The Ryman Legacy Holiday Chapter! 3 out of 4 ain’t bad… By Mzyra
“Wuv Mr Teddy Beaw…” The Winter holidays had arrived across the land, which for families with children meant a lot in the way of new toys, which Calvin loved, even if he didn’t really understand why he’d got a new teddy.
Mia was too young for any toys that she could use, but the Winter holidays also meant family time, which Alvin took advantage of with the time he had off of work. “Hello little Mia! We’re happy it’s Christmas, aren’t we? Aww, is she always this adorable Nicola?” “If she’s not being sick on you, then yes. I’m sure she’d enjoy seeing more of her Daddy, though…” “Yeah, I know, I’d love to spend more time with the kids – and you – but I’m on a roll at work at the moment… I’ll have a lot more spare time soon though Nicky, I promise.”
The grandparents were also happy to get in on the present and family action, having bought Calvin (and the younger siblings that would follow him) a spring llama ride - Carla thought that toddlers didn’t get nearly enough time outside these days.
“Oh Dad, I so wanted to get you a present, but nothing I saw out downtown seemed right for you….” “You know me Nicky, grilled cheese at my fingertips so there’s nothing more I need! And the grandkids you and your brother and sisters have given are present enough for me…” “I love you, Daddy.” “Love you too Nicky.”
There were still some presents exchanged between the adults though: “Oooh, what is it, what is it?” “Well after that hour-long conversation about those shoes in Cold Issue… I bought you a handbag.” “…Really…?” “Of course not! As if any man would want to risk buying something their wife hadn’t specified in advance… How stupid do you think I am?”
“I don’t think you’re stupid, I think you’re lovely and attentive. And very good at wrapping Christmas presents…” Alvin didn’t mention that he’d gotten the shoes wrapped by the cashiers in-store. What Nicola didn’t know about her Christmas presents wouldn’t hurt her…
“Birch…? You actually got me a Christmas present…?” “Just because I’m getting older doesn’t mean my mind’s deteriorating, Carla. And neither is my hearing and I would have had to have been deaf in order not to hear your extremely loud conversations about jewellery on the phone to Marina. I can in fact take a hint, love.” “Well… It was better safe than sorry… Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go and squeal excitedly over my shiny new jewellery like a teenage girl…” “Whatever you need to do, dear.”
With the kids put to bed early after their exciting day, the adults of the household sat around with cups of hot chocolate from the new appliance Carla had bought the family. “We should really think about buying a TV, if only for this time of year; so many good films on! Oh to be able to sit around the television together and watch It’s a Wonderful Life…” “I don’t know, I know Alvin likes technology, but I don’t want the kids to just sit around in front of TVs or computers all day – I want them to play outside and be healthy and things!” “If you’d just feed them more grilled cheese they’d be perfectly healthy in no time-”
Far away from that inevitable argument, other presents were being given. “Merry Christmas, Tom!” “Merry what now?” “Christmas is a holiday! We give presents and have family time. And I think there’s meant to be something religious about it, but I didn’t pay much attention in RE.” “So… You’re giving me a present…?” “Yup. Here!”
“But- But I don’t have anything to give you!” “Oh Tom, don’t be silly!” “But I don’t! And I would-!” “Tom, you give my life so much happiness and pride that you couldn’t even comprehend. I don’t have any kids of my own, but… I know how it would feel, thanks to you. Ha, honestly, you’re the only good thing left in my life, but it’s a life worth living all the same.”
Tom hadn’t known what to say to Terry’s mini-speech, but they sat on Terry’s sofa for a while in silence while he thought. “I know I do have parents and I’ve been told kids are meant to always love their parents, but… I don’t love them. You’re more like a parent than either of them are. So, like… I love you Uncle Terry.” “I love you too, kid.”
So.This was it all along, was it? Tom, Kimmy’s only child, didn’t love her – and not because of anything she’d done, but because Terry had been stealing his love from its natural recipient – her. Perhaps this had been the plan all along. Terry couldn’t get children of his own, being too stupid, slobby and ugly to find a mother for them, so he plotted to come and steal her son and his love from her. Well, they’d just have to see about that…
Over at the Jayapalan household things were hectic, just as usual. Numerous hyperactive – and often mean – children ran all over the place and even since Sara had become a teenager things hadn’t become much better; she only helped out with the kids when forced to, spent most of her time on the phone running up massive bills and threw huge tantrums whenever she didn’t get her own way. With Nery frequently at work, Marina suffered increasing stress. But this was only on a normal night after school – what was she supposed to do at Christmas when the kids were all off school, hyper from chocolate and over-excited about the holidays?
Luckily, Marina was full of good ideas; why buy lots of individual presents and hope that they kept each child engaged for a few hours, when they could have a big joint present? And thus the Jayapalans gained an adventure playground in their garden, suitable for everyone between toddler and teen (and possibly adult and elder if so inclined).
Of course, Sara considered herself way too old and cool for such things, but… Well, she could look cool and attractive, casually hanging out on one of the swings, couldn’t she? And if any friends or cute guys happened to wander past, she’d be in a prime position to act…
Seth thought the adventure playground was cool and gave him the chance to be; he was going to spin on the roundabout so much and so fast it’d break a whole world record and then he’d be interviewed and put on TV and be famous and really cool… As soon as he found a way to make it go faster than he could run.
Brendan took more simple pleasure, running up and slipping down the slide, over and over again, feeling the cool wind on his face, filled with pure happiness.
Even Cindy and Haley had good fun, wrapped up in their winter playsuits, riding little llamas. Cindy seemed to be in it more for the violent rocking then Haley though, who seemed to understand the concept of riding an actual animal more.
And Marina finally got a peaceful day inside, reading her favourite book. Deep down part of her felt the twinge of guilt that she was acting like her parents had – not paying enough attention to the kids when so much could (and in that case did) go wrong – making her a massive hypocrite, but… It was a very good book and probably nothing would happen really. And even in the worst case scenario – Terry had wound up okay in the end, hadn’t he?
To be honest, there was little that was special about Christmas in the Mamuyac household – besides the present Terry had given Tom which had just been something he’d had on him at the time – partly because they couldn’t do anything special, but also because the only special things Terry could do for Tom he did everyday – like reading him to sleep. Every day was special, so none of them were. But they still made Terry happy; he had a purpose in life and it was to protect Tom and make him happy, so he did everything he could.
Still pondering this as Tom fell asleep and Terry left his room to get some sleep of his own, Terry didn’t notice or sense that he was not alone. Kimmy couldn’t help but have a genuine smile as she foresaw her whole plan coming to fruition… “Oh Terry…!”
As he spun around to face her, Kimmy jumped into action, revelling in the hypnotic powers she had never yet had the chance to wield. “K-Kimm-! Wha-?” Terry couldn’t stand a chance against his sister’s confidence, malevolence and simmering anger balled into one and channelled in such a way. In mere seconds his mind slipped into a daze and lost its ability to fight.
Kimmy violently grabbed him and tore into his flesh – she was aiming for the neck, but wound up closer to his face than she intended, though she didn’t really care. It was all good. Somewhere deep inside his practically vacant body and mind, Terry fought and screamed in vain.
“I don’t know why Dad’s thrown this glass away – looks perfectly good to me!” Over at the Raymond household there was a different holiday afoot (and May was had no cares for hygiene)…
The whole family was going on holiday to Three Lakes – showing the twins their heritage on their mother’s side, as well as giving her the first chance to go back since she’d left for university.
Of course, Sean and Opal had planned such a trip while they were still in university and had saved up to buy a holiday home there before they’d even graduated, though they’d decided to start on their careers first, then the arrival of the twins had put it off further, but had probably made the trip even more worth it. The house was perfectly designed – two bedrooms big enough for the four of them and even a swing-set built in for the twins.
The girls weren’t really used to so much attention from their parents who were so often at work that they’d even had to hire a nanny for when the twins weren’t at school, but they were pleasantly surprised at the chance to play family board games and be really noticed for their individual personalities. Even if the whole country seemed cold and rainy like all the time.
Three Lakes did have some aspects May and Tiana liked, though. The hot springs, in particular. They’d never thought they’d have a reason to use the swimsuits their parents had made them pack, without freezing to death at least, but it seemed the best – and possibly only – way of actually getting warm. And the relaxation was even better than the comfy seats and swimming pool at their private school.
Sean and Opal meanwhile sat in the sauna alone together, their minds still somewhat elsewhere… “You really think the Captain Hero’s going to retire, Opal? Seemed more the sort to fight to the death for the causes of justice and all that jazz…” “Yeah, but nearly all the heroes are family types, they’ll want to settle down, spend time with the grandkids and that.” “Mmm, but they might worry that their retirement might leave the world in a bad state for said grandkids… *Sigh* It doesn’t really matter, there’s always another ready to step in as soon as the last one leaves. But our youth program should soon reduce those numbers and increase ours…”
The twins, being oblivious to their parents’ occupations and dastardly discussions, happily learned the slapdance from some locals, still in their swimsuits but keeping warm through the movement all the same.
While in the sauna the discussions took rather a different nature… Sean and Opal had finally discovered the joys of a late honeymoon…
Back at the holiday house, Sean enjoyed playing the good father for a while, tucking each of the girls in for the night. So peaceful when they were sleeping… Though Tiana wasn’t much louder when she was awake.
Then Sean got to play the good husband. Opal would have of course claimed that Sean didn’t really need to play a good husband, but both would concede that the use of ‘good’ in any aspect of their lives should at least be debated until they retired or changed career path.
Sean had to admit, despite his criminal connections and masculine attempts at being distant, that he loved having children. May and Tiana were so sweet and innocent – although he wished he could do something about May’s eating habits which she had obviously received from her mother – it was almost worrying about what he’d do if anybody tried to use them against him an effort to shut down his and Opal’s operations. Still more worrying was their approaching teen years – how many teenage boys would he have to start threatening when that time came?
The family time probably would have been suffocating for a normal family (like Marina’s – she would probably be having a mental breakdown by this point), but for a family which didn’t get it much normally, it was refreshing. “I want to go to a wedding, that would be nice. Is anybody in the family getting married soon, Daddy?” “Erm, the only member of our family unmarried is Terry and haven’t heard from him in years – maybe he is married already… Otherwise you’ll have to wait for your cousin Sara, I guess.” “Ohhhhhhh, but we’ll almost be adults and getting married too by then!” Opal just found herself struck by the same thought as Sean – the approaching milestones on that path that they’d have to go past first…
The parents eventually tired of pushing the girls and went to find another activity, but May and Tiana stayed out even into the darkness, only stopping to try swapping swings in case there was anything new from the other view. “Hey Ti, is this meant to be our whole present? Or do you think we’ll get more stuff when we get home?” “I heard from Seth on the phone earlier and apparently they got a whole adventure playground! And Auntie Nicola got her kids toys…” “Daddy’s bound to get us a playground too then, he likes showing off…” “But there’s no room in our garden! We’d have to move house…” “Ooh! Bagsy the biggest bedroom!”
Opal had returned from the store with marshmallows while Sean lit a (safe…ish) fire for them to toast them over. The girls saw their opportunity to drop ‘subtle’ hints… “Hey Daddy, did you hear that Auntie Marina got her kids an entire adventure playground? We don’t even have one swing back home and they sound like so much fun…!” “And Auntie Marina has a much bigger house than us! Why is that? Are we poor, Daddy?” Sean and Opal rolled their eyes at each other, it was obvious when the kids tried to manipulate them. “Auntie Marina also has a mortgage, whereas we don’t. She also has a seven-person household, which we don’t. We don’t need a bigger house. Whether we get one someday with a playground… We’ll just have to see.”
Their plans scuppered, the girls retreated to their new tent to come up with new plans and, eventually, just gossip. “I hear that big houses get burgled more often and stuff too, that’s probably why we’ve never been burgled.” “But Grandpa said that they got burgled once and their house is about the same as ours.” “Maybe it’s just Daddy, he’s so big and strong that the burglars don’t want to risk it!” “Or Mummy – it’d be funny to see a burglar try and take her on while stealing something!” “How come Mummy knows how to knock somebody out with one punch anyway?” “Maybe they’re secret agents and stuff!”
The life of the criminal mastermind was both underrepresented and misrepresented, especially in Sean’s case. He had the perfect family life; a beautiful and wonderful wife and two pretty, intelligent, well-behaved daughters. Okay, sometimes he laughed maniacally while stood at the control panels of death rays and stuff, but that was really just for show. He preferred the mafia-style crime ring – family orientated with such links that if anybody touched a hair on one of his daughters’ heads he’d have a whole army of loyal henchmen willing to break their legs.
“We may not be able to get a bigger house or new playground, but maybe we can get Daddy to throw a big party and stuff! We can be like those celebrity socialites and stuff! Invite all the family!” “I don’t think you’re meant to invite family to be an amazing socialite, Ti, you’re meant to invite your rich and famous friends.” “Don’t we have any rich and famous relatives?” “Hmm… Grandpa was a celebrity chef, but I think that’s it. Uncle Nery does some stuff with the sea or something and Uncle Alvin is a scientist, but that’s boring. Family parties are lame. We need to make friends with more rich and famous kids at school, there must be some.”
The holiday was a short one, but also sweet and all the Raymonds were a lot better and happier for their additional family time, even if they had to get back to their criminal empires and school now.
Terry woke up. The sofa felt colder and harder than normal. Then he realised he wasn’t on the sofa, he was laid on stone. He was outside. Outside for the first time since he’d gone to Nicola’s wedding. He felt a surge of happiness at sudden unexpected freedom, but then remembered Tom – it was no good being outside if Tom was inside. “I see you’ve finally woken up then. Took you long enough, you wuss.”
Terry looked up and saw Kimmy looking down at him from the top of the steps, a mocking smile on her face, though that was not unusual. She seemed to be wearing lipstick though. That was odd… “You know, I forget, how does it feel to be a new vampire? I’m afraid I’ve gotten used to it…”
Vampire. Terry suddenly noticed his overlong teeth and the grey shade to his skin. Felt the pain on his face and neck, then realised – Kimmy wasn’t wearing lipstick, she still had his blood on her lips. He felt sick. But where was Tom? What had happened to him since Terry had been knocked unconscious?
“Where’s Tom? What have you done with him?” Kimmy looked at him, seemingly bored “Nothing. What should I have done? If you left him in bed he’s probably still there. I’ll deal with him later, I’m dealing with you now.”
Terry tried to get to his feet, head still a bit fuzzy and body weak. “Don’t even bother to get up, you’re wasting your effort.” “If Tom’s still in there, that’s where I’m going to be.” “Oh no you won’t. Haven’t you figured out what this is about yet?” “You being evil and twisted?” “No, I’ve figured out your little plan and am putting a stop to it right now.”
“My plan? My plan is to stay here until Tom moves out, protecting him and his happiness.” “Ha, no. Your plan is and always has been to steal my son away from me, taking the love that is rightfully mine. That’s why he doesn’t love me.” “If your son doesn’t love you, it’s your fault for never showing him the slightest bit of attention! People can love more than one person at once, you know!” “No. They can’t. Christian loves me and nobody else. Tom loves you and nobody else.” “And you love yourself and nobody else. But I love… 6 different people and could love many more, given the chance.” “Then you’re an idiot!”
“Well what are you expecting to happen now Kimmy? You expect me to go away and get this family of my own and simply forget about Tom? It’s not going to happen, even as a vampire I can come back here every night, dark-ish days, eclipses even and I will.” To Terry’s surprise Kimmy smirked and started walking away into the house. “No Terry, you won’t.”
Both vampires were so involved in their argument that they didn’t notice they had awoken other members of the household and were being watched in fear and anguish…
Kimmy suddenly turned back again, just inside the porch, slammed the metal gate shut and locked it. “You haven’t figured out anything here, have you Terry? You won’t be back every night and I don’t expect you to go and get a family of your own. I don’t expect much of you at all, in fact. It’s 6:55am, Terry. The nearest house is miles away. You’ve done all you can for this family now. So, to your former question: ‘No, Mr Ryman. I expect you to die.’ And try not to make too much of a mess on our pathway, ‘kay thanks.” And thus Kimmy finally walked away to go to her own coffin before the Sun rose, humming happily as she went.
After she’d gone, Terry finally allowed himself to panic. He swivelled around – yes, over there the sky was getting lighter. Dawn was close. So very close. And when daylight came he would die. Finally and completely die, no compromise. No marriage, no kids, no grandkids, no job, no house, no golden wedding anniversary, no pets, no-
“Uncle Terry! I can’t open the gate! It’s too strong! What are we going to do?! Where are you going to go?!” Tom. There was always Tom, even if he had nothing else and no other effect on the world, there was Tom. And he was terrified. With good reason, but still.
Terry walked as steadily as he could to the gate, fighting the weakness he still felt and the inner panic that made him want to pass out again. He knelt down to Tom’s level, but the boy wouldn’t look him in the eyes, staring off into the distance, picturing the horrible future. “Shhh Tom, it’ll be okay.” “But- But she said-!” “I know, I know. We can’t do anything. If we could she would have prevented it already…” “But- But you’re going to- to-!” “Look, look. Come on, sit down, there’s some stuff I want to tell you.”
Terry plastered on an uncomplicated smile, though he would smile reflectively still at his pride and hope for Tom, but Tom could still have read the sadness in that. “Look, I… may be going away for a while, but there’s some stuff you should know and remember. I love you and always will, no matter where or how I am. You should also know that you have more family out there – particularly aunts called Marina and Nicola – if you have to go somewhere else or need help, try to find them, they will help you. And there is nothing, nothing more important to me than you and your safety. You may find that you get… angry at your parents, but please don’t trigger them off and risk yourself if you can help it, it’s exactly the opposite of what I would want. Stay safe. So long as you’re around and remember me, I am still around. Okay kid?” Tom was struggling with tears, but nodded firmly. He meant it.
Suddenly the light broke over the horizon and flooded over the whole countryside – the fragment of shade on the porch was no defence for Terry as he felt every inch of flesh, even that wasn’t exposed, sizzle and sear, burning off his skin so powerfully that there was visible smoke rising from his arms. He flinched powerfully, even knowing that it was hopeless. Then Terry remembered he had an audience.
“Come on, we have to go get help! Turn into a bat! Fly away! Break the door down!” Terry didn’t have the energy for any of that and didn’t have the expertise for turning into a bat in any case. “No, no… It’s- It’s not so bad…. You know, like a tickling sensation really, nothing to worry about…” “You’re lying!” “I know. And I’m sorry. For lying, for this, for everything.” He swallowed. “Goodbye Tom. Good luck.”
It hurt. It hurt so very, very badly. Terry was gone. Dead. Gone forever. Tom was alone. There was nobody left in the whole world who loved him. Who really knew him. Who really cared. Terry would never be there again to tell him it was all going to be alright. Tom remembered every moment he could, as far back he could go, with Terry. All the times he’d been read to sleep or reading together just for the sake of it, all the hugs on the sofa or generally, learning to talk, walk, do homework… Confronting Terry about a black eye, seeing Terry get punched in the chest, kneed in the face, being left out in the sun to burn… His parents.
His parents. Tom was alone with his parents. Alone with monsters. But he wasn’t alone. He had Terry in his heart and in his memories. And everybody knew what you did with monsters (the evil ones at least) – you drove a stake through their heart and watched as they exploded into dust and got blown away to nothingness where they could burn in hell. Tom had never felt such anger, such hatred. But it felt right. Natural. And he would use it.