Chapter 4.6A

Annie (the curious teenaged girl, not the content middle-aged woman) opened her mouth to speak to the figure that appeared to be Joshua Hutchinson. She felt her mouth move, her throat vibrate, but knew without needing the evidence of her ears that nothing audible was coming from her.

Relax.

The sound appeared to come from the figure, who was now holding out a gentle arm in her direction. She heard the voice again, and though she could not see the figure’s lips moving, she was certain the words were his.

You will not be able to speak, and even if I could, I would not be able to hear you. (The middle-aged Annie would not remember the figure saying this.) I can only stay a moment. I just wanted to say that I am happy you are reading my journal. Annie nodded (and the middle-aged woman would remember this part). I wrote it so that my children, and their children, could understand who they were. You cannot begin to understand yourself, if you do not understand your parents, and their parents.

The figure approached Annie, stopping a few feet in front of the desk. The figure looked down at Annie, and smiled.

Annie —

“Annie?”

She turned her head quickly towards the entryway, saw her father standing there, velvet bathrobe over silk pajamas, his silver hair still perfect in its shape. She turned to where the figure had been standing, noted with no surprise that it was gone, then down at the journal, still open to the first page of the geneology.

“I heard a noise up in our room,” her father continued. “I saw a light was still on, so I came down to investigate. It’s late, Bunny.”

“Yes, it is,” she replied. “Sorry. I just got — caught up, reading this old journal.”

“Ah,” her father exclaimed, walking forward. “Old Poppa Hutchinson’s book. Haven’t seen that in years!”

Annie rose from her chair, closed the book and walked with it towards the bookshelf. Putting it back in its place, she turned to her father and asked, “Have you ever read this?”

Carl Hutchinson looked at her daughter, surprise sprouting onto his tired face. “Not really. I’ve looked at it, but the geneology was transcribed by my father when I was a boy, so there’s really no reason for me to read that old journal. Why do you ask?”

Annie shook her head. “No reason. Just — curious.”

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