I smelled my father’s uniform, but it didn’t smell like him, it smelled like ash. Though it had been safely encapsulated in my father’s study, the attack still managed to ruin yet another piece of my world.
“Why did you let this happen, daddy?” I rubbed the many colors on his jacket and smoothed the wrinkles out the best I could.
“Can I come in?”
If I hadn’t been sitting down on the floor with a pile of dad’s stuff on my lap, I’d have hit the ceiling. “You scared me!”
A smile was lingering on Mike’s mouth when I looked to him, “Sorry.”
There were times when I was caught off guard and forgot the effects of the Great American Genocide again. We had no security detail anymore, no one was in this big, old house but me. If any stranger had come inside our house before GAG, we would’ve been alerted by at least three different servicemen stationed at checkpoints on the property.
I breathed in deep, gently laid dad’s stuff back in his enormous chest and stood. “What are you doing here again, Mike?” I fully expected him to launch into a sermon about why my father was a bad man, I’d heard it over and over since that day. Been told at least twice on live, national television.
Well, now it was different. Now I had evidence things were not what they seemed.
Mike shoved his hands in his pockets and slid his thumbs through his belt loops, “Just came to check on you.”
I waited for more, but he was silent. “I’m fine, thanks.”
“What’s our next move?”
“Yeah, I was thinking, since the media lied about the attacks, I figured they maybe weren’t completely honest about your dad, either.” For a second, I saw Mike turn into a nervous boy, just like the first day we met in the park. It was kind of adorable.
He walked farther into the room, “So, this was your dad’s office?” He looked around the room and I could tell he got the same feeling I used to get while dad was working. Even though he was gone, his presence was still powerful. “So, that journal?”
“What’d he write in there? And why did you hide it in the safe deposit box?”
“He chronicled what really happened that day, and months before that.”
Mike nodded, “And you hid it because?”
As if God himself answered his question, we heard a loud boom downstairs, and several people entering the house. I reached into dad’s cabinet and tossed an old revolver that was my mom’s at him and I grabbed my father’s Glock and bullets. “Because there are people that want him shut up, and I won’t let that happen.”