Original Stories Fan Fiction ❯ Common ❯ Part III: Call to Innocence: Chapter Six: Setting Her Free ( Chapter 32 )

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

Chapter Six: Setting Her Free:

The family headed to the countryside on a Sunday. They took the train. Atticus held Aoi's hand.

“Are you okay?” he whispered. Aoi nodded once. The children stared at their parents silent. It felt strange to go home after so long. Tokyo became second nature to them. Atticus looked out the train window.

“Ten years, huh?” he asked. “It feels so much longer.” Aoi rested her head on his shoulder. Atticus patted her on the head.

“I'm here for you,” he whispered. Aoi drew her eyes closed and dozed off. Her husband put on his brave face again.


The train pulled into the station a little bit before noon. Not much had changed around here. It felt like the day they left for college. Aoi kept her eyes down.

“We're home,” Atticus said under his breath. His wife grabbed her arm as she shivered. So many painful memories. Atticus put his arm around her shoulders.

“Are you okay?” he whispered.

“Please stop asking me that,” Aoi whispered.

“I apologize,” Atticus said. They were picked up by Aoi's older sister.

“How have been you been?” she asked. The younger sister started to shake.

“That bad, huh?” her sister asked.

“Yes,” Atticus said.

“I see,” the sister said. She sighed.

“Let's just get this over with,” she said.

“Yes,” he said. The small group exited the station. Atticus, Aoi, and the children stayed with the sister.

“Please don't mind how small my place is,” she said. The sister leapt through the narrow hall. Atticus looked around the living room.

“You never left, Maya-san?” he asked.

“No,” she said. Maya froze. “I couldn't.”

“Oh…” he said. Aoi shuddered as she looked at her feet. Her husband began to regret saying that. The younger son looked back and forth.

“What's wrong?” he asked. Atticus patted him on the head.

“Shhh,” he whispered. The little boy went quiet. Maya turned around with a forced smile on her face.

“Who's hungry?” she asked.

“Ooo! Me! Me!” her little nephew said. Atticus put his hand of his head.

“Shhh,” he whispered. The little boy went quiet. Maya turned around with a forced smile on her face.

“Who's hungry?” she asked.

“Ooo! Me! Me!” her little niece said. Atticus put his hand on her head.

“Okay,” Maya said. “I prepared something for us.” She walked over to the kitchen.

“What about the others?” Aoi asked.

“They aren't coming,” Maya said.

“Oh,” the younger sister said. The family ate a late lunch in silence. Aoi didn't look up at her plate. The children looked at all the adults at the table. Atticus didn't know how to change the mood of the room. Better to get this over with and get home.

“When is the funeral?” Atticus asked.

“Tomorrow morning,” Maya said. “It won't be long.”

“Ah,” he said. “How are you doing?”

“Fine,” she said. Atticus could tell that she wanted to scream.

“I know how you feel,” he said.

“No, you don't,” Aoi muttered Everyone looked up. Aoi lifted her head.

“He was a monster!” she shouted. “He… He… He…” His wife stood to her feet with tears in her eyes.

“Aoi…?” Atticus asked. She turned and walked out of the house. Everyone watched the door close.

“What's wrong with Mama?” Sanjiro asked.

“I might have messed up,” Atticus said. He rose to his feet.

“Don't!” Maya shouted. Atticus turned his head. She clenched her fists.

“Leave her alone,” she said. “You have done enough.”

“But…” he said.

“Leave her alone!” Maya said. Atticus closed his mouth as he sat down. The kids said nothing. This would be a long two days, wouldn't it?