It was a holiday, mother’s day to be specific. And Ferro was all alone. The Driftwood was on a rest stop, not a destination or a town. They sniffed themselves. It smelled just like they weren’t doing a very good job taking care of themselves, perhaps it was good they wouldn’t receive visitors of any kind tonight. Ferro took out a small jar of honey from under the counter, this might as well be a vacation for them.
Ferro was free from their mother, free from her guilt and pressure. They made a promise to themselves when they left home. A promise that they’d never speak to their parents again, and instead fill their life with loved ones that actually cared about them. Ferro looked around them at the emptiness of the dusty inn. It seemed like that was going poorly. Radium didn’t want to speak with them anymore, Sterling had moved on and was with someone else, and Tawny she…
Ferrro feels something they pull away from. Tawny had always been a part of Ferro’s life. Always there to support them and give them advice whenever they needed it. Ferro remembered the last time they saw her, she assured them they wouldn’t have to go back to their parents, and they didn’t. She gave them the Driftwood, or at least they inherited it…
The details tangle in Ferro’s mind. By the time they came to the Driftwood, her funeral was long past. It was hard to not imagine Tawny faking her death, that she ran off alive somewhere. But Ferro’s uncle told them he saw her body… That only left two explanations for that night, either they were imagining it, or she was a ghost…
Sensation like a Field of flowers blooming from their heart and propagating through their body. It was the feeling of the Hearth Honey mixing with the comfort of knowing something to be true in one’s heart.
Tawny never left Ferro, her ghost still haunted the Driftwood.
She was still looking over and protecting them, like she did when she was alive. A hole left in Ferro’s chest filled with a warm sort of liquid swirling hope. They needed her advice more than ever right now, and they knew exactly what they needed to do... They were going to perform a Seance.
Ferro headed outside with purpose. They already knew how to do a seance. Sterling was a fan of paranormal books, so they did it once for fun. The Driftwood’s lot had become somewhat overgrown from neglect, however that just made the wildflowers Ferro needed for the ritual easier to find. The two didn’t see anything back then, but their home wasn’t haunted and the Driftwood was! Their home… they supposed it was only Sterling’s home now…
They draw a bath before picking the wildflowers clean. The flower smelt young and pure as they were picked apart. Petals were spread across the water’s surface. They dip the tip of their fingers into the water just far enough to create ripples. In the reflection of the water, is where you were supposed to be able to see ghosts.
It always felt like when the entire world wanted them to be one way, Tawny always encouraged Ferro to be themselves. Their father yelled at them when they slipped saying a boy was cute. Tawny talked to them about it, encouraged them to figure themselves out, they even had their first kiss with that boy in the safety of the Driftwood the following year. They talked to her about becoming nonbinary, about wanting to leave home, their fears, and hopes. Ferro stares at their mundane reflection in the bath, “I… I think I need more flowers...''
It was an ostentatious display of red, white and gold blooms Ferro returned with, with one black pansy as an accent. One good thing about it being Mother’s day, was that bouquets were easy to find. Ferro plucked them one by one stopping after each one to commune. Tawny was more than just a caregiver to Ferro growing up. She was their friend, she’d listen to them if they had a problem. Actually listen, not try to make it a lecture about them doing something she wanted like their parents. She was kind and generous, and Ferro knew she’d always be there.
“Why aren’t you here, Tawny!”
The room smelt like a field in spring condensed down into one desperate bath. To wash away something they didn’t want to face. Petals from an entire bouquet lay on the surface of the bath like a soft floral bedding. Ferro stared into the water, and all they saw was a stupid teary eyed hopeless little Verling. They’ve been at this for hours and never saw anything. Tears drip into the water, making ripples that do nothing but distort their view of their own reflection.
No Radium, no Sterling, and the Driftwood was just a building. A building now lacking the only thing that ever made it feel like a home. They were on drugs, sitting in front of a bathtub trying to come up with ways that they aren’t by themselves. They could feel the truth devour them like a greedy beast at their core. They were completely alone; Tawny was really gone.