked after better. Even though Jill was there for him, what Edmond really needed was his mother.

“It’s quite sad, isn’t it?”

Angus, who was sure that he was the only one at the cemetery, went into shock when he heard a voice of a man standing beside him. He turned his head to the side, to look at the person who just imposed to his private moment in front of his wife grave.

The person who noticed Angus’s shock expression, smiled apologetically at Angus and patted his back. “I didn’t mean to surprise you, Mr. O’Connor. I couldn’t help but to come to see you when I noticed you here.”

“Forgive me, Mr. West, for you have to find me in this kind of circumstance.” Angus quickly wiped the tears from his eyes and face. He was sniffling lowly. His eyes looked at the tall man with olive skin in front of him, whose eyes were grey and hair was curly black.

“Never mind, Mr. O’Connor.” The man gave Angus reassuring smile. “It’s been so long. I remember Marry very well. She was such an amazing woman.”

“Indeed, she was.” Agreed Angus. His wife was amazing.

“How have you been doing, Mr. O’Connor? I see that you did not open your stall in the market today. Has your vegetables and fruits gone dry?” The man teased Angus who responded him with a low laugh.

“I just had to take care of my son today, Mr. West.” Angus replied.

“Ah! I heard that one of your sons went missing.” Mr. West remarked. His grey eyes looked at Angus with concern.

Angus wondered how many people he had told about his son went missing. He did not expect someone like Mr. West, a councillor, to hear about it. The Mayor himself did not even care about it.

“I have found him, Mr. West. He was just… he got lost.” Angus answered. His brown eyes looked away from the man and stared at his wife grave.

“How?” Asked Mr. West. The man was very curious about how the boy got lost.

Angus turned his gaze at Mr. West, looking in his eyes as he said, “He went to follow few of his friends to the river ,but then he got lost on his way and went into different direction, that led him to the end of the stream… which was down the hill.”

Mr. West raised his brows. “That was quite dangerous.”

“Indeed, Sir. I’m glad that I have found him sooner.” Angus sighed in relief, not because he had found Edmond but he had just lied to the councillor. Angus did not want to lead the man to the forest. He did not know why but he did not want to betray the peculiar woman in the forest who had saved him and his son while in the forest. He did owe something to her.

The councillor nodded at Angus. He looked down at Angus’s wife grave, contemplating whether to press the man to tell him the truth or to let him be for now. Samuel West had received a letter from the Mayor this morning about Angus’s son missing and the concerning issue of children visiting a girl in the forest. Gilbert mentioned that Angus’s son was left in the forest by his son and Thomas. Yet here Angus, telling him different story.

“May I see your son, Mr. O’Connor?” Asked Samuel.

A look of surprise was plastered on Angus’s face. He did not expect the councillor to be taken interest in that matter. Plus if the man saw Edmond, there would be no doubt that Edmond would tell him the real story. That could not happen.

“Of course, Mr. West.” Angus answered, trying to act as normal as he could. “But maybe some other time. He’s still in his recovery.”

“Right, right. Some other time.” Samuel agreed. If he wanted to know the real story, he believed he had to play along with Angus. “Why don’t you come to my house the day after tomorrow. I’ve arranged a tea party with some of other gentlemen from council.”

Angus smiled politely. “Mr. West, I’m afraid I have to declined your invitation. I will have to open up my stall again in the market, to make up for today. Thank you for inviting me.”

“Ah, I see.” Samuel nodded in understanding. “But you’d be still welcome to come if you change your mind.”

“Thank you, Sir.” Angus bowed his head to the man.

Without pressuring Angus further, Samuel left the cemetery. He walked back into his carriage that park right at the gate of the cemetery. Before he went into his carriage, he looked back to see Angus who was still standing in front of his wife grave. He narrowed his eyes down. His mind ran back to few years ago where he lost his chance to gain his happiness.

“If only she was mine, she might have been still alive by now.” Samuel muttered to himself.

Angus turned his head around to see if the councillor had gone. His eyes followed the carriage that belong to the man left the cemetery. Again, he sighed in relief. He never liked the councillor himself. It was not only because he knew that the man had always his eyes on his wife, but also because Angus knew that the man was one of the most corrupt councillor in the council. Who knew what the man would have really done if he knew there were two persons living in the forest without anyone notice.

As night came approaching, Angus decided it was time go home. He whispered to his wife grave that he would come back again to see her. With a heavy heart, Angus walked away from the cemetery. His eyes were oblivious to a figure that stood behind the tree at the corner end of the cemetery, watching Angus’s each and every step.

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