“Do you know this young lady?” the blonde man repeated, taking in the wet girl with his curious jade eyes.
“Y-yes,” he admitted to his teacher. “She’s my sister… my twin.”
How quickly her world was collapsing under her feet. Lucy felt the tears cleaning her eyes of deceit. Had she really been that stupid? How could she have not thought of this before?
“Oh dear,” the vocal Top Hat pursed his lips while the other simply observed the situation with a calculating stance.
Sebastian didn’t move but merely shook his head in shock and defeat.
Lucy’s mind closed in on itself as she slowly backed away. Her lips didn’t stop quivering as the cold Lynd’n rain set deep into her bones. She turned away and began to walk. Then the drums of flight began pounding in her ear. Run; she needed to run. Quicker still, her feet picked themselves up and began to trip over each other.
“Lucy!” the green-eyed Top Hat called. “Do come inside!”
She had to get away. Away from those horrid men. Away from this truth. Lucy found a fast pace, and soon she was cloaked beneath the fog.
Tears fell quickly. One after another. Lucy whisked them onto the wet pavement but they didn’t stop. The park. Of course, St. John Park. There she could disappear even if for just a moment in time.
Lucy’s eyes spun among the throngs of people walking through the park despite the poor weather. Families, families, families! All of them laughing, eating, smiling as they ducked for cover into trees and umbrellas. She hissed in frustration before speeding past them.
Finally, near the lake was a muddy patch of green free from puddle-jumping children and happy couples. Lucy’s legs buckled onto the wet field as locked memories of her past came spilling out, flooding her once peaceful mind.
“Lucy! Look here!” her brother chimed to her from the mud.
“Gross!” she whined, pulling away from the mess and bugs.
Sebastian stuck his tongue out and splashed the girl.
“This means war!” the brave youth screamed before launching him into the mud.
“Smile, Lucy!” her mother said to her daughter, as the little girl pouted at the chocolate and vanilla cake with a hand print right in the middle.
“Sebastian! You ruined it,” Lucy cried out as he took another handful.
“Don’t worry, Lulu. It’s just a cake,” her mother cooed. “You are turning six, not sixteen.”
Lucy looked at it tentatively, a sour lip still puckered.
“Dare you,” Sebastian teased.
“I could!” she defended rashly.
“Bet you couldn’t!”
SMASH! Lucy threw her whole face into the cake. Silence filled the room.
Adrian, nearby, broke out into a large fit of laughter from his high chair.
“What’s all that noise?” His low laughter, coming into the house.
The memory faded.
But another emerged from the darkest corner of her mind – the worst of them all.
The trees. The vacation. Sebastian was missing. And Lucy was told he was gone. Dead. Mum never cried. She just looked. . . heartbroken.
She didn’t cry. She never cried. She looked the same. Just like when Father left.
When he left.
Now it was all spiraling.
Lucy was running once more into the woods. She knew it was him, she had seen him there; a Top Hat silhouette hovering just above him. Her mother was yelling at her – screaming for her to get back. But she was sure of it. She had to find him. She must!
But in a flicker, her mind spun her into Sebastian’s funeral.
Her eyes weary with tears as she looked up to see them. Three figures in the trees – three gentlemen watching a funeral. She begged her mother to believe her, believe there was hope! But her mom said that it was impossible. . .to stop thinking of such nonsense. . .
How stupid she felt. Then the wave hit her hard, and she could no longer breathe. And for the first time – in a long time – Lucy O’Rourke sobbed. A hollow cry, only a whisper of the sound, that would have made even the guards of the Queen twitch in remorse. It was a cry over five years in the making.
The petite girl shook and trembled for as long as her body could take before the undercurrent of peace slipped the chaos back into the sea and rationality returned.
She closed her eyes and calmly mapped out an order to the mess in her mind. She must return to work. She must finish her shift. And when all was said and done, she would leave and return home. Then Lucy would ask her mother the question.
Yes, this dull blade would dig deeper still, but she needed to know:
“What really happened to Sebastian?” she muttered, the words carrying themselves into the storm.
©2016 E. M. Vick