You Take After Her

An immediate follow-up to Miserable.

Becky Bloom, after being left alone to look at the photos hung on the walls of her house, finds herself missing her mother. At Isa’s suggestion, she and the drow leave the house together to go buy flowers for her mother’s grave. 5,440 words.

The world of Shadow Oaks is owned by TheStalkerBunny on tumblr. It is a brilliant piece of work and I recommend reading more about it HERE.

Content warning:
portrayals of depression and mental illness


Becky had spent most of the day napping with her father and Mimi on the couch, with Isa coming in to check on them every half hour or so.

Both Becky and her dad may have been feeling awful, but at least they were able to find some comfort in each other…. Even if it was just the comfort of not being miserable alone.

But now Ken had moved to his study to do some final revisions on his work before tomorrow, and Isa was busy with the housework, and Mimi had decided that it wanted to spend the rest of the day running up and down the stairs until it was tired enough for another nap— So Becky was left alone in the lounge with nothing to keep her company but the photos on the wall.

There was a lot of photos, she realised. Her father’s choice; he’d always wanted to keep visual mementos of their lives on display. And it didn’t matter how old or embarrassing they were, he displayed them proudly. Just a few years ago it frustrated Becky… but now she thought it was actually kind of sweet.

She grinned, and looked at what she considered the stupidest picture of herself to have ever been taken.

She was just off a trail in the woods, wearing three different jumpers at once and covered head-to-toe in mud. She proudly held up a frog with one hand, and the other hand was firmly around Benny’s shirt collar as she dragged him uphill towards the photographer (Mr Slader, she thought she recalled; though she wasn’t completely sure because it was so long ago). Katie was visible in the background of the shot, face-down in the mud where Becky had been wrestling her. And Jareth was nearby, helping Jezzibeth stand up after she’d slipped over.

Becky missed how easy things felt, back then.

Things hurt a lot less, when she was young. Before everything. Her trip to hospital. All the pressure. The knowledge of all the horrible things yet to come.

Before her accident.

Before Mattel….

God, she’d love to go back to before Mattel….

Though, she wasn’t sure she would go back. If she did, she wouldn’t know Portia or Malinka. And if she went back too far she’d lose Adam, too— That wasn’t worth it, was it?

Becky scratched at her arm as she thought to herself.

It seemed like a no-brainer, really.

Forgetting the pain just wasn’t worth losing all the fun she’d had with her friends….

Why was she even thinking about this, at all?

Becky stepped away from the old photo, and instead looked to the others hanging around the room.

There were a lot of photos of herself. Especially when she was a kid.

And there were quite a few of Isa; though most of those had Becky in them, too.

There weren’t so many of her father. Though that made sense; he didn’t care much for himself. The only pictures of him on the walls had him accompanied by someone else.

And….

And there were a lot of pictures of her mother, too….

Becky let her eyes wander along the wall, quietly examining the photos of her mother.

She was really beautiful….

Everyone said that Becky took after her; but she couldn’t see it. She thought she looked much more like her father; gangly and freckled, with pointed ears and a long, shapeless form…. At most, she thought she might have her mother’s eyes. But otherwise she was nothing like her— She wasn’t pretty enough, to take after her.

Was she?

It was weird, how little they talked about her, now.

She hadn’t been forgotten— But it was rare, now, that she was brought up. And even rarer for it to be a conversation that carried on longer than a few sentences before the subject was changed.

Becky thought she could remember a time, long long ago, right in the back of her mind, where her mother was the only thing her father ever seemed capable of talking about….

Was that before, or after she died?

Maybe it was both? Becky couldn’t remember. All she could do was wring her hands as she looked up at the pictures.

Isa said that her mother used to work for Mr Beast, and that was why her father was so nervous about the meeting tomorrow…. Becky really didn’t like the sound of this man, and she wasn’t looking forward to meeting him. Especially if it meant she had to bite her tongue and not chide him back if he said anything she didn’t like— She wasn’t used to doing that. The last person she’d done that with was….

Becky shuffled uncomfortably, as she thought about Mattel’s parents.

Was meeting Mr Beast going to be as bad as that? She didn’t think she could cope, if it was….

Another glance at the photos of her mother, and Becky felt herself let out a breath.

Mattel had always chided her about how she looked, but….

Everything Mattel had commented on, she could see in her mother.

Her eyes; simple and plain and brown.

Hair that just wouldn’t seem to behave no matter what she did.

And her weight— Every time Mattel had commented she was gaining weight… what had she been so scared of? Her mother was gorgeous, and she was fat…. Maybe she’d look better that way….

Maybe…. Maybe she did take after her mother.

Even the way she dressed was similar; though she thought her mother wore it better.

‘Becky?’ Isa’s voice floated from the door, and Becky cast a quick glance to the drow. ‘Are you alright?’

‘Yeah,’ Becky answered, turning back to the photos. ‘Mum was really beautiful, wasn’t she?’

‘Yes, she was,’ Isa agreed, stepping to Becky’s side and gently putting her arm around the girl. ‘Just like you.’

‘Thanks,’ Becky said, trying to sound genuine. ‘We have the same eyes, don’t we?’

‘You do,’ Isa smiled, pulling Becky tight against her side. ‘You take after her.’

‘Yeah?’

‘Yes,’ Isa confirmed, before ruffling Becky’s hair. ‘You’re both unbearably stubborn.

Becky couldn’t help but giggle as Isa held her tight and messed her up. ‘Isa!’ she playfully complained. ‘Isa, stop it! Hah, stop!’

Isa took one last moment to ruffle Becky up before letting her go. She watched on as Becky fixed her hair, and then opened her arm to the girl again.

Becky stepped into Isa’s embrace and let herself be held for a long, long moment before looking back up to the pictures of her mother.

Both her and Isa watched the photos quietly, before Becky finally spoke;

‘When was the last time anyone gave her flowers?’ she asked.

Isa took a sharp breath, at that, and Becky saw her flinch. ‘Too long,’ she answered. ‘More than a year. Maybe two? Unless your father went and didn’t tell me.’

‘Oh…. I’d like to give her flowers,’ Becky said, slowly.

‘Yeah?’

‘Yeah.’

‘Okay… well, there’s some time before it gets dark. Would you like me to take you?’ Isa offered. ‘We can stop by the florist and pick up something nice.’

‘I’d like that,’ Becky said, leaning her head against Isa and feeling the sadness creeping back into her chest. ‘She must be feeling really forgotten, right now….’

‘Hm,’ Isa gave a curt hum, before nudging Becky off her side. ‘Well, go get dressed, alright? I’ll tell your father we’re going out— I won’t mention where. I think it might kill him, if I do.’

‘We’re all gonna die soon, anyway,’ Becky sighed back, feeling the heavy weight of life fall back onto her shoulders the moment the drow let her go. ‘What’s the point in pretending we’re happy?’

‘Becky, you sound like you’re having a mid-life crisis.’

‘I wish it was mid-life, and not the end….’

‘Becky— No,’ Isa rubbed her brow, and then let out a long, heavy sigh. ‘Just… go get dressed, honey. It’ll be okay. I promise— Everything’s going to be fine. Just give yourself some time and you’ll see. It’ll get easier.’

‘Ugh, maybe,’ Becky shrugged back at Isa before heading up to her room.

She got changed, carefully picking out a shirt and skirt to wear, before she finally heard Isa at her door.

A quick knock, which Becky responded to with a call to come in, and Isa was in Becky’s room watching her with a concerned expression.

‘What?’ Becky asked.

‘Is that really what you want to wear, today?’

‘Yeah, why?’ Becky looked herself over. ‘What’s wrong with it?’

‘Becky, I know we heat the house, but it’s barely fifty outside today!’ Isa let out a sigh. ‘Please— Explain it to me. Why have you been so insistent on dressing like this lately?’

‘Well, I’ve almost died like… four times,’ Becky told her. ‘And, like, when you die, your ghost gets stuck in the clothes you were wearing forever— And I want to be a hot ghost.’

Isa stared at Becky for a long, long moment; her concerned look only growing as her brow furrowed and she took off her cover-alls so that she could rub her temples. ‘It’s almost winter, Becky.’

‘Yeah, but I don’t want to look stupid as a ghost!’ Becky defended. ‘And all my jumpers look really stupid.’

‘No, they don’t,’ Isa told her, slipping her sunglasses back on and crossing her arms. ‘Why do you say that?’

‘Cos Mattel bought them,’ Becky mumbled, bitterly. ‘And I don’t have any left that she didn’t buy me.’

That caused the drow to pause.

‘Oh…’ Isa breathed, slowly. ‘Well…. No…. No. No,’ she shook her head, then, and went to Becky’s dresser. ‘What about the mimic hoodie? I know you still have that! I washed it last week— Ah! Here it is!’

Becky bit her lip as Isa found her mimic hood and held it out. She wasn’t going to win this argument, and she knew it.

‘Besides, if you do die wouldn’t you rather spend eternity comfortable?

‘You sound like Malinka,’ Becky chided.

‘Good, Malinka is a very sensible woman,’ Isa retorted, throwing Becky’s hoodie over her shoulders. ‘And besides, you’re going to see your mother. Is this really how you want to dress for her?’

‘Well…’ Becky paused. Damn it, Isa was right again…. And there was nothing Becky could do except pout and whine about it as she agreed, ‘Not really.’

‘So you’ll be putting on actual pants for this outing?’ Isa asked; using the not-actually-asking-a-question voice she always used when she knew that Becky knew she was right.

‘Yeah, I guess,’ Becky sighed, accepting the warm pants that were then thrust into her arms. ‘Just for today, though. And I’m going to be shitty about it.’

‘As long as you wear them,’ Isa said, simply.

Becky took her time putting the pants on; dragging out the process before discarding her skirt onto her bed— Where it was promptly grabbed and shaken around viciously by Mimi.

‘Mimi!’ Isa scolded, retrieving the skirt and throwing it into Becky’s hamper. ‘For god’s sake, girl. You have an entire basket of toys! Don’t rip up clothes!’

‘Mrrp!’ Mimi chirped back playfully, bolting up and down the bed. ‘Mrrp! Mrma! Mama!

‘Silly girl,’ Becky chuckled, picking up her pet to press a kiss into its face. ‘Go play with your toys.’

‘Trrp!’ Mimi chirped back, skittering off to its basket and promptly shredding a cheap plush bear.

Becky watched with a weak smile; which then fell with a sigh. ‘Isa? Do you actually believe in ghosts? Or do you think I’m just crazy?’

‘I…’ Isa gave a sigh, before answering. ‘I don’t believe in ghosts. Not really….’

Becky looked away; only for Isa to gently put a finger under her chin and lift her gaze back.

‘But it’s okay if you believe in them,’ Isa told her. ‘Do you believe in them?’

‘Yeah,’ Becky answered. ‘I mean… Adam’s got a few.’

‘What?’

‘Like. Inside him. The ghosts of the people he’s made of. He says they’re in his head, and that he can like. Hear them. And see their memories and stuff….’

Isa paused for another long, long moment before finally mumbling, ‘Becky, that’s haunting.’

‘Well, yeah, that’s what ghosts do.’

‘That’s not what I— Nevermind,’ Isa waved a dismissive hand, before making for the door. ‘Come along, we want to go before it starts getting late.’

‘Okay,’ Becky mumbled, trailing close behind Isa as she made her way down the stairs and to the garage. ‘So… the flower shop, and then the graveyard, right?’

‘Right,’ Isa agreed— Though, as she reached the car, she paused; opening the door but not climbing in. ‘Hm… Becky?’ she started, slowly.

‘Yeah?’

‘I think you should try driving again,’ Isa told her.

‘Um— I-I-I don’t know,’ Becky stammered,

‘I won’t force you,’ Isa told her. ‘But it’s been almost half a year since you drove, and I’m worried. You’re an avoider, Becky. And I’m scared that if you avoid this much longer, you’re going to forget how to do it. And then… if there’s ever an emergency….’

Becky took a deep, deep breath, at that. ‘Okay,’ she agreed, though she didn’t want to. ‘Just… just a little bit, though. Just down to the strip mall?’

‘You have no idea how happy that would make me, Rebecca,’ Isa gave Becky a warm smile, and stood aside to let her pass. ‘Thank you.’

~~~~

Becky wasn’t sure how she’d managed to make it all the way to the strip mall without having a complete breakdown. It had been a terrifying, stressful trip. Becky wasn’t sure why she’d agreed to do it— But she had. And the entire trip, she’d gripped the wheel of Isa’s car like it was the only thing holding her in the material plane.

Isa had talked to her the whole drive, gently telling her to relax. But that was easier said than done.

Becky had sweat through her hoodie; she could see the wet patches under her arms.

But she’d done it; she’d made it to the strip mall in one piece and… now that she’d driven somewhere, the idea of driving again didn’t seem quite so overwhelming anymore.

She’d forgotten, really, the freedom of it…. That feeling….

Isa was a sneaky bitch, Becky realised with a grin as she flopped back in her seat. She looked over at the drow, who looked back with so much pride it made Becky blush.

‘I’m so proud of you, Becky,’ Isa told her, placing a hand on the girl’s shoulder. ‘Look at you! I know it wasn’t easy, but you did it!’

‘I did!’ Becky beamed. ‘And I didn’t die!’

‘Of course you didn’t,’ Isa chuckled, leaning over to peck a kiss on the side of Becky’s head. ‘You’re a good driver, when you’re being sensible…. Alright. Are you ready to go in and get those flowers?’

‘Uh, yeah, I think so,’ Becky felt her anxiety spike, though she wasn’t completely sure why…. She had the overwhelming feeling that she was going to do this wrong, somehow.

What sort of flowers were you supposed to get for a dead person?

Was just anything okay? Or was it supposed to be something specific…?

She didn’t know what kind of flowers her mum liked—

Did it even matter?

‘Becky?’ Isa spoke softly, and Becky snapped back to reality.

‘Yes— Uh, let’s go!’ Becky exclaimed, clambering out of Isa’s car and hurrying to the nearby florists.

Audrey’s Flowers.

It was a beautiful shop; owned by Adam’s next door neighbours, even! Becky wasn’t sure why she never really hung around it—

Oh, right…. The bees.

Becky flinched away as a very slow-flying bee buzzed out of one of the flower displays.

Isa caught Becky as she tried to retreat, and pushed her forward; reassuring her that everything was fine.

‘You’d think with how much you like flowers, you’d like bees,’ Isa sighed. ‘You’re a druid, Becky. Bees are your friends.’

‘No— They’re scary!’ Becky whined. ‘They have stingers!

‘For self-defence,’ Isa said. ‘Just like we have teeth; or a cat has claws….’

Mm…. That’s not better….’

‘You said you could talk to Malinka’s worms, that she dug up,’ Isa said. ‘Why not talk to the bee?’

‘Malinka didn’t dig the worms up,’ Becky corrected. ‘But— I mean… I guess? I dunno.’

‘Give it a shot…’ Isa urged, resting her hands on Becky’s shoulders. ‘I bet it’s saying something cute.’

Becky shuffled in place a moment, before taking a deep breath and focusing on the bee; trying to listen out for it’s tiny voice.

I love my sisters!’ she heard it humming happily. ‘I’m collecting pollen and I love my sisters! Oh, it’s very cold. Need to sleep soon. But first, food from the flowers! Flowers are so nice…. Flowers! Pretty flowers! I love flowers.

Becky couldn’t help but give a chuckle as the bee landed on the display again and began digging around in the flowers.

‘What’s it saying?’ Isa asked.

‘It loves flowers,’ Becky responded.

‘Then you two have a lot in common,’ Isa said, decidedly, before giving Becky a nudge towards the door. ‘Come on. Let’s go in.’

‘Alright,’ Becky responded, braving her way past the little buzzing insect and heading inside.

The bell at the top of the door gave a high jingle as the women entered. Becky held the door open for Isa before turning to look in the store.

She saw one of the two owners, a human man named Seymour, by a display. He looked as gaunt and exhausted as always; though he was smiling as he neatened the stock.

Becky watched him, fidgeting and scuffing her feet along the ground as she wondered what to say— Until Isa gave her another nudge, and she stepped forward and cleared her throat.

‘Uh, hi?’ she tried. ‘Hello?’

‘Ah, hello, there,’ Seymour gave a warm smile as he turned to face Becky. ‘What can I get for you?’

‘Um… I dunno,’ she answered. ‘Something pretty?’

‘What’s the occasion?’

‘They’re for my mum,’ Becky told him.

‘Ah, I see…. A birthday? Or… something else? What’s she been up to?’

‘She’s dead,’ Becky answered, simply.

A long pause followed; Seymour staring at Becky with surprise, before he cast a glance behind her— Becky could only assume he was looking to Isa.

Then, he nodded, and spoke in a gentler tone than he had before. ‘Ah. I see…. Something pretty. That shouldn’t be an issue.’

‘Thanks,’ Becky mumbled as Seymour turned back around and began sorting through his flowers.

‘Not a worry,’ Seymour responded. ‘Do you have a budget in mind?’

‘Uh… no?’ Becky said, tentatively. ‘How much do flowers… usually cost?’

‘It depends on what you’re wanting,’ Seymour replied. ‘Anywhere between eight dollars, and five-hundred.’

‘Five… hundred… for flowers?’ Becky didn’t mean to make a face, but she couldn’t help it; she couldn’t help showing her confusion, which earned her a slap on the back of the head from Isa and a warning to be polite. ‘How… how many flowers are we talking about?’

‘Bridal bouquets can be quite complicated,’ Seymour said with a grin. ‘But I very much doubt this arrangement will end up that expensive…. What do you think about fifty, sixty dollars?’

Way less likely to give my dad an aneurysm,’ Becky responded— Much to Isa’s amusement. ‘As long as it’s pretty, though. My mum deserves it to be pretty.’

‘It will be pretty, I promise,’ Seymour chuckled. ‘Give me five or so minutes and I’ll have something nice done up for you.’

‘Okay,’ Becky nodded. ‘Uh… I’ll just be… over… here. Until then.’

‘Okay,’ Seymour responded. ‘Five minutes.’

~~~~

Becky couldn’t believe how beautiful the bouquet was.

Five minutes, and Seymour had made the most beautiful arrangement of flowers she had ever seen in her entire life.

It was perfect.

So perfect, she almost forgot how awful she had been feeling, and how terrifying tomorrow was going to be….

Almost.

‘Isa?’ Becky started, using her free hand to play with her seatbelt.

‘Yes, Becky?’ Isa responded, gently.

‘Is Dad going to leave again?’ Becky asked.

For a moment, the car was quiet.

Isa didn’t respond, keeping her eyes firmly on the road, and Becky wasn’t sure if she’d been heard or not— But then she saw the drow’s ears fold back, and Isa reached over to put her hand on Becky’s own, giving it squeeze as she did. Though she still said nothing.

‘Isa?’ Becky pressed. She tried, but failed, to hide the worry in her voice. ‘Is Dad going to leave again?’

Another pause, before Isa sighed. ‘I don’t know,’ she finally answered.

‘I don’t want him to go,’ Becky admitted, squeezing Isa’s hand back as she felt tears begin to well in her eyes. ‘We’ve only just started to get along. What if he leaves, and everything gets messed up again?’

‘It won’t,’ Isa promised.

Becky gave a sniff, and felt her voice breaking as she asked, ‘How do you know it won’t?’

‘Because you’re older,’ Isa said, simply. ‘And smarter, and kinder, and more patient and brave and understanding than you’ve ever been before…. And we’re all going to put the effort in to make sure that everything stays good this time, alright?’

‘Alright,’ Becky squeaked, releasing Isa’s hand so she could rub her eyes. ‘I still don’t want him to go, though.’

‘I know,’ Isa replied. ‘I don’t, either.’

‘Mm,’ Becky gave a sigh, and went back to quietly examining the flower’s they’d bought.

Neither woman said anything until they pulled up outside the graveyard; and then, it was Isa who spoke first.

‘Do you want me to come with you?’ Isa asked. ‘Or do you want some time alone?’

‘I’d like to go alone, I think,’ Becky decided. ‘I’ll be… ten minutes? Maybe twenty.’

‘Alright, twenty minutes,’ Isa gave a gentle nod. ‘You’ll be able to find it alright on your own?’

‘Yeah. I think I remember which way it is. Up and left?’

‘That’s it,’ Isa confirmed. ‘If you need anything, I’ll be right here, okay?’

‘Okay.’

Slowly, Becky pushed herself out of the car and shut the door behind her. She made her way through the graveyard slowly; taking in the atmosphere.

It was beautiful in this part of the graveyard. Not like where her and her friends had fought Romero. The grass grew rich and green here, and the headstones were all well-kept.

There weren’t many graves with flowers, though. Maybe one or two, here and there. But the lack of visitors was obvious; the few colourful floral arrangements that there were only brought attention to the emptiness of the untrampled lawn.

Becky could see most of the headstones were marked years ago— Five. Ten. Twenty…. She thought it must be like with her family; people missed the dead, but coming to the grave just got harder and harder, as time passed and the memories faded.

She wished she could remember her mother, better…. She wasn’t sure why it was so hard, sometimes.

A fuzzy face, just out of reach of her mind unless she was looking at a picture, and a voice that was drowned out to a whisper by the silencing grip of time.

Becky finally understood why her father kept all the photos around. They helped, because it was so strangely easy to forget such important things….

Ah, there it was.

Becky looked down at the headstone, and saw the beautiful photo of her mother printed on the surface.

And then she noticed that… there were already flowers. And some notes, from… fans?

Hm….

Becky sat down, careful not to knock over the gifts that had been left for her mother.

At least someone had been coming to see her… though Becky was ashamed that it hadn’t been herself.

She felt the tears welling up again, and let out a shaky breath as she put her flowers with the rest.

‘Hey, Mum,’ she mumbled. ‘It’s been a while. Hasn’t it? I’m sorry I haven’t been to visit in so long…. Things have been a little overwhelming.’

Becky gave a sniff and shifted, leaning against the headstone and crossing her legs.

‘I uh. Don’t really know what to say, or where to start,’ Becky admitted to the air. ‘I… got a girlfriend. We dated for a year and a half. But… it wasn’t good. She didn’t treat me very well, and I think she…. I think she broke me….’

Another sniff, and Becky found herself fiddling with the zipper of her hoodie.

‘We broke up, though. And now I’m dating Jareth. You remember Jareth, right? Jareth Slader? He’s a barbarian, now. And rides a motorbike,’ Becky explained. ‘He’s really nice and patient with me…. He’s the best.’

Becky stopped playing with her zip, and instead picked at the hem of her shirt.

‘I still talk to Katie and Jezzibeth,’ she said. ‘And I have more friends, too. I met a girl called Marilyn, when I started high school. She’s really great. She’s both freakishly smart, and insufferably stupid at the same time. It’s kinda funny…. And there’s Adam. I like Adam a lot. He’s one of the Frankensteins…. I remember you used to talk about them, a long time ago. About how people didn’t treat them right…. You were right. They’re really nice people. And always look after me. Even when….’

Becky paused, both her sentence and her hem-picking, before letting out a long sigh.

‘Even when I’m weird,’ she finished. ‘I’m… really sorry that I can’t be normal anymore, like I promised you I would be. It got too hard, and I kept doing it wrong and hurting people. And hurting myself.… But I’m okay now, I think. Like. I have really good friends, like Malinka and Portia and Wendy and.… Well, I think Wendy’s my friend now, anyway. We went camping together…. Even after I was so horrible to her, and bullied her, she’s being really nice to me…. A lot of people are, now that I’m trying to do the right thing. I’m really grateful people are forgiving me for all the mistakes I made…. I think… I think you’d be proud of me, if you saw how much progress I’ve been making, and how many friends I have. I think it would make you happy. Even if I’m a little bit weird, now…. Oh— And— And I found out!’

Becky rolled to her knees, feeling a burst of excitement as she remembered her druid powers.

‘I’m a druid! Did you know that Dad came from a druid bloodline? I don’t think you did, or you would have warned me way earlier…. Honestly, I think Dad might have forgotten about it, himself…. But I inherited it! And now I can do cool stuff, like grow flowers, and turn into animals, and talk to Mimi! Oh! Wait, look, I’ll grow you some flowers! Ones that won’t die so quickly!’

Taking a deep breath, Becky placed her hand on her mother’s grave and closed her eyes shut tight; willing, hard, for something to grow….

And when she opened her eyes, vines had wrapped around her mother’s headstone, blooming beautiful purple flowers that waved happily in the breeze.

‘There! I hope you like them,’ said Becky…. Then, her excitement faded, and she felt her heart drop, again. ‘I… I need to be honest with you…. I did something bad. I really hurt someone. This boy in my school, Romero. I don’t know if you ever heard of him, but he… he hurt a friend of mine. And I… I almost killed him. I didn’t mean to, it just happened. But it was the scariest thing I’ve ever done. Even scarier then when I crashed my car— Oh. I uh… crashed my car, by the way. And also got attacked by a dog. And vampires…. A lot has been going on. I wish I could tell you all of it, but there’s just so, so much….’

Becky let out a sigh, and lay back against the headstone again, wiping her nose on her sleeve and trying to stave off the tears that were threatening to escape her.

‘I met the hag, by the way. I remember you used to tell me not to go into the woods, because the hag would get me— But she’s not that bad. She actually protects people; she stopped Wendy from being kidnapped. It’s like. Her job to patrol the woods and protect people. That’s what the deer told me…. I think people just judge her cos she’s different… and I know that’s what you’re scared of for me, but… I think it’s okay to be different,’ Becky said, surprising herself with her honestly. ‘Trying too hard to always be the same makes people mean. And I don’t think that’s the right way to be…. I’ve decided that I want to be nice, you know? Even if I have to be different, and not popular anymore, I think it’s the right choice to make… because….’

Becky felt the tears begin to roll down her cheeks, then, as she thought about her father leaving again— And she barely managed to swallow down the sob that tried to break out of her throat.

‘Because I was so mean to Dad that he thought he had to leave,’ she said. ‘He thought I hated him, and wanted him to go. But I don’t hate him. I’ve never hated him. I was mad, because he never seemed to understand me, but I never hated him…. And, like…. I think he knows that now, though. Because we’ve gotten really good at talking to each other…. But he still might leave, because of work….’

Becky wiped her eyes, and sniffed loudly, desperately fighting the urge to cry.

‘I don’t want him to leave. Especially not with everything going on, because I… I met a god. A god, Mum! He said his name was Hastur…. He’s the god that the Blessed worship. He… he said something big was coming. Something bad. And I… I’m really scared,’ Becky sniffed. ‘My friends and I asked our other friend Orson to see the future, because he can do that. And he… what he saw was awful. And I’m really scared. Lots of people are going to get hurt. And… and I don’t know if I’m strong enough to stop it. But I can’t just not do anything! I can’t just sit around and let people get hurt…. But I don’t know what to do…. I don’t want to save the world. I just want to be hot, and post selfies online, and like. Make out with people and stuff. I don’t want responsibility like this.…’

Becky let out a heavy sigh, and slid down her mother’s headstone until she was laying in the grass.

‘I mean… I guess I could go with Dad, if he leaves Shadow Oaks again. But would that just be running away and leaving people to get hurt? Because it feels like it would be.… And I don’t want to run away and let people get hurt, because they will. And some of those people might be my friends, which would be extra awful— And even if they’re not my friends, it’s still wrong to run away, isn’t it? I think it is….’

Becky’s next breath was laboured, and followed by a sob as all of her built-up feelings finally escaped her.

‘I don’t know what to do!’ she blurted. ‘I’m scared. And I feel like everything’s hopeless. But I can’t stop fighting, because if I do then it is hopeless— But it’s hard! And I don’t like things being hard! I want things to be easy! I just want someone to tell me what to do so that I don’t have to think anymore, and can just be dumb and hot and stupid in peace!’

Becky rolled onto her side then, and buried her face into the grass to cry.

I wanna go back to being a bimbo!’ she whined, her pitch so high it was almost inaudible. ‘It was easier than being brave!

Becky desperately tried to stop crying, but it was too much, and the tears just kept coming.

And coming.

And coming.

Until she felt a familiar gentle hand on her shoulder and looked up to find Isa looking down at her.

‘Isa—‘ Becky cut off in a sob, and scrambled to her knees. ‘Isa!’

‘Come here…’ Isa mumbled, pulling Becky close. ‘It’s okay…. You’re alright….’

‘I miss her!’ Becky cried, burying her face into Isa’s shoulder. ‘I want her to come home!’

‘I know,’ Isa comforted. ‘I know. I do too. I do, too….’

-End-

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