IMPORTANT: AUTHOR'S NOTE

Hello, everyone, and welcome to my Rose Red fanfiction, "In the Sun." I started writing this piece mid-August 2009 and finally finished in mid-November; it took so much out of me emotionally and means the world to me. For some reason I become so emotionally attached to my characters, and this story isn't any different.

First off, there IS some language in this story. It's not every other word, but these characters are adults faced with adult situations, so they act accordingly.

For those of you who haven't read any of my other works, I am mostly inspired by music. I tend to, at the end of each chapter, mention some of the songs that inspired the story, specifically the ones that inspired that specific chapter.

I'd like to also state that the events of the movie do not take place for awhile; of the forty-eight chapters in this story, I believe the movie events take place from chapters twenty-six to forty-two. So in case you're wondering ten chapters in…. keep reading! The first twenty-five chapters are Liza (and Nick's!) back-story, and the last six chapters are kindof an epilogue. :)

I think that's about it for the time being; if I remember anything later on, I'll let you know. Please read and review, but be kind and constructive in your criticism. This story means a lot to me!

With that -- enjoy!

DEDICATION:
"What restraint or limit should there be to grief for one so dear?" --Horace
This story is lovingly dedicated to Nigel Russell and Sarah Yeager, with the knowledge that true love never dies, and those who go before us never really leave us. May God's love be with you always.

IN THE SUN
Chapter 1: Expect Anything

"Edith drew in sudden breath. 'I wish I knew what to expect.'
Fischer answered her without looking back. 'Expect anything,' he said."
--from "Hell House" by Richard Matheson

I'll never forget the first time it happened, at least the first time I remember it happening. It was my first night home from the hospital. I was three and had just survived what the doctors said should have been a life-ending car accident. The wounds healed without any scars, but the doctors busted their rear ends in keeping me alive. I even died for three minutes, and they brought me back. What I didn't know was that I hadn't come back alone.

"Liza....."

A voice tugged at the edges of my mind, pulling me slowly from my sleep to gaze at the corner of my bed. I heard it again, and as my eyes began to focus, I was sure my eyes deceived me.

"Gramma?"

"Hi, sweetie. It's okay. I just wanted to check on you. How's Mommy?"

"She's okay. She's sleeping, too."

"I know, I saw her. Give her a kiss for me, will you?"

"Sure, Gramma." She smiled at me again. "Gramma?"

"Yeah, sweetie?"

"I saw you in the big box, and I saw the priest put your box in the ground. How did you get out of the cemetery?"

Gramma laughed. "Oh, Liza...... You go back to sleep now, darling."

"Mmm.... goodnight, Gramma."

"Goodnight, little bug."

I started pulling books from the library at age four. Anything and everything I could get my little hands on. When there was a word I didn't understand, I'd ask one of my parents. They just assumed I had found a new hobby-- reading about the paranormal. Sometimes I think it worried them, but I never knew. The one book that became my bible was 'Spirits and the Paranormal: How I Came to Commune With the Dead' by renowned psychic and medium Christopher Joseph. He was also a child psychologist, specializing in children who could also see the dead. He had a show on television that I found one weekend while taken under with the flu; after that, I couldn't stop watching.

When I was seven, a man with a gunshot wound to the side of the head appeared to me in the living room. I could feel it coming. It was just like what that kid told Bruce Willis: all the hairs on the back of my neck stood up, and it felt like I was falling down real fast. And then there he was. I could actually hear him, too. Most of the time, the spirits didn't have voices. But this one did.

"Please help me," he said, standing in the doorway to the hall. Blood pooled at his collarbone, staining the light brown shirt he wore, and his face was pale. My heart was slamming, struggling against the adrenaline that coursed through its ventricles.

"Wh-who are you? Why are you in my house?"

"My name is Frank Ingram. I need help. My.... my head hurts, and...." He was on the verge of tears, and fighting them back valiantly. "I think something's wrong. And I don't just mean my head. Please....." He started towards me, and I writhed in my seat on the sofa, getting ready to vault the back if necessary.

"Please, I-- I'm not gonna hurt you, kid.... I just wanna know what the hell's going on!"

I sat there in silence, thinking, processing everything, trying to figure out what to do. What did I know? I was a kid. So I asked him what he thought I should do.

"Well God, hell if I know!"

"What's the last thing you remember?"

He thought for a moment, and then his face was clouded with anger. "Greg. That pig..."

"Who's Greg?"

"My co-worker. He's been after my job for months. He..... he had a gun." Frank stopped for a minute. I think he put it together then, for when he looked back in my eyes, it dropped like a ton of bricks.

"No. I... I can't be."

"Dude, don't freak out on me. I can help you but you can't freak out on me. Now, c'mon, what's Greg's last name?"

He was losing it, and fast. I grabbed the pen from the table in front of me and flipped my homework over. Frank Ingram – dead guy, I scribbled.

"Harper. Greg Harper."

Greg Harper – gun. "And where do you guys work?"

"You know, that big computer software company in town." He told me the name and I scribbled it down, too. "Kid, seriously, I can't be--!"

"Hold it! You can freak out when I leave. Please. I'm only seven years old. One more, mister, one more question. Date of birth."

"Wha-- what is this, a doctor's office?!"

"Date of birth!"

"January thirty-first, nineteen-seventy."

Jan 31, '70.

"Where?"

"Salt Lake City."

That was jotted down, too, as quickly and legibly as possible. I slammed my book closed over my homework, shoved it in my backpack and jumped to my feet. He was crying now, on the verge of shouting. "I'm really sorry, dude. I'll go see what I can do." And with that, I flew out the door and onto my bike, actually worried about whether or not the neighbors would be able to hear him, but that was the day I realized I was the only one.

When I arrived at the police station, I was in tears. "Hey, kid. You okay? Come on up here and talk to me." The police officer behind the counter waved me over. I approached the desk, grabbed a pen and paper and jotted down a note:

Frank Ingram. Salt Lake City. January 31, 1970. Red hair, brown eyes. Scar on chin. Really tall. Works for the big computer company. Greg Harper, co-worker, shot him in the head 'cos Greg wanted his job.

Tossing down the pen, I slid the note to the officer, who read it and then looked back at me with an unsettled look on his face. "Honey, is this...." he led up the note. "Did you see a man shoot someone?"

"No," I whispered, shaking.

"Then where....." He came around the counter to sit on the bench with me. "Where did you get this information?"

I shook my head and sobbed. "You wouldn't believe me if I told you. Just-- please, look it up, will you?"

The officer sighed, studying my face. He threw a glance to the other officers at their desks, buried in papers, phone calls and Chinese take-out, then back at me. "What's your name, honey?"

"Liza Leroux."

"And how old are you?"

"Seven and a half."

"I'm Officer Yates. Alright, Liza," he said quietly. "Follow me. And if anyone asks, your bike was stolen, understand?"

"Yeah," I nodded vigorously, wiping tears from my face.

"Ok. Come on."

I followed the officer to his desk, where I took a seat across from him. I had no idea what he was typing, or what he was seeing, but after a few minutes he looked back at me. I could almost see the wheels in his head turning. Reaching under his desk, he pulled out a photo album. "Alright. Now, I want you to do something for me. I want you to look at these photos and tell me if you see either Frank or Greg in any of them. You think you can do that for me?"

"I think so."

"Okay. Let's get started." He opened up the first page. Six photographs took up each page, photos of smiling, happy people. I must have made a noise, because he asked me what was wrong. "Do you see either of them?"

"No," I shook my head. "But I do recognize..... him..... her..... her..... aaannd..... him, too."

"How do you know them?"

I pointed to the blonde woman. "I met her two months ago. She was sitting in my mother's garden in the backyard. She said she liked the smell of the lavender."

"Him?" Officer Yates pointed to the first photograph, of a young man no older than thirty.

"He hangs out at my school. I think he's a teacher or something."

"And when did you first see him?"

"Just last week, actually, but I've seen him a couple times since."

"Okay." Officer Yates nodded, and I looked up at him. His face was as white as a sheet.

"Mr. Yates? Are you okay? You don't look so hot."

He smiled at me. "I'm fine, honey. Let's keep looking for Frank and Greg, shall we?" I nodded and he turned the page.

Frank and Greg weren't on the second page, but I did recognize two of the six faces there. Third page, much of the same. Finally, on the fourth page, we lucked out. "Frank!" I cried, pointing to the middle picture on the top row. "That's Frank Ingram. 'Cept he's cleaner."

"Cleaner......?" Officer Yates clutched his desk.

"Yeah. He doesn't have blood on him in the picture, but he did when I saw him. And his head was all yucky, too."

It was then that Frank walked in through the wall behind Yates. It startled me, but after having witnessed it for months on end, it fazed me less and less. "What did he say?"

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MUSIC:

This story was named after the song "In the Sun," which was written by Joseph Arthur. The version I've heard is the one by Peter Gabriel, featured on the album produced after Princess Diana passed away in 1997. The song, to me, in relation to the story, is essentially from Liza's point of view; it's almost as if she's speaking to Nick, saying, "I don't understand these abilities of mine, do you understand yours? Maybe you don't, maybe no-one understands…." You seriously need to go check out the song, it's amazing!