Monday, 31 October 2016

Chapter 52 - Gen 2 - Tapestry


I stand in the doorway watching Atlas happily playing with Vanilla and Snow.  I laugh at him lying on the floor while Vanilla and Snow are bouncing all over him, all three of them having hysterics.  The toddlers are trying to tickle Atlas, but they are the ones getting tickled.  I stand watching, worrying about the stitches in Vanilla's head, thinking maybe she shouldn't be bouncing around so much, in case she catches them.

Atlas really loves children, him and Saffron are always phoning up to ask if they can pinch both Vanilla and Snow for a few hours, and I know how much Atlas has always wanted children of his own, but it has never happened for him even though he is bisexual, and it will never happen for him now that he is with Saffron, their relationship looks like it is very much for keeps.  It's ashame they won't be having children of their own, because I think Atlas and Saffron would make really good parents, much better than some who do have their own children and really don't deserve them because of the way they have treated them - Crystals parents being the perfect example.

Atlas volunteered to watch the kids, and made a beeline for down here, when we got back from the undertakers.   He would much rather be down here playing with Vanilla and Snow than sat upstairs with Saffron while there is a serious conversation going on about Daffodil Shines future, which as usual, my Dad is sorting out.  I seriously can't stop laughing at Crystal's Mothers name ... Daffodil!!




Finding out that Sunny was Jasmine's Berry Father got my head seriously ticking.  Not being a religious family, christenings are not something that I've really seen much of growing up, I vaguely remember Blueberry having one but I was not very old, so I didn't really understand it.  I asked my Mother recently to explain them to me and was very surprised to learn that we were christened, and have berry parents.  When I asked Mom what was even the point of us being christened if none of us are religious, she said it was basically their way of saying who they would want looking after us if anything had ever happened to her and Dad and they couldn't be here for us while we were growing up.  That has seriously played on my mind since because of my own fears.

With all the vampberry stuff going on, and especially Sunny's premature fading, by a vampberry, I worry that my own mortal life is never safe, and more than likely will be cut short because of the immortal world that I am tangled up in.   I know if the originals ever get wind of me, Crystal, Shadow or even Vanilla - we are basically done for, and I will have to continue my existence in either vampberry or spirt form.   At any time they could stumble across Shadow in the den and if they take him, I know I won't be able to sit back and keep myself hidden and not get involved in trying to save him from them to get my Son back, which inevitably will end my mortal life.  So I worry about Vanilla, Snow and the baby or babies growing inside Crystal ... what is going to happen to them?!

With this playing on my mind, me and Crystal have had a conversation about getting the children christened, and who we would want for their berry parents, to make sure there is someone in place to look after them if the worst comes to the worst.  I know that is not a worry that I really should have, we have plenty of family who will always take care of them,but it makes me feel a lot better knowing who they will end up with.  Saffron and Atlas were both mine and Crystals first choice.   Crystal made me laugh, she said why go to all that effort of getting them christened, when religion is something that we don't really believe in ... why not just ask them!  I guess she does have a point, but how do you ask anyone that question.

As I continue to watch Vanilla, while my head should be concentrating on what is going on upstairs, my mind keeps wandering to somewhere I don't want it to go.  Seeing Bay here when we got back from the undertakers, has really distracted me and keeps sending my head going off in his direction.



    
My mind is taken away from all Sunny's rubbish, work and everything else that is going on, and I start to think about two extended family secrets that Storm has told me about, that are going to rock the foundations of the extended family when they come out.  Bayleaf is going to be in the centre of both explosions, and I am really worried for him.

Storm shouldn't have told me yet, not until all the Sunny rubbish was out of the way, Cosmic and Saffy were angry with him for filling my head up with stuff I really could do without knowing right now.  I suddenly find myself knowing things and having to do things, that I would much rather be oblivious to, thanks to the spirits who see and hear everything and are now using me to clean things up, which really doesn't amuse me in the slightest.

One of the secrets ironically I bumped into myself, only hours after Storm had filled my head with it.  So I would have known about it now anyway, Storm just softened the blow for me, pre warning me.  It was late at night and I was making my way back from the den.  I was with Cosmic and Jazz who was on town patrol, due to the stray vampberry's that keep coming into town, because they think that the Sugar Valley den has now been abandoned and the town is free picking for their meals.   Cos was walking me back just to be on the safe side.  Jazz went off sticking to cover, through the cemetery, while me and Cos walked the road way.  We cut through an alley way, and I bumped straight into a kissing couple.  If Storm hadn't already told me about them, I would have been very shocked, not only seeing Forrest actually kissing a woman, quite enthusiastically, but who he was kissing.  Cosmic found it highly amusing, me catching them, even though he is not impressed with what is going on with them.  

Ruby and Sunny's secret is the one that is worrying me most, it's the one that is going to cause the most damage and something that can not be stopped or avoided.  Everyone is going to be very shocked, and there is bound to be a lot of deconstruction when they find out who Scarlet's biological Father is and she is not Sunny's child.  I am preying that her baby does not come out with any of his colouring, which will delay the inevitable, what they don't know, can't hurt them.  If the baby does have any of his or his families colouring, the fall out is not going to be pretty, especially for Bay and his family, and really there isn't a damn thing that I can do to even help soften the blow!!

      "Hello ... Earth to the Rock Star!!"

River is laughing as he is shaking me to bring my head back to reality.  So deep in thought I hadn't even heard the door opening.



      "Have you gone completely deaf or have you just zoned out?!"  he frowns at me  "I've stood here and called you a few times and you are obviously away in your own little inattentive world!!"
      "Before you even ask - YES I have taken my meds - my head is just very busy, I was miles away thinking!"
      "Who is the old lady upstairs talking to Elderberry, Crimson, Saffron and Dad?"  River asks as he pulls me out into the hallway.
      "Daffodil Shine, she is Crystal's Mom."  I can't help but laugh at her name again, I really don't know why it tickles me so much.  "She is leaving her evil husband and staying here, so she can get to know Crystal, the mixed berry Grandchildren and Great Grandchildren that her evil husband would never let her have anything to do with."  his eyes widen  "I've just left Dad to sort it all out, while I check on Crystal and the kids.  I'm scared of putting my foot in it and saying something I shouldn't."
      "Evil husband?!  Has something been going on?  With El and Crimson upstairs - I thought I saw El taking notes, it looks very official."
      "Yeah, it has turned into a police matter."
      "Why?"
      "Crystal has a twin sister .."
      "What?!  Where is she?"  I laugh at him for interrupting
      "Crystals Father buried her in Rainbow woods, trying to hide the babies existence."  his eyes widen  "She was colourless like Crystal, and faded when she was born, Magnolia is her name and not Crystal's like we thought.  Sunny thought Magnolia Crystal Shine was one baby, but the old man put both babies names on the one headstone."  I roll my eyes  "Sunny, Saffy, Crystal and their Mother, want the remains dug up and moved to the cemetery."
      "They want the remains exhumed  ... not dug up!"  he starts laughing at me, then stops suddenly  "Oh berry!!  Did the Dad fade Magnolia?"
      "Possibly, he could have been responsible for the baby fading, he beat the Mother up pretty badly straight after Crystal was born colourless, after that, the second baby was born faded, Saffy thinks he did it repeatedly punching her in the stomach, before she was born."  I frown at him  "I guess that is something that we will never really know."
      "Not necessarily, forensics could possibly determine a cause of death just from the babies bones.  Say it's skull or other bones are badly smashed or fractured, they could well put it down to him."  he laughs "  but it's been nearly thirty years, so I doubt they will find much of the remains.   If the baby had been buried in a coffin it would take between forty and fifty years for the bones to start decomposing, so there would still be a skeleton to work on, however I suspect that baby was probably just buried in the bare soil hurriedly if he was trying to hide her existance, so it's bones have probably pretty much dispersed and disintegrated by now."


      "Saffy told me he wrapped the baby in a blanket and buried it in a leather sports bag."
      "Oh well, that makes a huge difference, that babies skeleton should still be intact, even though the bones probably are dry and brittle by now, leather takes 25 - 50 years to decompose, so forensics should still have something to work with."
      "How do you know all this stuff you geek!"  I laugh at him
      "Archaeology fascinates me and the Forensic branch of medicine is my passion.  Dad keeps trying to drag me into Neurology, but it doesn't interest me."  he grins  "If El is building up a case to exhume the babies remains, I think I'm going to ask her if I can get involved in a medical capacity ... this is right up my street."
     "Freak!!"  I laugh at him  "Well you might just get your wish, because Crimson has a bee in his bonnet, he wants the old man done for everything he can take him down for, including being responsible for that baby fading."  I roll my eyes  "He has physically abused and bullied that old woman for over thirty years, she is actually covered in bruises right now.  You know the berry hole told the old lady he had faded Crystal and buried both babies in the woods, so she has believed all this time that Crystal was faded. "  I glance at River glumly "Now I see, with that evil man as his role model, it's no wander Sunny was the way he was, a berry hole and always too handy with his fists, Saffron wasn't bruise free from the age of fourteen, until Granite and Mace put a stop to it."
      "It's disgusting!!"  he snaps  "So I guess they will be digging up Rainbow woods trying to find the babies remains."
      "That's the thing, I know exactly which tree and where it is, but I can't tell them can I.  The old man buried the baby under the tree that Sunny's twin brother fell out of.  Crystal showed me the tree, she used to put flowers there for Saffy, and Saffy has told me exactly where under the tree that the baby is buried."  I laugh  "But how do I tell the police that?  They aren't going to believe me when I say a spirit has told me where the body is and the same goes for Crystal, aren't they going to get suspicious about how she even knows about this tree, she can't say a spirit told her either."


     "Yeah, it is a little tricky."  he laughs  "Surely the old lady knows which tree Saffy fell out of?"
     "She doesn't think she can even find it now, it's been over twenty years since she has been out to Amber Meadow, he would never let her go, not even to put flowers on Saffy's grave."
     "I'll have to think about it."  he frowns at me  "Is this tree easy to find?"
     "Pretty much, it's right on the edge of Rainbow woods, by one of the Amber Meadow fields that back onto the woods.  The tree is not too far from the den where Crystal lived.  I could take you straight to it." I laugh  "I can understand why the old lady might struggle to find it if she's only gone to it from the Amber Meadow fields side - all she would see is a massive row of trees.  Whereas, its easy to find if you go from the wood side."  I laugh  "Crystal has literally worn a path out from the den to the tree over the years, walking to and from it so much."
     "It might look too suspicious for you to show them anyway, why would you know your way through Rainbow woods when you only go out there for work.  The woods are not really a place that you and Rocky would be hanging out."  he laughs for a moment then frowns  "Forensically it would be better if they knew exactly where they were looking - they could well destroy the remains while they are looking for them, which could be disastrous."
     "I know, its giving me a headache already!"
     "Don't worry about it, we'll think of something."  he laughs "Where is Crystal?"
      "Maize is working overtime, so Poppy is still here, Atlas is watching our two, so Crystal has gone for a lie down while Poppy is asleep.  She is upset.  Her parents turning up at the undertakers upset her, but it was her Dad mostly, and it all kicked off.  She was not up to speaking to her Mother straight away when we got back, and I needed to keep her away from Crimson and El anyway, just in case she says something stupid."  I laugh  "I've already had Crimson asking me AGAIN how Crystal got from Amber Meadow to here.  I get a nasty feeling the abduction might be coming back to bite us!!"
     "I told you bringing her back with us was too big a risk to take!!"  he frowns at me  "Just keep yourself and Crystal out of it until I've had a word with Dad.  We just keep sticking to the same story we used before - she travelled on foot from town to town for most of her life, it was just a coincidence she ended up here."

There is an awkward silience for a moment, I think he knows he has upset me by what he just said about bringing her back.
 


      "I'm sorry I know I shouldn't have said that!!"  he says sheepisly  "I'm also sorry about Vanilla's head, I tried to stop him but I wasn't quick enough!"
      "It's okay, they are kids, it happens.  It is only a cut thankfully or I wouldn't have been too impressed!"  I smile at him  "It's not like Vanilla hasn't given Ocean a bruise or two before now, and I can't say much can I when everyone my age in the extended family walks around with Tappy Terror bite mark scars."  we both laugh for a moment
      "I really don't know what has gotten into Ocean lately, Winter has had to take him into the upstairs nursery, because after he attacked Vanilla, he bit a chunk out of Magnolia, which didn't impress Affair and Cherry very much when they came to collect the triplets!!"  he tuts  "It's funny you mentioning your bite marks, Affair showed me his scar and said lets hope he is not going to turn out like you."  this makes me laugh  "I don't understand why there is so much anx going on between Ocean, Vanilla and Magnolia?!"
      "It is strange, I've noticed it too.  He is best buddies with Snow and he's okay with all the others - but not with the two spirit seeing toddlers ... I wandering if that has something to do with it."
      "It might do, he does have to sit watching them talking to your spirits, he could be getting frustrated because he can't understand what is going on."  he laughs  "Talking about spirit seeing toddlers ... you need to turn your phone on, Shadow is driving me cuckoo!"  I laugh at him  "Ten calls I've had from the little monkey while you have been at the undertakers.  I told you not to buy him that phone - I hope you are prepared for the huge phone bills that you have coming!!"
     "He'll calm down, he's just a kid with a new toy right now."  I laugh at him  "I'll have a word with him."  I frown at him  "Why did he keep phoning that much."
     "Mostly to ask why your phone is still switched off and if you are back yet."  he laughs  "Anyway, why is your phone unusually switched off?" he starts frowning at me.
     "Everyone is pecking my head, I just need a break from it, I can't concentrate with all this stuff going on around Crystals parents."  I smile at him  "Also I was at the undertakers, it wouldn't have been nice for my phone to be constantly going off, especially as I had to keep my eye on Mom, I couldn't leave her alone to slip out to take calls, because Crystal spent most of her time in the toilets throwing up."
     "Who is everyone?
     "Just work and  ... stuff."


     "Stuff!!  Mmm, I thought as much!  I've been watching you since Sunny faded, you have got something else going on haven't you ... so what is this stuff, that is so obviously bothering and distracting you!"
      "Nothing for you to worry about."
      "Really?!"  he raises his eyebrows  "I've already spotted you and Mace suddenly seem to be best buddies, you are always talking to him on the phone, and Forrest, you've been talking to him a lot lately too, he was round here looking for you earlier, by the way."  I look at him and laugh  "You've also had a kick off and fallen out with Mo too, what is going on there?"
       "Trust me you don't want to know what Mo has been up to - you might just batter him, he is as bad a bloody Coral!!"
       "Tell me!"  he snaps  "Has he been playing away?"  I look away for a moment, I gave it away saying he was as bad as Coral. I'm an idiot sometimes!  But I guess if we are talking about Mo it might take his mind off Mace and Forrest.  "Has he?"
       "Yeah"  I mumble  "He's a bloody idiot, he's lucky to even have Fudge, everyone has always told him she is well too fit and out of his league!  He says he loves Fudge, so I seriously don't understand why he would risk his relationship, or even want to go anywhere else!!  You'd think he'd learn from Maizies stupidity wouldn't you, he lost Juni doing exactly what Mo is doing now ... and I'm supposed to be the idiot round here!!"
        "Yeah well I think in that respect me, you and Dad think in the same way, we know what being faithful means, whereas Mo and Coral obviously don't!!"  he laughs sarcastically  "I'm going to kill him!!" he snaps   "Who is she?"
        "Do you really need to know?  Isn't just knowing he is doing it enough?"
        "No, I want to know, I can't go having a go at him if I don't know the facts!!  I need to talk some sense into the idiot before he messes his life up and loses Fudge - for berry sake how old is that baby!! "
        "Just please don't tell Dad!!  You know what he's like, he'll go kicking off all over the place and cause even more trouble - and you are not to say anything to her either, keep it to yourself, the last thing we need is Fudge finding out ... just Mo!!"  I stare at him for a moment
         "I'm not stupid, I'm only going to have a go at Mo."  he laughs at me  "So come on who is she?"
         "He's been riding the red bike like virtually every other straight guy in town."


        "Strawberry?"
        "No, he rode that bike once years ago when she was with Parsley.  I'm on about the older version, which he seems to prefer riding."
        "Ruby ... "  he frowns at me and I nod  "Sod off!!"  he laughs
        "I'm not joking!! He must seriously be off his head, he's got to know he's not the only one, she's the same age as Mom and that woman is seriously a dirty slut!!  If Dad ever finds out he'll hit the roof, you know what he thought about Coral and Gravel!!"
        "How did you find out, did you catch them?"
         "No, I've been in her head and seen them all, and not just Mo.  Honestly there are only a few of us who haven't been there!"  I laugh  "Now I know why Sunny was permanently paranoid and constantly called her 'that woman' and 'the slut'!  Seriously Straw, Coral and Ruby need kicking out of town before they wreck all of our lives!!""
        "How did you get to be in her head?"  he frowns at me suspiciously
        "Don't even think I've been remotely tempted to go there!! I'll do to her what I did to Strawberry if she even tries it with me!!"  I laugh at him  "I was arguing with her, she wanted Sunny buried here, not in Amber Meadow, where he requested to be laid to rest in his will.  She was planning to ignore his will"  I smile at him  "She got up in my face yelling at me, you know what she is like, so I decided to give her a headache."  I smirk at him.  "Only it was me who got the headache, seeing who she's been sleeping with!"
       "I'll have a word with Mosaic, and try to talk some sense into him!!"  he frowns at me  "So what is going on with Mace and Forrest, why suddenly do you seem over pally with those two as well as very distracted?"
       "No reason ..."  I mumble.  I laugh in my head, I guessed I wouldn't get away with it, he's back onto the subject of Mace and Forrest.
       "I hope you are not getting yourself mixed up in the Granite, Mace, Forrest rigmarole!!"
       "No!!  That's all sorted anyway if you didn't already know, Granite is marrying Mace once his and Forrest's divorce comes through."  I laugh at him as his eyes nearly pop out of his head.  "I've just got to know Mace lately, Forrest talks shit and Mace is actually a really nice guy ... we have been talking about him doing some artwork for an album cover, that's all it is."
      "So what does Forrest want you for?"
      "How the hell am I supposed to know, I wasn't here to find out was I."  I lie to him
   


I am saved from his interrogation when Winter calls River upstairs.  I stand laughing for a moment, although I really don't know why, because all the stuff that is going on and troubling me, is really nothing to laugh about, and way too much for my head to handle all at once.

I pop my head into check that Atlas is okay with the kids,  I tell him I'll be in to rescue him after I've made a few phone calls, which he was fine with.  I laugh seeing Snow fast asleep on the couch while he is sat reading a book to Vanilla.

I go back out into the hallway, I know I'm safe making calls there, because I can see anyone coming down the basement steps.  I turn on my phone, planning to phone Mustard, and I am bombarded with what I presume are missed calls.  The phone had only been on for a few seconds when it starts to ring ...  the ring tone that I had River set for Shadow, so I know that it is him calling, this makes me laugh.  I answer the phone but don't speak, and just stand listening to the silence.  I am testing him, he knows not to speak until I have spoken and he knows it is actually me answering my phone.

      "Speak!"  I say after a few minutes of silence
      "Dad, where have you been?!"  he says dramatically
      "I told you where I was going, to the undertakers with your Grandma."  I laugh at him
      "When are you coming, nobody has been to see me today?"
      "I did warn you, we were all going to be busy today!"  I laugh at him  "I will try to come and see you later, but I can't promise, Cystal's Mom has come to visit and I might not be able to get away.  If not I will come in the morning."  he starts grumbling  "You need to lay off all the phone calls too!!"  I laugh at him  "You have given River a headache phoning him twenty thousand times."
      "Actually it was only ten times, he needs to learn how to count!!"  I laugh at the tone in his voice, and that both River and Shadow were counting how many calls he made  "When you come later, can you bring me some more coke."
       "I got you two big bottles of coke yesterday, what have you done with it all?"
       "Drank it."  he giggles
       "You drink way too much coke!!"
       "You sound just like Grangy Mango, and like I told him, vampy teeth don't rot like mortal teeth, so it doesn't matter how much coke I drink or how many sweets I eat."  he starts laughing hysterically  "He only brought me a toothbrush and toothpaste when he did the shopping yesterday and showed me how to use them!!"

  
        "Yes, because you are eating like a mortal, so you need to brush your teeth!!"  I laugh at him  "You will still get food stuck in your vampy teeth, so you need to start brushing them!  Don't think you are kissing me when you have smelly breath!"  this makes him laugh
        "Like you don't kiss me when you have been smoking!!  You stink and I hope you are not smoking wacky baccy!!"
        "Okay you cheeky monkey, less of your lip, I'm supposed to be the adult here!!"  I laugh at him
        "I only asked because I read in a magazine about the high life you rock star's live - you know - sex, drugs and alcohol."
        "You should be reading baby comics not adult magazines!"  I laugh at him  "Not all rock stars live the high life,  I certainly don't and I'm not smoking wacky backy, as it goes!"  
        "Good!"  he laughs  "So you are bringing me some coke later.  I really don't like the juice that Grangy brought, Tap water tastes yakky and I'm thirsty!"
        "Aww you are so hard done by!!  You don't even need to drink do you mr vampy!!"
        "But I like too ... I'll dehydrate if I don't get a drink soon!!"  he giggles
         "You are impossible!"  I laugh at him.  "Okay, I'll bring your coke just to shut you up!"  I laugh at him as he starts cheering
        "When?  What time?"
        "It will probably be late before I can get out, and don't be surprised if I just pop in for a short time.   I'm warning you, I don't want you phoning me every five minutes asking me when I'm coming.  You know what I've told you, I'll confiscate your phone if you start being stupid with it!!  I will phone you later okay!"
        "Okay."  he mumbles
        "Now I have got to go.  I have a few things that I have to do, and the quicker I can do them, the quicker I can sneak out to see you!"

We end the call, and I don't know whether to laugh or cry.  He is just a toddler, and the difference between him and Vanilla is miles apart.  Vanilla is still just a toddler, in every way, whereas Shadow is almost like an adult in a child's body, the conversations I have with Shadow, are nothing like the ones I have with Vanilla.  I really hate this situation, especially that he is a vampberry and he can't be here with Vanilla.

I stare at my phone, struggling to work out which number is Mustards.  Storm is never here when I need him. 


After phoning Mosaic and Mint, I finally find Mustard, sometimes I really hate not being able to read.  I bet everyone gets sick of me phoning them by accident because I am too stupid to read a complete name.

       "Hi, how are you doing?"
       "Not good, my head is all over the place.  I'm still not over Tami fading and now Sunny, I've lost both of my best friends in a short space of time and my head has gone!!"  Mustard mumbles
       "I can imagine."  I mumble  "I nearly faded when you walked into the undertakers."
       "Yeah, I know I'm sorry!!  I had to see Sunny one last time, and I'm not going to get another chance, once his coffin is sealed up for the funeral in Sugar, that's it, it won't be opened again."  he mumbles  "I was struggling to accept it - it just doesn't seem right, he was too young to fade, we had years a head of us and suddenly he's gone and I don't know what to do with myself!!  I needed to see him that way just to accept it."
        "I can understand that, I struggled when my cousin faded, I wanted to see him, but my parents wouldn't let me, they didn't think I could handle it, we were only teenagers when he faded."
        "You are not the only one who nearly faded when I walked in, I saw Sunny's parents and shit myself.  I thought I'd blown it.  That's why I took a newspaper, just in case any of his family was there, so I could hide behind it.  I never imagined Sunny's Dad would ever set foot in Sugar Valley, he is so anti colour mixing, I'm surprised he didn't disown Sunny completely."  he laughs quietly  "They didn't recognise me did they?"
       "I don't think so.  If it hadn't been kicking off they might have looked at you, but I don't think they even registered there was anyone else there.  The old lady hasn't mentioned you since we left the undertakers ... but she might do, I'm not sure if you was listing to the conversation going on, but I need to warn you, the police might be getting in touch with you."
       "Why?"
       "The baby the old man burried in Rainbow woods, he buried it under Saffy's tree. Crystal and her Mother want the babies remains moved to the cemetry. So if the old woman thinks about you, they might contact you asking if you can remember where this tree is.  She doesn't think she can find it now."


       "Yes I still know where it is, it's not a place I can forget!  Me and Sunny went out there only a few years ago and put flowers on the tree."  he mumbles  "Shit!!"  he snaps  "I hope to berry the police don't come looking for me, the last thing we need right now is them walking in on Sunny's Apple funeral or burial in Amber."
        "Yeah I know that is worrying me too!"  I mumble  "Sunny's oldest Son, Crimson, is one of the police officers, the other is Elderberry my Aunt, so if they do go into Apple, they might work it out pretty quickly, especially if his Mother mentions you was Saffy's boyfriend, even worse Sunny's boyfriend when you were at school in Amber together.  You were close to them at the time, so I am banking on her mentioning you."
       "You know Tapestry, we are going to be very lucky if we pull this off without any hitches, it is becoming a total nightmare, and this just makes it a whole lot worse!!"
       "I know."  I mumble  "Did Sunny's parent's know you moved to Apple Hill."
       "Yeah, they knew at the time, but like I said I haven't seen them for years, it all depends on if she remembers."
       "So we need to stop the police coming into Apple looking for you, just in case."
       "Maybe I should go out to Sugar Falls today and see his parents, pay them an unexpected visit because I've hear Sunny faded, that way the police won't need to come into Apple looking for me.  I can arrange a date to show them the tree in Amber after the burial, that way we might just hide it.'"
       "Actually his Mother is at mine, she's upstairs with Crimson and El right now, discussing it all.  She is leaving the old man and living here from now on."  I hear him chuckle  "It's the old woman you need to see not him."
       "Its not like I can come randomly knocking on your front door Mr Rock Star ... so that blows that idea then!"
       "Not necessarily ... you and Mace were mates in Apple  ... get Mace to bring you round here.  We just need a reason ..."  he starts laughing   "I know, you can say I am babysitting Clay and Jasmine for a few hours while you two are going out.  You drop them off and I'll make sure she is around to see you."  he laughs at me  "Just don't get making friends with any of Sunny's kids while you are here, or pretend to be too much of a crazed fan or my Dad and brother will probably bounce you out through the door."


      "I'll try not to!!"  he starts really laughing  "But isn't using the excuse of you babysitting a little extreme and suspicious!"
      "No, I'm the number one baby sitter round here, everyone dumps their kids on me and Crystal, and I quite often have Clay and Jasmine here with Granite's Granddaughter Amber who is my Niece.  When I'm not playing rock star I'm usually child minding."  I laugh and he laughs with me.  "Me babysitting is probably the best excuse to use, nobody will bat an eye lid at it, and you know in Sugar Valley I am just plain old Tapestry, my fame means nothing here."
      "Well you do surprise me!"  he laughs
      "We could really do with you doing this today if possible - if she's mentioned to them you are in Apple, they could be out there later or in the morning."
      "Okay, I'll phone Mace now, and I'll get straight back to you."

As soon as I end the call, I don't even get a chance to stuff my phone into my pocket when it starts to ring again.  I always have to answer it, most of the time not being able to read the name flashing at me.

     "Tap, we need to talk."  it is Forrest.
     "Seriously Forrest, we don't.  I've said I am not going to say anything, and I meant it, so quit bugging me!!"
      "I'm sorry, I don't mean to keep annoying you, but I need to explain ..."
      "No you don't need to explain anything, I can see exactly what is going on, Mr gay guy, who is really straight on the sly ... man and to think we all trust you with our women!!"  I laugh sarcastically  "You just need to sort yourselves out, both of you before someone else catches you and does spill your sordid affair, and everyone gets hurt!!  I am actually pretty upset with her, and I thought she was one of the good ones!!"  I snap at him
      "I just need to know you will keep this to yourself ..."
      "I've said I'll keep your secret so you don't have to worry about me saying anything.  There is enough going on with Sunny fading, do you think I want everyone upsetting any more finding out what you are up to and especially not who with?!"
    "I seriously need to see you, I have to explain everything ... it's really not what you think!"
    "Don't try to use the gay card or tell me that you accidentally fell on her face down the alleyway, and there is nothing really going on ... the way you two were mauling each other .. I don't believe it!!"


      "I wasn't going to ... I'm sure you've heard Gran say plenty of times in jest that I'm not gay, and he's not actually joking, even your Dad knows I am not actually gay, everyone just presumes I am because of Granite and I've never put them straight.  I'm not going to deny that we are having a relationship either, we have been seeing each other on the sly for a long time  ... close to twenty years."
     "WHAT?!"  I choke "Did you just say twenty years?!"
     "Yeah I did, but we have had to keep it quiet for a very good reason, and not her husband before you even say it, because he's known about us all along, their marriage has been over for nearly as long as we have been seeing each other!"
     "This is crazy - how the hell do you expect me to believe that!!"
      "Honestly, we have got to come clean soon, so you won't have to keep the secret for very long anyway, but it is important you keep it to yourself because there is something we have to do first, it's complicated, which is what I need to explain to you.  If we do it our way, then nobody is going to get hurt honestly.  Just please do me one favour, your Dad knows I'm seeing somebody, but he doesn't know who, so please don't tell him, I'll explain it to him myself, when we have sorted out our complication."
      So explain this complicated."
     "I'd rather do that to your face.  I'm on a day off tomorrow - can I meet you in the morning, and I'll explain everything.  It really is not as bad as you think, and we really do have a very good reason for doing what we are doing."
     "Okay, I'll meet you tomorrow and let you explain complicated to my face, but you better not be bullshitting me Forrest!!"
     "Trust me - I'm not."  he mumbles  "Come round to Bay's in the morning, you know I'm living there now till after the tial.  We can talk in private there."


We end the call, and I stand laughing but not for long.  He must think I'm stupid, telling me its been going on for twenty years and her husband knows.  This is going to be very interesting, what could he possibly tell me that can justify what he's doing?!


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Chapter 51 - Gen 2 - Tapestry


I sit staring around at my surrounding, I am taking in one of the very few places in Sugar Valley that I have never been inside before. ... The Undertakers.

The room we are sitting in is quite nice, it is very light, bright and not exactly what I expected for a place where the faded rest until they are buried, however, I am not sure that I like the smell of the place.  The scent that keeps assaulting my nostrils is not very nice at all, and I wander for a moment if this is what the faded people make the place smell like.  Mom just thinks that they have a bad taste in air freshener, she says it smells like Lavender mixed with something else, but I'm not so sure.

This is a place that I was never allowed into when I was a child and growing up, with my conditions, they did not think that I could handle it, and I probably wouldn't have back then.  I remember playing holy hell up when Storm was here, but they would not let me near the place.  I was so desperate to see him one last time, thinking it would be the last time.  Little did I know back then that he would still be here and with me, in spirit form.

      "It really does not make any sense!!"  Mom mumbles quietly as she wipes the tears off her face.
      "Seriously Mom, you need to give yourself a break!!"  I laugh at her

Her eyes catch my attention, and not for the first time, they trouble me and I can't help but wander.  Mom's eyes have always been as bright as mine, Crystals, Vanilla's and Magnolia's.  Those of us with bright eyes see the spirit world, so I wander why she can't.  Or at least she says she can't, but sometimes I am not sure I believe her.


      "You will be blacking out and switching off before I even get you into see Sunny.  I am sticking my neck out here, if Dad finds out I have brought you here he will be measuring me up for my coffin!!  You know he is going to give me hell later when he finds out, especially if you do black out!!"
     "Oh just ignore him, he fusses way too much!!  You just leave him to me!!"  she frowns at me  "Why?  Why was Sunny walking down the old road steps, it just does not make any sense!!"
     "You have asked me that question a hundred times now, and I don't know!!  I guess it is something that none of us will ever know!!"
     "Somebody must know, like whoever he was meeting in the woods!!  You know what they are saying about him don't you.  You know what Ruby thinks.  She has been suspicious for quite a while about the disappearing acts that Sunny kept doing, which she noticed started to get worse around about the time Honey faded."
     "No, Sunny was not having an affair Mother!!  Like Ruby has room to talk anyway, everyone knows now that she's been shagging Turmeric since he landed in town along with every other man she can jump, she's just a dirty slut like Strawberry!!"  I tut at her as she slaps my leg, probably for swearing.  "If Sunny ever would have wanted to have an affair with anyone, I think it would have been you!!"  her eyes widen and she slaps my leg again.
     "Don't be so ridiculous!!"  she snaps 
     "The way you two used to dance together ... "  I laugh at her.  "You put some of the dancers on my last music video to shame!"
     "Don't be stupid!!"  she laughs at me  

I laugh in my head about the rumours now flying around about Sunny.  Everyone thinks he has been having an affair, with some woman in town, behind Ruby's back.  Nobody ever uses those steps, that he supposedly fell down, unless they are going into the woods and why would Sunny be coming out of the woods, they wander.  That along with his disappearing acts makes them come up with the conclusion that he is having an affair with someone.  Of course they are right ... he was having an affair, but not with a woman in this town!!  If only they knew the truth about Sunny being a closet gay and bigamist.  His homophobic act sucked us all in, and I am not sure they would even believe the truth if they were told it!!  I am still struggling with it myself, even after Shadow showed me the proof, which he had sneakily seen in Sunny's head, as well as meeting Mustard, himself.  Ruby took some convincing,  Mustard had to show her his and Sunny's marriage certificate, photographs and some of his Sunny Maize ID, like passport, driving licence etc. before she would believe it.


Of course I know Sunny's disappearing acts were partly to go into the vampberry den to see Honey and Shadow, I told him he was doing it a little too often and his vanishing acts would be noticed, but he did not listen.  I only knew half of what he was up too.  He was also sneaking off to see Mustard Maize, his gay husband in Apple hill, I really don't know how Sunny managed to get away with it for so long.

I find myself having to bite my tongue again, like after the abduction, because of the lie that everyone has been made to believe, about him falling down those steps when I know he didn't.  I am also having to keep the fact of Sunny being married to another man to myself, not even my Dad or River know the truth about that.

River was very worried about them moving the body, because during an autopsy, they would have been able to tell by the movement of the bones.  Dad was dragged into knowing the truth about how Sunny faded and how the spirits had to move his body so it could be found.  River jumped on the autopsy, so he conducted it along with Dad, which enabled them to hide the truth about Sunny's body being moved after he faded.

Otherwise there would have been another murder case going on in Sugar Valley, that could have dragged a lot of people unnecessarily through the mud, especially all the gay guys in town who all were constantly fighting with Sunny.  Granite and Saffron would have been the first two in the frame for his murder.  It also would have put the vampberry den in danger of being found, if the police had started to poke around in that area, which we can not afford to ever happen.

Keeping Sunny's other life a secret and away from his children ever finding out has been a struggle.  It has all been worked out in theory, now we just hope that it all pulls off.   He will be getting two funerals, one here and one in Apple Hill, which will keep his two lives and identities apart, which will hopefully stop them colliding where the secret would come out.


After the funeral here, as far as his children are concerned, his body is being flown out to Amber Meadow to be laid to rest next to his twin brothers, as he requested in his will.  In reality, that is where it will end up, but it will be doing a sneaky detour to Apple Hill first so that Mustard can do what he has to.  The only thing we have got to be careful to stop is Scarlet and Saffron, trying to go out to Amber Meadow for the burial.  Being the only two who can, being pure berries to the eye.  Scarlet shouldn't be a problem too heavily pregnant to fly, Saffron I am going to have to sit on and distract somehow.

Me, Mace Granite and Turmeric have had to all but sit on Ruby, because she was the one who was being awkward over it.  I've seen a side to Ruby recently that I really don't like.  While Mustard was all for doing the right thing and keeping quiet so that Sunny's children didn't get hurt, Ruby was crawling the walls and kicking off, she wanted to shout it from the rooftops because she felt so angry and betrayed, which is understandable, but she didn't seem to care what she might be doing to her children, if she let the secret out, especially Saffron, which is the whole reason why we were working to keep his secret from ever coming out.  Even Turmeric was struggling to control her, we thought she was going to blow it wide open.

I sit laughing at myself, thinking about what I did.  There is no point me having this mind reading ability if I don't put it to good use sometimes, so I got her on her own and rifled through her head.  What I saw in her memories was pretty shocking.  What she has been doing and who with, has kind of opened my eyes and changed my opinion about a lot of men in this town, including one of my brothers and Uncles.  So I used it and turned it on her, I told her I'd expose her and all her sleeping partners if she didn't sit on Sunny's secret for Saffron's sake.  A few of her sleeping partners have really shocked me, and are ones she really would not want exposing for her own sake, and I thought Strawberry is bad!!  I also compelled her to play ball just for good measure.  Ruby really not understanding how I knew about all these men, and especially her reaction when I stood in front of her and named them all, was the most amusing part.

      "Are you okay?"  Mom frowns at me  "This isn't really the place for hysterical laughter!!"
      "Sorry, I switched off, my head was somewhere else!"
      "Have you taken your meds?"
      "YES!!  I seriously wish everyone would stop asking me that, I'm not a kid anymore.  I was just thinking about something that amused me, I didn't zone out!"
      "Share the joke then."  Mom chuckles at me
      "Trust me Mom, I doubt you would find this joke very amusing!!"



I hear a door open and think it is Crystal coming back from the toilets, but it isn't.  I am very surprised to see Atlas and Saffron both walking in.

     "Atlas you can sit by me!"  I laugh as I grab his arm and pull him into the seat next to me, Both Atlas and Saffron give me a funny look.
      "You be careful bright eyes, he's spoken for!"  Saffron laughs at me
      "Don't worry Saff, I am not after your boyfriend, I just want to smell him."  I laugh at them as both of their eyebrows raise and eyes widen
      "Now I'm starting to get worried!"  Atlas laughs at me
     "The smell of your aftershave Atlas, beats the stink in this place!!"

Everyone starts laughing including Mom, who is now sat quietly reading a book.

     "I'm surprised to see you here."  I frown at Saffron
     "He has not shed a tear yet, and he has been very aggravated and angry since Sunny faded, you know they did not part on very good terms."  Atlas answers for him  "It was your Dad's idea actually, he thought it might do him good to see him one last time.  He can tell him how he feels and maybe get off his chest what he needs to."  he laughs  "Your Dad is funny ... he told Saff that Sunny would hear him, so he can make his peace with him, without getting a mouthful back."

This amuses me, Dad knows that Sunny's spirit is now wandering around with all the rest, so I guess he thinks if Saffron says out loud how he is feeling Sunny in spirit form might be around to hear it.  I wish he had warned me, then I could have made sure he was around to listen.


     "Is Crystal not with you?"  Saffron smiles at me, a little awkwardly, like he is trying to change the subject away from himself.
     "Yeah, you might guess, she is in the toilet throwing up!"
     "Where are Nilla and Snow?"
     "With Slate, Bay and River at mine having a play day.  They've got Nilla, Snow, Ocean, Amber, Poppy, Clay, Sugar, Moon and Magnolia - they need their heads testing!!"  I laugh
      "How come the triplets are there?"
      "We had them last night to give Cherry and Affair a break - Cherry is all over the place at the moment."
      "I know the feeling."   Saffron mumbles  "So I guess you didn't get much sleep, Moon is a little bugger at night."
      "Yeah, and so is Snow, I had both of them demanding chocolate pudding at 3am this morning.  I swear I must have Choccy pudding machine written on my head"  we both laugh
      "They have got you sussed Tap!"  Mom starts to laughs  "You are too soft and give into them too easily, mark my words, they will be running rings around you when they are older."

Crystal comes walking in, busy chatting away on her phone.  I guess that is why she has taken so long.  She always amuses me when she is walking she always has a hand on her stomach, which is now really bulging and a little worrying to say she is not very far into her pregnancy, I get a horrible feeling that there is a lot more than just one baby in there.   I frown at her as she approaches us and she mumbles Scarlet to me as she sits on my lap and continues to talk to her Niece.   Something that Storm told me, hits me then, remembering that Scarlet isn't actually biologically Crystal's Niece, but nobody knows that yet.  Another one of Ruby and Sunny's secrets that I have to worry about and probably help clean up somehow.  I am seriously not looking forward to this one getting out, knowing who Scarlet's real Dad actually is.

A woman walks in and tells us that Sunny is ready for us to see now.  Crystal is still nattering away on her phone so I tell Saffron to go in first, which Mom does not mind.  I ask him if he'll hang around while we go in so he can help me with Mom if she does black out.  I can not help but notice how twitchy Saffron starts getting, he is kind of giving me the impression that he does not really want to go in to see Sunny's deceased body.


Atlas walks with him to the door holding his hand, he kisses him and Saffron starts to go into the room alone, but stops suddenly and backs out.  He tells Atlas he will have to go in with him, they bicker quietly for a few seconds, then Atlas rolls his eyes at me as he follows Saffron in.

Which brings us to why we are sitting here.  It is not for Crystal's or my benefit, my Mother wanted to come and see him to say her goodbye.  Pretty much against Dad's wishes, so she bent my ear after Dad went to work to bring her here.  Me and Crystal are finding this whole thing amusing in a way, only this morning Sunny's spirit was sat in our room playing with Vanilla, for the three of us, Sunny is still very much here like the rest of the spirits.

The door opens and a young guy comes in with an elderly couple.  I frown at them as I watch them sitting down on the couch closest to the door, I have never seen them before.  The old woman is crying, so I guess they are from out of town and they have lost someone too, however I can not imagine who because I did not know anyone else in this town had faded recently, but I have been away in Berry Shores working, so I might not have been told in all the commotion over Sunny.  The three people sit down and I don't think any more about it, as Crystal distracts me, she has now finished with her phone call.

She jumps up off my lap. her hand covering her mouth as she runs off in the direction of the toilet again.  This chronic sickness that she has, has kind of become a way of life for us, and there seems to be no signs of it stopping.  Suddenly the young man annoys me.



     "This town is full of freaks!!"  He snaps loud enough for us to hear, as his eyes follow Crystal running out of the room  "As if the colour mixing isn't bad enough, now what is with all this disgusting lack of colour?"  he laughs  "It's pregnant too, breeding more abominations!!"
     "You want to shut your mouth mate!!"  I snap at him
     "Or what?!"  he snaps at me  "I'm not your mate, you mixed berry piece of scum!!"
     "Or you will be lacking colour yourself and find yourself six feet under after you have rested in this place for a while!!"  I snap at him as I jump up off my seat, he also jumps off his and comes towards me with attitude.  "If you don't like mixed or colourless berries, sling your hook out of this town you narrow minded twat!!"
     "Tapestry leave it!!  They are not worth getting yourself into trouble for!!"  Mom yells at me  "Just ignore them!!"  she snaps as she grabs my arm and tries to pull me back into my seat, while the old couple are trying to do the same to him.  I hear them calling him Sulfur and that name rings a bell with me, but I can't think why.
     "No Mom I won't leave it!!  I am sick of twats like him, coming into this town, if they don't like it they should keep out!!  He does not even have enough decency or respect to keep his twisted trap shut, in this of all places."

The young guy is now just stood there silently and stationary staring at me, his mouth and eyes wide open.  It takes me a few seconds to realize what his new problem is.  He recognizes me and knows who I am.

     "Oh Berry!!"  he mumbles  "I read in a magazine that you live Sugar Valley.  I know you ... you are ... Storm!!"  I laugh sarcastically as I turn away from him and sit back down  "I ... I am sorry mate!"
     "I'm not your mate, and never will be!!   You make me sick, one minute I'm mixed berry scum, then when you realise I'm famous, I'm suddenly your mate!!  Hypocrite!! "  I snap at him.  "Insult my colourless Mother, girlfriend or unborn children again and I'll be banging your lights out!!"  I laugh  "Better still I could write a song about you for the whole world to hear ... and I think I'll call it  "Sulfur The Narrow Minded Twat!!"

      
I guessed the idiot had recognized me, and now he is going to aggravate the hell out of my by keep staring at me.  If ever he asks me for my autograph or a photo, I will probably bang him out.  I get seriously hacked off, when my fame harasses me in Sugar Valley, home is the only place where I am free of it, because most people treat me like they always have done, here I am just Tapestry.  I also get very annoyed when people bad mouth the lack of colour when they are referring to either my Mother or Crystal, especially when outsiders come into Sugar Valley to do it!!

    "Can I ask you something, how can you be orange if your Mother is colourless?"  Sulfur asks suddenly
    "Colourless people rarely have colourless children, they have children with colour - the colour they should be or the colour of their partner.  My Mother's parents and brothers are purple and my Dad is orange.  Me and one of my sisters are all orange, my other sister and brother are purple and orange.
      "What about you girlfriend?"
      "My girlfriend has yellow parents and a brother ... so our children will be yellow or orange."
      "So why are they colourless if their parents are purple and yellow?"

Me and Mom look at each other and laugh.  I jump up out of my seat and pull out of my pocket one of the leaflets that River had made up and printed for me, which I always carry around with me to give people.  The leaflet explains all about the Albino condition, because I am sick of having to keep answering exactly that question and others over and over when I'm out in the colour coded world.

     "Here read this, and it might just educate you into not being so narrow minded and brainwashed!!"  I snap at him as I slap the leaflet in his hand.

Before I get to sit back down, the door to the room Atlas and Saffron are in suddenly flies open.  I see Atlas's head for a second, he shouts me to help him, before it is gone again.  When I run into Atlas, I see Saffron is sprawled out on the floor, holding his chest, tears streaming down his face, he looks a mess and like he is struggling to breath.

    "I think he's having a panic attack, but I don't know what to do to stop it!!"  Atlas is becoming frantic
     "I do ... hang on!"

I run out of the room and straight over to Mom

     "Mom give me one of your bags."   she frowns at me  "Brown paper bag!"

I snatch the bag off her and run back into Saffron.  Mom sometimes has panic attacks and Dad always insists that she carries brown paper bags around with her in her bag, just in case.  We laugh at Dad for being so neurotic, but I am glad of it right now.


I open the bag and scrunch it up by the neck like I have seen it done many times before, when Mom is getting herself into a state.  I hold the bag to Saffrons mouth and tell him to take deep breaths into it.  Crystal comes in and stands holding his free hand, while Atlas is rubbing his back.  It does not take him long to start calming down.

While I am waiting for Saffron to calm down completely, I can not help but glance over into the coffin at Sunny.  Even though it is not the first time that I have seen him like this, I had sat staring at him just after he faded in the den, four days ago.  However, then he had looked just like he was sleeping, now he looks totally different and it seems to disturb me a little more.

His hair doesn't look right for a start, it is brushed off his face which is not how he normally has it, and the change in Sunny's face, where the muscles have started collapsing and the waxy, paler look of his skin, is bizarre as well as a little scary, he is starting to not look like Sunny any more.  I can feel myself starting to panic a little inside and have to look away.  I am seriously now not looking forward to bringing Mom in here!!

As soon as Saffron has calmed down enough, we help him out of the room.  He is now feeling  embarrassed and really stupid, even though he has no need to be.  I felt myself going, and he is not my Dad, and I doubt that many people do not freak out seeing a deceased body, especially someone that they are related to.  The smell of this place is really getting to me.

Crystal goes out ahead of us and Me and Atlas have both got an arm around Saffron because he is unsteady on his feet, as we walk out of the room.  We start to make our way over to the seats where my Mom is still sat reading her book, when the commotion starts.



     "Saffy!!"  the old woman says as she jumps up out of her chair, followed by the old and young guy.  This really confuses me for a moment.
     "Gran!"  Saffron says as he starts to break down again and she runs over to hug him.

I stare at Crystal wide eyed, who is now backing away with a terrified look on her face.  Being colourblind I didn't realize they are yellow, or even think for one minute that they could be here to see Sunny.  She obviously must be thinking exactly what I am thinking ... they are Saffrons Grandparents, which makes them Sunny's parents ... which means, they are also her parents!!!  I go over to her and put my arm around her and she hides her face in my shoulder. 

I notice the young guy trying to put his arm around Saffron, who pushes him away quite nastily, that is when Atlas starts kicking off.  It takes me a few minutes to catch on to why.  I reaslise now why I recognised the name Sulfur, he is Saffron's ex stalking boyfriend.

     "What the hell are you doing here!?"  Atlas is virtually yelling
     "Is that really any of your business?"  Sulfur snaps
     "You was warned by Crimson, to keep away from Saffron as well as out of this town, in exchange for him not doing you for assault!!  I guess we should have known you would use his father fading as your excuse to come sniffing around him again!!"
     "Not that it is any of your business, replacement, but I drove the Grandparents here, so get lost!!"
     "How pathetic are you!!  Latching onto his Grandparents!!"  Atlas starts laughing sarcastically  "Got no family of your own to stalk?!"


     "Saffy, I seriously can't believe you replaced me with that! " Sulfur points at Atlas and laughs
     "Just sling your hook Sulfur ... the best thing you ever did for me was dump me, because I've now got somebody a hundred times better than you could ever be!!"  Saffron puts his arm round Atlas which makes me laugh
    "It is not even yellow, it is brown!!"  he snaps sarcastically  "Have you suddenly gone colourblind like everyone else seems to be around here!?"
     "Granddad get Sulfur out of here before I seriously lose it!!"  Saffron shouts  "You should not have brought him here and you should have warned me that you were coming!!"  he snaps as he looks nervously at Crystal.

Saffron knows as well as I do that Crystal wants absolutely nothing to do with her parents, and now here the three of them are standing in the same room.  Crystal has refused to see or speak to them since we have discovered her true identity.  Sunny tried so many times to talk her into seeing her parents, but she flatly refused.

After he faded, Sunny and Saffy sat us down and told me and Crystal the whole truth about the story of Crystals life, which was a lot more shocking than we realised.  Saffy was there watching and he saw everything.  I have only spoken to Crimson about it so far, because he is looking into how we would go about doing something that both Sunny and Saffy want, Crystal's twin sisters remains moving to where they should be, in the cemetery with her headstone. 

Crystal has been thinking about having contact with her Mother since, because according to Saffy, her Mother never wanted to get rid of her, she was beat up and bullied into it by her Father.  Crystal has a very big problem in her head with her Father after hearing the story, so I know the very last person she would want in this room right now is her Father.

The door opens again so I look towards it.  I start to feel very sick, seeing who is just walking in.  Like there is not enough going on here already, and in walks Mustard Maize.  I hear a choking sound behind me, I turn to see Sunny's spirit floating there.


       "Tap ... you seriously need to get Saffron out of here NOW!!!"  he mumbles behind me.

I am angry suddenly, and stuck in a situation that I don't know how to handle.  Mustard promised he would keep away from Sugar Valley and Sunny's family.  Now here he is as large as life, it is Saffron I am worried for.

     "That is my baby isn't it ... that is Crystal ... isn't it!!"  the old woman starts rambling, who I noticed has been staring at Crystal for a while.  Suddenly she looks demented.

I can feel my head going - suddenly it becomes bedlem, when the old woman starts walking towards us and Crystal starts screaming, which has my Mother jumping up off her seat, the old man is shouting at the old woman, telling her to keep away from the abomination, which makes me angry.  Atlas and Sulfur start arguing quite loudly, while Saffron is trying to keep his Grandparents apart, as well as stop the old woman from getting to Crystal.  Crystal who promptly throws up all over the floor in front of me.

Amusingly Mustard nods his head at me, as he walks past me, going to the far end of the room, quietly and just sits down and starts reading a newspaper, like nothing is going on here.  While all the racket is going on, Sunny's spirt sits down next to Mustard and he starts continuously pecking my head and going on, telling me to get Saffron out then he reminds me of something him and Saffy had told me, that I need to get his Mother on her own and away from his Father.  I notice Mustard virtually has his head hidden behind the newspaper, I am very surprised Sunny's parents did not recognised him as he walked past them.

      "Get the bad man away!!"  Crystal is now starting to get hysterical



      "EVERYONE STOP!!!"  I yell really loudly.  "SUNNY ... SHUT THE HELL UP - Like you didn't help to create all this damn mess!!"

That does it, everyone freezes and turns to stare at me.  I hadn't meant to shout out Sunny's name or what I was thinking in my head, but in all the bedlem it just came out.  They are all staring at me now in stunned confusion.  Everyone except for my Mother strangely, who is chuckling to herself, and Crystal who just continues crying, because she can see and hear Sunny's spirit like I can.

My Mother pulls Crystal gently off me, gives her a tissue to wipe the vomit off herself then puts her arm around her and takes her over to one of the couches to sit down.

     "Old man, take Sulfur outside and keep him out and away from Saffron, like he asked you to!!"  I snap at the old man  "In fact, the pair of you can GET OUT OF TOWN - Crystal doesn't want you here and Saffron don't want him here!!"
     "Who the hell do you think you are, telling me to get out of town, when I am here to see my Son!!"  he snaps at me  "I have every right as his Father, where as you have no right mixed berry!!"  he almost spits the word mixed berry at me.
      "I have every right, and your narrow minded colour coded bullshit doesn't wash in this town!!"  I snap at him  "Call yourself a Father you are a joke!!  Arrange to see Sunny another day, if you must, when none of us are here!!  Not that he would actually want you here, like the rest of your family don't!!"  I snap at him  "We don't appreciate narrow minded twat's coming into this town who have an aversion to mixed or colourless berries, especially when it's their own family!!  Both of you use the word abomination just a little too much for my liking!!"  I snap  "You in particular old man, that is not an abomination that is Crystal, your daughter!!"  I yell at him as I point at Crystal who my Mom is still holding.  I see a shocked expression flash across Sulfur's face which amuses me, I guessed he didn't fully realise what was going on here.  "You are disgusting ...abandoning your own child like she was nothing and dumping her when she was less than six months old, out in the world alone to fend for herself, hoping she would fade.  Don't think I don't know about everything that you've done!!"
     "You know nothing!"  he laughs at me sarcastically


      "Oh I know a lot more than you realise, like how you tried to drown and suffocate Crystal when she was a baby, but your wife stopped you and all the beatings she got from you, because she wanted to keep her colourless baby when you didn't!!  How you dumped Crystal and told your wife you had faded her!!  I also know what you did actually bury unceremoniously under Saffy's tree in a sports bag!!"  he looks very shocked  "You are despicable!!  Crystal doesn't want you here and neither do I, you are lucky I don't punch your lights right out for what you did to her!!  It's you who should be lying in that coffin, not Sunny!!  You old man can get arrested and locked up in this town for your crimes, so I'd sling your hook now while you both still have the chance, Sulfur is already pushing his luck just by being here!!"
      "What ... just because he played his mouth at you Mr Rock star!  I bet you think you are something special don't you!!  Stood there throwing your weight around."  the old man scoffs sarcastically
      "No, as it happens I don't think I'm anything special, because I'm not.  In reality I'm just a dyslexic, colourblind, half deaf, idiot with ADHD who just happens to be able to play a guitar and sing in tune, so I get paid to do it.  I am just plain old Tapestry taking offence at the two of you upsetting and insulting my family, Crystal and Saffron, who also happen to be your family old man, but you don't know the meaning of the word family do you!!"  I laugh at him sarcastically  "Sulfur obviously hasn't told you, he actually has already had a run in with the law in this town for stalking and harassing Saffron and assaulting Atlas. The stupid idiot even took a swing at Crimson, so he is lucky he isn't already doing time."  I laugh at Sulfur who pulls a face at me  "Crimson, one of your mixed berry Grandsons, is a police officer, and he's already warned Sulfur to keep out of this town or he will arrest him.  Crimson would love to lock up both of your ass's, especially yours old man, for what you did to both his Aunts, Crystal, and her colourless twin Sister, and mark my words, he will if he sees either of you in town!!"  I snap at him  "NOW GET OUT OF OUR TOWN  ... BOTH OF YOU ... before I phone Crimson, which you are both seriously going to live to regret!!"
      "Come on woman!!"  he snaps nastily at the old lady
      "Just you two go!!"  I shout angrily  "Like I would let her go with you now, because no doubt she is in for another beating!!"  I snap at him  "Don't worry about your wife, she can stay, she is here to see her Son.  Saffron will bring her home, when and if she chooses to ever come back.  NOW GET OUT before I throw you out!!"



       "Shit Tap, you are starting to sound like Mango!!"

I hear Sunny's spirit hysterically laughing behind me.  I seriously wish I could punch him right now.  Surprisingly Sulfur and the old man do head for the door and leave the room without another word, which I am relieved about.
   
     "Atlas can you take Mom and Crystal into see Sunny, while I speak to Saffron and his Gran."

As we watch the three of them going into see Sunny.  I laugh at Saffron who is frowning at me.  I glance over at Mustard, who is still sat behind his newspaper, which he is not reading, because he is slyly watching us, in particular I think Saffron.

     "What the hell was all that about Tap?  What has Granddad actually done?"  Saffron asks me as he stands there with his arms around his crying Grandmother.
     "You need to ask your Grandmother."  I smile at him  "I'm giving your Grandmother a chance to tell the truth about everything that really happened when Crystal was born.  I'm also giving her the chance to escape from that evil old man, so she can get to know her daughter and mixed berry Grandchildren, if that is what she really wants."  she just stares at me for a moment
      "Yes I do, I always have done, he just wouldn't let me!"  she smiles at me  "How  ... how do you know?"
      "Sunny managed to get the truth out of your husband just before he faded, by threatening to beat it out of him.  Luckily he told me and Crystal, so we can do something about it."  I smile at her.

I am lying, because it was Saffy's spirit who witnessed it all, to tell me, but it was the only thing that we could think of as a plausible cover for knowing something only Sunny's parents knew.

The door swings open and Dad comes marching through it, I'm very surprised that he is holding Vanilla.  I start laughing at the expression on his face.

      "Daddy!!"  Vanilla starts squealing when she sees me.



     "I'm going to throttle you Tapestry!!  Where is your Mother?"  he snaps at me
     "In there with Crystal, saying goodbye to Sunny."  I laugh  "Who grassed me up ... Daddy clone I bet!?"
     "Yes, because River was worried, and he obviously has a lot more sense than you do!!"
     "Don't blame me - Mom made me bring her here.  I was only doing as I was told!!
     "Yeah right Tap, I know you remember!"  he laughs at me  "You've never done as you are told once in your life!!"  I frowns at him
     "Why have you got Vanilla?"
     "River called me home, Ocean tried to cave her head in with the xylophone, they have been fighting again."  he tuts  "Seeing as you and Crystal sloped off with your Mother, he didn't want to leave Bay and Slate looking after three babies and five toddlers, so I have had to take your daughter to the hospital and put a few stitches in her head."  he leans her head forward to show me. 
      "Me's a big girl Daddy."  she grins at me  "Look Gangy sewing!  Naughty Ocean!!"  she tries to touch her injured scalp so I grab her hand to stop her from touching it. "Me's had a lollipop for being a brave girl."
      "Yeah I can see you still have half of it all over your face!"  I laugh at her "Naughty Granddad hasn't cleaned your face."
      "Why are you out here if Crystal and your Mother are in there."  he frowns at me  "They shouldn't be in there on their own!"
      "Atlas is with them, don't worry he is watching Mom.  There has been a kick off - Crystals parents turned up with Saffron's ex stalker boyfriend.  I had to defuse the situation, and get rid of Sunny's Dad and Saffron's ex."  I laugh as I point over towards the old lady and Saffron who are now sat down and deep in conversation.  Saffron glances up at me a little wide eyed.  "That's Sunny and Crystals Mom, she's like Grandma Orchid, she has been bullied into not having anything to do with Crystal and her mixed berry Grandchildren, so I get the feeling we might be gaining another lodger ..."



I don't get a chance to finish what I'm saying.  The door to Sunny's room opens and Mom comes walking out in floods of tears, followed by Crystal and Atlas.  I am very relieved that Mom has not blacked out.  Dad hands me Vanilla quickly then automatically rushes over to Mom and starts fussing.   I laugh because I know I am going to enjoy winding Dad up later, yet again he was being too over protective and he now can not have a go at me for bringing her here.  His whole reason for her not coming here is because he said she would never get out of the place without blacking out - and he was wrong!!

      "Mommy!!"  Vanilla starts squealing and jumping up and down in my arms when she sees Crystal.

She takes Vanilla off me when I tell her about her head and starts to fuss over her.

     "Crystal, you remember what Sunny and Saffy told you about your Mother."  she nods at me  "Well we are going to take her home, so you two can talk ... okay."
     "Yeah, okay."  she mumbles.

Crystal goes off home ahead of me with Mom, Dad and Vanilla.  I sit talking to Atlas as we wait for Saffron and Crystals Mother, who have gone in to see Sunny.  I am very amused with Mustard, who has sat quietly hiding himself behind his newspaper, not being the slightest bit of bother or adding to the situation, which could have got a hell of a lot worse if he had exposed himself.

After Saffron and the old lady have finished seeing Sunny, we start too make our way out of the undertakers. I am pretty flabbergasted that the old lady didn't recognise Mustard.  He told me when I first met him that he knows Sunny's parents very well, but it has been years since he has seen them, he backed out of their lives and kept his distance so that they didn't work out that Sunny and Mustard were still together.

I am the last one through the door, so I stop and glance back at Mustard.   I can see he has been quietly crying behind his newspaper.


 He smiles at me weakly as he wipes the tears off his face.  He folds up his newspaper, then gets up and starts making his way across the room..

      "I'll phone you later."  I mumble to him
      "Okay mate."  he smiles at me nervously before he enters Sunny's room.

I can't help but laugh at Sunny's spirit, miserably trailing after Mustard.  I can see where his priorities lie, with Mustard, while I am the one here having to clean up all his and his families mess!!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Friday, 21 October 2016

Chapter 50 part 6 - Gen 2 - Tapestry


I am amused watching Sunny, who is staring in amazement at the rock that Storm just passed back through.

       "How did he just do that?"
       "Spirits pass through everything, walls, doors, any solid object."  I laugh at him  "You know Sun your existence is going to be very different from now on."  he frowns at me  "You don't have to take care of your bodily functions any more, there is no more eating, sleeping, bathing, teeth brushing, using the toilet.  You just exist now.  You can't cry, be hurt or fade, our existence ends when we pass over, and all you need to do now is learn how to interact with solid objects and other spirits, which I'll teach you."
      "No eating or sleeping?!"  he looks confused
      "Nope!  It's pretty cool, actually."  I smile at him  "Oh and you need to be warned, Shadow can read spirit thoughts, memories and can interact with spirits.  His favourite game is sneaking up on us and ruby tackling us to the ground, so don't be surprised when you end up flat on your face."

He amuses me when he tries to touch me, his hand goes right through me.  I grab his wrist and hold it tightly, I see his eyebrows raise as he tries to grab my arm with his other hand, but his hand just passes straight through my arm.

      "It takes a while to get the hang of it."




       "What I should really do, is beat the living daylights out of you seeing as I have the chance and you can't hit me back yet!!"  I snap at him
      "You are angry with me aren't you - for pushing you out of that tree and ending your mortal life."
      "Obviously I am angry!!"  I snap at him  "Anyone would be!!"
      "You obviously don't have a clue about what has been going on in my life, because you didn't stay with me like Cos stays around Lilly, and Storm stays around Tap.  You being angry, is that why you didn't stay with me?"
       "No."  I laugh  "I planned to stay with you and make the life you lived hell, not that you actually needed any help from me on that score, because you did that all yourself!!  I did not stay with you, because I was too busy trying to keep our baby sister alive to even worry about your sorry ass!!"
       "What actually happened with Crystal Saff?"
        "Seriously, if you hadn't been so busy with your tongue down the back of Mustards throat, you would have seen it coming and maybe helped to prevent it from happening somehow."  he frowns at me  "Mom and Dad were constantly arguing, they were at it hammer and tongue for a good six months before she was even born.  If you had hung around and earwigged like we used to, you might have seen or worked out what was going on."
        "I don't remember them arguing"  he frowns at me
         "Yeah well they were, they did a lot of it while you wasn't around, either out, in your room with the music full blast or asleep.  After I faded they actually used to let you run wild, but you just had your head too far in the clouds with lover boy to even notice how much more freedom they were giving you."
         "Okay quit digging, I know you must be pissed about me and Mustard, but do you really have to keep on with the snide comments?"




         "Do you even know Aunt Marigold had a colourless boy?"
         "Yeah I did hear something ... shit, you know I forgot all about that!!  What happened to that kid?"
         "It came out, it's quite common apparently on the Shine side of our family, colourless babies.  The kid, he was dumped in the children's home, what do you think happened to him."  I laugh sarcastically  "After that happened,  Mom and Dad went and got themselves tested, that's when they discovered they both had the faulty gene, and we had escaped having the albino problem."
         "You know I have that gene don't you, so I bet you did."
         "When did you get tested if you didn't know about the colourless thing until Crystal appeared?"
         "Mango had all the Shines and Orchids tested because of the colourless eyes, Affair and Cherry's triplets and Poppy having the colourless hair as well as eyes, then Crystal turns out to be a Shine and another spirit seeing oddity like Tapestry  River thinks something strange is going on with all the combined Orchid / Shine babies, and being a geek like Mango, they want to get to the bottom of what is causing the part colourlessness, when genetically it is impossible."
         "So you have the gene?"
         "Yes, I do but Ruby doesn't, so we haven't had any colourless children.  I've passed it onto half of my children, strangely Cherry is not one of them so we can't work out why she has three colourless children."
         "Would it have bothered you if you had had a colourless child?"  I ask him out of curiosity
         "No!!  Having Lilly around me from a teenager, with Mango explaining the medical condition to us, made me see there is nothing actually wrong with colourless people, and Affair was a toddler the first time I saw him."
         "Mom and Dad would never have bothered to try for another baby if they had known they both had the faulty gene, but it was too late, Mom was already pregnant and they spent the rest of her pregnancy arguing like cat and dog."




         "Just having the gene was not a guarantee that they would have a colourless baby, and its not like they knew she was going to turn out colourless, so why were they arguing before she was born?"
         "Dad ... he wanted Mom to get rid of the baby, he didn't even want to wait and see how it turned out, even though there was more chance of it being yellow than colourless.  I thought they were going to split up at one point - it was awful, especially when you was out of the house. Mom dug her heals in obviously, she flatly refused to terminate the pregnancy and you knowing she was pregnant helped her case to go through with the pregnancy.  At the time, I really was not sure who was the bigger berry hole, you or him!!"  I laugh sarcastically  "He gave Mom hell, before the baby was born, and it just got worse when the baby was actually born colourless.  When she went into labour, Dad refused to take her or let her go to the hospital, just in case the baby did come out colourless.  Mom had to have the baby at home without any help or pain relief, the berry hole seriously made her suffer, locking her in the bedroom alone until he heard the baby cry, while he sat in front of the TV getting drunk!!"  he looks at me miserably for a moment  "She had twins again Sunny."
         "What?!"
         "There was two of them."
         "I don't understand?  Where is the other one?"
         "Buried under my tree."
         "You are pulling my leg!!"
         "No I wish I was.  Crystal came first.  As soon as she cried Dad went in - saw the colourless baby and freaked out, you know what he is like when he's been drinking, he lost it and beat Mom up quite badly, blaming her for not getting rid of it like he wanted.  She was in a right mess, the second baby was coming and Dad was going mental.  Magnolia, the second baby was also colourless.  She was already faded by the time she was born, I suspect because of Dad beating Mom up, he punched her in the stomach quite a few times.  He's lucky he didn't fade Mom!!"
         "BERRY HOLE!!"  he yells  "SHIT!!!  Magnolia Crystal - that grave stone has both babies names on, and here was me thinking it was one baby!!  Berry I told Crystal her name is Magnolia!!"

Sunny stares at me wide eyed for few seconds, before he hits the floor again just like he did when I told him Honey had been disposed of.  I guessed finding out that Crystal had a twin sister would come as a shock to him.




         "Yeah, Crystal and Magnolia were two different babies.  Dad took Magnolia, the faded baby, in one of our old sports bags, during the night and buried her under my tree ... berry knows why he chose that place!!  I followed and watched him doing it, so I know exactly where she is buried."
        "Where the hell was I when all this was happening?"
        "It was a Friday and you was at school.  Dad had Granddad pick you up from school and you stayed there for the weekend so that you didn't see the baby.   If you remember, he also let you stay on the Monday and miss a days school, on the Tuesday he had you shipped off to that boarding school so you did not see the baby."
         "Yeah I was well pissed, it just came from nowhere, I had no warning they were even thinking about it and I never got to say goodbye to anyone.  Mustard was hysterical, I spent three years only being able to speak to him over the phone."
         "They told everyone straight away that Magnolia was still born, which wasn't a lie really, while they hid and kept Crystal locked up in 'our' bedroom and told nobody she existed.  They left it over three weeks before they told you."
          "They told me she had faded in her sleep when she was a few days old, I remember being miffed, because they hadn't even told me she had arrived, just that she'd faded.  I've always thought it strange that they said they didn't even have a photograph of her."
          "Yeah well obviously they lied because Crystal didn't fade at all and they definitely were not taking pictures of the colourless babies, especially the faded one, Dad at least!!"  I laugh sarcastically  "Dad gave Mom hell, he used to beat her up and all sorts while they argued over getting rid of Crystal.  You know Mom didn't care that she was colourless, she wanted to keep her, she wasn't very happy about you being sent away either.  It was all him and I don't think she has ever stopped crying over those babies - more so since you found Crystal and she has refused to see them!!  Of course Dad still is not interested in her, she can stay away for all he cares and he's beating Mom up quite regularly again, because she does want to see Crystal."
        "Berry Hole!!"


        "Oh you haven't heard the worst of it!!"  I snap  "He tried to drown and suffocate Crystal - quite a few times Mom stopped him which she got a serious beating for!!  Mom has actually thought all these years that he had faded the baby and buried her under my tree with the other one, because that is what he told her, she didn't know he had dumped her at the children's home, otherwise I think she would have gone and got her back.
         "Seriously?!  Tell me you are joking!!"
         "No I wish I was!!."
        "Why the hell has she stayed with him?"
        "Berry knows, only she can answer that!!"
        "How long did they keep her for?"
        "Not as longer as you might think - she was about 6 months old before he actually dumped her.
        "But I didn't go home for nearly three years!!"  he frowns at me.
        "I didn't know that is how long they had kept you away.  It took Mom a hell of a long time to get over it, not that she ever has properly. so I'm guessing Dad was worried she might say something to you, and that's why he kept you away."  I frown at him  "Didn't you even suspect anything when holidays used to come around and it was only ever Dad who came and collected you and took you off on vacation till you was due to school.  I presume that is what he did for the three years, I only saw two holidays and that's how he did it."
         "Yeah that is how it was for the three years, I didn't see Mom at all.  He used to tell me that Mom was so cut up about the baby fading that she would only upset me and spoil the holiday, and seeing me would just set her off."  he pulls a face at me  "I thought she didn't love me any more, and I was upset and missing Mustard, even though I tried not to.  So I was not really thinking about anything else."
        "Mom liked the holidays, not because she wasn't missing you, but because when Dad was away with you, that was the only time that she could be a proper Mother to Crystal.  When Dad was home, it was a whole different story!!  Mom tried to take care of her, but Dad wouldn't let her most of the time, he used to beat her up if he so much as saw her holding the baby.  Mom named both babies, she called her Crystal while he just called her the abomination.  He kept her locked in our room, half the time she didn't get fed, I think he hoped she would starve and fade.  He could get away with it and there was nothing Mom could do, if it had been a normal baby she could have got help, but nobody was going to help her with it being a colourless baby and Dad was trying his hardest not to let anyone find out she even existed because of the stick that they would get - stick that Mom was actually prepared to take. Crysal only got fed half the time because I did it, and that was very awkward to do without them seeing me doing it.  I was actually the one who gave her my teddy bear, she had nothing, he stripped the room of all our things and just left her in there with nothing.  I felt guilty, Mom got a beating for that teddy bear even though it was not her who did it, so I tried not to interfere too much after that for them to see."


      "I'm glad I'm faded right now or I'd be round there punching his lights out!!"  he snaps  "Why didn't you get Tap to tell me this when I was still living."
      "For exactly that reason, I didn't want you going round and setting Dad off, think about it, there is only one person who could have told you any of this .... Mom.  They don't know I'm here to see it or tell you so she would have got another beating for something she hasn't done and she is cut up enough right now!!"
      "We need to tell this to Tapestry and Crystal!!  Dad seriously should not be left to get away with this!!  He needs locking up and that faded baby should be put in it's rightful place in the cemetery next to you!!"  this amuses me
      "Like you shouldn't have been locked up for what you did to your son!!"
      "Yes I know, but I've had my punishment, I'm now faded and I've been in hell every day since you faded, living the life I have!!"  he laughs at me sarcastically  "Crystal won't have anything to do with Mom because she thinks they both dumped her!!  If she knew the truth, she could at least get to know Mom.  Mom needs moving to Sugar Valley away from that berry hole!!  Mom and Crystal need each other, especially now I've gone!!"
      "Yeah, I agree and Storm has pretty much said the same thing, but it's not an easy one to work out is it, Tapestry has to explain how he knows and where he heard it from.  You know how they laugh at him for just saying he sees his ghosts."  I laugh  "I've actually been talking to Tapestry, I haven't told him the whole story, but I've hinted quite strongly that he needs go over and see Crystals parents, especially Mom, but he wouldn't because he didn't want to hurt Crystal.  We are just waiting for an opportunity to get Tap and Mom together, which I guess will happen now you have faded."  I laugh  "Your funeral is going to be very very interesting!!"   
       "Don't!! I don't even want to think about it if Mace and Tap can't sort my shit out!!"  he pulls a face at me  "So what happened at the children's home - how did Dad get Crystal away from Mom?"
       "Dad crushed up a couple of sleeping tablets and slipped them into Mom's cocoa ... I guessed the berry hole was up to something.  I was scared, I thought he was trying to knock her out so that he could fade the baby - I was even prepared to fade him if I had to, to stop him, I was at the point where I seriously could not stand watching him hitting her any more.  He waited for a few hours after Mom had gone to sleep -  he wrote a note with her name on, Crystal, it was the middle of the night, he took her out of the cot, drove to the children's home at the edge of town and just left her there, on the grass in the pouring rain.  It was pouring it down, thunder and lighting, the poor kid was totally terrified, as if the weather was not bad enough, she only had a nappy on and it was freezing cold and she had not even seen the outside of our room before.  I had to bang down the door until someone came out to take her inside.  I never saw Mom and Dad again after that, because I stayed with Crystal."



       "They didn't treat her well in there did they?"
       "No, it got even worse, and I thought Dad was bad!!   They seriously didn't want a colourless child and were far from pleased when Crystal turned up.  I heard them talking, they were moaning because they had only just disposed of the last one, who I highly suspect might have been Aunt Marigolds boy."
       "Disposed?"
       "Yeah, they basically leave colourless children neglected and locked up in a room to fade and make bets on how many weeks they are going to survive.  It got a little amusing for me after a while, they were seriously baffled about how Crystal was surviving or hardly crying - they wanted her to starve and fade so they didn't feed her once.  I was doing it when they were not looking, which was most of the time, so I fed her regularly.  They got very baffled and confused, especially with her nappy changes and she was gaining weight not losing it."  I laugh for a moment  "They were all falling out with each other, because it started to become obvious that someone was taking care of her.  They thought one of the staff was sneaking in on the sly to do it, and of course nobody was admitting it, because they weren't, it was me."  we both laugh  "Sometimes they would leave her two or three days without even opening the door and they only ever opened it to see if she had faded yet."
       "That is totally disgusting!!"  he snaps
       "Yeah I know!!  She was only actually in the home for six weeks ... I broke her and the teddy bear out during the night when they started talking about suffocating her because she was not fading."
       "That isn't what Crystal is saying!!"  he frowns at me
        "I know, she's a little mixed up probably from what I told her would happen to her if she had stayed in that home, obviously I cut out the bad bits and made it sound a little better so it didn't upset her too much.  She was not old enough to remember it properly, I doubt she can even remember the home, other than the traumatic experience of sitting out in the storm, as she hardly remembers anything about Mom and Dad other than Mom's lullaby.  Sunny she was not even a year old when I took her into Rainbow woods.  Remember our den, that is where we  have always lived, and where Tapestry found her."
        "FUDGE!!"  he sits there staring at me wide eyed  "When did you realise she could see and hear you."
        "Not long after she was born.  She used to smile at me and giggle and try to touch me.  I used to call her from the other side of the room and she used to turn her head in my direction.  I thought it was a miracle, some kind of good omen, until I met Tapestry, she is the only mortal I have ever known who can communicate with spirits.   I even thought for a long time, our lives were fated and I had faded for just that reason - to take care of her and keep her alive.  Me taking care of her would have been impossible without her seeing and hearing me in spirit form.  In some way I still believe our lives were fated, what are the odds on Tapestry finding her and bringing her back to you of all people - its just all crazy shit when you think about it and a little too mad to just be a coincidence!!  Its like someone up above is watching over her!!"




      "Why didn't you come and find me?"  I start to laugh at him
      "How could I you idiot!!  How was I going to get the message across to you without you thinking you was going totally insane?  A message that I doubt you would have believed anyway.  She was not even a year old - you was a teenager miles away in Strawberry Fields.  It's not like I could pick up the phone and call you or leave her alone while I went looking for you, those woods are dangerous with all the imortal creatures prowling around at night and she needed to be looked after 24/7.   I couldn't take her with me either, I had to keep her hidden and a ghost carrying a colourless toddler around is going to seriously attract attention ... think about it!!"  I laugh at him as he rolls his eyes  "By the time she was old enough to leave alone for a short while, I went to Amber to try and find you, obviously you weren't there and that's when I found out that Mom and Dad were long gone and had moved away - where too, I didn't have a clue."
       "How did you manage to keep her alive."
       "It was very hard, especially when she was little and during the winter months.  I had to teach her to walk, talk and how to survive.  Obviously at first, I had to get all her food for her, steal blankets and anything I could to keep her warm.  It was a constant battle,  especially when the other homeless tramps realised she was there - they were always coming in and stealing the things I got for her.  I ended up having to bury things, especially her teddy bear in a metal tin, otherwise she would have lost it."
       "Yeah, it was because of that teddy bear that I worked out who she was.  She buried it in Taps garden when Strawberry was being spiteful and threatened her teddy bear!!"  he starts laughing  "Tap had to dig it back up again."
        "I've had to fade no end of people over the years, to protect her.  It was not just her possessions they wanted, her being colourless attracted their hatred, quite often people would come into the woods at night specifically just to fade her because of what she was, colourless, especially when she was a very small child.  It got even worse when she was about ten and the vampberry's took an interest in her.  Because of the weather we only ever saw them in winter, but every winter they would come, three of them and there only reason was Crystal."
       "That is because she was silent to them isn't it."
       "Yeah, I know that now, but I couldn't understand it at the time, I thought maybe it was just because she was colourless.  At first I thought they were trying to catch her just as a meal, but they caught her a few times and they didn't want to fade her, they just wanted to take her away, which I had to stop.  They only bit her once but that was to taste her blood, they could not work out if she was a mortal or not, at the time I couldn't understand what they meant by that.  They turned catching her into a sport.  I had to fight them off as well as teach her how to fight them off.  She had a stock pile of wooden sticks, but every time we disposed of one, another one would appear to join them.  When she got older, and could stand up for herself better against normal and homeless people who constantly attacked her for being colourless, she had to sleep in busy places out in the open, under bright lights because it kept the vampberries away from her, and she learned to ignore the abuse thrown at her by ordinary people.   Her life has been a total nightmare!!"


       "I can imagine!!"  we pull a face at each other  "Why and when did you leave her alone?"
        "Not until she was an adult and she could totally fend for herself ... and I've never left her completely, I've always made sure I am there in the Autumn and Winter months."
        "But she said you left and didn't come back a long time ago."  this makes me laugh
        "When you live the existence she does, with absolutely nothing to do and no measure of time, a few weeks does feel like a long time.  Over the last ten years I have been leaving her during the Spring and Summer months and going out to try and find you, each time looking in a different town,  but I've never been away for more than a month at a time.  It always really upsets her when I leave her, even though she understood that I was going out to try and find someone to help her.  So what I tended to do a lot of the time, is come back, check on her from a distance, then take off again.  It upset her less that way.  So sometimes, yeah, she didn't see me for quite a few months at a time if she had not spotted me checking up on her."  I smile at him
        "She didn't seem to know that you are her brother."
        "No because I didn't tell her anything about you, me or our parents, I figured it would just make her feel worse about herself, knowing she had a family and her parents kept us but threw her out.  I didn't want to get her hopes up by telling her she had a brother out there, because I didn't know if I would ever find you and when I did, I wasn't sure if I could even get the message across to you.  I also didn't know how you would react to her, you could have reacted to her like most do in the coded world.  I half expected you to shun her completely for being colourless."
       "I think you know now I would never had done that."  he smiles at me  "So what have you been doing since she has been with Tapestry?"
       "I didn't actually know where she was or what had happened to her - I thought she had faded and if I could have I would have faded all over again, it really upset me.  It was always my biggest fear about leaving her.  I had been away for three weeks, and when I got back I couldn't find her.  Sometimes it used to take me a few hours, even knowing all the places she hangs out, but when half the day went by I still couldn't find her I started to panic.  None of my spirit friends had seen her, they recon she had vanished a week before I got back.  One of them told me they had seen an orange man and spirit chasing her away from the hospital, but nobody knew who they were.  All we knew the spirit was an out of town one that nobody had seen before.  Of course now I know that was Tapestry and Storm."
       "So have you spent all this time looking for her?"
       "Yeah, on and off." 

  
        "I was frantic for weeks, searching Rainbow Valley and the edge of Amber for her.  I hung around my tree a lot, because she used to go there sometimes, she used to pick flowers and take them there, as well as clean up the faded flowers she and others left.  It always used to get me when flowers were left there that Crystal hadn't, I always used to wander who had been there leaving flowers, but I never saw anyone"
       "Me Mom and Mustard probably."  I mumble quietly
       "After a month went by, I resigned myself to the fact she had faded.  I was angry with myself for leaving her, I've spent nearly thirty years trying to keep her alive, I felt totally lost!!  I knew the vampberries couldn't have taken her because it was too hot for them to be in Rainbow, but I still went and checked out their den anyway.  She had totally vanished and all I could do was blame myself for her fading.  I didn't think to check the houses in town, never imagining anyone would actually take her in.  If I'd seen Levi or Saphire, they would have told me where she was, but I didn't see them at all while I was looking for her."
       "Who are Levi and Saphire?"
       "Spirit friends of mine.  Levi is a young boy who faded in a car accident along with his Mother Saphire and his two sisters.  They are the wife and son of Denim, the homeless guy that Tapestry took off the streets, who is now running a homeless shelter in Winters house."
       "Oh yeah, Tapestry told me about Denim!!"  I laugh
       "Well, Levi and Saphire were hanging around the house with Denim a lot, so I didn't bump into them and I never came up in conversation, otherwise Storm would have known I was still around while he was in Rainbow."  I roll my eyes  "After I'd resigned myself to Crystal fading, I withdrew into my headstone.  I was waiting for you or Mom to appear, so that I could follow you to where ever you was living now."


       "Jazz told me Cosmic and Storm found you."
       "Yeah they did."  he laughs for a moment  "They bumped into Levi ironically searching the graves in Rainbow cemetery looking for Crystal's spirit.  They got talking and Levi took them to my headstone in Amber, luckily I'd shown him where it was.  Levi actually thought I had passed over because he hadn't seen me since before Tap took Crystal off the streets."
       "What do you spirits do, hang around your headstone?"  he laughs at me  "Is that where they found you?"
        "Yeah something like that.  Storm the dick, jumped into my space, I dragged him out and tried to beat him up, but he ended up kicking my but instead!"
       "Your space?"
       "My grave where my bones are.  There is an unwritten rule amongst the spirits, you keep out of each others space, but of course we do jump into other headstones from time to time.  We can tell who has passed over or not.  Storm was only checking to see if I'd passed over, but I was pissed with a strange spirit jumping into my space."  he laughs  "You will find all this out for yourself when they bury your bones."
      "Charming!!"

Suddenly Storm jumps through the rock.

      "My ears are burning!!"  he laughs
      "Probably because you've been earwigging!!"  I laugh at him
      "Well Tap is totally head blown right now!!"  he laughs  "It took us quite a while to convince him Sunny is gay, in the end Shadow had to show him what he's seen in Sunnys head as well as let him listen to the conversation me and Cos heard of Mace telling Granite the whole sordid tale!!"
       "So what is happening Storm?"  I frown at him.


       "Tap has spoken to Mace.  Tap, Granite, Mace and Turmeric are getting Mustard and Ruby together tomorrow at Turmerics, to try and get them to keep Sunny's secret just between themselves and away from the kids."
       "Turmeric ... why the hell are they getting him involved?"
       "To calm your red bitch down - you must know they have knocking each other off behind your back for years!"  Storm start laughing
        "Yes I know!!"  Sunny snaps
        "The only thing they can't get their heads around is how they are going to keep your two lives apart.  How do they stop Apple and Sugar colliding at your funeral?  Granite suggested two funerals, to keep your two identities apart -  one here for Sunny Shine and one in Apple for Sunny Maize,  but they can't figure how to work it, without digging your coffin up on the quiet during the night."  he starts howling  "How do they get the kids to accept that you are not being buried here - so Mustard can take the body, have his funeral and bury it wherever."
        "That's easy."  Sunny laughs  "Mustard will tell them, I've always wanted to be buried next to Saffy, which is exactly what he will do with me.  Its in both my Shine and Maize wills, and we bought the empty plot next to Saffy's grave years ago, it's where we planned for both of us to end up."
        "Seriously!!"
        "Yeah, I always planned a funeral here, a memorial headstone for the kids benefit, and my body flown out to Amber Meadow.  Me and Ruby always used to argue over it, because only 3 of the kids can go out in the coded world to put flowers on my grave.  I don't see what her problem was, a memorial headstone here, is the same thing, it doesn't mean my body has to be buried here too - it's not like they see my bones when they are putting flowers on my grave is it."   he laughs  "Mustard was going to have my body detour to Apple - we've already worked this out in theory."
       "You are a jerk Sunny!!!"  I snap at him

We see Cosmic coming.

       "O ho, here comes trouble!!"  Storm sniggers  "Sunny I hope you are ready for this ... your gay but is just about to get its first kicking as a spirit ... Cos is hoping mad!!"

Cosmic does look angry and starts yelling at Sunny straight away.  Storm pulls me away from them.




       "Just leave them to it."  he laughs at me  "If Cos does give him a kicking, he deserves it, and he is angry enough trust me!!"  Storm grins at me
       "He can't defend himself yet!"
       "Good he deserves it for what he's done to Saffron, just to hide his dirty secret ... he is a berry hole!!!  You are lucky I'm not helping Cos, because I feel like it!!  Tapestry is going up the wall in the den, he's really angry!!"
       "Even still, it's not really fair is it, I should stop Cos until Sunny can fight back!"  Storm frowns at me
      "Remember what you said Saff, you are not spending forever cleaning his mess up!!" he tuts at me  "Let him fight his own battles from now on, or he will never learn, he has to pay for his own stupidity!!"
       "I guess."  I mumble
       "Come with me, I've got you something."

He pulls me through to the other side of the rock, I presume to drag me away from Cosmic and Sunny who are now arguing quite loudly.  I am amused when he picks a bunch of flowers up off the floor.

       "I got you these!"  he grins at me cheekily.
       "You wuss!!"   I laugh at him  "You have been grave robbing again!!"
       "Technically no, because they were left on my grave, which makes them my flower." he smirks at me.
       


        "It's still grave robbing Storm!!"  I laugh at him  "So come on, what have you done?  Because you only bring me stolen flowers when you have done something you shouldn't have!!"
        "Busted!!"  he laughs  "I .. err ... kind of told Tap who Scarlet's real Dad is ... and what is going on with Forrest."  he looks at me sheepishly  "But don't worry, he won't say anything!!"
         "You idiot!!"
       
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