“Do I really have to?” Ben whined. Squashing his cheek into his soft paw, resting against the car window. “Uncle Lou is so....weird”
“BEN! Your uncle is a good man, and my brother. He hasn't seen you since you were a kit and I promised you would 'ENJOY'. Note that one Benny, I said enjoy, spending some time with him this summer.” Ben's mother said. Her tail fluffed out in a very unseemly manner. Her irritation quite apparent to the young fox nestled in the back seat. “You know your father and I have big plans this summer. The dig just can't wait. We're finding some big, big things out there and I have to meet your father in Cairo next week. Please Benny, you barely know Lou. Just give him a chance. For me, please.”
Ben sighed softly and gazed out the window. Nothing but fields and tree's scattered amongst pastures gazed back. Ben's tail curled tightly around his leg. 'how could his mother do this? Leaving him in the middle of po-dunk county Nowheresville while she ran off to Egypt with his father. Ben happened to be the son of two quite notable archeologists Lily and Kevin Mills. While this meant that his family was fairly well off, and that he held a bit of cool factor in school, thanks to the handy, though often false line “my parents dig up dinosaurs”. It also meant that there were many occasions where his parents couldn't be around. Most often it was nannies, impromptu babysitters, and up till her death, his grandmother. This summer it just happens to be his uncle. A young red fox who Ben only remembered due to an incident that occurred at his 6th birthday party when Uncle Lou got into a very strange fight with his dad for reasons that both his parents have been reluctant to talk about since.
“Alright Benny, we're in town” Lily said, pointing towards the Welcome to Marietta sign, half buried in a bush. “ahh...isn't it pretty? I've always loved this country.” Lily said, admiring the rusty orange of the maples surrounding the road. “I used to argue with your father about moving here...”
“looks boring to me” Ben Huffed
Lily shot Ben a stare “you're going to have to put up with it a while so please put on a happy face for a bit could you?” Lily squinted out the window. Following the windy road closely. Finally she spotted a large ornate building build precariously into the side of a hill, with a dangerously steep driveway leading up to it. Carefully she guided the sedan up to a semi level parking lot, passing a sign that read 'Maple Hills Funeral home: Primary director Llewellyn Emyr'
Ben sat up, his ears perking with him “Funeral home? I thought we were going to his house, not his work” Ben asked, tilting his head a bit.
“Oh, I thought you knew. Lou lives here too. It's not uncommon for the owner of a funeral home to live in the building as well. Honestly Benny, with as morbid as you are sometimes, I thought you would think this was cool”.
Ben sat back in his seat, a bit startled. Living in a funeral home for a month actually. . . did seem kinda cool to the kit. He had always been fascinated with ghosts and things. And staying a month in a funeral home would get him bragging rights for bravery, but then again, dead bodies in the house at night? Ben fiddled with his tail a bit as his mother pulled into a parking spot, noticeably next to a hearse. This interesting turn of events had Ben feeling a bit hot in his fur. His attitude was quickly shifting from headstrong to timid. Slowly the young red fox got out of the car, his paws smoothing out the wrinkles of his clothes before stretching tall after the 2 hours of being cramped in a car. He turned to look at the increasingly ominous building before him as his mother opened the trunk.
What sort of things did Lou really do? Ben remembered that his uncle wore a top hat, and was dressed very...oddly when he had last seen him. In fact, most of Ben's few memories of uncle Lou were a bit odd. Ben couldn't help but picture his uncle with obscenely huge glasses and an intense white streak piercing his burnt orange hair while screaming “it's ALIIIIIVVEEEE” over a patchwork body.
Ben was rushed out of his daydreams as his mother thrust his suitcase into his paws
“Come on Ben, I'll take you to the door” Lily said, taking Ben's free paw, pulling him along up the walkway. The door opened before they reached it and a tall figure stepped out.
“Well if it isn't Lily and my favorite nephew.” Uncle Lou bent down on one knee, getting level with Ben and smiled. He was dressed just as strangely as Ben had remembered. A short top hat perched upon his ears, with a thick, flowing long coat, with gold buttons in every possible place you could put a button.
Ben stared nervously for a bit, afraid his Uncle would attempt to hug him, but to his relief and surprise Lou simply stuck out his paw for a shake. Ben took it.
“You've grown a lot Ben. How old are you now? Lou asked, shaking the kits paw firmly before standing back up. His height impressive and a bit intimidating for the young fox
“um...12 now” Ben said, glancing back up towards his mom
“Ah! A wonderful age, full of wonderful things” Uncle Lou said, his tail wagging in an incredibly wide arch.
“I'm so glad you agreed to watch him. I really feel like you two should have gotten to know each other a long time ago. um...he has everything he needs, and if something is amiss, you know mine and Kevin's number, so don't hesitate to call” Lily looked down briefly at her son “You be good okay. And try to have fun. The country isn't as dull as it seems. Especially considering you only play video games in the city anyway.” Lily looked back up at Lou and smiles “Well, It's time for me to head off. Take care of my son Llewey” Lily said before bending down to give Ben a quick kiss on the cheek, whispering again in his ear to be good before she walked off to the car. Ben watched and waved as she got in and drove off. After a minute or so he felt a paw on his shoulder and looked up at Lou
“Well Ben. How about the grand tour?”