Chapter 4.5 – Roses

David Barimen has shed many tears during his lifetime.
 
But his face remains curiously dry, and his expression oddly blank. He hears the hushed comments from friends as he places a pair of perfect, pink roses on their destination gravestones; one each for Deirdre and Claire. David has exhausted his life’s allotment of grief, and now only feels the emptiness of having lost two more of his children. A warm breeze blows across the beach where the pastor has begun the funeral service. But David shivers. He has done this too many times.

Deirdre (Left) and Claire (Right) Barimen

Deirdre and Claire; the two names were never spoken apart from the other. They were a matched set, even in death. Details surrounding the accident that claimed them still remain unclear. Had Mark been here, perhaps the details would be less obscure by now. But his oldest son, too, is presumed to be killed in action.
 
Of course, Mei scoffs at any speculation of the sort. Her words do not ring of a woman in denial, as one might expect. On the contrary, her confidence is plain and uncolored by emotion. Perhaps it is some intimate bond that exists between them, through which Mark is communicating his wellbeing. Her strength has been immeasurable, and she now supports the entire Barimen family on her shoulders with seemingly little effort.
 
The guests clear one by one, as David regards the row of graves representing his fallen family. Four gone, and three remain. He stands like this in contemplation for a time. As for how long, he is not sure. But it is sometime around dusk when he hears footsteps approaching. They are decidedly unfriendly footsteps, taken with careful precision. He has heard them before. They were pacing mercilessly behind him while the witless brutes ransacked his office years ago.
 
David does not turn to greet Buford, but he knows the man is standing alone behind him; likely with brutes at the ready, nearby. The details of the accident that took his daughters lives become suddenly irrelevant. Now he knows why they died. David speaks with a withered voice, still facing the row of graves, and asks the general how much more has to be taken from him before realizing that he knows nothing about Kacey or the documents she has allegedly taken.
 
The response is spoken with neither pity nor pride …just simple, unfeeling, fact. He admits a slight miscalculation in his original analysis of the intelligence available to him. He compliments David, and admits that he is somewhat surprised at his ability to spawn such quality offspring. Both women were gifted with intellects almost without compare. Almost. It had taken quite some time to find the flaw in his logic, but once identified, his group acted swiftly to correct the situation. Sadly, both women refused the generous offer that would have allowed them to continue living in exchange for their loyalty.
 
He offers his condolences and tells David not to feel too badly about the loss. His three oldest children were working in collusion with Kacey against their doting old father anyhow. The sad truth, Buford says flatly, is that neither woman believed their father to possess the mental toughness needed to partner in their work. Their brother, however …does.
David understands now why Mark has remained out of contact.  Buford cannot find Mark, but not for a lack of trying, and the sole purpose of his visit is to get David talking by any means necessary. David is filled with a new optimism that did not exist moments before, but his weak voice shows no such energy. He grumbles, only loud enough to Buford to hear, that Mark will only be found when or if he wants to be. 
 
Buford continues as a hint of anger touches his words. The elder Barimen’s accuracy in sizing up the situation is flawless. Buford admits, that at first, he thought David was the brains behind the operation. But a small bit of computer intelligence gathered from the science lab proved otherwise. He was again surprised to find that it was Claire, and not Deirdre, who solely possessed understanding of how the algorithm works. It was Claire who had been recording her knowledge about it, but relying on Deirdre to tackle the more mundane calculations.
 
The grief that David had thought to be nonexistent stirs somewhere deep within. His voice cracks through clenched teeth as he ponders the fact that his daughters died because of their insight into some kind of ridiculous math problem. Buford seems to take some measure of joy answering in the affirmative, and is quick to add a point that sends David reeling. It is not just any ordinary problem, but one the interested parties had thought eradicated long ago. When David, along with Reid and Kacey Kimura, started researching his family’s heritage, they unwittingly uncovered a previously unknown transcript. And alongside the meaningless diary entries and everyday prattle of a young teen girl who lived hundreds of years ago, were her amazing insights into how it works.
 
David feels as if he has been kicked in the gut as he hears Buford’s precise footsteps retreating, then his mocking voice thanking the good doctor for such a brilliant discovery.
Author’s Note: If you’re not sure what the heck is going on, check out
Chapter 2.9 – Settlers
chapter 2.17 – Time
Chapter 3.21 – Surveillance
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8 thoughts on “Chapter 4.5 – Roses

  1. FortA says:

    OOH! Awesome chapter, yet chilling! Even though I don’t know all of what was going on (I’m still catching up) it was great!

    FortA

    Like

      • FortA says:

        Listen, I hate advertising, but due to a computer crash, I lost the Bakers. Luckily, the comp is up and running again (thanks to Matt, my comp tech!)

        Anyway, I’ve started a new DIFT, “As the Earth Turns.” It follows the Greene family and is much different than my previous two. You can reach it by clicking on my user link. I thought you might want to change it on your blogroll – I doubted you’d want an unused sight crowding up your blogroll 🙂

        Thanks,

        FortA

        Like

  2. The graveyard is beautiful, at least the girls can rest safely from Buford’s whims now. Hopefully these are the last untimely deaths for the Barimens.

    Like

    • No worries, there is definitely an element to the story that I am keeping in the dark. I am treating it a little bit like a puzzle, where we might find a few peices that fit together, but do nothing to clear up the overall picture.

      Like

  3. That must have been the best funeral I’ve ever read. really. Everything was so filled with emotions and realistic. Plus, your decorations were really well done. I can tell you took the time to create all this 🙂

    Really well done,
    xcin100x

    Like

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