18. A Lost Childhood [II]

“Guess who came along to see you!”

“Uncle Peter!” Lynnie squealed, and ran to hug him. Of course, he had not come to see her, but to be with the family and support his sister-in-law in her great time of need…but he was close to the lovely, timid Lynnette (who was like him in many ways), and he did not want to break her heart with the solemn truth.

“Hey, pumpkin,” Peter laughed, and the old man struggled to support Lynnette’s enthusiastic hug, “Beautiful, beautiful singing, my dear.”

Lynette beamed her dark, hazel eyes at him.

“How long are you staying, Uncle Peter?”

“Ohh, indefinitely,” he teased her, his eyes sparkling.

“Lynnie, darling, hurry along to a couple of your friends. I think they’re waiting for you,” Aidelle smiled.

Indeed, due to her adorable innocent, Lynnette had always been able to capture the interest of her classmates in a way that her elder sister was never able. And there they were, supporting little Lynnie every step of the way. Their lack of a fully-formed mind could not understand the delicate situation, but they could tell that something was wrong with Lynnette’s mother. It was pity, which, in the end, brought them to her.

The gaggle of girls giggled and embraced Lynnette as she ran over. For once, the straw-haired girl’s life was almost usual.

Peter guided Aidelle as they walked around the chapel, in the pretence of heading to the refreshment table, but really wanting to be deep in undisturbed conversation.

“Have you ‘seen’ anything more?” Aidelle asked, all joviality gone from her voice.

“No, not even in the presence of the objects which triggered that first vision: Phillip’s urn, Phillip’s painting and the girls’ baby pink christening dress.

“I’m sorry, Aidelle, but any power of mine is just too unpronounced. I’d need the training of…those few odd people whom I chose to leave behind many years ago. “Besides, it was more of a few shots of a flashback (without the nostalgia, luckily) than a vision of the future, or one of my mysterious insights.”

Aidelle looked at him wearily, but then turned back to the stained-glass window she had been inspecting with the eye of one who has spent a life surrounded by fine art.

“What did you see, then?”

“Well, to be honest, I’m not quite sure. It was over as soon as it had started, and I could do nothing. I was seeing myself tending to Phillip with some old-fashioned-looking cloth bandages; Phillip had fallen from somewhere or something. It did look like the house that we used to live in…our parents’ family house…”

This time, Aidelle turned away from the window and looked Peter fully in the eyes. She searched for any falsehood- in the way a true, time-honoured friend would.

“Peter...are you sure this was an ‘insight’, and not just something of your wearied mind’s own creation? Perhaps you are feeling guilty that you were not there for Phillip’s death. After all, there are some things that a doctor cannot fix.”

Peter was grave and silent for a minute before he replied.
“Are you saying that my profession is obscuring my old view of the supernatural? Something that you, of all people, would everything about,” he remarked sarcastically.

His voice was low and quiet, his gaze steady and expression indifferent, but having known him for as long as she had, Aidelle could tell that she had impinged on his pride.

The End

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