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Odette’s Return

#MidWeekFlash prompt 141

This week’s photo prompt was taken by Kevin McElheran, in Sorrento, British Columbia, Canada. It is entitled ‘The Happening’.

Derek Viatora knelt to his knees in front of the coffin. Resting his hands on the red-oak finish, he lifted his gaze, but couldn’t bring himself to look at his beloved’s face. A shock of golden blonde hair lay across her arm, sharply contrasting the black velvet sleeve underneath.

Odette,” he whispered in agony, “please, don’t leave me.” As the tears streamed down his face, he felt a hand on his shoulder.

“Come along, dear,” his mother soothed, “Odette is in a better place. I’m sure she’s watching over us, even now.”

Derek inhaled sharply and braced himself against the coffin’s pedestal. His heart felt as though it had been pierced through, but he knew he must carry on – somehow. He stood, facing those who were patiently waiting in the pews.

His cleared his throat, “Thank you all for coming. Odette was… she was the brightest light in the world. Life without her is just… empty and grey.” Tears began to fill his eyes again, and he took a deep breath, “I… I want you all to know-”

As Derek’s voice cracked, Mrs. Viatora stepped up, “There, there, darling. Have a seat. I’ll carry on.” Her son nodded and made his way back to the front-row pews. Facing the morose crowd, the elderly woman continued in a regal, articulated tone, “I’m sure you’ll all understand, and excuse my son. Obviously, this is a tragic time. Odette was an amazing woman. Her work with Quantum Tides has been life-changing for the entire world. She gave her life to protect that work. We thank her, and honor her, for her sacrifice. She will forever be remembered in history – and in our hearts. Thank you.” Stepping down from the podium, Gloria wiped a single tear from her eye and rejoined her sobbing son.

Orchestral music began floating, soft and undulating, through the air, lending a sense of comfort to the mourners. One by one, they rose and offered their condolences to Derek and Gloria, before paying a visit to Odette’s casket.

After the services, Derek watched the last of the funeral-goers pile into their vehicles and drive away. Gloria, reached over and gave her son a tight hug, “You stay as long as you need. I’ll have a hot meal ready for you, when you get home.” She left a light peck on his cheek, got in her car, and followed after the others.

Odette was buried in the small graveyard behind the church, and Derek felt himself drawn back to the area. The heavy scent of freshly turned earth met him, as he carefully picked his way toward the simple, white stone marker. Falling to his knees, he cried out in anguished desperation, “Odette!”

The shout pierced the serenity of the wooded cemetery. Holding his head in his hands, he let his tears fall freely, watching as they soaked into the ground. He wasn’t sure how long he’d stayed there, but it was dusk by the time he rose from his position. He didn’t want to leave, but he knew his mother would be getting worried. With a resolute sigh, he tore his eyes from Odette’s final resting place. Turning to leave, a beam of light caught his eye – it was coming from the church’s steeple.

His feet seemed to move of their own accord, and he advanced toward the light source without a moment’s hesitation. As he reached the front door, a thunderous rumbling knocked him off balance. Looking up, he saw a brilliant white light shuddering through the old, creaky building. In slow motion, the steeple began to cave in, and the walls warped in and out of shape.

Derek rubbed his eyes, sure he was hallucinating. But, no – there! Illuminated by the blazing light, a woman slowly walked forward. Derek knew it in his soul… Odette.

Bathed in this ethereal glow, she spoke, “Derek, please don’t mourn for me. The quantum tide has come in, and I must go where it takes me. But, the tides of love are just as strong, so I will always be with you.” She reached out a semi-solid hand, caressing his face. The silky sensation left him feeling calm and relaxed… hopeful, even.

As the light filtered out, Odette’s apparition faded from view. Derek slowly turned and walked away from the church. With each step, he felt Odette’s presence even more. He knew she would remain with him for the rest of his life – right there, in his heart.

Thanks to Miranda Kate for this #MidWeekFlash prompt!

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