(C) 2012 by Roger A Wilbanks
“We don’t have a lot of time….so I’ll make this quick.” Henry Reed said to his sleeping son. He did not turn the light on. It was after 3am and he didn’t want to wake Terry. He would give him the fright of his life if he did.
“I’m sorry I haven’t been there for you, kiddo. You understand what happened so I won’t go into it now just understand this…” he stopped as a light began to shine through the curtain in the bedroom window.
“Not yet, I’m not finished.” Henry said. Panic took root deep in his heart as he thought of all he wanted to say to his sleeping son. There was so much to cover and his time was so short.
“First rule, kid. Never trust a fart. I know that sounds funny, but it’s serious. It applies to so much more in life than just farts. Nothing that seems easy ends easy. It’s a simple thing, really. If you have the power to control something that can end badly for you, exercise that power.”
The light shifted outside as if scanning the outside of the house. Henry moved closer to his son’s bed and spoke to him in the quietest voice he could muster.
“Second rule. Fall in love. With a girl, with a hobby, with anything. The world outside wants you to suffer. Happiness is its poison. When you are depressed, the world feeds off of that and makes everyone else happy by pointing out your misery. Trust me. I know this firsthand. If you love something, that will always be there for you no matter how bad things seem. You were the thing In life I loved. You kept me going when the world ground me down.” Henry wiped the tears from his face as they appeared.
The light outside rose into the air as if it were on a crane. It seemed to have found what it was looking for and began approaching the window. Henry felt panic begin to shroud his heart. He had so much to tell this beautiful child but so little time. As soon as that light found him, poof, he was done.
“Third. Love your mother for me. Unconditionally. I know she can be a pain. I know she is difficult, but she will need that from you. No exceptions. “ Terry stirred in his slumber. Henry stepped back afraid he would wake his son and scare him to death.
The light was almost outside the window now and getting closer every second. It was coming for him.
“I know things will be tough without me, hell…they were tough even while I was here, but you have to be strong. I know there is a great strength in you. I saw it as you fought for your life when you were born. You never gave up. I noticed that and it made me happy. Use that. Life will want to grind you down. It is natural, like erosion. Use that strength and make life sharpen you instead. Make life turn you into a sword. I know you have that in you.” The curtain began to undulate as the light stood on the other side of it, now fully aware of the man leaning over the sleeping child.
“I have to go now, Terry. I love you more than life itself. I will try to help you however I can, but you are on your own now. Take care of yourself. Take care of your, OUR family. Never lie to anyone and always keep your word. That is the most important thing I can tell you.” The curtain flew open revealing a cloud of light that looked like a small sun.
“It is time.” The light said.
“I know.” Henry answered and stepped into the light, vanishing from his son’s bedroom. The light went dark and the room returned to its previous condition.
Terry awoke like a shot had just gone off.
“Moooom!” he screamed. His mother crashed into his room like a lioness.
“what is it? Did you hear something?” she asked?
“I just dreamed of Dad. He was talking to me. He told me…” he stopped. Something told him to keep what was said to himself. “He told me about life.”
“Terry, your father has been dead for a year now. “
“I know that!” He shot. “But he was here. I heard him. There was a light though, and he...” he stopped again. Even though he was only 10, he knew what he was describing. “He left. He talked to me and left.”
“I know you miss him, baby. I miss him too. We have to move on tho and think of the future. He’s not here to take care of us anymore. He’s gone someplace better.”
Terry remembered the fear in his father’s voice as he spoke to him. He remembered all of the evil things his father had done before being gunned down by a rival. He had the feeling that someplace his father found himself now was decidedly not a better place. He felt a tear work its way down his face. He wiped it away as if it were a pest. He felt the resolve his father mentioned well up in his chest.
“We’ll be ok mom. That’s what dad told me. He said we would be ok.”
Terry went back to sleep with that thought as a blanket and slept like a 10 year old ought for the first time in as long as he could remember.
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