by Megan Russo


Tate struggled to wrangle the two children running laps around his legs. He snorted before looking up and seeing how serious the older man looked. “I don’t think I understand.”

“My mother, she left everything to you. She wanted you to leave Denise and come home.”

“I’m not welcome—”

“The family wants you back and you know it. They’ve been trying to contact you. Your mother spends hours with a scrying mirror—”

Tate scooped the twins up into his arms and turned to retreat into his apartment, shutting the door in Wilfred’s face. He chucked the boys onto the couch with a bounce and waited to feel Wilfred’s presence on the other side of the door fade.

“Denise isn’t good enough for you anyway… You need to come home, Tate. You should have been there. She asked for you when she died.”

“Go away, Wilfred.”

“Come home. The funeral is in three days.”

Tate refused to respond, and sunk onto the couch that the twins vacated in favor of chasing each other through the apartment.

They had told him to leave when he turned eighteen, and Tate had done so with as much vitriol as he could manage between the ugly crying and hurried packing. Edna had always been kind to him, more of a grandmother than his own grandmother. She had taught him everything he knew and had promised to try to reason with his father.

That was over ten years ago, but still his residual anger felt livid right up until this moment. Tate thought of Edna’s once bright eyes, dulled and shallow. Then all he felt was a sadness he cared not to identify.

Tate opened the freezer compartment of their refrigerator and pulled out the small ice brick. Suspended inside was a piece of paper with his name written in red ink. He turned the chunk in his hand as he thought about his relationship with Denise for the last year.

Tate switched on the hot water and tossed the ice block into the sink. He needed to pack.

“Hey babe, sorry I’m late. My boss wanted me to finish up this thing with the project before… What’s going on?”

The twins stood with matching penguin backpacks by their father at the edge of the living room, near the kitchenette. “Boys, go to your room and finish packing.”

He could feel his fingertips pulsing as he focused his energy for the first time in months, power slowly returning to him.

“Is something wrong, babe?”

With a flick of his fingertips Denise’s head snapped backward, the tips of her skull touching her upper back, severing the connection with her spinal cord. Tate felt a wetness growing at the corners of his eyes as she crumbled to the ground, and quickly left the living room.

Tate stood at the doorway of the small bedroom occupied by his children. Toys floated haphazardly through the air as the young boys giggled to themselves. He smiled. Edna would have loved them.

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