After talking to my parents about it, Mango was buried on our family graveyard. I knew it was a little unconventional since we hadn’t been married and had hardly been spending our lives together, but I couldn’t imagine a more perfect spot for her. I no longer wanted Sierra to rest there, but wanted Mango to take her place. Even if we didn’t get to be together while we were alive we’d now be able to spent all of eternity together afterwards. Since she was the one woman I had genuinely loved all my life, the spot was rightfully hers.
Mum even found an old picture of her and me that I hadn’t known existed. I faintly remembered the day, but only after Mum had told me about it. She had taken the photo in the park, roughly a week after Mango and her Mum had moved to Sunset Valley. Since she had been a shy girl she hadn’t made friends very quickly, but I had asked her out to play to make her feel accepted. Mum had taken the photo on what had been our first full day together as friends.
After Dad and I had told the police everything we knew, Sierra and her family had been locked up. All of them confessed happily, seeming very proud of everything they had achieved. At first I was wondering why none of them had bothered to try and lie their way out, but then I remembered Sierra’s full confession to me. How all of her siblings were involved, how her father was behind everything. Dad and I thought that they must have known that we knew the truth, and therefore wouldn’t have let them get away – lying would have been pointless. On top of that, my boss believed me without a doubt. He knew I wouldn’t have convicted my own wife without a reason.
The only one who had been allowed to go was Sierra’s mother. I wasn’t too sure about her involvement myself, but according to a colleague she had shown bruises and cuts on her body to prove that Hue had beaten her. She swore that she had only been used to give birth to his children, and hadn’t been anything more to him. The moment she was allowed to leave she packed her things and left for the airport to leave the country altogether – and no one blamed her.
Dad and I went to the morgue straight afterwards. As it turned out both of us recognised the woman who had pulled me out, but neither of us knew her name until they told us. Her name was Lily Whisp Lace – how ironic that she had the same last name as us – and I had seen her around the station many times. She had been a highly valued member of the police force, and apparently had been for a long time. But that wasn’t where Dad knew her from. Dad’s story was far more incredible.
I found it interesting that she had saved both of our lives, and had the same last name as us, but didn’t read too much into it until a letter arrived. A young vampire girl delivered it, and left with a sad smile as soon as we had accepted it. It was one of the most amazing things I had ever read, and it explained a lot.
you don’t know me very well, but I know you. A long time ago I made a promise to my mother – your great-great-grandmother Whisper – to look after this family. I’m sorry that we didn’t have a chance to get to know each other. I had the privilege to meet your father in Egypt, and am glad that everything has worked out well for him and Oracle. He is a good man, and I’m happy to see that he has adjusted so well.
I know my death might not mean anything to you, but please tell your father that I don’t want him to mourn me. I’ve led a very long life, and am looking forward to it ending. I have lived far longer than anyone should – while I could I have protected your family to the best of my ability. I am leaving you in the very capable hands of my daughter. She is the one who delivered this letter to you, and she is the one who will look out for you from now on.
your great-great-great Aunt Lil
The letter brought closure to my Dad. He had been mourning her loss, but reading that she had been ready helped him accept it. We both decided mutually that she should be buried on our family graveyard, too. According to the letter, she was family after all, and she had done us all a big service. We couldn’t think of a better place for her than amongst her family. She had waited long enough to join them.
As for my own family…
Everyone accepted and loved Cari. Honey especially had taken a liking to her, and was often looking after Cari like a Mum would. Cari, in turn, worshipped her.
When I had brought Cari home Honey had already been old enough to hear the truth. She had still been young, but I didn’t want to keep the truth from them for longer than necessary. At first she had been devastated, and hadn’t come out of her room for a few days, but once Mum had talked to her and reassured her that everything was going to be alright her mood had improved.
Shortly after she had come to terms with everything, she had asked me if it would be alright for her to join the drama club at school. She told me how she had always wanted to become an actress but hadn’t said anything because she knew that her Mum wouldn’t have approved. I was only too happy to sign her up right away.
Ever since that day she spent a lot of time in front of the mirror practising her speech, revising her scripts for school plays, and even got up in the middle of the night to watch old movies she had always been interested in.
And, well, she was good! Her drama teacher was very pleased with her, saying that she had talent, which in turn made Honey very happy. She almost begged me to let her go to some acting school which wasn’t in Sunset Valley, but she was a little too young for that. We agreed that if she still wanted to become an actress once she had finished High School she could ask me again – until then I needed her to focus on school. She had also been asking me whether she could get a kitten, and while I wasn’t opposed to the idea she already had her hands full with school and Cari. I knew I couldn’t say no forever – the way she looked after Cari told me that she was very caring and up to looking after a cat – but for now she had enough to do as it was.
Honey wasn’t the only one who seemed to profit from Sierra being gone. The twins had still been children when their Mum had left – as a result I hadn’t told them the whole truth until they were the same age as Honey had been. I told them that their Mum had made a few bad choices and had to go away for a while, and it broke my heart to hear them say that they never saw her anyway.
At first they blamed Cari. I didn’t think that either of them really knew why, but they were old enough to know that Cari’s skin and hair was lighter than theirs, and that was enough for them to blame her. It wasn’t until they were officially teenagers that I told them the whole truth, and that they realised that they had been unfair to Cari. They both tried to make up for it by giving her a lot of their attention, but I knew that they also struggled with the truth about their mother.
Luckily, both of them found healthy outlets which helped them accept things.
Salvia joined the swimming team at school. When she was home we could usually find her in the pool – nothing much had changed about that. She had always been swimming a lot, even when she had only been a child, but now she was practising jumps that I was barely brave enough to watch, and each day she pushed herself to swim a little longer. She also willingly got up early just to get some practice in before going to school, and before having breakfast, even. She was very dedicated, and I knew she’d manage to do whatever she set herself to do.
When our pool at home became too small she started going to the public pool in town. A little while ago it had received a big make-over, and amongst other things it had added bigger race lines in one of the two pools. Salvia couldn’t have been happier.
Her brother, Cameo, was a little more relaxed than she was, but just as dedicated.
Similar to Honey he had asked me whether it’d be alright for him to join the art club at school. He said Sierra had always wanted him to work out like his twin did, but he had never enjoyed it as much. Painting, however, he loved doing.
I signed him up without a second thought, and told him he was welcome to use the old easel in the old study, and Cameo was over the moon. He had only painted during art class before, and I had always thought that he was talented, but Sierra had never thought of it as an important skill.
Painting wasn’t the only thing he loved doing, either. He read a lot, making full use of the bookshelf in our living room. I had a feeling it was only a matter of time before he started writing himself, but wanted to give him the space he needed to figure it out on his own.
The only one who took Sierra’s absence a little harder was Tacao. He was still too young for me to tell him everything, and I often worried that he blamed himself and that he spent too much time alone.
Ever since I had told him that his mother had to go away for a while, he had developed sleeping problems. He had always been a light sleeper anyway, but now he barely slept through the night. I had made it a habit to check on him before going to bed myself, only to see that he was no longer in his bed.
Luckily, I always knew where to find him. He loved being outside, so when he couldn’t sleep he went into the garden to use the swingset. He never fought me when I told him that he had to go to bed, but I was worried that he was having nightmares that he wasn’t telling me about.
His age wasn’t far behind the twins, but I couldn’t help but feel that he felt left out. Honey, as the oldest, had always been looked up to by her younger siblings. The twins had each other, and Cari was too young to play with him properly.
He was a quiet boy, and I feared that he didn’t take his mother’s leaving as well as his older siblings had. I hoped that he would throw himself into a hobby like Honey, Salvia and Cameo did, but until he was old enough to hear the full truth all I could do was hope and look after him.
In the meantime, I taught Cari all of life’s basics. Before I knew it she was walking – and she was fast, too! Now that it was warmer outside again I often took her into the garden to teach her how to talk, and she always seemed happier outside than she was inside. I couldn’t tell if she was like Tacao, who just loved being outside, or like Honey, who loved the warmth, but either way being outside during the summer put her into a good mood.
When I didn’t look after Cari her older sister did. I had a feeling that Honey was quickly becoming a mother figure for Cari, and wasn’t sure at first whether that was a good thing or not, but I eventually figured that as long as they were getting on well and Cari was loved it didn’t matter. She had someone she looked up to – if that someone was her sister I at least knew that she was looking up to the right people.
Cari loved Honey, and was always smiling when her older sister entered the room. Salvia and Cameo were a little jealous, I thought, but they didn’t take it personally and adored their baby sister all the same. I just wished that Tacao would come around, too.
For the first time in a long while, I felt like things were finally looking up for my family again.
Everything was going to be alright.
I just knew it.
And this marks the end of generation five. I’m sorry this has been going for so long, I hope it didn’t drag on too much for you guys 😦 The heir vote will be up tonight, and I will leave it running until Monday evening to give you all time to figure out who your favourite is. It’s a very good looking generation, so I understand that the choice might be difficult 🙂
In other news, generation five is now up for download 🙂 Another file which includes the upgraded house will follow later, too.