Eliza squeezed Milly’s hand; it was time. Patrick had completed his memorial garden with a waterfall and wildflowers. He hoped the family would come to reflect and remember those they had lost. Milly clutched Vicky’s urn; it felt final. She spoke to her daily. How would her mother hear when buried in another town? Eliza took the ashes and placed them in the hole next to the headstone, covering them with fresh soil. They stood staring at the ground; Milly read the inscription, and her voice trembled. A few lines summed up the life of a woman who meant the world to her. It told future generations nothing of the wonderful person they had been. Who would remember the artists they helped curate or the mother she had been? Eliza said it was in the stories they told which would give Vicky immortal wings. She was an angel that Milly’s children would recall as legend.
When Patrick created the garden, he believed the water would be soothing. The bright colours were to bring joy when tears flowed. A meditation stool was his final touch. Patrick had not considered how this tranquil space would fare alongside Daciana and Luliana. The twins ran into Aunt Eliza’s arms. She squeezed them tight, ushering them into the house under the promise of cake. Eliza glanced over her shoulder as they reached the door. Milly froze to the spot, unable to tear her eyes away from Vicky and Ziva’s resting place. The finality was too much; she sank to the ground sobbing. Eliza did not want to leave her alone, but with eager nieces, there was little choice.
Daciana insisted on showing Eliza all their new toys. An overwhelming delivery of birthday gifts designed to spoil his daughters. Eliza expected nothing less from him; they called him “daddy”, and he never corrected them. Patrick worried, knowing Eliza was not telling him the whole truth. She could not explain her findings, and worse, Charlotte had attacked her. Eliza debated the latter part, but it made a disturbing sense. This new reality was where their sister had become the fantasy monster. The romanticised Vampire stories Charlotte told her, were true. Eliza had believed they were the ideals of a teenager looking to escape family life. The two distinct marks on her neck were insufficient. Eliza needed proof of her sister’s transformation. Caleb’s style, his home, they were carbon dated. The house had a dark, dank feel, heavy velvet curtains and shielding himself from the sun. Their skin was cold; Eliza recoiled at the memory, Charlotte’s icy grip tightening on her arms.
A cheerful melody brought Eliza back to her senses. Scarlett’s name flashed on her screen, and four curious eyes beamed as she answered. Luliana shared her rose-tinted view of life. She loved to watch films, the damsel or princess, imprisoned and saved by the handsome prince. The notion Eliza would be going to meet her true love excited her. Luliana would be the beautiful maiden, and her prince would ride his pony to their door and whisk her away. Daciana snorted; she wanted the squash-buckling adventure. To be the one firing arrows at the enemy or a sword, bringing down the beast that threatened. Luliana squealed as Daciana jumped and chased her from the room.