Dellani Oakes

When Tis Done coverMorning came way too early for Neil. He was woken by his 7 year old niece, Lucy, yelling and jumping on the bed. At breakfast, he’s talking to Dora about burning the pancakes when they were children, and flippantly blames the incident on Cliff.

“Wasn’t me. All Cliff’s doing.” He took an innocent bite, chewing as silence followed.

He’d forgotten that he and Cliff used to blame one another for everything. Even after he moved, Cliff would blame things on Neil. He, himself, had continued to blame his brother-in-law for problems, even after becoming a Marine. His buddies used to tease that he had an imaginary friend who did things just to mess him up.

Noticing the silence, Neil looked around the room. “I’m sorry.” He swallowed, setting down his knife and fork. “For me, it’s like he’s still here. He was with me every second I was gone. And…

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