31 The Box and The Visit

The morning light woke me up from my sleep. When I open my eyes, I was greeted by the familiar ceiling. My own room which was abandoned for, more or less, three years. I only had my short beige pants and a white T-shirt on me.

"Ahh... too thirsty..."

I scratched my neck while getting up and went out of my room. In the kitchen, I saw Claire making breakfast for us today. The menu was Mac N Cheese and ham sandwich, pretty standard and unless you didn't have a knack for cooking, it's impossible to mess them up.

"Good Morning, Edward. How's your night? Do you sleep well?" greeted Claire while setting the food on the table dining table. She was concerned about my well-being since coming here.

"Yep. It really feels like home. I missed this house so much." I answered while smiling. If only mom and dad were here... No Edward, no more sadness, let's be happy for their sake! I clapped my cheek with both of my hands to clear my mind. Claire was startled by my sudden action, but she smiled gently after looking at my determined face.

I walked to the fridge, looking for something to drink first before taking a seat next to her. There was only cold water in the fridge since we haven't done any shopping yet.

"Where's uncle Chris? He's not waking up yet?" I asked while gulping the bottled water until I satiate my thirst.

"Well... he did. But he left to take Barry to the Bus Station, earlier this morning. He said that he got a call from his colleague back in Raccoon City, and Barry planned to return in advance because of that," said Claire. Her answer made my heart skip a beat, I hope it's not related to the future incident.

"Here, take a bite and tell me if it suits your taste." Claire pushed the sandwich's plate to me with a hopeful face. I felt pressured, but whatever the taste will be, I couldn't show her any rejection. I took a bite of the simple sandwich and it actually surprised me. It was delicious. Not restaurant delicious, but family food delicious since it was only ham, bread, and butter.

"This is the best, Aunt Claire, you need to make this for me every morning." My appetite keep growing and I kept stuffing myself with them. The Mac N Cheese wasn't that bad either, well at least better than the average.

"I will, only if you could live with me. But I still live in the dorm now, maybe I could rent an apartment later on if you decide to live with me," answered Claire, excited and happy watching me eating the food she cooked. Looking at how fast I was munching them, she said, "Eat slowly, I'll make you another if you still hungry."

"It seems uncle Chris wants me to come with him to Raccoon City for now. Maybe next year?"

"Yeah... he sure does," said Claire, kinda disappointed. It was the first time she met her nephew. Usually, she could only look at the pictures' and videos' my Mom sent her every year. The possibility that she could live together with her cute nephew excited her. She hoped that she could graduate early or find a nice flat to stay in. "Okay... that's it. Finish your food and wash your face, we'll leave when Chris returns to visit your Mom and Dad. So no need to hurry if you have things to do."

It didn't take long for me to finish breakfast. Claire took the cleaned dishes and started washing them for me. I didn't forget to thank her again before moving toward the boxes where our belongings were. There are three boxes of clothing, mostly Dad's who was an outdoor type guy. There were also several types of furniture, like an old vase, picture frames, paintings, antique lamps, etc. These were mostly my mom's property, which was part of her hobbies. My stuff was placed further behind, with only one box containing everything, from comic books to Hot Wheels car collection.

"Hmm? Isn't that my bag?" at the corner inside the box was the bag I wore that day. It was yellow in color and I decorated it with stickers of rare legendary Pokemons of the first generation. Gengar was there, although it wasn't one of the legendaries, he's my favorite. Mostly it was because, in the first episode of the anime, Gengar was seen fighting against Onyx. Whenever I went to school, the other classmate would always stare in envy as it passively strengthens your status at the school.

'Hmm... isn't there a new Mewt sticker I got from a trade?'

I reached inside the bag, but I didn't found it, making me sad. Instead, my hand touched a round silver object. I take it out and wondered what this object was. Flat and round with ropes carved on the edges. The upper half of it was decorated with stars and dots shaping a semi-circle line while on the bottom half was the same line but with three words carved instead of stars. Quod Debitum Sanguine. The middle part was a skull facing the right side, surrounded with leaves and flowers and also a crown on top of it.

'what is this? I don't have any memory of owning this object.'

There was an opening in the middle of it. As I opened it, I found two fingerprints slots, side by side. The right side was already filled with a fingerprint and it was made from blood. I seemed to recall it, but it keeps dispersing whenever it reached the top of my tongue. There was also a letter glued behind it.

"To J."

'Who's J?' I keep thinking of any possibilities currently available. 'Jhris? Jlaire? Jarry? Naaah... it's not them. But then, who?'

Just as I'm going to ask Regina about it, there were footsteps outside of the door.

"I'm home," said Chris while opening the door. Claire greeted him and ask him about Barry's departure. "There's nothing to worry. The bus left, right after I went back to the parking lot. By this time he must be snoring on his seat."

I returned the silver object inside my bag again and greeted Chris that was sitting on the sofa. I took this chance to ask him, "Barry should have stayed with us for another day. Why was he leaving so fast in the morning?"

"Well, his family missed him a lot. After calling them last night, his wife told him to get back as soon as possible. They were really worried about him. Barry was a family-loving type of man, so he couldn't reject his wife's request." answered Chris.

'family-loving my ass, last time I checked he was drooling at a woman in Paris.' thought me while rolling my eyes.

Claire then interrupted our conversation, saying we should also get ready to leave as well. We changed to a set of black clothes. Our destination was the Elmwood Cemetery where my parents were buried. We went past the Cemetery's gate and moved further inside. I could see mausoleums and chapel from where we stood. In front of me were two tombstones with my parents' name carved along with their birth date and the date when they passed away.

It was still Summer, but the leaves already fell on top of their grave. Once we cleaned it, Chris and Claire tell me to talk with them first while they wait a bit further behind. I didn't have anything to talk about though. I vented my grief too many times already and it just makes me tired in the end. So I just told them about my experience after the so-called time travel.

I told him about Umbrella's doing, about their plan, everything. Somehow it was like writing a diary, which makes me chuckle. Regina suddenly asked.

[Are you still sad, Sir?]

"Of course, I do and always will." I replied while feeling the rough tombstone with my left hand and continued, "but the highest tribute to the dead is not grief, but gratitude."

[Thornton Wilder.]

"You know him? That's my mother's favorite author. I always watched her reading his books while I slept on her lap."

I stood up, feeling refreshed. This place was a good place to rest after a long journey. "Goodbye, Mom, Dad. I will be sure to visit you a lot. I miss you and always will."

Now it was Chris's time to spend a moment with them, I don't know what he was talking about, but I was sure that he mentioned about me and how he will strife to protect us, me and Claire as the head of the family. Claire didn't take her turn because she already did once on the funeral, but she made sure to send her farewell while rubbing her wet eyes. "See you next time, Sis."

Just like that, our visit to the grave ends. Watching the depressing atmosphere, Chris had an idea and took us to an amusement park. Chris tried hard to cheer us up. He keeps laughing like an idiot and running around while dragging us both. The thing was, he tried too hard making the passerby laugh at his childish behavior. We were embarrassed but Claire and I couldn't say anything about it since it was our first time we were in a park together.

We ate cotton candy, Apple candy, hot-dogs, ice creams et cetera. We ride Dumbo the Flying Elephant-styles rides, Merry-go-round, and Ferris wheel. There was also a roller-coaster, but since I wasn't old enough and night already fell, we skipped it and just walked to the parking lot.

Suddenly, a girl, who was on the ride, bellowed toward the staff to release them from the safety panel. She was literally screaming with tears.

"Let me out! Please! It's gonna crash!"

The commotion drew our attention since it escalated to a fistfight among her friends. Since there's already security team appeasing the dramatic situation, we just continue on our way.

'This situation, it seems familiar. Ehhh... Maybe I was just thinking too much.'

To be honest, my head was filled with any strategy on how to beat the incoming Raccoon City incident and the mysterious silver object on my bag.

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'By the way, the girl looked like Mary Elizabeth Winstead, the actress. I wonder if she existed in this world.'

However, not long after we heard crashing sounds and screaming. We looked back and found out that there was something wrong with the roller-coaster.

"Claire! Take Edward and stay inside the car. Don't move until I get back!", said Chris, but I knew that it was directed toward me. Chris then started running back into the Park while I and Claire moved away. There's a lot of people panicking and running out of the Amusement Park, delaying him.

Inside my mind I was cursing, 'fuck, I hope Lady Death never pointed her bony finger at me.'

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Back inside the Apartment of Edward's family, a bald Black man wearing an eye patch was reading a comic book, the Uncle Scrooge series, inside Edward's room. Suddenly he threw it toward the door while shouting.

"When the hell will they come home!"

After a while, he continued reading the next issues.

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