Original Stories Fan Fiction ❯ Common ❯ Part III: Call to Innocence: Chapter Five: Free Bird ( Chapter 31 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

Chapter Five: Free Bird:

“Hello?” Aoi asked. The call didn't last long, but her heart sank.

“Oh,” she said. The voice on the other line became faint as the phone slipped from her hand. Aoi fell against the wall.


“I'm home,” Atticus said.

“Welcome back,” Aoi said in a low voice. Her husband grew concerned as he took off his shoes. He found Aoi sitting in the living room looking worn out.

“Aoi, what's the matter?” he asked.

“He's dead,” she said. “My father… He's dead.” Atticus walked over to his wife.

“Are you okay?” he asked.

“I… I don't know,” she said. Atticus pulled her into his arms.

“It's okay,” he whispered. “It's okay.” His wife looked so numb. Her father was a monster. She and her sisters managed to escape him. But, scars remained. How do you even recover from abuse like that?

“Do you need anything?” Atticus asked. Aoi shook her head. She rested her cheek against his chest.

“This is fine,” Aoi said. Atticus held her in his arms.

“You can cry if you want,” he whispered.

“Thank you,” Aoi said. Atticus had many questions. But, it didn't feel right to ask them now. She had been through enough in childhood as it was.


Aoi's sister made the funeral arrangements back in their hometown. Meanwhile, Atticus watched over his wife.

“Are you okay?” he asked. Aoi looked so numb. Her children wondered what was wrong with her. Atticus pulled them away from their room.

“Leave her alone,” he said.

“But…” their younger daughter said. Atticus shook his head. He pushed the children away from the door. The man looked at their room. Aoi was just going through the motions. It almost felt like when his mother died. He couldn't imagine what Aoi felt at the moment.

Once the kids were in the living room, Atticus knocked on the door.

“Honey,” he said. “I don't know if I can do anything, but I am here for you. If you want to go to the funeral, I will go with you. I am here if you want to talk. If you need space, I can give you that too. That's all I wanted to say.” He had his ear to the door. Aoi didn't speak.

“I love you, dear,” Atticus said. “I'm going to work now. Call me if you want to talk.” He turned and walked down the hall. He hurried the kids to school.


“I'm home,” Atticus said when he came home.

“Welcome home,” Aoi said. Her husband took off his shoes and walked into the apartment. He found Aoi waiting in the living room.

“How are you doing?” he asked.

“Fine,” Aoi said. She sounded so quiet as she spoke. She still looked numb.

“I want to go,” Aoi said. Atticus pressed his lips together.

“Are you sure?” he asked. Aoi drew her knees to her chest.

“Yes,” she said.

“Okay,” Atticus said. “I'll go with you. When do you want to leave?”

“Tomorrow,” Aoi said.

“Okay,” he said. Atticus walked over and just held her in his arms. Aoi rested her head against his chest and finally broke down crying.