Evil Death: Part Two
II. Unwanted Surprises
Eliv knew he had always had a father out there somewhere. All he knew of his father was that he was a very distasteful man and abandoned both him and his mother when Eliv was at a very early age. This was all from his mother who, of course, would have quite a pessimistic outlook on the man who had left her to suffer. Eliv’s mother did indeed suffer, having to work multiple jobs to keep the small apartment they lived in and get bread and water on the table for dinner. She suffered so much that she left Eliv in an alley, leaving him to fend for himself.
There was a certain disbelief in Eliv’s mind as he sat there in this café with his father. Why would he contact him after so long? Was he looking for money? The Bruce in front of him – Henry – had said he had a message from his mother. Why would they be talking after what he did? How much had changed after he left? These and many more questions were racing through his mind as his father sat in a plush red chair, idly drinking his black coffee and not saying a word. There was only one word that could sum up all of the questions that he was asking himself.
Henry put his coffee cup down on the table and smiled. “I know this may seem as a shock. I know I left both your mother and you at a very young age. But a few years ago I met with your mother and we had a long talk. She would never return with me but we fixed a lot of the mistakes we had made. Things I never thought I would be able to fix; things I thought about at night when I couldn’t sleep. We had many talks in cafés just like this and we figured out problems and such. We worked together and we became friends – good friends. Never what we were but... we were on good terms.
“Recently, we really started to wonder about you. We knew where you were and what you were doing. You were Eliv Thade, anagram and puzzle master extraordinaire. Someone who everyone came to see, bringing thousands and millions of puzzles for you to solve. It wasn’t a matter of finding you these past few years – it was building up the courage to talk to you. That was the hardest part. I can’t even count the times we stayed in a hotel nearby your puzzle tent and talked and gazed at you from our window. We’d even walked down to your tent and simply admired you, hoping one of us would be able to go up to you and talk to you, tell you about things, tell you about what happened.
“But these visits stopped about a year ago. Your mother had taken a trip to the Haunted Woods alone to see you, hoping that you would be a little friendlier to her than the both of us. While there, she ran into some terrible magic. She was gone for quite a few months and, when she returned, she wasn’t the same. She was silent and very involved in herself. She would rarely speak and, when she did, she spoke of strange beasts, mystical lands, and other very strange and peculiar things. Her condition never got better. The past few months have been hard. She doesn’t feed herself, needs to be assisted with everything. I’ve had warlocks and witches and healers come to the house and try to figure out what was wrong with her but no one could help her.
“Two weeks ago she woke up and she was perfectly normal. She greeted me in a very cheery tone and said, ‘I want to visit Marcus today.’ The sun sparkled off her body that morning. She was... magnificent. And it was only for that split second she was fine. After she said that she wanted to see you, she slumped down to the floor and she started to mumble about magic and potions and the sort. I had to carry her back to her room. You can’t imagine how badly that shook me up. She was... normal for that instant. Nothing in the world was wrong with her and she didn’t seem to have a problem in the world.
“I had been taking care of her and had rarely left her side and, when I did, it was only for a few moments to pick up food or medicine. I had to look around to hire someone to look after her. A friend of mine, who knew of her condition, offered to help her and allowed me to travel to the Haunted Woods.
“I left three days ago and, the moment I arrived, I had to go to see you. I don’t want you to be scared or anything. Your mother will be fine. She has dealt with it for a while now and so have I. It has become a routine for me to feed her and dress her and make her feel comfortable. But, honestly, I took this trip both because of her advice and because I need a break. It’s been a long time dealing with the everyday stress. And... it’s really good to see you...”
Eliv was silent.
He spent quite a few years with Quincy, the Bruce who had picked him up and carried him into his shop. They got to know each other very well and, for the time Eliv spent with him, he got to see him as a father figure. Eliv worked in the store and slept in the back in his own room, separate from where Quincy lived. He got to feel independent while still having a caring individual to be there for him. These years went by quickly and, before he knew it, he was over the age of eighteen and legally allowed to move out on his own. This move was met with hesitation. Quincy was getting old and needed help but Eliv also knew that he couldn’t stay at the shop forever – he had to move on.
It was a sunny Tuesday when he left. There wasn’t any long goodbye – there was simply a note saying that he was leaving.
You have given me something to love and hold onto all these years. You’ve treated me like a son and I have regarded you as a father. I will look back on our time together and remember it with many good memories. I’ve never grown to love someone so much in my life. Thank you for everything.
And, since you’ve always wanted to know, my real name is Marcus.
With many regrets, Eliv looked back at the store which he had called his home for years and shed a tear – a single tear that burned his cheek. “Goodbye,” he said and left, closing the door silently behind him.
“So... that’s all?” Eliv said, taking a long sip of his bottled water. “That’s what you came all this way to tell me? That seems ridiculous. You have to want something. There has to be some ulterior motive. Please tell me there is. If there isn’t, this is just pathetic.”
Henry sighed. “You are a master of puzzles and anagrams. There is nothing that is thrown at you that you can’t solve.”
“Yeah? What does that have to do with anything?” Eliv questioned, even though he already knew the answer. He wanted to see if his assumptions were right.
“Can you come back with me? Come back. Your mother speaks in tongues and riddles. Only you can figure out what is wrong with her. Please, I beg of you.” Henry started to cry and he wiped away his tears with his sleeves, trying to look strong.
“You’re pathetic,” Eliv said. He felt a pang of guilt run through his heart when he saw his fathers’ reaction.
Henry nodded and got up from the table, placing a few coins down in front of Eliv. “That will pay for the coffee and water. Goodbye, Marcus.” He pushed in his chair silently and left, leaving Eliv at the table.
Eliv Thade, master puzzle solver, sat there for a moment, staring at one of the rings the coffee cup had made. He looked up at the doorway and could see the old Bruce making his way down the street slowly.
Before he even knew what he was doing, Eliv left the café and called out. “Henry! Henry!”
The old Bruce turned around and started to walk back. When he arrived in front of Eliv, he had sweat pouring down his face. “What is it?”
“I’ll do it. I’ll go with you. Only under one condition, though.”
Henry smiled. “What is that?”
“Tell me why you left me.”
He shifted around in place for a moment and his eyes glanced all around the café, debating whether or not to answer the question. Finally, words escaped from his lips and released themselves into the air.
“Because... your mother made me.”
To be continued...