The Ryman Legacy Substantial Side Story 1 Righting Wrongs By Mzyra
Just across the road from the Ryman house was the house where the Jayapalans lived. Well, most of them – one had recently been removed and locked away for serious crimes, though this was not widely known. This was also the reason they didn’t move away – nobody wanted to arouse suspicionabout what might have gone on when there were such influential people in the household.
Not that these influential people hadn’t taken a bit of a hit themselves; Mayor Sara was having massive anger issues, culminating in her slapping an important businessman who tried to hit on her. As for Head of Police Noelle, she had been extremely angry too, but she had been in love with her ex-husband and felt deeply betrayed, meaning that she could often be found messily stuffing her face with what she could find in the fridge.
They weren’t the only ones affected, though. Seth’s twin daughters had to live with the knowledge that they had only come to exist through the murder of their great-aunt’s husband and their other parent was the Grim Reaper himself. “I don’t know why you wanted to come down here, Laur; it’s creepy and unnecessary. I think we should talk Mum and Aunt Sara into turning it into a games room.” “You can’t just wallpaper over what’s happened, Karen!” “Why not? What else are we supposed to do about it? What’s happened has happened… Making ourselves feel guilty isn’t going to bring anyone back.”
“So you’d give up, just like that? Leave all the graves our father caused?” “What are we supposed to do about it?” “Well… you know… Dad was a warlock-” “But we’re not!” “-and our other… parent-thing is the grim reaper-” “And we’re not!” “How do you know?”
“Um, hello? We’re teenage girls! We go to school, chat with our friends, hang out in town. We may have odd genetics, but we’re pretty much normal.” “You’re assuming that! We’ve never tried to do anything unusual!” “Okay, so what if it turns out we do have some kind of power, but it’s the power to… run really fast or something. How’s that going to help? I’m sure if we were going to get powers Dad would have planned for it and he didn’t.” “But if we do have powers… It’s bound to be linked to death! What if we can, I don’t know… maybe undo what he did-” “Get real, Laura – you think we can mess with that kind of dark magic?”
“Maybe we can’t undo the magical stuff – or maybe not yet – but Dad didn’t always use magic! This cowplant here just ate people and that’s not magic!” Karen sighed and rolled her eyes at her twin. “What does it hurt to try, Karen? If we… we concentrate really hard…” “We’ll get headaches?” “We have to try! We owe it to people! We wouldn’t exist…” Karen sighed again, this time resigned. “Fine, we can give it a go. I guess it doesn’t hurt. But if Winston walks in and asks what we’re doing, I’m telling him we’re trying to use telekinesis to make an asteroid land on Dad.”
So the two changed into their sports wear – they couldn’t bear to get their fashionable clothes dirty or sweaty – and they sat down to meditate and concentrate, Karen feeling rather silly at the whole prospect. Neither of them had shown any kind of power in their entire lives, besides the power to look great and that wasn’t exactly exclusive to them. But she had a soft-spot for her slightly younger twin and her idealistic ways, so she’d humour her. And at least they could say they tried. She cleared her mind anyway; meditation was quite beneficial, regardless of purpose.
A few minutes later they were both deeply absorbed into their own minds, so much so that they could barely feel the warm blood seep from their eyes, suggesting that all was not quite so normal as Karen had expected…
A little while after that Karen’s mind returned to the real world. “I think that’s enough – if nothing’s happened now it probably won’t do. And I want to watch something at 10,” she said, standing. “Okay, fair enough,” Laura said, rising slowly. “Ooh, I feely woozy,” she added as the room spun when she tried to join her sister. “Are you okay?” Karen asked, concerned. “Yeah, yeah, just give me a second…” Laura replied before finally standing. “Has anything happened?”
“Uh oh,” Karen said uneasily. “I don’t know about you, but that’s not what I was picturing…” “Crap!” “Well at least we know we can do something, right?” “But what are we going to do now?!”
“I vote we set them free and pretend nothing ever happened so that Mum doesn’t kill us.” “But- but- aren’t they zombies? What if they go on a murderous rampage to eat people’s brains?!” “Erm. That’ll teach them for having brains?” “Karen!” “Look, we set them free, then we research ways to kill zombies, just in case we need them and we can tell Aunt Sara if it comes to that.” “But people could die!” “If Mum and Sara find out, we could die! We let them go for now, deal with them later.”
Laura eventually acquiesced and the twins left the two zombies outside. Karen hoped that maybe, if they did turn out to be the brain-eating kind, they could blame it all on their Dad. It was his fault for killing them in the first place, after all. And it was all in time for a couple of birthdays in the house as Simfield’s Mayor became an elder…
And youngest-child Winston became a teenager. He wasn’t particularly happy for his birthday – he didn’t really understand what had happened with their Dad, just that he was a bad man and had gone to jail, but that didn’t seem fair when it was his birthday…
Sara may have been slightly older and frailer, but that didn’t make her any less ferocious as she beat down any suggestions or implications with regards to what had happened to her Celebrity-Chef brother and the people who dared to form such statements often found their lives slightly more difficult than they had been before.
Noelle was generally less shouty and directly threatening, but she too was strongly involved in covering up the whole incident. She loved her job and role as protector and defender of the area and she didn’t want it marred and potentially threatened by connection to a criminal, so their whole family was forced to fake-smile their way through everything.
And soon enough it came time for Karen to leave for university, the first of her generation to do so. She had wished Laura had been going with her, but she was the only one accepted, so she had to venture forth alone…
University wasn’t as intimidating as it had seemed, however. Karen blended in with her normal peers, careful not to stand out too much, just focusing on the future when she’d be reunited with her twin and back in the safety of home, where people couldn’t judge you for being the daughter of a warlock and repeated murderer, since they were related to him too.
Not that they weren’t cautious back in Simfield, too… “Ah, come on Laura, you can tell me!” “But it’ll sound kind of weird… And you probably won’t believe me anyway…” “Laur, I’m half alien – why do you think I won’t be able to believe what you say?” “Well, okay… But don’t tell anyone! Me and Karen – the other day – we were thinking about how we could maybe make things right after everything our Dad had done and I had this idea about how maybe, since one of our parents is the grim reaper, we might be able to bring back some of our Dad’s victims – the ones who died without magic.”
“And?” Tessa pressed, eyes alive with curiosity – she wasn’t knowledge orientated herself, but living with a single parent who was tended to rub off. “Well, it kind of worked… Both guys who were eaten by the cowplants reappeared, except…” “Except?” “They were like zombies or something. Their skin was blue and rotting and they smelt awful. Still hope they weren’t brain-eating or anything…” “Well maybe that wasn’t your fault? I mean, they were eaten and digested by a living thing, that’s bound to do damage to the body…” “I guess that might be true… Why do you sound so curious anyway?”
“Well… It’s just that my Dad has an old urn in his bedroom of a relative of his. I asked him about it when I was a kid and he said that this relative was a really nice and wonderful guy who was killed when my Dad was just a child. I just thought how really sad it all was as a child, but maybe…”
“Maybe there’s something we – or, I guess, you – could do about it…?” “You were listening when I said we’ve only done it once and we created zombies, right?” “Well yeah, but I’ve got to figure that being a zombie and being mostly alive is better than not being a zombie and being entirely dead. And like I said, the zombie thing might not have been your fault.” “I don’t know… And even if I did, I’d have to talk Karen into it too…” “Look, I just know that I’m sure it’d really make my Dad happy to see this relative again and surely it would be a better balance of justice? You might not be able to bring back all your Dad’s victims, but you might be able to right other wrongs instead.”
Karen contemplated this. She was pretty sure trying to bring back great-aunt Nicola and great-uncle Alvin was a lost cause – she and Karen surely couldn’t compare to that level of magical skill – but somebody who was just plain murdered. And somebody good and nice… Surely that would be a good thing to do? “Well okay, I’ll see what I can do. Karen may need some talking ‘round and I can’t guarantee you anything, but… We’ll see.”
“Okay, I think I heard everything you just said, but would you mind repeating it one more time?” Karen listened patiently as her sister rattled off the whole story that Tessa had told her and their subsequent ideas. “Right. That’s what I thought you said.” Karen said calmly before taking a deep breath.
“ARE YOU CRAZY?! Have you forgotten what happened last time already?!” “Oh come on, Karen!” Laura whined down the phone. “It sounds like a really good cause! And we can see if we can get it right this time!” “And what if we don’t?! What if we get it more wrong?! What if we are the secret cause behind every zombie film scenario ever made?! Teenagers messing about with magic in the woods always turns out badly!” “But we won’t be in the woods, we’ll be at Tessa’s house! And she doesn’t mind if it does turn out as a zombie – she’s half alien and her Dad builds robots, it’ll be fine!”
Karen sighed “I don’t like this, Laura. I don’t think we’re supposed to mess about with this kind of stuff.” “Dad did! We are the very product of messing about with this kind of stuff!” “Yes, but just because Dad did something hardly means that it serves as a good guideline for how we should live our lives.” They both knew that Karen had lost the argument already though – once she stopped shouting Laura had won. “Okay, look, I’ll see when I can afford to take time away from uni and I’ll travel over. But if and when it all goes wrong you’ll be the one who has to tell Mum and Aunt Sara!”
Luckily Karen’s Philosophy course wasn’t exactly heavy on the lecture front and she soon found time to travel back to Simfield and put their plan to the test. “Awesome!” Tessa said as she greeted the twins after school. “My Dad’s gonna be out at work for a few hours yet, so we have plenty of time if you need it.” “’Kay, we’ll just need a moment to change into our gym stuff, then we can start. Right, Karen?” “Yes…” sighed Karen, still trying to communicate how potentially bad this could all be, but resigned to it happening nonetheless.
“Er, you’re sure this is all you have to do? No chanting? No drawing runes on the floor in blood? No sacrifices or mixing questionable ingredients in a big cauldron thing?” “Having to sacrifice someone in order to bring someone back would kind of be counter-productive, Tessa.” “Oh, yeah, sorry. I’m just used to watching Buffy and stuff… It’s normally more showy than this.” “We’re not witches, we’re just… whatever the hell we are. And you’ll have to be quiet if you want this to work.” Karen was getting tetchy.
Not long after that, the blood started flowing again though and although Tessa couldn’t see flashy lights or anything impressive like that, she could feel the air thick with magic, or whatever it was that made this work.
Then the urn on the side table seemed to evaporate and simultaneously, next to it, a person formed… “Oh my god, wow!” Tessa whispered, worried about disturbing the process, but too awestruck to remain silent.
He was unconscious, but it was clearly the man in the picture. And his skin wasn’t blue or rotting and his chest was rising and falling steadily. He was alive – it had worked! The twins broke out of their trance and the girls tried to move the man onto Tessa’s Dad’s bed, but he was too heavy, so they made do with leaving him on the floor – the carpet was fairly soft and thick anyway.
“High-five for not creating evil zombie armies of darkness!” Laura shouted as the twins high-fived back outside. “You guys know your eyes are, or were, bleeding, right?” “Yeah, I think that’s part of the whole process. Maybe that’s the sacrifice element?” “I don’t know,” Laura shrugged, “but I’m so glad it worked!” “So am I,” Tessa said quietly.
Then she pulled Laura into a big hug. “Thank you so much for doing this! I’m sure it’ll make my Dad really happy and, from what he says, it’s all for the good because that guy was really nice.” “I’m happy to help out and right wrongs– and so’s Karen, but she won’t admit it so much-!” “Hey Tessa! What about these? There are more graves over here!” “Huh? There are?”
“Huh. So there are.” Tessa said, confused. “Your Dad never told you anything about these ones?” Karen asked. “No, I guess he wasn’t as close to these two.” “Well they have your last name and there’s a man and a woman, so I guess they were your grandparents. From the dates they must have died prematurely too,” Laura sighed sadly. “It’s always such a shame…” “You want us to do these ones too?” “Well, if you can and it works, why not? I guess it’ll be like a bonus…”
So Tessa watched as the twins sat down to do their work once again. She wondered how much blood you could lose before you started doing serious damage, but guessed the girls would know when that happened, better than she would, anyway.
And soon enough one of the graves had been replaced by an unconscious and fairly young-looking woman. Dressed like a fairly young-looking woman. Was this seriously Tessa’s grandma? Weird. “I don’t know about Karen, but I think I’m going to have to take a break,” Laura said, “I’m getting a bad headache.” “It probably is a good idea,” added Karen, “We can do the other one later if you still want.”
“So this is your grandma?” asked Karen. “She has an… interesting dress sense.” “Maybe she died in a nightclub?” suggested Laura. Tessa just shrugged. “Your guess is as good as mine. My Dad’s never said much about his parents…” They weren’t listening hard enough to notice a car door slam behind them, but couldn’t ignore the increasing shouting and running; “What. The. Hell. Are. You. Doing?!”
“Oh, uh, hi Daddy! Have you met my friends Karen and Laura Jayapalan? They can bring people back from the dead!” Tom mouthed wordlessly for a few seconds. “So why have you done this?” Tessa glanced back down at her apparent grandmother “Oh, well, we were only going to do that man’s urn you had in your bedroom, but then we saw more graves of premature deaths so we thought we might as well bring them back too…”
Tom’s expression changed slightly and became softer. “The urn in my bedroom? You mean you brought back Terry?” “Erm, I guess so – he had messy black hair and was wearing a red shirt, a bit overweight…” “Yeah, that would be him…” Tom didn’t know how to react. He’d never expected, when he’d gone to work that morning… “Where is he?” “He was unconscious last we saw – we tried to put him on your bed, but couldn’t manage it, so he’s probably still on your bedroom floor.”
“Right. Well. I should probably go up and check on him…” Tom glanced down and saw his mother. Kimmy should never be left on her own for too long, but she was clearly unconscious for the minute. “Okay, you three stay here and keep an eye on her. If she wakes up call me and don’t leave her alone.” Or turn your back on her, he mused as he looked down at her. “Okay Daddy, we’ll be fine, go ahead!” Tom was hesitant, but it’d probably okay if it was for just a few minutes, and it wasn’t like she was a vampire any more… So he headed inside.
“Are you sure we’ve done the right thing, Tess? Your Dad didn’t seem very happy when he saw your grandma…” “Ah, it’s probably just shock. Seeing your dead mother alive again is probably very conflicting. And I guess… Maybe, from the way she looks, she wasn’t the best mother and went partying all the time or something, but that just means that my Dad can try and sort out any issues he has with her. I don’t think we’ve done anything wrong, just unexpected.” “If you’re sure…”
“Well if you two have everything under control here, I’ve got to start heading back to campus if I want to be home before it gets too late. Are you going to be okay without me?” “Sure, don’t worry sis,” said Laura as she hugged her twin goodbye. “Yeah, thanks for your help Karen, we’ll be fine now.” She glanced down at the unconscious woman. Seriously, how bad could she possibly be? “Oh, and if my Dad changes his mind about letting us resurrect the other one, I’ll let you know.” “Okay, bye guys!” And so Tessa and Laura watched as Karen walked away.
“Ugh, my head… Where am I? And why isn’t my skin burning off?” Kimmy looked up to see a house she didn’t recognise and two teenage girls, one of whom was green. She knew this ought to be odd and yet somehow she wasn’t all that surprised, besides to be apparently still alive. The green girl spotted her as she tried to stand up. “Oh, hi!”
Kimmy stood up and turned to the girl, being cautiously defensive. “Yeah, you wouldn’t know me, but I’m your granddaughter – Tom’s daughter!” Kimmy raised an eyebrow. “Your father hasn’t told you much about me, has he?” “Well… not as such, no. But he probably meant to!” “I’ll bet he did…”
“So how come I’m here anyway? I distinctly remember dying at some point.” “Oh, well that’s thanks to my friend Laura here and here twin sister. They can bring people back from the dead! Isn’t that cool?!” Kimmy just raised her other eyebrow, not looking impressed. “Um, anyway, I knew Dad would want one of his other relatives brought back, so they did that and then we spotted your graves and so now you’re here!” “One of his other relatives?” “Um, I think he said his name was… Terry?” “Of course…” Kimmy muttered.
So Tom was still all emotionally attached to his uncle and not keen on her. Well, he’d killed her once, she couldn’t be sure that given the chance he might not do it – or something similar – again. This could be a very bad situation for Kimmy… “Hey, listen, er– what did you say your name was?” “Tessa.” “Sure. Listen Tessa, being brought back from the dead can sure make a girl hungry, do you have some food in the house?” “Yeah, loads, shall I make you a sandwich?” “If you don’t mind. I’ll just stay out here to catch up on some Sun, some time to think…” “Okay! Come on Laura, you can help!”
Back inside, Kimmy wasn’t the only one waking up. “Urgh, my head…” “T-Terry…?” “… Tom?”
Terry almost couldn’t believe his eyes when he saw the man before him. It had to be Tom – he looked almost exactly like his father had, but not a vampire – but he looked so old now… But regardless, he stood up and pulled Tom, adult or otherwise, into a hug. He was so happy just to see that he’d lived!
Tom generally frowned on expressing any emotion he felt – unless it was towards Tessa, that was okay – but somehow all that anger and anguish he’d been feeling since he was a child was released on seeing his old uncle again. It didn’t matter that Terry was now younger than he was himself, he was still his uncle, the uncle he’d been missing every day since he was 6 years old…
“Bloody high heels!” Kimmy grumbled as she ran. She didn’t know where she was going, but it had to be better than what might happen if she stayed…! But still… “Freedom!”