Sorry about the long delay again

Sorry about the long delay again. This time it wasn't school, or writer's block, but the fact that I had no clue how to write about the topic – that is, family stuff. Everything I've written in this chapter that last few months just seemed so disingenuous. Even the final product seems off-kilter. But I am done with this story. I apologise that it is not what it could have been.

--

Chapter 8

"That was seriously messed up," Sally commented as they ascended the staircase back to the cemetery grounds. "He totally made himself look like a fool."

"He was angry and it blinded him; I guess he's not really a one dimensional character after all," Cindy said. She was holding on to Watch's arm, beaming that after all these years, her friend no longer had to suffer in silence.

Bryce looked at Amy who walked ahead of him on the stairs. "He was an angry, blinded fool who almost got away with killing someone," he corrected. He was so confused why she would be so careless.

Amy could feel the tension. They were all wondering why she was willing to let Death take her. There must be something terribly wrong with her for her to be okay with it. Like an animal with rabies.

And then there was Watch – that was at a completely new level of awkward. As they rose to the surface, so too did her sense of doom.

"What I don't get," Sally began as they reached the top of the stairs. "Is how come you'd wish for immortality," she said, turning to face Amy.

No one shushed Sally. They wanted to know.

"It was talked about in the last book," Amy shrugged. "And considering where I was heading, it seemed like a good idea to have," she added, glancing toward the cemetery gate.

There was an awkward pause. That was not exactly what Sally meant.

"And you," she said, turning to Watch. "I thought you said your sister was older."

Watch glanced at Amy. "By a few minutes."

The gang remained silent for a moment. They all had questions. But were unsure whether they should ask.

"I'm going for a walk," Amy announced. She could not stand to be there for another second. Instead of waiting for a response, she turned and walked away.

She had no idea where she was going to go. How long. But already she felt better. Amy finally noticed the cool breeze that had begun to pick up. The pale light of the moon flooded the street with a pleasant tranquility.

"Amy," Bryce called after her. She closed her eyes briefly.

He jogged to catch up.

"I'd rather go alone," Amy told him.

He shrugged, looking at her. "It's not safe," he said.

"I've got until dawn."

Bryce was quiet. "I'm afraid you'll take longer than that."

Amy nodded. That might be true. How would time make it easier to face them? These heroes who she did not just pale in comparison to – she faded into pathetic shades of grey.

Amy hesitated before asking the question she had in mind. She was afraid of the answer. "Do you worry about that because I'm me or because I'm apparently Watch's sister?" she finally asked.

"Both," he answered honestly.

Amy nodded again. She was not sure how she felt about that.

"It's too much responsibility to be his sister," she said. "He's had years to fantasise about what it would be like to have a family again. He's missed it," Amy shook her head. "I can't live up to the expectations he must have," she said.

--

"Well go talk to her," Sally instructed Watch. "You've been waiting for this forever."

Watch shifted uncomfortably. "Twelve years," he said.

Sally groaned. "That's practically forever," she said. "Come on. You have to know what you want to say to her by now."

"Sally, don't pressure him," Cindy scolded. She squeezed Watch's hand. "This is hard."

"It is," Watch admitted in a rare moment of confession. He added: "She doesn't seem very happy about this genetic bond thing."

"I'm sure that's not true," Adam insisted. "It's been a harrowing last few days for all of us. She's just overwhelmed."

"Yeah," echoed Sally. "She's probably just totally intimidated by our awesomeness."

"My, how humble you are," Cindy muttered.

This was one of the few times that Adam witnessed his friend looking worried. Surely this was a more convoluted reunion than anyone could have foreseen. Watch had been convinced Amy was evil and Amy had just been about to hand over her life to the Grim Reaper. But Adam believed that if they talked, they would feel better about what had gone on.

Watch looked at Adam. "Do you think I could postpone that explanation a bit longer?"

Adam smiled. "I don't need an explanation," he said. "Just go be with your sister."

--

"What's good about families anyway?" Amy continued. "Just people who expect you to come to their aid and like them no matter what they've done or what they're like."

Bryce put a hand on her shoulder and made her stop. "You know, some people wish for a family their whole lives," he said irritably. "And you don't seem to care that you have one."

Amy could only guess that Bryce was not only talking about Watch. But it was probably a very good guess. She turned away from him and kept walking.

"I know Watch is a good guy and he does extraordinary things," Amy began. "I just don't want anyone to feel obligated to do something for me or defend me just because we're blood-related."

Bryce remained silent, but he continued walking with her.

"I'd make a terrible sister with that thought in my head," she added, suddenly becoming very distant.

"Bryce."

Amy and Bryce turned to find the rest of the gang at the gates of the cemetery – about 20 feet away. It had been Watch who called Bryce's name.

Bryce handed Amy his cell phone. "For when you're done," he said.

She felt defeated. "Yeah," she said, taking it.

"Actually call this time," Bryce told her, walking away.

Watch approached.

"Can we talk?" he asked.

Amy nodded.

"Do you want to keep walking?"

"Yeah."

Amy was flustered. She did not know what to say. How to act. She had an idea of how much this moment meant to Watch and she was about to screw it up.

"Apologising doesn't seem sufficient," Watch said.

"No, you had good reasons."

Watch went to object, but stopped. He just shook his head.

"You didn't know," he observed.

"No," Amy said, shaking her head. "I wasn't aware of any family."

"I'm sorry that you got roped into all of this. You just got dropped back into one of the most dangerous places in this dimension. But…" Watch said. "We'll make sure you're safe. I promise."

Amy took a deep breath. She felt touched by that. "I don't want to be a burden," she insisted. "And that – back there – with the skeletons and such, I'm not looking for sympathy. I just…" she trailed off. She could feel her face burning red.

Watch placed a hand on her arm. "I'm glad that you fought," he said. "You're no burden."

Despite her cynical philosophizing about families, Amy smiled. It was nice to hear that.

Watch smiled too. "Do you want to hear how you disappeared?" he asked.

"If you want to talk about it," Amy said cautiously, not feeling wholly entitled to such information. "I don't want to pressure you."

Still smiling, Watch said: "no, it's your past too."

--

I had a grand plan to explain a bunch of stuff, but I fell short of explaining everything. Originally I had put a lot of explanation in the chapter but it just didn't work, which kind of defeated the purpose of writing this story. But when all that stuff was written out, I finally realised that I didn't think Watch and Amy would have this extremely detailed heart-to-heart because it's just so out of character for Watch and I tried to show it wouldn't exactly be in Amy's character either. But what I had originally put in was that Amy remembers having a family vaguely, or at least a recollection of happier times with people she thought she once knew. But since then she's lost all faith in family-type things.

At one point Watch explained how Amy disappeared - while they were playing in the park next to the cemetary (or rather were supposed to be playing in the park next to the cemetary but opted for the more ominous, dangerous place to explore or whatever). And Amy kind of explains why she accepts death in this story - that she's tired of feeling so defeated all the time. I think it's fairly reasonable to assume that she didn't get a choice selection of foster homes, so she's felt like she's never had a family really. And Ann Templeton, in the first story I wrote, points out that she doesn't have any friends either. I didn't go so far as to think of a reason for why she's such a loner, but that sort of thing can happen any number of ways; it probably has something to do with feeling abandoned after she accidently took a trip on the Secret Path. And most probably because she got too strong a taste of the real world when she was too young and lost faith in people altogether.

In the third story I was going to write, I was going to explain more about Amy's opinions, but it hopefully wouldn't have taken up too much of the limelight. It was going to be about Bryce being confused about his feelings for Cindy/Amy and him trying to take his mind of it by fiddling with the Secret Path again. I had already "known" from Spooksville #24 that Bryce would end up with Cindy, so there's no way he would have ended up with Amy. In either case, Bryce ends up in a zombie-infested world and since the Secret Path "remembers" it's last direction, the gang go and try to find him. There's more detail, but I fear it's too angsty and may have focussed on Amy too much, which is a major reason why I won't write it. Though the angsty/stealing limelight thing would not be my intention. I just started exploring some issues like suicide, and 'is there really such thing as a soul mate,' and the whole fun alternate universe thing where different things happen and reveal unknown things about characters. But I was really afraid I'd Mary Sue Amy.