The Day Erin Cooper Died

"Erin…" A young woman's warm laughter filled the air as she sat down, her long red hair streaming behind her in a sudden breeze. The boy beside her Erin grinned as she sat down on the bench next to him. She was so beautiful to him, the laughter in her bright green eyes, the smattering of pale freckles across her nose and high cheekbones. He liked everything about her. Her smile, her laugh, the way her eyes and nose crinkled when she was amused. He threw his head back and laughed, free unreserved laughter. Laughter like that he could only ever laugh with her. She smiled in return and lightly punched his shoulder and then brushed his long black hair away from his pale face. She leaned in conspiratively, "You shouldn't say that… he could hear you." Erin leaned back and then leaned closer signaling for her to come closer. She grinned and did so. "I doubt we have anything to worry about… he doesn't seem like the kind that get around that much. I mean, it must be hard to walk when you have such a big stick up your-" "Erin!" He grinned and splayed his hands in a gesture of innocence. "We need to do our homework Erin! Enough joking around," Tamara mock pouted, "or-r…" and went into an exaggerated thinker pose. " I might just have to leave you here to suffer Calculus alone." She added looking slyly out of the corner of her eye, to judge his reaction. He not one to miss an opportunity, dropped on one knee in the wet grass, effectively ruining them, and clasped his hands up at her as though about to beg and put on his best hurt puppy look, "No, anything but that." He waggled his eyebrows at her in an exaggerated flirtatious way, his dark golden eyes glowing, "… I'll do anything." Her mouth dropped open and then she grabbed at thin workbook and smacked him with it laughing, "Erin!" He rose snickering while she laughed so hard she began to cry. Once recovered she rubbed her eyes, one arm holding her side. Erin pouted, "I don't think it's that funny." He crossed his arms across his chest. She eyed him briefly, "Yes it is." He frowned but before h could say anything she said, "Now homework." He groaned and pulled out his book with a sigh. Whenever they got to the relationship topic she always steered him away. "School sucks!" Tamara smiled, "well we're not in high school anymore. Now we're college students." He groaned one hand covering his face as he slid down the bench. "Erin…. Be mature." He opened his eyes and sat up turning to face her. She smirked expecting his usual tarade about maturity being overrated when his face suddenly lost all color. His mouth hanging open, making his fair and handsome features appear even more adorable than usual. Only she knew something wasn't right. She turned to look for what he was looking at, "Erin what are you…". She didn't see anything out of place in the area. It was a small town, surely if something were majorly amiss other people would be pointing and staring but nothing. Trees were blooming, birds were singing. The day was bright and clear. The grass and sky were the normal colors. All the small storefronts along the street were flying the windcatchers and pale streamers like usual during spring. Flowers were all around in the small garden area they were in at the park. She looked across the street. She knew everyone, everyone except….

Erin knew the minute he saw the tall man. His father was dead. Truly dead. The thought that followed that one was that that meant he didn't have long to live either.