Bright And Cold



Scene Title Bright … and Cold
Synopsis Emily awakes distressed from what can only be a dream. God, she hopes it's a dream.
Date October 28, 2018


"Hey there, Pawpaw. I hope you're doing okay. Just wanted to drop by to pass on some good news…"

"The internship I was shooting for? The one at Volvo? I got the position."

"Remember when it was just us and the garage and those junkers we'd try to put back together, and all the challenges they'd give us?"

"… I miss that, but can you believe how far I've come?"

"I can't sometimes. I'm lucky. Lucky now to be where I am, and lucky to have had you to teach me, and inspire me."

Emily's fingertips brush the top of the ornate headstone as she says her silent farewell before she takes two blind steps back, looking the grave over. It had been important to her to share the news with everyone that had mattered to her, even if they were no longer here. Roy Raith was a deserving individual indeed.

She furrows her brow at a growth that looks like a weed, crouching quickly to reach out and pull it loose from the ground. She'd left someone waiting by the front while she shared her news and didn't want to make them wait long, but this was necessary.

Her work tending this particular grave causes her to pause, attention drifting slightly to the right without her actually looking up.

Despite everything that had happened, despite not being there for years, Avi Epstein had been laid to rest in his spot in the Raith family plot. Time and resentment couldn't overpower the fierce, quiet love their estranged family had for each other.

She knows exactly where the headstone is, as she'd fought to make sure it had been more than a simple concrete slab with a date on it.

Reluctantly, she comes to her feet and turns in its direction. There was one more person to tell, if she was able to steel herself enough for it.

Her voice is so thick with emotion, the whisper is almost strangled out entirely as she approaches sight of the grave. "Hi, Dad."

Avi Epstein

DOB: Nov 11 1954 DOD: May 5 2017

Loving father

t r a i t o r

… the last is not an add by the family. It was written in angry blank spray paint.

A flinch runs through her figure. Just because it was the truth didn't mean it hurt any less. It was not something she expected to see here, where his memory was supposed to be honored, not criticized. She should have known better.

Still. It hurt to see.

She crouches by the the headstone, brow furrowed deeply as she reaches out to touch the edges of it. When all you had were curated memories, they needed carefully taken care of. After all, it's not like they'd had a body to bury to begin with.

"Let's be honest, though, if they went through all this effort … you probably deserved this." she sighs, shoulders sagging as she wonders what it will take to scrub the black stain clean from the stone. She rubs her thumb over it to see if it'll leave with that simple effort. Of course, it's not that simple.

She doesn't know what else to say. She never does with him. With Roy, it was always different. But with Avi … some things continued in death as they were in life.

She wishes so badly she could share her news with him. Not like this, or even over the phone — for real. To see him and his shit-eating grin turn proud for her.

"I wonder what you'd be doing right now, if you were still here. I mean, would that be a life worth living?"

Trying to rationalize it out doesn't help. The helplessness of wondering makes her muscles lose tone, her crouch becoming a rest onto her shins. Maybe dead is better isn't a comforting alternative, and did she really think he deserved to be comfortable?

She turns, leaning one shoulder into the side of the stone as she tries and continues to fail to stave off the tidal wave of 'what ifs'. Sure, she thinks to herself, there's always the chance execution could have eventually come for him, but there at least would have been time.

There would have been knowing. Some kind of closure.

Sure, plenty of anger.

But closure. The opportunity to get it all off her chest.

Emily tenses as she leans against the stone, a strangled sound escaping her as her head falls forward. Everything she could think to say hurts, each trail of thought ending in a barely-stifled sob. Not even her good news merits delivery, for fear of a response the stone can't even give. That sad realization causes a bite of laughter to escape her like a weak cough.

"You know— to be honest, I don't even know if this would have finally done it, Dad." She wipes the underside of her nose with the back of her hand. "If this would have been the thing to make you proud of me, or if this would have been just another 'That's great, kiddo' on the way to whatever you thought I should be good enough for."

They'd never really sat down for her to beat out of him what that was supposed to be. He had things he wanted her to do, but it always felt like he had never wanted to force her into any one path. Not Em. It resulted in a lot being left unsaid between them, something Emily had wanted to resolve now that she was on her own… but now, there wouldn't be the chance. For that, and many other things.

No more birthday cards, especially none with the wrong age accidentally listed in its signing. No more calls without warning to check in on her without having been in touch for months. No more failed promises to come visit her at school.

No more hope of being able to be angry at him in person about his absence from her life, to push him until he finally apologized or snapped.

"Why?" Her shoulders tense, anguish plain on her. "Why was I never… Was I just never enough of a priority for you? Were you trying to keep all this bullshit from me?" Eyes on the black paint, she bitterly asks, "Or were you having too grand a time to be bothered to think about me?"

This is why she doesn't come here. Snarling at a headstone isn't productive. Neither was sobbing at one, clinging to it like it might somehow bring back the dead it represents so they might be questioned.

But here she was, both parts in equal measure.

"Why, why did you have to…?" It's a multi-faceted question. One that's cut short before realisation by another shuddering breath.

The normally dull ache in her chest has risen to searing stab. Tears streaming down her face, she can't bring herself to stand again, anchored where she is out of longing.

For all her anger, she was sick with that longing to see him again.

That feeling turns Emily's stomach with anguish, causes a toss of her head as she tries to shake the feeling and wake up. This is an awful dream. She wants no part of it.

It's not real. It's not real.

She doesn't know where the intrusive thought comes from, but the urgency behind it causes her to shake her head with a choked sob. She wishes this weren't real. But wishing was stupid — wishing her father was a better person, wishing he were still here to talk to, it all accomplished nothing.

Emily roughly pushes against the stone in an attempt to start putting some distance between her and the object causing her distress, but she only ends up getting one knee out from under her for her effort.

What… What is this? Emily's head is swimming as she pushes herself upright, feeling around her. The wall is cool under her hand, and she can feel she's tangled in her blankets, but all she can see is the sun shining down over that bright graveyard and its cold stone.

She's been awake, it seems. Or near enough. Panic rises quickly. It's the cold from the gravestone that seeps into her hand now, a sharp, rough feeling she'd do anything to distance herself from. She needs to get rid of that feeling. Even if she needs help to do it.


"Julie!" Emily cries out, shoulders shaking. She can't get her emotions under control for some reason. Maybe she should have gone back to the entrance the moment she saw the graffiti.


… Liette?

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