4 Another Branch of the Tree

"I'm sorry young man, but can I see any identification or something to prove yourself?", asked Mervin who was getting doubtful of the man in front of him.

The young man that introduced himself as Chris held both of his hands up, "Yes, of course. I'm going to take out my wallet from the back pocket now."

Chris took out an old brown wallet. Mervin that saw the man's gesture can finally breathe a sigh of relief after he saw the police card and emblem inside the wallet. He couldn't help but ask, "How could you arrive so fast? Vanessa once mentioned that her siblings live in America."

"Ohh, about that, I wast taking a vacation in Europe, so it was pretty close by. The flight itself only took 6 hours from France."

Mervin was observing Chris who was fidgeting in front of him. It was a habit of his to take a proper look at the one he talked to. A job as a Federal agent really affects his life even after quitting.

"Vacation you say? Surely it's not you being suspended by your boss, right?"

Mervin really hit the jackpot. Chris and his colleague were suspended by his boss for an aggressive streak including assault on a fellow officer. But what Mervin didn't know was that Chris actually did it on purpose to give him an excuse to go to Europe. He was investigating a certain Corporation's headquarters.

Watching the wry smile of Chris, Mervin walked him into the hospital. Along the way, Chris asked the detail of the incident.

When he heard that his elder sister was killed in an attack by an unknown group of people. He was devastated by grieve and anger. Aside from her and his little sister, he didn't have any other relatives. After the death of their parents when they were young, Vanessa was the one who worked and raised them until they finished high school and got a job. The three siblings had made a strong bond because of that.

After hearing that his nephew survived the attack he instantly departed from France to Congo. It was a sleepless night for him. He was anxious for fear of the attackers planning another attack on his only nephew.

Hearing Mervin explained how the people found her nephew, he was shocked. All the attackers yesterday were actually killed with only his nephew left alive, sleeping in the middle of the massacre. He was sure that someone lent a hand that night. If someone said that his nephew was the one that actually killed all of them, he won't believe it even if he was being held at gunpoint. It's just impossible.


I heard a gentle knock on the door of my room. "You can come in."

I thought it was the nurse but instead, a familiar man's face popped out from behind the door. I keep wondering about this young man, why did he seem familiar?

The man just stood on the door, he was covering the tears on his eyes to not let it shown. But his face was still crumped up. This man was clearly sad and wasted. I could see uncle Mervin behind him, silent as he held his head down. "Take your time, Chris. I'll wait outside. You two should talk first."

"Thank you." He then closed the door and walked to my side.

Anyone could guess by this time that this man was one of my relatives. Now I remembered why he seemed familiar, he had my mother's eyes too. While walking, he glanced at my face and the bandage wrapping my head, then at the IV drip connected to my hand and my broken ankle. He stands next to me before he grabbed a nearby stool and sat on it.

"Do you know me?", he asked while forming a smile.

Ahh... Again... That smile, why was everyone keeps doing it? That damn smile! If you were hurt, just yell in pain. Please...

I coldly answered him, "Isn't that what I should ask?"

Noticing my cold gaze and tone, he staggered a bit, but still answered, "my bad, it seems my sister didn't talk a lot about me. My name is Chris. I always heard about you from my sister, she sent me a lot of your baby pictures."

So he is my uncle. If was going to break his leg if he said he was my hidden brother, like the drama and soap opera, I watched in my past life. Though it seems impossible to do a kimchi slap with my petite body, maybe shooting him once would do the deed?

Noticing that I was spaced out, I asked him the question, "uncle Chris have you find mom? What about dad? He got out of the car earlier than us."

My chest felt hot after asking that question and my heart was going to explode from anticipation.

I can see Chris's eyes opening wide. I can see his dark brown eyes. Just like my mother and me, it seems a trademark of their family as dad's eyes were bluish in color.

I didn't know what he was thinking right now, but he seemed surprised. He opens his mouth to say something but closed it immediately without saying anything.

I waited for him to talk first because I really want to know how they were now.

"Your m..mom and dad, we still couldn't find them."

Ahh, now I know a thing about this damned uncle of mine. He sucks at acting.

My world was about to collapse, what to do? Do I keep holding on? Then what next?

The joy of getting the system earlier vanished in instant.

"I'm... sorry."

I heard his mumbling. He seemed to notice my change in expression and face downward, forming a fist with his hand. Careful, you might bleed.

Why did he apologize? It wasn't his fault though. But somehow, I wanted to blame him after he said that. I didn't say anything and just go back to sleep, ignoring him. After a while, Chris also walked out of the room shedding tears.

From the thin wall of the hospital, I could hear it. A bawling of a man that just lost a piece of his own heart while muttering apology again and again. I too accompanied him in his wailing. I cried too much today, let's try smiling at least once to him tomorrow.


Two days had passed since I met with Chris. We were leaving the town today after my ankle got better without any sign of infection. I still wore the blue hoodie from that day. Only now, I changed to a white T-shirt and black shorts.

Mervin said he would help to send our belonging back to America. Chris already gave him the address. I wanted to peek what he wrote but he was so uselessly tall.

The guns on the crime scene were confiscated by the local police except for the Glock and a few other guns. There was my dad's signature on the handle of each gun. So they knew that it was my dad's property.

Yesterday, I finally met again with my parents. Chris cried again that day, but I didn't. I couldn't cry anymore since I cried with Chris at the hospital that day. No matter how hard I think about sad stuff, it won't come out anymore. It seems my crying box broke, just like how SpongeBob's laughter box did once.

On the road, I was watching the passing building out on the window. They were passing one after another like an old movie film. Then I saw it, the Ice Cream store.

"Can we stop, Uncle Chris?"

"What happen? Do you have carsickness?" , Chris glanced at me and slowly stopped the car at the side road.

I didn't explain it to him and just walked out the door. He followed me from behind after turning off the car. I went into the store and looked at each ice cream to chose from.

Because of the high platform, I keep tiptoeing and stick my face close to the glass. Watching me seriously looking at the ice cream, he smiled and asked "what flavor is your favorite Ed?"

He imitated me by sticking his face close to the glass compartment. Damn it! Just wait until I grew up, I'll definitely grow taller than you.

I bought two ice cream. Using Chris's money of course. I gave him my favorite ice cream, Chocolate Lava. It was a combination of chocolate and caramel.

Back in the car, Chris drove slowly while eating his Ice Cream. "I thought you liked this one. Why you eat that, shouldn't kid hate bitter stuff?"

While still looking at the "moving film" outside the car window, I answered, "It was mom's favorite."

Chris didn't say anything and just silently driving while smiling. Somehow the bitter green tea flavor tasted sweeter today.

"Uncle, can I ask about my Aunt? You never mentioned anything about her."

While turning the steering wheel, he said, "Didn't mom mentioned us both to you?"

"Mom never said a single good think about you two."

Chuckling, Chris started reminiscing about his sisters, "Ahh so that's why. She probably mad because I joined police forces and of how obsessed your Aunt with a motorcycle is. She deemed everything to be so dangerous. By the way, your Aunt's name is Claire."

I took another bite of the ice cream and asked again, "okay, but what's your last name? Mom and you never mentioned your last name."

"Shouldn't you know your mom's name?"

Scratching my head I answered, "I thought her name was Vanessa Mommy."

Chris just laughed at my answer. I really don't know. The pre-reincarnated kid me never asked or hear about mom's last name. I only know dad was a Kavka, I thought mom took dad's family name as well. Then an unexpected answer came out of this damned uncle of mine.

"It's Redfield. I'm Chris Redfield and your aunt is Claire Redfield."


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