It was the only time of the year where people came out in bathed in the sun. Children played everywhere and rode their brightly colored bikes down every street corner. The beaches were packed by couples who would go the distance or either not go the distance, but it never stopped any of them from continuing their pursuit of summer fun, more so, summer love. Little did they all know, not everyone enjoyed in the summer.
Just a few miles from Dewitt Beach, there would be a house that was old but large enough to oversee the entire beach. In there an old man by the name of Remy stayed, but most of the people in the area knew him as the Mr. Grobble. One could say that Mr. Grobble was not the most inviting when first meeting him face to face. His nose was as round as a balloon. On his forehead there was a scar that went down from the center of his hairline between his bushy eyebrows. And oddly enough, only one of his eyebrows would be grey. Mr. Grobble never smiled, and when he talked his voice would be like a whisper, yet nothing he said was ever a secret until now.
It was the month of July, a typical Saturday morning for Mr. Grobble. He woke up and made his usual breakfast, which was not much; a piece of slightly burnt toast with strawberry jam, complimented with a cup of a coffee, no additives. He sat in his chair and read his usual newspaper, for even though he had a tv to be informed of such, he just was not fond of it. More so, he was not fond of the technological era in general. Around the living room he sat was tidy but strangely had many pictures that looked to have been turned faced down. By the dust that had built around them, it was easy to say that Mr. Grobble had not looked at them in ages. In fact, it appeared that no one had even been over to visit, yet ironically there would be a knock on the door.
Mr. Grobble pulled up a stool and stood on top of it as if he were at the top of Mount Rainier. He looked through the eyehole of the door and saw nothing. Just parked cars and stragglers.
“Damn kids… I swear. I don’t know who needs the spanking, them or their parents,” said Mr. Grobble to himself.
As Mr. Grobble jumped down from the… Well, as he climbed down from the stool there would be another knock on the door, followed by two doorbell rings that played a melody that brought out a tear in his left eye. Mr. Grobble was surprised that it even worked at all but there the sound was as clear as it had ever been. Frustrated by his suppressed emotions, Mr. Grobble then swung the door open as hard as he could and shouted.
“Why can’t you all just leave me alone!” But by Mr. Grobbles surprise, he was not shouting at the wind nor a child for that matter.
“M.. Mia…” he stuttered.
The woman nodded, and then rushed over to give Mr. Grobble a hug as if it were the last time, she would see him again. The woman favored Mr. Grobble in many ways. She had the bushy eyebrows, a miniature version of his nose, but wore coke bottle glasses that hid her beautiful brown eyes, which was forgotten to mention Mr. Grobble did have, but never did anyone see them as his eyes were always squinched.
“Oh, it’s so good to see you again dad!” shouted Mia.
Mr. Grobble felt a warmth building around his heart. A warmth he had not felt in a summer for a long time, but that would not be the part that warmed his heart the most. Behind Mia was a tiny, adorable girl that reminded him of someone dear to his heart. Someone he promised he would never let go.
Mr. Grobble paused on his word.
“Yes, this is your granddaughter. Come here Emma don’t be shy, this is your grandpa,” said Mia.
“She looks just like… I mean, you named her after…,” said Mr. Grobble.
“I know I miss her to dad and this little ball of joy reminds me of her every day. It wasn’t hard choosing her name as you can tell,” chuckled Mia.
They would all then go inside to catch up. By the sad expression on Mia’s face, she was concerned, for the place looked empty, lifeless. And the pictures that had been turned face down she knew were the cause of it all.
“Dad when’s the last time you’ve been out?” asked Mia, while little Emma sat by her side staring at her grandfather curiously, as most children do.
“What’s that on your face,” said Emma, swinging her feet in the chair.
“Emma be nice, those aren’t the questions we ask people. Plus, I am sure your grandpa rather not explain,” said Mia.
Mr. Grobble smiled for the first time in a while. Emma really was just a miniature version of the one he lost so dear to him. The brown hair, the olive sin, and the mole on her left cheek, surrounded by freckles.
“No, it’s okay. I’ll tell her,” said Mr. Grobble.
Little Emma then climbed onto Mr. Grobble’s lap. Although, it was his granddaughter, part of Mr. Grobble still felt a bit awkward. He just was not use to human contact, more so, the affection that he was getting. He had not felt loved in a long time.
“Okay then little one. You see, I got this scar from protecting our world from bad guys,” said Mr. Grobble.
Little Emma frowned.
“Yes, I know. No one likes bad guys but remember there are bad girls too. So, be careful of the friends you keep in your circle.
“Ain’t that the truth,” said Mia, as she rolled her eyes.
Mr. Groble grinned.
“Are the bad guys still here?” asked little Emma worried.
“Yes, but don’t worry. Here take this. If they ever come around you or try to harm you, you give them a little poke with this.”
Out from Mr. Grobbles torn pocket, he pulled out a pocketknife, but seeing the reaction of his daughter made him think twice before giving it away.
“Well, maybe when your older,” said Mr. Grobble.
“So, you still haven’t answered my question,” persisted Mia.
“About what? You mean, that going out nonsense, with all those couples and children running around. No offense kid,” said Mr. Grobbble.
“It’s okay,” smiled Emma.
“But yeah, no thank you. I rather just be here,” said Mr. Grobble.
Mia then walked over and gave her father a hug again and this time she made sure that he felt her concern and love.
“It’s been 5 years dad. It’s time to let go,” said Mia.
“Yeah, mama like the Frozen,” smiled Emma.
“Yes, honey just like Frozen,” Mia chuckled.
While little Emma danced in the living room singing “Let it go,” Mr. Grobble pondered on if he really was ready to let it all go.
He sat up from his chair and walked over to the window of his kitchen. It was a nice day out, and the warmth of the sun kissing against his wrinkled skin had made him feel somewhat young again. Maybe it would not hurt to go out for just an hour or two, Mr. Grobble wondered. Although, he had already made his mind up from the time he saw Mia and little Emma at his door.
“Let’s go to the beach,” said Mr. Grobble, with a smile.
Little Emma jumped up with joy and while still singing let it go. In his head Mr. Grobble felt that the song would get it old fast, if he did not introduce little Emma to other songs.
“Dad are you sure?” asked Mia, surprised.
“Of course, I mean, you two came all this way. It is the least that I could do. I’ll grab my things,” replied Mr. Grobble.
Not long after they would all be at the beach. The place was packed, and it was so noisy that Mr. Grobble felt having his hearing aid was overkill. Smiles were everywhere and laughter was like a virus spreading from person to person. It was that contagious, but still, Mr. Grobble had found nothing to smile or laugh about. It just was not the same without her, he had whispered to himself.
In the distance a strange man stood in a trench coat and baseball cap. He had a blank facial expression, and his shades were not in the slightest revealing of his intent of why he was there. Let alone, why he was there in such attire in ninety-degree weather. Although, none of that was what caught Mr. Grobbles attention. It was the man’s shoes. It was as if it were yesterday when those same shoes barged into his house unannounced; dirty white, untied strings, with dots of red paint that by now Mr. Grobble knew was blood. Mr. Grobble had fought the man off for as long as he could, avoiding any cut by the jagged knife that the man wielded. The closer the knife came to Mr. Grobbles forehead the less he could see his own reflection.
Footsteps rushed down the stairs in panic and once they had reached the bottom there would be Mrs. Grobble begging the strange man to not hurt her husband, but the man was so evil, so monstrous, so demonic, he would have another idea in mind and this time it would involve Mrs. Grobble.
The man broke from Mr. Grobble in a flash, leaving a slash on his forehead to remember him by. Blood trickled down into Mr. Grobbles eyes and everything would become red to nothingness. He could no longer hear his wife’s cries. All that was heard was the slamming of his front door. Mr. Grobble cried out to his wife again.
“Emma! Emma!” he shouted, but still, her voice was no longer.
Mr. Grobble crawled just a few feet across the floor where broken glass remained, and in the center of it there he would find his wife lifeless, covered in blood that he knew that was not of his own. After that day Mr. Grobble lost everything. He had lost his world.
“It should have been me! Not her! It should have been me…” he cried.
And now as Mr. Grobble sat at the beach with his daughter and granddaughter, those past tears would only turn to rage.
“Dad is everything okay? Are you sure this is okay for you? You’re turning as red as a female over there,” said Mia.
“No… Everything is not okay, but it will be,” said Mr. Grobble.
“Okay, Dad, what the fuck is that supposed to mean?”
“Faucc!” shouted little Enna.
“No honey, mommy meant to say duck. See the ducks over there,” Mia corrected., all while still waiting eagerly for her father’s response.
“It’s nothing. You two stay here, I will bring us some ice cream from the stand over there. All this sitting in the hot sand is too much for an old man. I need to cool off,” said Mr. Grobble, giving both Mia and little Emma a kiss on the forehead.
Nevertheless, the strange man was gone but he had not gone far. If there was one thing that made the man stand out it was his lingering smell of whiskey. No matter how many women were on the beach that smelt incredible, no matter how many burgers and hot dogs smoked on barbeque grills, nothing could hide that man’s smells.
Although Mr. Grobble thought the smell would lure him to the ice cream stand, the smell would instead go past it and to the pier. There was not a soul around and with good reason as the pier was as stable as a rundown footbridge, but just as expected there was the man standing at the end of the pier with his trench coat swaying in the wind and with the ocean.
“Grandpa!” shouted a little girl.
Mr. Grobble’s heart dropped down into his stomach.
“Emma!” he shouted.
The strange man gave off a grinch like smile and brushed little Emma’s hair back gently. He was unpredictable. So, unpredictable that Mr. Grobble’s feet felt cemented to the ground. If he moved just a little, no telling what the man would have done to his granddaughter.
“You know that day when it all went down. It was supposed to be you old man! No one else had to get hurt. It would have just been me and the girls and I would have been the fucking man of the house!” shouted the man.
Mr. Grobble recognized the voice. It was alarmingly too familiar.
“No… It can’t be… Brian, son is that you? Why?” asked Mr. Grobble.
“I’m not your son or grandson, not anymore! You just had to keep meddling in me and Mia’s marriage! You just couldn’t let me be the man of the house! And all those stupid times we spent at the beach. I hate the fucking beach! I mean, I am half Samoan man. I saw enough of that shit when I was young, with all the goddamn tourist scoping out our land to fucking buy, and just when I finally get something in my life that can’t be taken, it still does. So, if I could not take you, I had to take something from you so that you could finally see what was to be me.”
Little Emma cried as she squirmed in what was now revealed to be her father’s arms. It had been so long she did not even recognize him, which angered the broken-hearted Brian even more.
“Brian… Stop this! How do you think this is going to end!” shouted Mr. Grobble.
“With you on the stretcher and me back with my family!”
“Son, it’s not…”
“Stop calling me funking son you old geriatric bitch!” shouted Brian, pointing his knife at now little Emma’s throat.
“Real smooth way to talk around your daughter, real smooth way of how you are treating her right now” said Mr. Grobble, sarcastically, yet terrified all in one.
Out of nowhere Mia showed up flustered and panicked.
“Emma!” she shouted.
Brian then took Emma and stood closer by the edge of the pier. The gig was up. Brian through his shades, and even his favorite Mariners hat into the ocean.
“Mia we can start over! We can be a family again. Just like before!” shouted Bria.
“Yeah, like before you killed my mother you sick fuck!” Mia shouted back.
“You knew…” said Mr. Grobble, disappointingly.
“Not until recently…. That’s why I came to see you. I know you needed some closure… If you couldn’t tell that was why that monster was not with us when we arrived. The cops have been trying to track him down for months now.”
Mr. Grobble then dropped down on one knee stricken by all that was said. His heart could not take anymore of it.
“Shit! About damn time! Finally, nature has taken its fucking course,” said Brian with joy.
“Fuck you!” shouted Mia.
Yet out all the shouting and the audience that had now formed around them, all Mr. Grobble could hear is little Emma’s cries. He could not let it happen again. With the little energy that remained in his broken body Mr. Grobble charged at Brian with all his might. Brian let Emma go and opened his arms taunting Mr. Grobble to give him his best, but before he could even reach Brian a gunshot would go off and the whole crowd would spread out like a thousand gazelles.
Brian took of his trench coat and revealed a dark red stain on the yellow shirt he was worrying. As he fell back into the sea, all that he could think of was Ketchup and mustard, little Emma’s favorite.
“I’m so sorry…” he whispered, and Brian would be no more.
Mr. Grobble fell to the ground, and both Mia and little Emma, as well as the medics would rush over to save them as the cops kept all reporters away from the scene.
“Dad! Stay with us, you’re going to be okay,” cried Mia.
Mr. Grobble looked at little Emma.
“Emma… I’m coming home honey,” he whisphered, as his eyes closed.
The medics did everything that they could to bring Mr. Grobble back, but his soul seem to not care much for staying, for his world was in the amongst the skies and the stars.
Mia took little Emma away from the sight of death but later that year would bring her to a graveyard where both her grandfather and grandmother rested peacefully. Mia had married again and would have a handsome baby boy, and his name would be Ramy, and the Ramy would grow up to be just as courageous as his grandfather.
As for Brian, his family would collect his body. Mia, of course, did not show up to his funeral, but still, sent flowers out of the kindest of her heart, for Brian’s mother was like another mother to her and was little Emma’s only grandmother. Years later they would all join as family, but little did Mia know what Brian’s grandmother really had in store.